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My kitchen is COLD!

I purchased a ~100 year old home with a one pipe steam system. Radiators in every room, though what is now the kitchen has a baseboard heater (picture) - I suspect that room was added after the original build.

By the time the house is warmed by the one-pipe radiators, the kitchen is just barely getting started - and BANGING! So the kitchen never really gets good heat. I'm attaching pictures of how the piping is plumbed in the basement ceiling directly beneath this baseboard heater. Pipes enter the baseboard from the left, right and center (much larger diameter pipe compared to left and right). A valve is on the CENTER pipe before steam goes up to the center of the baseboard, though steam is free to enter the baseboard from the left and right via the T you can see in one of the images. There appears to be no steam vent on the baseboard (silver vent as I have on my radiators).

When I turn the valve COUNTERCLOCKWISE, the valve appears to move inward (closed) and when I turn the valve CLOCKWISE, the valve appears to move out (open). When marked with a sharpie marker, I measure only about a quarter inch of total travel in the valve stem from fully counter- to full counterclockwise. Aside from being thrown off by the presumably reverse-threaded valve, I'm pretty convinced that the valve should be replaced.

I'm not convinced I am skilled enough to replace the entire valve without messing up the surrounding pipes (they are all interconnected), so my thought is to replace the "guts" of the valve - indicated in one of the pictures.

Thoughts?

Comments

  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 14,188
    That baseboard is too long to work if it's hooked up as one-pipe. You would need to have a return line added and properly routed to drain the condensate (water).

    Or, just put in a radiator.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Should also be concerned with that big notch cut out of your floor joist. A first sign who ever did the baseboard did not have a clue.........
    jturk1000gliptitude
  • Steamhead said:

    That baseboard is too long to work if it's hooked up as one-pipe. You would need to have a return line added and properly routed to drain the condensate (water).

    Or, just put in a radiator.

    Frank: Is that because the BB section is flat and not sloped back to the supply pipe? How do you figure out the max. length of BB you can install?
    Often wrong, never in doubt.

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  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 14,188
    Not so much that, though it is a factor...... the big problem is the size of the pipe connections, which at 3/4" can't handle more than 3 feet or so of this baseboard in a one-pipe setup. The steam moves too fast into the baseboard for the condensate to flow back down the pipe.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • jturk1000jturk1000 Member Posts: 6
    I'm not sure if I described the baseboard accurately. My home's radiators are all one-pipe. I have one baseboard heater in the house - the kitchen. The basement ceiling piping splits three ways as it goes toward the baseboard; it drops down to a smaller ID pipe (I think the 3/4" that was mentioned) and goes left and right - and enters the baseboard at the left and right. The split also goes straight, then up to the center of the baseboard - this is where the funky valve is - this ID is larger (as seen from the pic, though I've not measured it). So though the main home is one-pipe, not sure if one would call the baseboard also a one-pipe; three pipe :wink:
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,867
    Perhaps the intent of the installer was to have a steam supply split with a tee between the 2 BB. Then as in a 2 pipe system have the 3/4" on left & right form the wet return that comes up into the bottom of the steam run out.

    What are behind the doors of BB? Is the center higher than the 2 ends. Any air vent somewhere in the center tee connection?

    Those look like gate valves, some gate valves have non-rising stems(handles). Pick one up in a store and operate it and you will see what is going on. If it is on the steam supply pipe you want it completely open.

    Yea, he was a wood butcher and probably proud of it!
  • CanuckerCanucker Member Posts: 656
    +1 on the wood butcher comment. Looks like the same brain power at work that got into my house. Finished the ceiling in the basement on sagging joists and to level it, notched out the low points for strapping
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,500
    Huh, I thought those were two seperate baseboards and someone had the bright idea that they would feed steam to each from the center (where the valve is) and return the condensate from the opposite end of each, back to the steam run-out, treating it like a "one pipe" so the condensate could return through that run-out. What they actually did was supply steam to all three pipes with no way for air to be evacuated, hence the cold kitchen.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,867
    If the lower "wet return" was primed with water and if the ends of each BB had a vent and if the pressure wasn't too high and the BB sloped to the vented end is there a slim chance it would work. Sort of an experiment.
  • jturk1000jturk1000 Member Posts: 6
    The baseboard is ONE baseboard, as you've come to the conclusion. Jughne - to address your question about what's behind the doors, the left and right-most doors are simply 90 degree turns. The door on the left that is immediately to the left of the doorway is a union and the door on the right side of the doorway is a "T". I see no visible sloping, though there may be a little (can't tell), and there is no vent - no way for air/steam to escape.
  • jturk1000jturk1000 Member Posts: 6
    JUGHNE said:


    Those look like gate valves, some gate valves have non-rising stems(handles). Pick one up in a store and operate it and you will see what is going on. If it is on the steam supply pipe you want it completely open.

    Haven't looked at one, yet - but is clockwise or counterclockwise open?
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 9,530
    Clockwise is closed, counter clockwise is open. Wondering if stem is broken off the gate.
  • Paul48Paul48 Member Posts: 4,492
    Do a heat loss for the kitchen and replace it with a cast-iron radiator. Have a knowledgeable steam pro straighten out that piping, and repair that floor joist.
    jturk1000
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,867
    You could take the valve apart, when the steam is off, use 2 wrenches. If you get it apart you may be able to unscrew the disc off the threaded shaft. If this setup will work at all you don't need the valve there. The disc may be non functional. Just remove it, put the bonnet back one and see what happens.
    jturk1000
  • jturk1000jturk1000 Member Posts: 6
    I may consider ditching the baseboard and go with a radiator, once winter is over. I think I'll also wait until warmer weather until I take that valve apart. I took a couple wrenches to it about a week ago and gave it some pretty aggressive pressure - nothing. I may have to give it some serious torque. Probably best to wait until I don't need the heat everyday :-)
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,170
    Discretion is the better part of valor.

    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

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