Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
In fairness to all, we don't discuss pricing on the Wall. Thanks for your cooperation.
Need to contact us? Visit

Question about two pipe system

DanaSDanaS Member Posts: 7
I recently had to replace my steam boiler. After the new boiler was installed I noticed two radiators (one on floor right above other) were not working well. The house was without heat for ten day And it was rather cold. My plumber came and installed an air vent on one of them and it is now working. However i am concerned because I didn't think two pipe radiators needed air vents and I'm concerned that the real problem isn't being addressed. Will adding the air vent do any damage? Is this just an alternate fix to replacing the steam trap/ release on condensate pipe? I

Would really appreciate any advice. Thanks!!


  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    Yes it is a bandaid

    Allowing a faulty trap to remain on a system will throw off the balance of the system, and could cause the destruction of other traps in the system. Do you hear any water-hammer?

    Get your plumber to fix things rather than using a shortcut to correct only the symptoms rather than the underlying cause.--NBC
  • DanaSDanaS Member Posts: 7
    Water hammer

    Yes I hear water hammer. My plumber has been back out and drained the boiler but it recurs and I'm quickly losing faith. Can the air vents be disconnected from the radiators and plugged once the traps are replaced or corrected? Thanks
  • JohnNYJohnNY Member Posts: 1,810
    What do you do when you have no idea what to do?

    Drain the boiler.

    You need someone else to have a look at this. Find a heating contractor that "specializes" in steam rather than one that has a passing familiarity.

    Where are you located?
    For private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    Or at Gateway Plumbing & Heating
    John travels regularly to out-of-state clients for consulting work.
  • DanaSDanaS Member Posts: 7
    edited March 2014

    I am in Elkins Park PA. Right outside of Philadelphia. Interestingly the radiators stopped working right after new boiler installed! Could there be a reason related to the installation? It is a commercial Weil-McLain that cost a pretty penny. Any referrals would be greatly appreciated and welcomed
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 4,406
    If they worked before the new boiler

    and stopped working after it's install I can pretty much gaurantee that something about the installation was not done properly. Steam systems are very fussy about horizontal pipe pitch and the near boiler piping. The old boiler may have had a larger steam chest and been a little more forgiving. Post pictures of the boiler and the piping around it so we can see what was done. Stand back a bit so we can see how the piping is configured.

    Something changed during the installation and we have to figure out what it was that changed.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,911
    Was the old boiler

    taller? Where are your main vents? Why is the dry return tied in above the waterline?
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • DanaSDanaS Member Posts: 7
    Two pipe system

    I really don't know the answer to these questions. Upon further inspection of my system, I have discovered that it is a Broomell system. The original condensation radiator is still on basement ceiling and was disconnected long ago. My plumber must not have known anything about this system because he was confused that "there were no steam traps". He added one to a non working radiator which hasnt helped. He took off the elbow and totally replaced it . He also installed a pressuretrol instead of a vaporstat on the new boiler. Truth is , I am hoping this isn't a safety hazard at this point. I am so disappointed at this work and this person came highly recommended. I am hoping to have another more qualified plumber come and evaluate this mess very soon.
  • 98chaos98chaos Member Posts: 9

    Sorry to see that you are having problems with a bad install. Since you live in PA, please see my reply to Bryan_T at this thread:
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 6,653
    Hadn't really paid attention

    to this thread.  Sorry...

    I'd be very very interested in where the water line was on the original boiler in relation to where it is on the new one.  That particular Weil McClain has a water line which is rather low to the floor, relatively speaking, and I'd be willing to lay dollars to doughnuts that the old water line was significantly higher.  if so, part of your problem may be that some of the piping which was below the water line before isn't below it now -- and that can cause no end of problems.  it can be fixed, but it needs to be.

    There is some slightly unusual piping associated with the header...

    Broomell systems run on very low pressure.  Are you using a vapourstat for control?  You should be.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-McClain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • DanaSDanaS Member Posts: 7

    Right now a pressuretrol is hooked into system. From what I have read, a vaporstat should be used instead. Could this be causing major problems? Can this Weil-McLain boiler be outfitted and fixed for the system? I'm not even sure I needed this big boiler. It is 490,000 btus. Basically my plumber replaced he boiler that was already there but broken. No research was done at all. Nothing was making sense to me so I started poking around my radiators and discovered it was a broomell system. He was confused that no steam traps were present. That's what brought me to this thread!! I have radiators that are altered with air vents, three with added steam traps, the condensate boiler on ceiling of basement is unplugged. The water is not returning to boiler fast enough so water feeder is activating. And water hammer is just awful. Originally it was a coal boiler.
  • Charlie from wmassCharlie from wmass Member Posts: 3,911
    Is this close enough to call

    Frank a.k.a. Steam Head? Broomels are nice and simple systems ad take well to lots of mainline venting. The last one I worked on was down in New Canaan Ct. It still had the original Broomel reciever and the condensing radiator was still attached when I got there.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    More problems

    You will definitely need a steam expert to look at this improper installation . He will have to add up all of your radiators' capacity (EDR), and see if the new boiler was correctly sized, which apparently was not done. Then he will describe the piping which should have been done, quoting from the manufacturers instructions. Then best to have him carry on from there, perhaps replacing the new boiler with one of proper size, and repiping as should have been done. Then you will have a well functioning system, and can deal with the old plumber while at least enjoying a quiet, efficient, even heat from this new properly done installation .--NBC
Sign In or Register to comment.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!