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Steam in returns, water hammer, steam traps and main vents. Enough?

Hello again,

This is kinda related to a previous post (http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/153782/base-ray-baseray-base-ray-in-one-pipe-steam#latest).

What I'm confused about is this return from a BaseRay.
This return gets steam hot, and hammers the turn(mid-end of cycle), which comes from a steam trap from the return of baseray.
Why is the steam whipping around into this return?

Traps? At the radiator? Should there be a trap closer to the main (where this return terminates (near)?, before the return?

There's a gorton #1 sitting on top of the dry return, the ONLY vent on this leg, about 40' of 2".
Would this be considered a dry return vent more than a main vent? Is this adequate? The Gorton #1 replaced a Hoffman 4A which never closed; it deservedly earned its retirement after an eternity.
There's also a branch here of about 6' which feeds 2 radiators, one on first fl, and one on second.

Except for 3 baserays on the first floor, all else one pipe in the house, I believe properly, slowly vented.

Also - clearly something wrong since baserays have vents as WELL as traps. All 3. Removing the vents and plugging yielded cold baseray rads, so I threw the vents back on for now.
CLUE?
I must be overthinking this by now.
Steamheads?

Please see pics..
Thanks as always..
Adam








Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,319
    Based on what I see, the return from the Baseray discharges back to the steam main thru a trap, correct?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,328
    It does look that way... how very odd.

    For Adam -- something is peculiar here. A return should go through a trap (in almost all systems) and then into a dry return -- it should not connect back to a steam main. I'd double check all the piping to see what's really what...

    And yes, dry returns do need vents. They should never see steam, though -- and thus they should never be closed!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • handbanana
    handbanana Member Posts: 24
    I hope the pics aren't misleading, or I'm not understanding.

    That return does discharge through that Hoffman 17. You guys are saying that the return is piped to the main.
    Just to clarify - that return goes horizontal, meets another return from kitchen baseray (unlabeled here) and then into (what I thought was) a dry return) beneath the Gorton.

    Is this considered part of the main?

    Has this been wrong forever?

    Is that Gorton working as a return vent, or main? It def blows air at the beginning of the cycle.

    The whole vent + trap thing indicated a problem to me.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,319
    edited February 2015

    and then into (what I thought was) a dry return) beneath the Gorton.

    What comes thru the wall and into that dry return? Is it piped directly from the steam main? Is the pipe that goes to the second floor rad supplying steam to that rad?

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • handbanana
    handbanana Member Posts: 24
    So..in pic 3 (labeled REFERENCE PHOTO), there's the elbow coming through the wall, turns right, and heads for the return. This is piped from the main.
    This is the lower pipe.
    The skinny upper pipe is the returns from baserays.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,319
    That's your problem. You're returning the Baseray units into the steam main.

    You have steam going up the returns, looking for the vents on the Baseray. The returns are not sized to handle steam, so they bang. When the steam hits the traps, they close and water backs up behind them. When they open, you get more banging.

    There is a right way to do this. You need to remove the traps and install loop seals, as shown on page 100 of "The Lost Art of Steam Heating". The loop seals will keep the steam from going into the returns, since they will not allow access to the vents on the Baseray.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • handbanana
    handbanana Member Posts: 24
    Ok gotcha. I have 'the lost art'...but without checking, I think I know what you mean (testing myself here).

    Would piping straight down to wet return and use a rad vent be a more elegant solution?

    By the way, the kitchen baseray, the return closer to the gorton, exhibits zero noise, and has a trap right at the out of the rad. Not looking to use this as an example to lean on, just a thought.

    Also, the baseray on the other side of the house, which was in my last post, which never gets hot, has a similar setup. But this is piped into the dry return at a MUCH lower point - right above wet return.

    Can I/ should I pipe these all to wet returns and kill the traps?
  • handbanana
    handbanana Member Posts: 24
    Ya know what?
    Steamhead..
    Pages 99-100, Lost art.
    Enough said.

    You guys have anyone in mind in the Nassau county, long island area of NY?
    It's winter, and I'd rather not learn on the job at the expense of excessive down time.
    I'll check the board too.
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