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Steam Heat Assistance

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  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    ChrisJ said:

    Too fast often causes spitting and can cause imbalance problems because those radiators start heating before others. Venting radiators fairly slow compared to the mains allows steam to hit the end of every main before it even starts heading out to the radiators.

    Also, venting too fast can cause the steam to take a short cut across the bottom of the radiator and shut the vent rather than going across the top and filling the radiator as it does so. This is what happens on some of mine if I try to go too fast and I've seen it on friend's systems as well. This is with large tube and small tube radiators, not column type.

    Yes Chris and I compare notes on occasion and it seems the older "steam only" radiators (which I have) do not have the short cut issue so sometimes that is a factor. Not saying you should vent fast just mentioning that the style of radiator can influence performance. I will second the spitting issue. I am having that on a small rad upstairs that I am venting too fast. My wife noticed it this morning...I have trained her well!
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Randy-LeeBraman
    Randy-LeeBraman Member Posts: 46
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    Gorton is the way to go and i'm lucky because the one supply house i use its all they carry.when a system is vented right and
    the pressure is set low you don't even know they are running
    you just feel that warmth.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    KC_Jones said:

    ChrisJ said:

    Too fast often causes spitting and can cause imbalance problems because those radiators start heating before others. Venting radiators fairly slow compared to the mains allows steam to hit the end of every main before it even starts heading out to the radiators.

    Also, venting too fast can cause the steam to take a short cut across the bottom of the radiator and shut the vent rather than going across the top and filling the radiator as it does so. This is what happens on some of mine if I try to go too fast and I've seen it on friend's systems as well. This is with large tube and small tube radiators, not column type.

    Yes Chris and I compare notes on occasion and it seems the older "steam only" radiators (which I have) do not have the short cut issue so sometimes that is a factor. Not saying you should vent fast just mentioning that the style of radiator can influence performance. I will second the spitting issue. I am having that on a small rad upstairs that I am venting too fast. My wife noticed it this morning...I have trained her well!
    Wonder if your wife every reads HH.
    :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    Never @ChrisJ‌
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    Stupid question. The only Main Vents I have are right near the boiler on the smaller 1 inch pipes (wet side?)... is this right?

    I keep reading that Main Line vents should be at the end. And that the steam follows the Vents. Should I drill and tap vents at the elbows at the end of each line?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    If they are there and there isn't any place to put them at the end of the actual main, it isn't hurting anything for them to be there. Just remember to get enough venting they will also need to vent that return. So any calculations you do for main vent sizing should factor in all the small return pipes as well. Do you see a plugged tee or any plugged connection at the end of your mains?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
    edited December 2014
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    KC_Jones said:

    If they are there and there isn't any place to put them at the end of the actual main, it isn't hurting anything for them to be there. Just remember to get enough venting they will also need to vent that return. So any calculations you do for main vent sizing should factor in all the small return pipes as well. Do you see a plugged tee or any plugged connection at the end of your mains?

    Actually KC,
    I don't think there is any point in venting the return, meaning if you vent the main at the right speed, it doesn't matter how long it takes the steam to travel down the dry return afterwards.

    Besides, to me venting a main at the right speed means building no noticeable pressure rather than doing it in a certain amount of time. I think this follows Gerry Gill's overall thinking as well.


    To the OP, I've considered moving some of my main vents from the end of the main which is in a crawlspace, to the end of my dry return which is in the basement and where yours currently are. I think it adds a little bit of resistance due to the extra length of pipe but it probably doesn't matter.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    KC_Jones said:

    Do you see a plugged tee or any plugged connection at the end of your mains?

    There is one completely plugged up vent I found last night at the very end of a main going to the living room radiator. It is shut solid. As for the rest of them I didn't see any plugs. Although its difficult because I insulated the pipes 2 years ago with eco fiberglass insulation recommended by the asbestos abatement guy. I don't recall seeing anything then either, although I was much more concerned with finishing that project considering the amount of fiberglass permeating my skin and eyes.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    I used to work for a fiberglass company...I feel your pain. You could use the old plugged vent location for new main vents.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    So before I go start measuring main lines...

    I have 3 main lines.

    The first is simple. It feeds only the bathroom and has no main vent. It also has no dry return. It cant be more than 6 feet long. No where to add a main vent. What to do here, just an appropriate sized radiator vent?

    The second Main Line feeds just the kitchen. It has both a Main Line and a dry return, without measuring I want to say 2 - 2 1/2" main and 1" return. The run is approximately 15 feet for both Main Supply and return.

    The third is the complicated one. It feeds the living room, upstairs bedroom, and dining room. Without measuring its all a guess but I would say it has at least 40-50 feet of both Main Supply and return line same size as the other.

    If I measure absolute distances and pipe diameter where do I find out what appropriate main vents would be for each?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Building no pressure is the aim of adequate main venting. This can be seen on the low-pressure gauge, as back-pressure, (the resistance of the air as it escapes). When it happens at 2 ounces, you know you have got it about as good as you can, depending on pipe length.--NBC
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    My suggestion is buy this:
    http://store.heatinghelp.com/product-p/300.htm
    The money goes to charity and it answers a lot of your questions. At 10 bucks it's a steal to me. Easy read and a ton of good information.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    Seems like a good idea. I'll do that.
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    Thanks again to all who have helped me along the path or righteousness :-P ...

    I have ordered 3 Gorton #2s to start. I will build some antlers and probably add the 2 Vent -Rite #35s I have to try an balance the 2 Mains I have out. I bought em I might as well use them so long as they benefit and not detract.

    I downloaded the recommended manual/vent guide and it was interesting.

    Curious to see if the vari-valves will still be viable radiator vents when I get some decent Mains installed.

    Sometimes learning can be expensive :smile:
    KC_Jones
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    Doing it right costs more up front, but cheaper in the long run. Once you get it tuned in you will have fuel savings...or you will keep the house warmer for the same fuel. The choice is yours.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    If it was mine, I'd take the varivalves off of the radiators and use them as main vents.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
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    @ ChrisJ - that's what I'm thinking of doing on my setup. I know I need more main venting, since I only have a Gorton #1 at the end of the dry return, with 37-1/2 ft of 2" main and 36 ft of 1-1/4" brass dry return ! Gorton #2's are expensive but I have lots of old varivalves that I'm not sure are totally up to snuff but I could do a temporary antler for them on my main to experiment with tons of venting capacity without a big wad of cash up front. I'll see how the performance of the system is and check the effect on efficiency with my hourmeter (when I get it) and then buy the Gortons that I need. I "feel" that the Gortons may be more reliable and they have a float so that if the boiler should get flooded, the water won't be spewing out in the basement at least.
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    @ChrisJ‌

    That though crossed my mind last night.

    I have 3 Gorton #2s on the way, they'll be here tomorrow. I want to see how those do first.

    I had the thought of adding the Vari-Valves to my Main Vent antlers if I need to further balance my system.

    I did some playing with the settings on the varivalves last night. Upstairs I set the varivalve to full open... I did this because I know there is inadequate Main Venting to that radiator specifically. It was a bit quieter last night, but I could hear condensate dripping inside the radiator, which was new.

    Other than that the radiator heated up faster, and more evenly than it had before.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
    edited December 2014
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    I'll be honest,
    As far as I know the floats in Gorton and Hoffman vents don't really do much. I've heard a lot of guys claim they don't really work. I've never personally tested them luckily so I don't know for sure.

    But, they can hold a lot more water internally than a varivalve and that internal space helps prevent spitting.


    I've also heard varivalves fail a lot more often than other vents, they just don't seem to last. Point being it seems like a bad idea to purposely buy them with the intent of using them as main vents, but if you have them on hand already why not.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2014
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    Me again...

    Got my low pressure gauge today! installed that bad Larry as soon as I got home from work.

    I was surprised and excited to see that I started making heat at an incredibly low pressure. like .15-.20 psi. I even had heat on the 2nd floor at this pressure.

    I had solid heat across all radiators before .5 psi.




    Now, with this knowledge, is it possible for me run a vaporstat 0-1 psi, let's say, and get adequate heat throughout the winter (even on a cold snap of -5 degree days) without short cycling?
    KC_Jones
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
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    You mean that the boiler wasn't able to get the pressure above 0.5 psi, before the radiators were all hot all the away across, the vents were all closed, and the thermostat became satisfied? Did it top out at 0.5 psi for a considerable time and couldn't get any higher? We need more info.

    PS: I couldn't get the video to play :) j/k
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    :D I didn't want to share my play by play commentary just yet.

    No, the pressure got up to just under 1.5 psi before I shut it down. I didn't want to bring the temp above 65 degrees before getting on my bike for an indoor training session, yeah I'm that guy... :\

    All of the radiators were hot all the way across AT or BELOW .5psi. Picture me running around the house, up and down stairs, and then running back to the basement to check pressure... The boiler coninued to build pressure up to just below 1.5 psi and I manually shut it down. I would have waited to see where the pressuretrol shut it down automatically but like I say I didn't want a 70 degree house at that exact moment.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    If you are running at that pressure you really don't need the vaporstat. Remember the pressretrol or vaporstat are just high limit controls to keep the pressure from going to high. The venting is what is keeping you at .5 PSI right now. I would leave it alone at this point and just watch how the system performs at different temps. at .5 PSI and heating you are in a pretty good place to start. Save the vaporstat money for something else.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    What's the max pressure you see the gauge hit on a cycle before thermostat is satisfied?
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2014
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    I wasn't able to satisfy the thermostat at 1.5psi. I shut the system down manually, by adjusting the thermostat down, due to my need at the time to keep the temp down in the house at that moment.

    @‌ KC_JONES ... Im not sure you understood my post. My pressure rose above .5 psi... it went to 1.5 psi...
    my comment was that all radiators were hot all the way across and evenly at .5psi... the boiler kept chugging along after that point, and ran up to 1.5psi before I shut it down manually.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
    edited December 2014
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    When I clicked on my notifications it took me to page 2 not page 3...lol. Even so I still say don't spend the money on the vaporstat, get more vents.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    If radiators are hot all the way across, and he's still building pressure to 1.5PSI, then I would add a vaporstat. Does the gas valve have hi/lo ability? If not, then you want to shutdown the boiler. Give the radiators time to give off some heat, then start up the boiler if pressure drops and thermostat isn't satisfied. If the gas valve does have hi/lo, then use the vaporstat to switch valve to low fire when you've achieved ie. 8 oz/sq.in. and kick it to hi when it drops to 3 oz/sq.in. You might have to play with those numbers depending on the layout/length of your mains and once you see some colder outside temps.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
    edited December 2014
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    I second a hi-lo setup but I would have to recommend a professional set that up and guys capable of that seem hard to come by.

    Additional main venting etc may help get things going faster and slow the pressure build which is a good thing, but it won't eliminate it.

    The faster you get the radiators dissipating heat, the better. On a typical cold night I get heat to my radiators 2 to 3 minutes after the burner fires up. If you can get your system doing that you'll be in good shape and time to look at other options to improve it further.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    @abracadabra Thank you for the input.

    @ ChrisJ I have 3 Gorton #2s showing up tomorrow. I will be building Antlers tomorrow night, and reassessing radiator vents as soon as the mains are sorted.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,857
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    @abracadabra Thank you for the input.

    @ ChrisJ I have 3 Gorton #2s showing up tomorrow. I will be building Antlers tomorrow night, and reassessing radiator vents as soon as the mains are sorted.

    Sounds good!
    Keep in mind, 3 might not be enough. I'm using five #1s on my 29' 2" main and I've considered adding a 6th.

    What happens is, the lower the pressure you're at, the slower any vent vents. If you want to vent radiators faster, you need your mains venting even faster, even if it seems insane.

    Also, this is an addiction of mine. :)
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
    edited December 2014
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    ChrisJ said:



    Also, this is an addiction of mine. :)

    You aren't alone. ;)
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    That makes total sense...

    I have 3 2 old dole 90s that I can use. as well as 2 vent-rite 35s... as you or someone else mentioned I may swap my Vari_valves over to my Main Antlers as well and use something else as my radiator vents....

    This is now becoming my new addiction ... Gin and bourbon can only take you so far...
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    Gin and bourbon can only take you so far...

    I do beer...there were a few times I needed it after a day working on the boiler. Sometimes the 4 letter words aren't enough.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    @kc_Jones I brew my own beer :) ... mostly 10+ ABV stouts and IPAs... that's a whole other addiction... don't get me started!


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
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    Nice! I love IPA's, but Yuengling is my go to. That's what I keep on tap at the house.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
    edited December 2014
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    Welllll Christmas came early this year...

    My Supply House order showed up... And well... nothing can really prepare you for the size of a Gorton #2 until you see the box size and your jaw drops to the floor. Luckily I was able to install them below my flooring, but it was tricky and tight. I may look to re-do the antler at some point. For now it is pitched and should be a HUUUUGE improvement over the Dole#90s which were there. I couldn't find the flow rate on the Dole's but based on size and design they looked like a Gorton #1.

    Not sure how to rotate the picture, but if you click on it, it's oriented correctly...


    Now to wait until the system kicks on...



  • FeltBikeRider
    FeltBikeRider Member Posts: 31
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    Ran the system until Pressuretrol cutout tonight. At it's lowest possible setting it cut out at 1.75PSI. Like before all rads were hot all the way across at .5PSI. So it looks like a vaporstat will be the next step, along with finishing insulating the a few of the joints on the Mains I was too lazy to do a couple years ago.

    The best news is that with the Gorton#2s installed the radiators were silent. No hissing and spitting so far. I am curious with the original installation of the boiler where to pressures were getting. I am willing to bet they were around 5PSI.. I look forward to setting my thermostat to a temperature and not having the system blow past it by 3-4 degrees regularly.

    So glad the knowledgeable people here were willing to enlighten me. Maybe I'll pass that forward to the original boiler installer :smile:
    RJMCTAFO
  • RJMCTAFO
    RJMCTAFO Member Posts: 113
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    Wow!!! @markS. That excel file is awesome. Thanks for posting and thanks to the member who created it. I have learned some much on the steam side of things from this site in the last year that has been a huge help.
    I frequent a few forums based on my other interests and find this to be the most helpful and non judgmental forum ever. Truly a great community of awesome people.

    Thanks again.
    Bob
  • Captain Who
    Captain Who Member Posts: 452
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    RJMCTAFO said:

    Wow!!! @markS. That excel file is awesome. Thanks for posting and thanks to the member who created it.

    I second that. But, I just took another look at it again because it was troubling me that it seems to be recommending a single Gorton #1 for 36 ft of 2" main to vent the entire cubic feet in one minute (pretty fast). The only way I can see it is that it is wrong. I get .785 (not .828) for the cubic feet, but anyway .785 cfm @ 1 oz/in2 pressure would need 2.4 Gorton #1's (not 1). If it were .828 cu ft, that would be 2.5 Gorton #1's. Since the data table sheet has the columns hidden by password I guess, I can't determine where the error is in the spreadsheet.

  • HarryL
    HarryL Member Posts: 59
    edited December 2014
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    Sorry about the noise. Fat finger that I can't delete.
    Home owner, 1927 2-story, single family
    1 pipe Burnham IN4I, Boston area