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Steam radiator moved and new line plumbed with 1 inch copper

I am having my kitchen remodeled and had a steam radiator moved. The plumber used 1 inch copper as the feed to the radiator. The rest of the system is black iron with copper returns. The new line has no return. The new radiator doesn't provide any heat. I have already requested the copper be switched to black iron, but am getting resistance from the plumber. I've included pictures of the boiler with the new copper line. I think the radiator is not working because it isn't plumbed correctly. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,882

    I am having my kitchen remodeled and had a steam radiator moved. The plumber used 1 inch copper as the feed to the radiator. The rest of the system is black iron with copper returns. The new line has no return. The new radiator doesn't provide any heat. I have already requested the copper be switched to black iron, but am getting resistance from the plumber. I've included pictures of the boiler with the new copper line. I think the radiator is not working because it isn't plumbed correctly. Any insight would be greatly appreciated.

    I'd want the copper gone.
    Can you post more pictures of this new line and the radiator it's connected to?

    I'm curious if he installed a radiator meant for a two pipe setup (no vent) on a single pipe and expected it to heat.
    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    Did the plumber add that tee on the header? I am guessing no. The only reason I ask is that part isn't done properly either. The copper should have never been used and honestly if your contractor knew anything about steam wouldn't have even thought about using it. Also even if he won't change the copper that concentric reducer really isn't correct. This does depending on condensate flow direction, but they are typically never used on steam on horizontal runs. The resistance to changing it tells me he doesn't know steam. I agree with Chris need to see the rest of the piping and need to know if this is a 1 pipe or 2 pipe system. A picture of a typical functioning radiator would help with that. There are many possibilities as to why it isn't heating.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    I have included more photos of the line and the radiator it feeds. also, I have included a pic of what I considered the return feed. There are 2 of them located in basement about 6 feet from boiler.
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    it is a single pipe system
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,882
    Is there a vent on the side of the radiator opposite of the pipe?

    That pipe with those 90s and the fact it doesn't look pitched at all won't work and if it does, it'll work poorly. I'll admit, it's hard to judge pitch by a picture, but as long as that joist is reasonable level the pipe is wrong.

    Right now, it seems like the "plumber" had no business working on a steam system.
    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,882
    I also like how he cooked the joist with his torch when soldering those joints. I would've used a heat shield my self...
    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    I see your return piping (copper at the boiler). I also see 2 capped lines that appear as if they used to be tied into something. Did the plumber cap those? The caps look new to me. If he eliminated return piping I would assume that to be wrong as well. I am not sure what he did because we don't know what was there before. It appears that radiator feed was a main since it comes straight off the header like that. I am just shooting in the dark, but it presents as if that was a main of sorts that had a return line and the plumber eliminated all of that.
    ChrisJ said:

    I also like how he cooked the joist with his torch when soldering those joints. I would've used a heat shield my self...

    Also known as being professional. Personally just from what I see I wouldn't let them back in my house, but if you paid him you need it done correctly and it wasn't.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    There is a pressure relief valve on the radiator and it is opened as much as it can be
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354

    There is a pressure relief valve on the radiator and it is opened as much as it can be

    Huh? A pressure relief valve? Do you mean a vent to vent the air? Also was this radiator working properly before this change? I am still going with this used to be a much larger main pipe and that is the problem.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,439
    Well... I don't see the vent on the radiator which you mention in your last post. I have to assume it really is there? Correctly placed, part way up the side opposite the inlet?

    Second, one can use copper for a radiator connection. It isn't the best idea, but it can be made to work. However, a 1 inch line for a one pipe radiator that size isn't going to work, and even a larger line -- inch and a quarter to inch and a half -- will need a really good pitch on it to work at all. And I don't see that. I'm not at all sure, looking at the pictures, that you can get enough pitch on it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,882
    Ah,
    Counter flow system?

    So all of the radiators have vents then and always have.
    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
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    I meant vent. Yes this radiator worked before it was moved. I have included a pic of the old line that was capped.
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    Chrisj, you are correct, all radiators do have vents and always have.
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    KC Jones, the plumber did cap the 2 return lines. One went to a line that was removed completely. The second one I am not sure what it connected to. The 2 return feeds that are intact are located on piping that serves every radiator except the new one.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354

    I meant vent. Yes this radiator worked before it was moved. I have included a pic of the old line that was capped.

    What size is that old line? Measure the OD
    1" ~ 1 3/8" OD
    1 1/4" ~ 1 5/8" OD
    1 1/2" ~ 1 7/8" OD
    Removed an entire main? Interesting. I will agree with the above bad pitch, most likely too small of a pipe (tube in the case of copper). The copper isn't a killer, but I wouldn't want it. Also the way it was run there is no way for you to insulate it. Yes it would be a good idea to insulate all that basement piping. Should do at least 1" of insulation on the pipes. With it tight to the joist like that you can't insulate at all. Honestly tell your plumber it doesn't work and ask him to fix it, he supposedly knows right? Isn't that what you paid him for. I would put the ball in his court, but keep all our suggestions in mind. When he can't figure it out tell him what we said. Also if you ever have that boiler replaced that concentric reducing tee on the header has got to go, very bad practice.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    The capped line has 1 5/8 OD.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    And I am guessing the new copper is 1"? And has bad pitch. If that is 1" copper that is roughly a 50% reduction in cross sectional area in the pipe. How much longer is the new pipe than the old? If it is much longer he probably should have up sized it rather than down sizing it. I would tell him you want a new 1 1/2" line run in steel/iron with PROPER PITCH and then see what happens. I would bet that takes care of it. Here is the dilemma for you. Since he doesn't seem to know what he is doing, it will probably cost you more to keep paying him to not fix it versus just telling him what you want and not let him make any decisions. Just my $0.02 worth.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,882
    I bet that pipe is full of water right now and that's why the radiator isn't heating at all.

    It probably heated a little for a short time and hammered some and then just stopped completely.
    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
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    edited November 2015
    The old radiator was 8-10 feet from the boiler, the new run is 15-18 feet away. You are correct that the new line is 1 inch copper.
    KC_JonesChrisJ
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    edited November 2015
    Thanks to all for your help
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    What was the resolution?
  • Kevin Dooley
    Kevin Dooley Member Posts: 15
    I've informed the contractor the sub isn't allowed to touch my system. I am going to contact one of the recommended vendors on here and get an estimate to fix it right. In the mean time, I have shut off the new radiator and turned vent upside down. I have another radiator in the room that can heat the space adequately until the spring when I can get it fixed by a contractor that has a clue.