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

Two pipe steam with traps but no condensate return pump.

Came across an old mansion with a seven section HB Smith 350 steam boiler in the basement. So far, from what I have been able to see is that it is two pipe steam with traps on the radiators but no condensate return pump. In my experience a trapped system all ways had a vented condensate receiver. Any thoughts?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,856
    Say what? Most two pipe systems -- especially vapour systems which I'll be you are dealing with -- do not have condensate return pumps and don't need them. Never did need them. The things are a pain in the neck (and pocket book) and gravity will do all the work for you. Assuming the pressures are correct.

    Can you send more descriptions? Any interesting hardware in the vicinity of the boiler? Dry returns? Wet returns? Crossover traps at the ends of the steam mains? Any vents at all (I'd bet on a main vent or group of them where the dry returns end at the boiler)(sometimes these things had no moving parts vents, but were directly vented -- open pipe -- to the chimney or a convenient plumbing waste stack).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,470
    See if you can find any manufacturers' info, trademarks or other info on any original valves, traps and any odd-looking devices in the piping around the boiler. And take plenty of pics. Post the info here and we should be able to ID this system.

    Most two-pipe systems do not need to use a return tank and pump. As Jamie said, they add needless complication and service headaches.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
Sign In or Register to comment.


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