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No Mains ??

I've got a 1890's house in Boston that was converted from coal with a (current) replacement Burnham gas fired boiler
(15 years or so old), (1 pipe system)

From what I can see, there a 6 or 7 steam lines that run directly to each radiator, usually about 10' to 12", except for
the 3 lines that run up to the 2nd floor (making them about 20' long. )

What I don't see is the much desired vents on the ends of any of the steam lines running to the radiators.

2 of the lines (running towards opposite ends of the house) have vents on them, but they re both withing 3 feet of the boiler and represent only 2 lines out of the 6 or 7.

1. Is it possible that the radiator vents function as the only vents in the system, and was it designed this way ?

2. In a system with such short runs, will it be beneficial financially to add vents to each of the steam lines?

3. The Pressuretrol has been set to cut out at 1.5, but the system continues to run as high as 7 psi. Of course the thermostaat is still calling for heat, but it will cut out around 7. Will additional vents solve this problem or is it related more to the lack of vents?

4. There is considerable heat difference between the 1st and 2nd floors. The first floor is usually cool while the rooms upstairs are sweltering. The thermostat is located on the first floor and is blissfully unaware that the 2nd floor is a sauna. Is this a function of the lack of venting?

I know there is a lot of required information missing, but I guess the first question is my main concern. It will take considerable work to add avents to all the steam lines, but is it worthwhile?

Thanks in advance.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,932
    Question 1. -- quite possible. Nothing wrong with it in a setup like that. There won't be much benefit to adding vents to the steam lines. What will help is making the second floor vents -- which you say is too hot -- slower.

    And I'm afraid you may need to replace all of them. I you really are running up to 7 psi, the odds are that they are ruined. You need to fix that as your very first project. Find out of the pigtail to the pressurestat is clogged. Make sure the opening in the pressurestat is really open. If you still can't get it to shut off at 1.5 psi, get a new pressurestat.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,314
    1. Semi normal
    2. Yes. Adding a Gorton D to each run out will do wonders.
    3. Pigtail is clogged.
    4. Check all air vents on radiators
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726