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Steam Radiator Vents

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General
General Member Posts: 120
We have insulated everything above the waterline of our boiler and our radiators are all quiet with the exception of a few radiators. On these particular radiators they have vents that will start to hiss and then you can hear it shut. I would like to replace these with a quiet vent but I can't find anyone in town that sells any steam vents at all. Where would I order and what? Would it be better to leave well enough alone? I am also still in search of a steam pro that is in Michigan. I did email Ban as was previously suggested but no reply. We are not having any troubles with our boiler but it would be nice to have someone that knows about steam.

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  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited December 2014
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    It sounds like you may need more venting on your steam Mains or the pressure is a bit high. Make sure the Mains have enough vents before you spend any money on radiator vents. They are only reacting to the need to push a lot of air out (more than they were designed to). If you need to replace some, you can find Maid-o-Mist or Hoffman 1A's at Supplyhouse.com and new ones on ebay as well. The Hoffman 1A has 6 settings that you can adjust to allow more or less air out and Maid-o-Mist has a model that comes with 5 different orifices that you can change out.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Thanks Fred...I will post some pics tomorrow of our 2 vents (that I know of) on our mains and the pressure gauge. Maybe you can tell by that what we should have.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Might be some Michigan steam pro information in this thread:
    http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/127608/help
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Thanks NBC, I do search the wall daily and have run across that thread before. Our boiler is an 8 year old Slant Fin...I may just call the company for their recommendations of any possible local steam pros. My guess is that there aren't any...
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Michigan seems to be a "Steam Desert" for some reason. One would think there would be a lot of boilers in that state but we often see posts requesting steam Pros in that area. I'd be leary of anyone that hasn't been in the residential steam business for a number of years. This may be a case where you REALLY need to learn your system and then hire someone to follow your instructions.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    I think you are probably right about learning the system. I read Dan's book "We have steam heat". I even went so far as to ask our heating guy to read it and the wall.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    Do yourself a favor and buy a copy of Dan's "Lost Art of Steam Heat". That one book has all the information you are likely to need and it's very well written, not at all difficult to follow.

    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
    General
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Good idea Bob....probably better order and read that also.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
    edited December 2014
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    Here are the pics of the two vents on the main and the gauge....any suggestions? My tablet died this morning so having to post pics "old school"....sorry about that. imageimageimage
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    Those main vents are probably too small to do much good, how long are those mains and what size pipe?

    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
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
    edited December 2014
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    38' and 22' 2 1/2 inch ....it looks to us that the vents are on each end of the return line.. There is also an additional 10 ft. supply main/return that goes to the living room. It is not vented.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    For that length of main you probably want 1ea Gorton #2 on the 22ft main and 2ea #2's on the 38ft main to vent them fast at low pressure. The Gorton #2 (1/2" male thread) is almost 7" tall so be sure you have room for them and whatever adapter you might need before ordering.

    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
  • jimmythegreek
    jimmythegreek Member Posts: 56
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    Id bet adding the gorton #2's like suggested above and running ur pressure as low as possible will eliminate your hissing problems. Occasionally vents get dirty and tired, some have success cleaning them w boiling water and vinegar, others just replace, you could always swap out w another radiator that has same size vent and see if the hiss follows the vent or is isolated to the branch
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    I think we could add the #2 gortons by replacing the ones we have however, we have no idea how to add an additional one to the long main and where. I know I posted 3 pics of valves but we actually only have 2. Also, could you tell anything by the pic I posted of our gauge? It was pic #3 on the bottom.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
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    To add 2 vents you neeed to build an antler so you use a nipple and then a 90 degree elbow, add a nipple, a T, a nipple and another 90 to mount the second vent onto.

    The gauge does not appear on any of your photo's, take another one of just the gauge.

    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
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Pic of the gauge...
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
    edited December 2014
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    There almost never any reason for a home steam boiler to operate above 1.5 PSI. If that boiler is operating above 3PSI all the air valves on the system have to watched because they really don't like working at pressures above a couple of pounds. If the boiler never builds any real pressure (boiler is matched to the radiators EDR), then the air vents are probably ok. The main air vents are still much to small for the size of your mains.

    I would turn the screw on top of that pressuretrol until that tab was all the way down and then I would take off the cover and make sure the white wheel is set to one.

    That should let the boiler cut out at 1.5PSI and back in at 0.5PSI, let us know how that works.

    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
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Ok Bob, I have attached another pic. We set the pressuretrol as you suggested and the wheel was set at one. Is it right now?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,784
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    I would like to mention Hoffman 1As besides being very difficult to adjust, do click and clack when they open and close.

    I always recommend Gorton vents because they open and close silently. The only downside is they are not adjustable so my method was to buy a bunch of ones I thought were right, and then buy more when I found out I was wrong. All that happened was I ended up with spares for almost every radiator in the end so I don't consider the money wasted.

    Some guys on here like Maid-O-Mist vents. I have not personally used them but I recall them being easy to drill larger holes in to make them vent faster.


    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
    General
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    The Pressuretrol is set correctly now. Do replace those main Vents woth Gorton #2's and add an additional one on the 38' main, using an antler as @Bobc suggested.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    I will order the vents today. We have plenty of space on top of the mains. What should I notice differently with changing the pressure setting? Thanks to all of you for the help!
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Keeping the Pressure low should speed steam along its way down the Mains (when you have the additional vents installed) it should reduce the hissing at the radiator vents (will improve even more with the new Main Vents) and best of all, it should help reduce fuel costs.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Will give you an update when we get the new vents for the main on.
  • steamedchicago
    steamedchicago Member Posts: 72
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    ChrisJ said:



    Some guys on here like Maid-O-Mist vents. I have not personally used them but I recall them being easy to drill larger holes in to make them vent faster.

    The maid-o-mist vents use a removable orifice. They sell a kit that comes with the complete set for only a couple bucks more than a single size. So, you can buy them, figure out what you need by swapping orifices, and replace them if they fail prematurely with gortons of the right size.

    General
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Got the 2 gorton #2's today and put them where the old dole's were. We still need 2 more gorton's and will work on the antler. Just reducing the pressure last week made a big difference in the amount of heat in here.
    Thanks guys!
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Glad to hear it!
    General
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    We ordered two more Gorton's and installed them on antlers. We now have two Gorton #2's on each main. It has most definitely stopped the whistling of the living room radiator which is right above the boiler. The living room radiator is on an a very short main about 4 feet long that is not vented. In the morning when we set the thermostat from 63 to 66 that radiator will start sounding like Shhhhhhhh for quite a while and then the vent kicks in and you can hear Shhhhhh snap, Shhhhh snap. The dining room radiator also does the same but only a few times. Also, when the house gets to the temp we set, the living room radiator will Shhhhh for about 5 minutes (as it is right now) getting quieter and quieter until is finally dies down. if I only take it up one degree at a time all is quiet and remains quiet for the remainder of the day until we put the temp back to 63 at night. Also, since we dropped the pressure, we have a continual 70 to 71 degrees in the upstairs bath and I have the vent set to closed it doesn't seem to make any difference. Nice for keeping the towels warm but would like to understand why it is like that and what I can do to have a little more control.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    If you have somewhere to install a Gorton #1 on that short Main, that will quiet the living room radiator but my suspecion is when you are recovering from a 3 degree setback, your boier is maybe short cycling a few times causing the radiator vents to open when the boiler shuts down and vent again and close as it reaches temp. I suspect that cycling also creates a bit of a vacuum in the radiator that tends to help open the radiator vent. I'm guessing those radiator vents are perhaps Hoffmans?
    As far as the bathroom heat, I suspect that radiator is probably over-sized for the room size. (Most radiators are) For just that one radiator, you can put a Danfoss TRV on it and the vent then goes on the TRV. The TRV measures room temp and blocks venting (which will block steam getting into the radiator) until the temperature in the room tells the TRV to open so that steam can fill that radiator on the next heat cycle. TRV's are good for 1 or 2 radiators on a system, depending on the size of the system but should not be used extensively. If they shut enough radiators off at any one time, they can make the boiler act as if it is over-sized.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    The vents are hoffmans. Is 3 degrees too much for a set back? If I don't set it back at all, I doubt we would hear anything from any radiator. If we do a set back, besides the noises from the radiators and using more gas, does it do any harm to the boiler?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    I wouldn't do more than a 3 degree setback, 2 would be better if you have to have a setback. I use to do a setback and eliminated it a couple years ago. I didn't see any fuel savings, in my situation. The boiler ran longer, and ultimately short cycled to get back to temp.
    It probably does no harm to the boiler itself but, in the case of short cycling, the additional on/off cycles on Pressuretrol/Vaporstat switches and the gas valve probably are affected over time.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Ok...I get the reasoning.
    On a different subject, is there a way to really clean a boiler? Right now, the guy that comes out runs water from the feed and then lets it out the spigot in the middle. This is a slant fin boiler. He does that until it basically runs clear, throws in some chemical, changes the thermocouple and is on his way. Considering I have no one in this area (so far) that works on steam is there a better way? I am not planning on having him come back.....
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    There are other ways to clean a boiler, with a wand, with pressure (if you have gate valves to isolate the boiler), etc. Most of us just drain and flush our boilers to get the sediment out of it periodically. Chemicals, with the exception of the initial cleaning of a new boiler, is something most of us don't like to use. Some boiler use rubber and/or composite type seals between the sections of the boiler and some of those chemicals can affect those materials.
    At a minimum, he should also be cleaning and adjusting the burner, cleaning the flue, the burner box and testing all the safety switches, flushing the wet returns if they have clean-outs or valves on them.
  • General
    General Member Posts: 120
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    Thanks Fred.....my guess is that this discussion will continue when it is time to clean it. I appreciate all the help you have given!