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Is a Steam Trap something like a Vapor Lock?

"You guys are the experts here, but as this problem seems to go on and on I decided to check out some Internet information and something caught my eye about something called a steam trap. Is that something like a vapor lock?"

Thank you in advance.


  • A steam trap is a device used mainly on two-pipe steam systems which allows the air to be pushed out of the radiator into the return, by the steam, but closes up when the steam arrives at the end of the radiator.
    Are you having some sort of steam problem where you think an air lock is to blame?--NBC
  • what_the_heck_
    what_the_heck_ Member Posts: 5
    Thank you. What sort of problems can happen if there is an air lock problem?
  • Can you describe the problem you are having more exactly? Start identifying the symptoms, then we describe the problem. finally we can find the solution.
    is this a 2-pipe, or 1-pipe system?--NBC
  • what_the_heck_
    what_the_heck_ Member Posts: 5
    My situation is not like it seems it is for most that post here. I am trying to figure out something in a heating system in an apartment complex, but where I am not getting the best of cooperation from the apartment management and where possibly the individuals that come to work on the system are not the sharpest around.

    May I continue to post details, or am I out of line posting here such as roughly defined above?
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,401
    If you can explain what you have and what it's not doing somebody will jump in and try to help you.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,111
    And remember that there are no silly questions, only silly answers -- and all of us started off in this game as novices!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • what_the_heck_
    what_the_heck_ Member Posts: 5
    It's original to the building, built in the 1970. One knob controls the heat for the living/dining room and one bedroom. The second bedroom has a separate knob. My apartment is an outside unit and poorly insulated. The problem started almost a month ago before an expected cold snap would hit. Two separate visits to get it working as even on high, the heat coming out was luke warm. All they did was turn it on and then said they would turn up the temp on the boiler on another floor and left. Then the cold snap hit and it was not working for the 4 days. Then they came out, drained the system, changed the knobs on the system as they were both old. It worked fine after that for about 1 1/2 weeks, then a week ago it went back to luke warm. They have not come back, they just want me to monitor it and call them if it happens again. The excuse I keep hearing from the building manager and the heating company is that because the apartment is on an outside wall, it will add to the temperature problem.
  • I am guessing that the building is heated with hot water. the knobs for temperature probably cause the pump to circulate the hot water around various radiators in that section of the apartment.
    from time to time, the hot water loop temperature may vary in response to the outside temperature, which is a normal feature, and can be very economical, while still providing warm comfort. generally speaking, the colder the outside air temperature, then the warmer the water in the radiators should be.
    However, if the system and its controls are misadjusted, and badly maintained, there can be cold spots.
    if you had an indoor/outdoor thermometer, which can show the highest, and lowest temperatures, then you could make such an accurate complaint to the management, that could not be ignored. make a list of the cold temperatures, and show it to the management.
    it is ironic that bad maintenance, will cause the system to use more fuel, and electricity, when the owners are trying to economize.--NBC
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Take a picture of this "Knob" that you have to turn and post it. So we have an idea about this magic knob.
  • what_the_heck_
    what_the_heck_ Member Posts: 5
    edited December 2014
    I am working on that today, will post the images as soon as I can and again Thank you all for your posts.