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Vents spraying water

I recently had a steam pipe (going up to the second floor) moved from one wall to another in order to add an entry way. There were several days between the time I removed the original pipe and then had the new pipe routed.

A couple days later I had a radiator vent on the first floor spraying out a lot of water. The unit had been knocking alot before it happened. I assume it was flooded. I ended up replacing the valve and haven't noticed any more leak.



I also checked all the radiators and tilted them as need toward the valve.



But then yesterday another radiator started knocking and the vent started spraying a lot of water as well.



I have been renovating the house, so it will sit at 45 degrees for most of the day and then I bump it up to 58 in the evening when I am working there.



The system is quite old and I'm not sure which action caused the issues.



I also couldn't find any main vents anywhere. I am considering drilling and tapping some at some point.

Comments

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,979
    Sketch?

    Can you post a sketch of how it was and how you changed it? That will help us help you.
    Retired and loving it.
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Pipe Layout

    Attached is the layout. The old pipe had initially come up from the basement though an exterior wall and then slanted out to the middle of the room about 6" from the ceiling. Then it went up into the radiator. The new pipe comes up in a corner of the room and goes up to a few inches from the ceiling, takes a 90 and pulls away from the back wall until it reaches a joist cavity in the ceiling. takes another 90 and travels in the joist cavity until it reaches the same penetration into the 2nd Fl and radiator.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,979
    Couple of questions

    How long is each piece of the new pipe?



    What size is the pipe?



    What is the pitch of the pipe? How many inches pitch over 10 feet?



    What size is the radiator?



    What type of radiator is it? Can you take a photo of it?



    What size is the supply valve at the radiator?
    Retired and loving it.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Setback and slope

    If it was not spraying and banging before this new work (and you were doing a similar setback) you can be pretty sure the piping is the cause. I suspect some of your horizontal piping is sloped wrong and now has water sitting in it, when steam comes across the water it collapses and you get the bang. use a level and check all the piping to see if you have the correct slope on the piping you can reach. Also where the pipe Tees off on the new run how did you gaurantee both sides of the T slope back to the boiler?



    Setting the temperature that far back pretty much guarantees the system will misbehave, if you do half the current setback do the vents still spray and do you still get the banging?



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Pipe sizes

    I don't have all the sizes of the existing main and pipes in the basement since most of it has asbestos insulation on it and I haven't wanted to disturb it yet.



    The new pipe is 1-1/4" all the way to the radiator.  The previous pipe had been the same. It extends off the main about 6-8', then turns and goes about 3', then rises through the floor up about 9' turns and extends about 2' then turns into the joist bay and extends another 3-4' before going up into the 1-1/4" valve and radiator. Overall, the new pipe might be 6-8' longer than the previous run up.



    The radiator on the rerun pipe is an "old style" 2 column with 4 sections, 38" high. I can get a picture another time.



    The spraying and banging has been coming from the 8.4 and 13.2 MBH radiators at the front of the house on the 1st floor. The radiator on the new run seems to be working the best currently.



    I'm not sure what tee is in question. The system does work better once the temperature is up in the 50s and kicks on. I have been renovating the house and just installed insulation in all the walls. Perhaps that will help.



    I don't know the exact slope of the main due to the insulation but it seems to have a decent slope. I will try measuring it tonight or tomorrow.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,979
    Thanks.

    On the end with the squirting radiators, does the end of the main drop to the floor at that point and return to the boiler below the boiler waterline? 
    Retired and loving it.
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Return?

    The system is a one pipe. So there isn't any return along the floor. 
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,979
    One-pipe often has a wet return.

    Or the main continues back to the boiler, where it becomes a wet return. Is this a counterflow system? The mains just end?
    Retired and loving it.
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Counterflow

    Yeah, the mains just end at the risers. No wet returns.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,979
    Could be

    The water got contaminated during the work and that's creating wet steam.
    Retired and loving it.
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Wet Steam?

    If that is the case, how can I fix the issue? Several times I have drained some of the water out of the boiler (since it is dirty) until the water coming out is clear.



    Also, I don't know if I mentioned before but I have heard the water supply valve open several times while the boiler is running. And after the cycle the water in the glass is very high. Almost as if the boiler is putting out alot of water into the system and then filling up with more since it is all out in the system.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Wet steam caused by oil in the water

    The T I was referring to earlier is at the top of your diagram and a closer look shows those radiators are on the first floor and were not involved in the work that was done.



    If your auto water feed is turning on to add water that is being thrown up into the piping probably because of oils in the water caused by the piping work. The only way to get rid of that oil is to thoroughly skim the boiler to slowly float the oil out of the boiler.



    Does your steam main rise up as it goes away from the boiler to feed the radiator takeoffs? If it does you have a counterflow system and the returning water travels back along the main back to the boiler against the flow of steam. main vents should be added at the end of the mains to get rid of the air and cut your fuel bills.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Counterflow

    Yes, the mains rise away from the boiler.



    How do I go about skimming the boiler?



    Also,



    Attached are some photos of the system:

         The boiler piping is shown.

         The new pipe (green) vs old pipe (red) through the kitchen.

         The radiator that is attached to the new pipe.

         The main running toward the front of the house (no main vents)

         The end of the main (all coated in something) branching off to the 1st floor rads.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    edited April 2014
    Skimming

    If you have the manual for that boiler they usually identify the plug that should be used for a skim port. If you don't have the manual you can usually download it from the web, what model New Yorker is that?



    Your new piping probably introduced oil into the boilers water.To skim you draw water off the boiler above the waterline by opening the capped pipe or turning on the valve. You feed water into the boiler VERY SLOWLY (2hrs for 5 gallons) and let the water trickle out into a bucket. This can be done cold and hot, when doing it hot do not let the boiler come to a boil, you want to draw the water of a calm surface. It usually takes several skimming sessions to get all the oils out.



    While you have that manual open look at the piping diagram, your boiler is piped wrong and is making wet steam. Putting in a proper boiler header and equalizer would help dry out the steam.



    The material on the pipes looks like asbestos, some of it looks to be in bad shape and should be removed by someone with the knowledge and equipment. After that is done main vents could be added at the ends of the mains.



    Did you check that new piping with a level to make sure it's all pitched back to the boiler?



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Installation Manual

    Here is the installation manual I found online. Though I don't see the piping. The unit is a New Yorker model CGS40ANC-ME2
  • Dave_154
    Dave_154 Member Posts: 25
    Manual

    Figure 7, on page 7, is the piping recommendations. 24" above water line, 2" pipes, etc.

    I did not see a skim port, which is strange. Many of my problems, homeowner BTW, was solved by a simple 6 hours of skimming.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Alternative skim port

    I would remove the safety valve and the elbow it sits on; then replace the elbow with a T, nipple, and ful port 3/4" valve- put the safety on the top tapping and then you will be able to skim.



    A larger tapping would be nice but you have to work with what you have.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Skimming

    On pages 21 thru 23 of the manual, it goes over cleaning ("boil-out") to remove oil. They also say to remove the safety valve at the E tapping to remove water from the top.



    Also, how is the existing piping incorrect? What would need to be changed to correct it (short of adding a wet return to the end of the main and re-sloping)
  • Dave_154
    Dave_154 Member Posts: 25
    Boiler Shot

    Take another picture of the boiler 90 degrees to the left of the one you posted. My guess is that 1. You are using only 1 tapping  from the boiler 2. The first 90 elbow is not > 24 inches above the water line.



    It would be interesting to see how the piping goes up to the mains and I'd think the left-hand picture would help show.
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Left side of Boiler

    Here are some photos from around the boiler.



    Also, do you know what this white paste on the pipes is? Is it something applied because of leaks or for insulating?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Bad piping

    thae boiler is not piped properly, The output has been reduced in size, they used copper pipe (it should be threaded steel and configured like the diagram in the manual) and the header is too low (it should be 28" above the boiler water level. I can't see how the equalizer ties in but I suspect that is wrong as well.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Header height

    I believe the header is more than the 24" min above the NWL called out in the manual. I will have to measure it later today to verify. But based on scaling the boiler photo and measuring the distance, it appears to be high enough.



    Also, is there necessarily a current issue with the copper pipe? My understanding is that copper isn't advised because of the pressure and heat involved with steam and the possibility of leaks. But as long as there aren't currently leaks is there any reason to assume a drop in performance due to the copper?



    Also, where do you see the reduction? The copper pipe looks to be about the same size as the pipe sticking up out of the boiler.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Your closer to it than I am

    To my eye it looks like the pipe is reduced but I'm not there so as long as the copper is the same size as the boiler outlet that part is ok. With only a single boiler outlet being used, there shouldn't be any issue with pipe expansion issues on the casting but If you do decide to do any piping work I would suggest using threaded steel. Most boiler makers specify threaded steel pipe for the boiler header.



     The way the equalizer is tied in is not going to do much for keeping a steady waterline or making dry steam and that could be adding to your problems.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Equalizer

    Yeah, I've been using threaded for the radiator I moved. And if I ever venture to change the near boiler piping I would be sure to use the threaded as well.



    What would be a better way of tieing in the equalizer? And how does it function?



    Also, are you familiar with the white paste on the pipe fittings?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    edited April 2014
    Pressure?

    What kind of pressure are you building at the boiler? With the temp set-back you are using, I suspect the boiler is building way more pressure than it should, preventing the condensate from returning to the boiler.
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    Pressure

    I'm not sure what it is building to. The cut in is set to .5 psi.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    edited April 2014
    Pressuretrol

    Inside the Pressuretrol there is a white dial. Make sure that is set at "1" which is the differential for cut-out which will be the .5psi cut-in plus the 1psi so your boiler burner should shut down at 1.5psi.If you can, get a 0-3psi pressure gauge and put it on the boiler so that you can actually see what the boiler is doing. So ofter the Pressuretrol needs to be re-calibrated as the pressure can get up to 4 or 5psi before the burner shuts down.Consider setting the thermostat at a temp that you can work in and that is reasonable enough that you don't have such a huge swing between the hours you are there and the "away" hours. That kind of a swing in demand is problematic in and of itself. And, by the way, take that pigtail off that your Pressuretrol is mounted to and make sure it is not plugged up with gunk. That will prevent the pressuretrol from doing its job. Clean it and put it back on.
  • NJSteamhouse
    NJSteamhouse Member Posts: 34
    I am looking to add a low pressure gauge to the boiler and I'm looking for advice on the best place to add it. Can I just add a tee on top of the pressuretrol pigtail and mount both the pressuretrol and the pressure gauge there?

    Also, is it possible to add a thermometer somewhere to the boiler to know the water temp? I'm interested in saying how quickly the boiler heats up and how long it takes from creating steam to reaching the radiators. Is this completely pointless or are there better ways to know exactly what state the boiler is at?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    Yes you can put a Tee on the pigtail and mount both the Pressuretrol and the gauge. Typically a thermometer is not installed on a steam boiler. It is a given that the water has to be boiling (somewhere around 212 degrees) depending on the altitude for your area. The most common way to time things is to start with a cold boiler, turn it on and time how long it takes for the header to get hot. That lets you know the boiler is making steam. Then you can time how long it takes for the mains to get hot down to the main vents at the end of the mains and that lets you know how long it takes to fill the mains with steam. From there, you can time how long it takes for steam to reach the rads by feeling the valve body at each radiator. That time will vary depending on the way you have each radiator vented. the goal is to try to get steam to each radiator at about the same time by adjusting the radiator vents.