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What's wrong with these radiators?

I've posted before about my steam system losing water and not being able to find it. My initial thread was here: http://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/153011/boiler-still-losing-lots-of-water-not-sure-what-to-do-next#latest

Anyway, since then I think I've found the issue. A tenant just moved out, and when I walked into his apartment it was literally like a sauna in there. All the windows were steamed up and it felt like 100 degrees. When I mentioned it, the tenant just stared at me blankly. In any case, I'm not sure how I missed it before, but it seems obvious that there is some major leakage in this unit.

As I mentioned previously, I bought a Seek Thermal camera for my iPhone and took some pictures of the four radiators. These were all taken to show only temperatures above 95 degrees.



This one appeared to not be heating well, but then I realized that the gate valve was shut off. So this is the radiator with the valve off.



This is the same radiator as it started to heat. Does that look like steam loss to the left of the valve?



This radiator is in the bedroom-it seemed to be operating normally.



This is in the bathroom (see the toilet to the left). Extremely hot and humid in here.



Last one. This is in the kitchen, kind of in a shallow alcove in the wall. Seems to be leaking...

Thoughts? Also wondering if there is any better way to find the leak(s) itself. What if I set the temp limit to only show temperatures above 200 degrees, for example. Would that show the steam more accurately?

Also, any way to rotate these images?


Comments

  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    Why not use your ears, eyes, and maybe an inspection mirror to look for steam leaks. If there's that much steam in the unit it should be pretty ovious where the steam is coming from. From the IR pics, the one that looks to me like it's leaking steam is your last pic. I see a heat plume on the floor in front of the radiator emanating from the valve.
  • a2shutt
    a2shutt Member Posts: 97

    Why not use your ears, eyes, and maybe an inspection mirror to look for steam leaks. If there's that much steam in the unit it should be pretty ovious where the steam is coming from. From the IR pics, the one that looks to me like it's leaking steam is your last pic. I see a heat plume on the floor in front of the radiator emanating from the valve.

    Yes, of course. I just thought this was a good visual aid in describing my problem. Haven't tried a mirror, but I was not able to find the exact spot(s) visually.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,513
    edited February 2015
    The first and second pics look like the valve is either closed or the vents aren't opening. The last one does look like a leak. Steam radiators rarely get clogged.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,513
    sludge said:

    Fred said:

    The first and second pics look like the valve is either closed or the vents aren't opening. The last one does look like a leak. Steam radiators rarely get clogged.

    So rarely could, in this case, be clogged.

    I don't think so. If you look at the first and second pics, it looks like steam is going across the bottoms of those rads. If they were to clog, that's the area they would be blocked. I'm thinking the vents on those rads are failed closed and the steam can't push upward.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,620
    The OP states the first pic is with valve closed and the second is with valve open. As far as radiator function the second pic looks fairly normal to me.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,513
    KC_Jones said:

    The OP states the first pic is with valve closed and the second is with valve open. As far as radiator function the second pic looks fairly normal to me.

    That makes sense. I didn't realize pics 1 and 2 were the same rad and that the valve was actually closed, which was one of my initial suspecions.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    sludge said:

    Fred said:

    The first and second pics look like the valve is either closed or the vents aren't opening. The last one does look like a leak. Steam radiators rarely get clogged.

    So rarely could, in this case, be clogged.

    No.. not clogged.
  • a2shutt
    a2shutt Member Posts: 97
    Thanks. Glad its not clogged :) The first picture was of a radiator that was shut off, and when i turned it on I discovered it was leaking like crazy around the valve stem. So that is one issue.

    I'm wondering what temperature the steam would be once it enters the air from a leak. Maybe this is basic but I'm not clear. If I was to look for actual steam coming out with my thermal camera, would I just want it to show temperatures over 200 degrees fahrenheit? Or is there more to the equation (pressure, etc)?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,513
    The steam itself is going to be around 212 but if it has condensed and you are leaking water, it will be something less than that.
  • michaelb0315
    michaelb0315 Member Posts: 12
    Sometimes leaking packing nuts on the radiator valves are very hard to see. They can also sometimes act as air valves if they are leaking and cause to much heat to enter the radiator. I haven't seen a radiator that was clogged. But there is a first for everything! I am still fairly new at this stuff! LOL
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