Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.

If you've found help here, check back in to let us know how everything worked out.
It's a great way to thank those who helped you.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

No Heat From Radiator

I have a radiator that is about 6 plus feet long and 22 inches high. There are 2 valves coming our of the floor (one at each end). Both are open but just one end heats up. I followed the piping in the basement and it appears that the valve on the right end (working one) is where the steam enters and the other valve is where the water returns. Not so on all the other radiators in the house. The valve that doesn't seem to work is stone cold and the pipe leading to it is cold approximately two feet from the valve. The air release valve is located on the end that doesn't work. Any possible solutions. My guess is that the cold valve is not opening even though it is turned all the way on. Also, I bled the radiator by taking off the air release valve and an extreme amount of air was released.
«1

Comments

  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,129Member
    A steam radiator typically only heats all the way across on the coldest day. If it's mild out it should only heat as far as needed to heat the room. What type of system is this one pipe or 2 pipe? How many pipes connected to each radiator? What you describe (2 pipes with air vent) is unusual and possibly wrong, but we need more information to know for sure. Pictures of the radiator in question as well as another in the house (if different) would help.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    As KC says, more info needed. Is this a 2 pipe system? Do the other radiators have a pipe at each end? Do they have air vents as well? I suppose it could be a two pipe system with vents. Does that return drop down to a wet return? It sounds like the vent is not opening but until we understand what kind of system you have and what you are calling an "Air release valve" we can't tell for sure. Pictures please.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Sorry--new at this and don't know how to get pictures on site. Pretty sure it is a one pipe system. The one radiator that I am talking about is the only one is the whole house. I have six on one floor and six upstairs. I will try to be clearer--the radiators have a pipe from the floor that opens by hand on one end to let the steam (once this is opened I don't close it unless a room gets too hot) in and on the other end there is a pipe that lets the water back down to the boiler with the exception of the one I previously described. What I call the air release valve is the little
    valve that is located about 3/4 of the way up the side of the radiator (about 6 inches tall) that is located on the end where the return pipe is. Hope you can understand better. Please be patient as I am 77 years old and trying to cope with this situation alone.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    You're doing fine. It sounds like you probably have a Two pipe system, if I'm understanding correctly. One pipe, with a valve on it that you can open and close and on the other end of the radiator is another pipe that returns the condensate(water) back to the boiler. Is that correct? Except the problem radiator. If you can figure out how to post pictures, it would be very helpful. Maybe someone you know can help you do that?
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Thanks so much--will consult with a friend on the pictures. You are absolutely right--guess it is a 2 pipe system. The problem radiator has two valves that open and close--one at each end of the radiator--I would guess that one lets the steam in and the other lets the water back out and perhaps that is because the radiator itself is much longer and shorter than all the others (which I would call normal ones) and are about 3 feet high from floor to top of radiator and about 10 panels to each one (not sure if panels is the right word--perhaps sections better describes the radiators. Maybe, as suggested above, it's just not cold enough for all the panels on the problem radiator to heat. All other radiators are working fine so I am not in the cold. Thanks for your advice.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 13,121Member
    Sounds like the air vent is bad.
    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
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    I took the air vent off and blew into it and air came out the top plus when I put it back on the radiator I put my hand over it and it releases air. Maybe it is not releasing enough air--is that a possibility??? Also,, upon checking out the other radiators in the house there is only one pipe leading to the radiators so I assume that the steam comes in and leaves in the same pipe. Could it be that the problem radiator is a 2 pipe system and all the others are a one pipe system. This is so confusing to me. Still working on the pictures.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    If that radiator is the largest on your system, it is possible that it simply won't heat all the way across, especially during mild weather. It is also possible it isn't piped correctly or that the supply valve isn't opening, even though the knob turns. Pictures are going to be important. It can also be you need a larger vent to move the air out of that radiator a little faster, given the size of that radiator. You might try ordering an adjustable vent like a Vent-rite, Maid-o-Mist or Hoffman 1A. Hard to say without seeing what you have.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Pics you asked for. Hope this helps.
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,971Member
    Try again, pics have to be jpg or pdf format and they should not be overly huge.

    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
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Sent pictures but they don't seem to appear. Will try again at some point. Radiator in question is working with steam coming from right floor valve and think the floor valve at the other end of radiator is where the condensation returns to the boiler but not sure on that point. The pipe in the basement leading to that end of the radiator is much smaller and is cold so that is what leads me to believe this is a return pipe. Also, I turned up the air release valve to 7 with 8 being the highest and air is rushing out of the valve at a good pace.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Another attempt with pics.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Sent 5 pics. but only one appears--do I have to send individually????
  • KoanKoan Posts: 430Member
    that pic looks like an American Rococo one pipe ?
    @bwoodward - I am assuming that it is another radiator that won't heat all the way across?
    Keep trying with the pictures
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    This is the right end of the radiator in question.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    This is left end of radiator in question with 32 panels in between.
  • KoanKoan Posts: 430Member

    I know this sounds silly, but this looks like a one pipe radiator with two feeds??

    If so and one feed is hot, maybe closing the cold valve would work ??? (but that might make another radiator cold).
  • delta Tdelta T Posts: 754Member
    Two supplies maybe considering the size of the radiator? that is an odd setup for the system you have... @Fred any thoughts?
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    I would try putting a new vent on that radiator. If that doesn't correct the problem, you need to have someone look at both valves to make sure they actually open when the knobs are turned and to make sure the return side/pipe actually drops into a wet return, in the basement.
  • KoanKoan Posts: 430Member
    Possibly a new vent and closing the cold valve might do it, but make sure others here agree - I'm not an expert.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,129Member
    2 pipe air vent rad on a one pipe system. Could be on that long of a radiator they were worried about all the pitch and drainage so they added the second pipe. This is a valid setup and I have seen people post this mixed system before, though I seem to remember those being each floor was similar. First floor 2 pipes second floor one, something like that. Having only one radiator in the house setup like this I would guess is unusual.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,129Member
    Here is an article about the 2 pipe air vent systems.

    https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/two-pipe-air-vent-steam-heating/
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    delta T said:

    Two supplies maybe considering the size of the radiator? that is an odd setup for the system you have... @Fred any thoughts?

    @delta T I can't imagine that anyone would put a supply pipe at both ends of that radiator. It really isn't a huge radiator. I know it looks like it is fed from both sides and I guess stranger things have happened but we need to see if that left side pipe is tied into a return or to the steam main. That set up baffles me.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Oh thanks guys for all your help. I have a much better understanding of how a steam boiler operates. I discovered my steam bible (which I forgot that I had) "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" by Dan Holohan. I would highly recommend it to anyone who still has steam heating in their home. Hope I can handle things from here on--will close the floor valve on the left end of the radiator and see what happens--Whoops one last ?--I looked up a Hoffman air valve and there are 2 choices one being double the cost of the other--why would that be and which one would you recommend???? Thanks, again.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    Try one of these. They are highly rated and at a bargain price for an adjustable vent. Very good quality.
    http://www.hvacrsupplynow.com/VENT-RITE-1-STEAM-AIR-VALVES-ADJUSTABLE_p_1787.html
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Thanks--read in my handy "bible" that all vents should be the same for each radiator. Should I replace all existing vents--they are working perfectly fine. I have 12 radiators but only one like the one in question.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    All the radiator vents don't have to be the same, especially when using adjustable ones where the air flow can be regulated. If you want to use a Hoffman, the difference in the pricing you saw was most likely the price difference between a fixed flow vent and an adjustable one. Maybe like a Hoffman #40 (fixed) and a Hoffman #1A (adjustable). I would suggest you use an adjustable one since this radiator is one of the larger ones you have.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    I don't necessarily need a Hoffman--will use your recommendation--especially since the price is right. Thanks.
  • KoanKoan Posts: 430Member
    learning something new every day:

    "But then the consulting engineer came along and decided that he could put a party hat on the elephant, while leaving the rest of its body naked. He added the traps to a system that’s not supposed to have traps because there’s supposed to be steam in the returns (the new thermostatic radiator traps shut, and stayed shut). He got rid of the air vents on the radiators (even though they were supposed to be there), so the air had no way out of the system. And he added thermostatic radiator valves, which then stayed opened because the rooms were as cold as cold be. Steam couldn't enter the radiators because air couldn't leave. And if steam did enter the radiators, the condensate would have no way of leaving because the steam in the return kept the traps closed." - See more at: https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/two-pipe-air-vent-steam-heating/#sthash.6Y35jsWo.dpuf
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    I layed awake half the night trying to figure out my whole system from start to finish and here is what I came up with on the problem radiator. It is a one pipe system with 2 water returns (one at each end). The left half of the radiator never worked anyway so I shut that valve off to see what would happen . I know it is a water return and not a steam entrance because I followed the pipe in the basement and it is smaller than the other pipes and there is no larger pipe going to that end of the radiator. All this leads me to another ? if water is supposed to flow back from both ends (ideal conditions) then the radiator should be completely level. This radiator pitches a little less than an inch toward the right valve (which works) which leads me to believe that the left valve is useless and that is my reason for shutting the left valve off. Am I on the right track???? All the above info is from all you guys who responded and I am grateful.
  • KoanKoan Posts: 430Member
    I agree with @Fred that it is worth replacing the vent. If the radiator is pitched to the right, this is the only way water can flow back as long as the pressure is not too great. But for the steam to get in, the air has to come out. If by chance that vent is clogged shut, you could conceivably build air pressure in that radiator keeping the steam out... and at the same time that same pressure could keep steam form entering the left side. This is a guess and others may disagree. here is a link to the Hoffman 40 and the 1A
    supplyhouse.com/Hoffman-Air-Valves-301000

    do you ever hear air coming out of the vent?
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Oh yes, I have taken the air valve off and let the air out several times. Now I discovered if I hold my hand over the vent I can feel the air releasing especially midway in the boiler cycle (meaning while the boiler is running) I ordered a new valve today and hopefully that will help. I ordered a Vent-Rite as suggested by Fred and even ordered an extra one.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,910Member
    @bwoodard , just because that left pipe gets smaller in the basement doesn't mean it is not a steam pipe. The real question is when you trace it in the basement, does it terminate on the same Main as the pipe on the right side does or does it drop down to a wet return near the floor. If it terminates on the Main, someone over the years incorrectly thought they could add more steam to that radiator with another supply pipe. What they actually did was add a pipe right below the air vent so that when steam comes up that pipe, it immediately hits that vent and closes it, preventing air from getting out.
    If, by chance that pipe drops to a wet return, in the basement (which I'm beginning to doubt) that radiator could be pitched in either direction and still drain fine.
    Now, if you find that that left pipe is, in deed, tied to the steam main, in the basement, for that radiator to work right, that left valve should be taken off, the left pipe capped and a plug put in that side of the radiator to return it back to its original state. Even though you have closed that valve, they still tend to leak steam, sometimes a little, sometimes a lot. It's just best to eliminate it.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Fred--attempting to send you pictures of the piping so it will be easier to explain.
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    This is pipe coming back from the valve in ?
  • bwoodardbwoodard Posts: 33Member
    Oh boy-now to explain all the piping. The first pic. didn't go thru because is was too big. Don't know what happened. The first pic. shows the pipe coming back from the valve in ? The pic. that didn't go thru shows the upper end. The second pic. is a continuation of the pipes to the left. The 3rd shows the pipe coming back from the right valve in ? The next pic. shows where they meet. The last pic. shows the pipes leading to both valves in ? Hopes this makes sense to you.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!