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Steam not getting to one radiator - why?
Hello. I have a Folk Victorian house in northern New England, built in 1908. It has a Peerless boiler and two-pipe steam system with column-type radiators, installed sometime prior to 1965 (as far back as I can trace). It has worked well in prior years, but now one radiator does not heat.
The system is unusual in that it is not piped like the line drawings in Dan's book; there is no steam main with an F&T trap at its end with a return to the boiler. Instead the steam pipes are radial off the header; they dead end at radiators. The steam lines are all insulated in the basement.
The condensate lines are also radial, essentially parallel to the steam lines until they get close to the boiler, at which point they come together with a main vent, then connect via the Hartford Loop to the equalizer.
With one exception there are no steam traps anywhere. The valves on the inlet side of the radiators all have short handles on them. I am assuming they are multiple-orifice valves but all are stuck in place. I have not tried to take one apart, so I'm guessing.
The one radiator that is not getting steam is on the second floor (in the bathroom where we would really like heat in the morning). There is loud water hammer on this one line when the heat is coming on, which can be felt on the steam pipe. It feels like someone is hitting the pipe with a hammer, somewhere below the second floor. Occasionally the steam pipe will get hot almost up to the valve, but not to the radiator. There is no sign of steam coming out of the floor around the steam pipe, nor water leaking down into the basement at the bottom of the chase, so I don't think the steam pipe has failed within the chase.
My plumber, who reads Dan's books and has great respect for the Dead Guys, is at a loss. He has disconnected the radiator and blown (by mouth) into both the steam and condensate lines. He says both lines are free of obstruction.
Dan has said the enemy of steam systems is rust. Is it likely that a flake of rust is keeping steam from getting to the radiator, or air getting out of it? If so, where should he look?
Is there anything else you can think of that would have made this recent change in a formerly-working radiator?
Thanks for your thoughts and help.