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steam radiator replaced with new one ---problems --Central Mass

We recently had some remodeling done on our house, and we one of our steam radiators was replaced. The replacement is not working.

This radiator, that was replaced, is in a small addition (smallish room) that the previous owner built-off of the kitchen about 20 years ago.

the radiator was a short in height and about five feet long and had a vent at the opposite end from the steam pipe. The new one is similar, but a foot longer. The old radiator did work, but did not throw off a tremendous amount of heat.

The house was built about 1900 and is single-pipe steam fueled by gas.

So the first couple of times that we used the heat this fall, there was extremely loud banging and after awhile the new radiator produced pretty good heat. The third time, we noticed water on the floor near the vent.

We called the plumber that worked on our renovation and who installed the new radiator. He observed that the vent had blown -a small piece of the vent had blown out and then water had come out of the vent. He replaced the vent.

Next time we used the heat, same thing happened again. So we called a different plumber that we've used for occasional plumbing issues. He replaced the vent with a more robust one. But, it too, gave way. So, as a stop-gap fix, he capped the vent on the radiator, so it wouldn't fill with steam. We can now run our heat, and the rest of the house heats, but that one radiator does not.

I think we need a steam expert, who can figure out what the issue is, as these plumbers don't have the steam heat background to fix this.

Any recommendations for a steam expert who can come fix this? we live just East of Worcester, in Massachusetts.





Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,380
    I'll bet they changed the pitch of the pipe that feeds that radiator, go underneath and check the pipe pitch with a level, there should be pitch so water can drain back to the boiler. Also check the radiator has some pitch back towards the valve so water can drain out of it.

    Use the find a contractor feature on the lower portion of the sites main page to find someone close to you. Some of these guys will travel so don't be too concerned if they aren't in the same zip you are.

    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating

    Call Charlie, he travels that far. Excellent steam guy.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • vr608
    vr608 Member Posts: 144
    If both vents blew off, that pressure must be too high. Vents can't usually withstand more than 6psi of pressure. I would check the pressure on the boiler and reduce as needed.
    Peerless 63-03, 118,000 BTU (308 sqft), single-pipe steam system connected to 286 EDR of radiation, 30ft of baseboard and indirect DHW
    3PSI gauge
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    vr608 said:

    If both vents blew off, that pressure must be too high. Vents can't usually withstand more than 6psi of pressure. I would check the pressure on the boiler and reduce as needed.

    I'm betting it is pitch but, if the vent is actually blowing out of the radiator, it is very possible the tapping in the radiator is stripped and needs to be retapped.
    j a_2
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,291
    So would you guys go for a re-run of the 1/8" tap or drill/tap out to the 1/4" and use a bushing? My choice would be the latter.

    Was this a brand new rad or recycle/used?

    The installation done 20 years ago might have short-changed the rad on pipe run out size and this time some pitch might have been lost. What is your pressure control set at?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,540
    I'd go for the 1/4" drill/tap and a bushing too, if the vent is actually blowing out of the radiator.
    BTW, what is the height of the radiator? I noticed you said the old one was 5 feet long and the one you had installed is 6 feet long, in a "smallish" room off of the kitchen. Even if that rad is 16' to 20" tall, that's a lot of radiator for a small room. Maybe I should ask what you call a "Smallish" room?
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    Check the pitch as stated , use a level not your eye....is there not a radiator valve, is that why you had to plug it? Try cleaning out the threads with a thread chaser or tap....without a pic. It's hard to say if ther is enough meat at the existing vent port to upsize to 1/4 inch....that same thread pitch is used on hot water rads with a normal working pressure over 12 psig..so I don't really think pressure is the cause...Pull the plug out run the boiler and listen at the vent port, tell us what u hear...also shut down a couple nearby radiators for the test....all this assumes your boiler is piped and set up correctly,and the mains are vented correctly as well....make sure if you do use a tap it's a tapers tap and not a bottoming tap....helicoils are an option
  • Thanks, all for the help.
    I'm going to call Charles Garrity, as recommended.

    I believe the plumbing to the new radiator is okay, as they re-used the old piping that had been working.

    There must be an issue with the new radiator. Maybe the pitch or maybe something else. And yes, the plumber who installed the new radiator did NOT install a valve (so he was obviously out of his area of expertise).

    Anyway, I'll see if I can get Charlie's help.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    If there was any new pipe installed, boiler needs to be skimmed.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,244
    Fixed.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
    SailahKC_JonesZman
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,354
    So what was the problem?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,244
    Pitch.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,440
    Do it every time -- thanks Charles!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Charles did a really nice job. It's great to find someone who has an expertise in steam.
    KC_JonesSWEI