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steam radiator not heating up, spurts of cool air coming through...

hi all and thanks in advance. i live in a 113 year-old house in providence. when i moved in 6 months ago, i had a couple of snowman-type furnaces replaced with burnham independence boilers. they work great, and i've been impressed by the lack of banging/clanking in the system whenever the boilers kick in.

HOWEVER! of all the cast iron radiators throughout the three floors of the house, there is one in particular on the second floor that just never heats up. i've tried replacing the vent on that radiator, but still no dice. interestingly, when the vent was removed, i noticed spurts of cool air blowing out through the vent hole, apparently indicating that the problem is *not* a blocked pipe.

any ideas???


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Venting Issue?

    Is that radiator at the end of one of your mains? I assume this is a one pipe system but you didn't say. If it is at the end of a min, does that main have a vent on it? Is that vent working? If that Main vent is stuck closed, it may not be letting the air out of the main and the steam is pushing it downstream as far as it can push but not enough to supply steam to that radiator. Of course, if the radiator vent is working, it would eventually push the air out of the radiator vent but maybe not fast enough to deliver steam during a normal cycle. Also, is that radiator tilted slightly back towards the steam supply inlet so that water in the radiator can run back to the boiler? Are you sure the valve on the steam supply to that radiator is wide open?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,653
    You can also get that effect

    from a section of pipe which isn't pitched properly.  Usually that would hammer, but not always -- but the pooled water will happily condense almost all if not all of the steam that reaches it.  Check all the pitches leading to that radiator.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England