Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Balancing the Trane...

vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
Background for those of you just tuning in...two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system that does function in a natural vacuum ranging form 1"-9". Twinned Slantfin TR50s with Riello G400 gas conversion burners...newly installed. Currently running on manual on/off until controls are added. The two boilers work in tandem off of presssuretrols which are mainaining well less than a pound (barely 0) when pipes are heated. No traps (or vents) on rads.

Will partially shutting off the rads upstairs boost the radiation downstairs or just cause the boilers to shut off on pressure?

I have some issues downstairs the result of which is the first floor is about 61deg, when the upstairs is about 90! These are the issues below, but I can't fix them yet, so would like an interim solution for getting the downstairs warmer. All rads are heating fully across and are HOT!

- Due to the intermittent heating (off at night and when not home) the downstairs that was 32deg. has not come fully to temp ie. not the air, but the house and things in it.

-One radiator was taken out of the hallway and not yet replaced (I have a replacement).

-Rad cover have been removed, but they are built-ins and only the front comes off. I need to retrofit them.

- French doors between rooms were removed at one point so all the heat rushes into the hall stairwell which has an open half landing, thereby heating the third floor.

It's a larger space, but I'm sure the radiation was figured correctly initially.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF


  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
    Your fighting physics

    If you have 5 ft openings to that hall from the first floor you have a superhighway for all the heat and it's going to go upstairs just as fast as it can. Any chance of putting some doors back?

    Are all the radiators heating at the same time? You could try throwing some blankets over the rads upstairs to see if that helps. How is the air infiltration and insulation in the house. I would hunt down and fix any and all infiltration on the first floor and see how that works out. Seal the basement ceiling so the boiler can't pull air from the first floor for combustion, that may mean you have to find a way to bring in outside air for boiler combustion air.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    Quick fix

    Why not get some curtains for the French door location, and see if that keeps the heat in.

    I think having real doors would be better in the long run, but you could probably find a spring rod, and curtains tonight at the big box, and then see what the thermal result is.

    You probably need to balance those rads with their valves, or orifices.

    When you fire from cold, which area gets steam first-upstairs or downstairs?--NBC
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    On the nose!!!

    That is exactly what's happening! The rads heat downstairs first and they do get hot. I actually haven't run around the house to see what gets hot when, but they sort of follow the loop of the 150' main.Maybe I just need to have longer runs and turn down some rads upstairs. So if I adjust the rads upstairs does that push any additional BTUs to the downstairs rads? I always though they were able to use only so much steam at one time. Will this cause the burner to shut off on pressure? The largest rad is 32" tall, 3 columns and 28 sections.

    Unfortunately, I didn't take the doors off, but found their remains moldering in the coal cellar. I do not believe the originals are salvageable. I did find some with the same number of panes for the two sets of Louver doors leading to the solarium and added on 4 inches. They were from Home Emporium. Ususally I won't buy tropical woods, but I made a selfish exception. Even custom made wouldn't have had the original number of lights. I'll have to see where they've moved to .The louver doors were a disaster sucking cold air through out the entire house. Now I can close it off.

    The problem is that the number and size of the doors make even a temporary fix almost as expensive as the permanent one. The two flanking the hallway are 71/2' tall x 10' wide and the one off the LR is slightly shorter and 8'9" across. When I was painting in those rooms, I had them sealed off and it made a HUGE difference, but I was always able to keep the house warm downstairs before and the differentilal was never SO large.

    I am working on the air infiltration. Did a lot of work a couple of years ago, including making interior storms. (OH yeah, he north side is flanked with exterior French doors, too!) Have not yet done the floor joists, although it was recommended my the energy saving people. I'd never considered it before. there is a window in the boiler room or i I could make somesort of opeing into the garage. We did put up 6" metal clad foam panels from a friend's work surplus in the garage which sits under some of the first floor.

    I'll try the rads first and even if it doesn't "push" more heat into the downsairs, at least it won't be so hot upstairs. (Did I just say it's too hot?) Maybe I'll take a second look at the decrepit ones just for a temporary fix. Who knows, maybe I can fix a few of them.

    Thanks for the helpful insight and suggestions. I'm on it. An air superhighway! Great!
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Maybe Thermostat?

    Not sure how "manual" your current operation is? Do you have a thermostat on the first floor that you turn on/off? It has been unusually cold this winter and I had a similar problem to yours. I have a 5000 sq.ft. home built in 1902 with an open staircase from the first floor to the second. This winter, as the temps got below zero, I got up one morning and my 2nd floor was about 85 and the second floor was at temp (66) but the boiler would cycle on and off so often, the condensed water did not have enough time to get back to the boiler. After checking everyting and weatherstriping/chalking around everyting I could find (doors that were leaking, etc.) I still had the problem. I finally decided to take my thermostat off the wall and check it. Even though it was on an inside wall, when I got it off, there was a fairly large hole behind it where the wiring was pulled through. There was a small wind tunnel blowing out of that hole (cold air). I stuffed it with insulation and (knock on wood) its been almost two weeks now and the problem seems to be resolved. Upstairs is about 2 degrees warmer than downstairs but that's to be expected with a wide open staircase.