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Steam heating issues

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Hi All,
I'm hoping you can help me with an issue I'm having with my heating system at home. I have a home that was built in the 1920's but a new boiler was put in about 3 years ago. A few weeks ago, I had some remodeling work done that required a steam pipe that fed two radiators to be relocated. Since the change I've noticed several issues with my heating, I'm not entirely sure if it is related to the relocated pipe since it wasn't terribly cold at the time and maybe these issues I'm seeing were going to arise anyway once it got cold enough. Anyway, here are some of the issues I'm seeing:

- Loud pipe banging, from the new pipe and another pipe that was not even touched. I've always had banging, but it's definitely louder than before. Note that the new pipe is insulated.
- One radiator has a gurgling sound, as if water is churning in it. This radiator is not connected to the new pipe.
- One radiator vent is bubbling, spraying some water. I've replaced the vent but this still happens (slightly less now), especially if I completely open the knob for more steam (not sure what this knob is called). Here is a video showing this: https://vid.me/ahQH
- The return vent to my boiler is spraying water. I'm honestly not 100% sure if this was happening in the past, based on this picture, it seems like it may have started happening long before but I'm just now noticing it.
,
Note that this return vent is returning from the new pipe I mentioned before, as well as the returning from the radiator that is gurgling water.

I've gone ahead and ordered a new return vent, a Hoffman model which should be the same as what I have. I plan to remove the old one, thread and use sealant for the new vent and attach. I also have some Scout steam boiler cleaner. I think I need to drop this in where the return vent is, but doing some research on this forum, seems like using a cleaner isn't normally advised. I'm hoping this works and may resolve my other issues but I'm not entirely sure. I'd appreciate any advice you guys might have for me, thanks for taking the time to read this.

Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,109
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    Pictures from far back of the pipes that were changed are needed. Steam piping has to slope in a particular way so to drain the water back to the boiler. Sounds as if they may have lost that slope.
    Radiators with 1 pipe connection need the valve completely open so as to return water from the radiator. Completely closed does not usually work as with age they will still pass steam.
    What is the highest pressure showing on the gauge on the boiler when running?
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
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    #1 - Boiler was not skimmed after the new piping work.
    #2 - New piping was installed incorrectly.
    newagedawn
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,656
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    Classic.

    First, the easy stuff -- that knob to which you refer -- is that the knob on the inlet valve to the radiator? If so, that valve must be fully open (I'm presuming this is one pipe steam, since you refer to a radiator vent). You control the heat from a radiator with the vent, not the valve. So open that valve all the way, and if the space is too warm put a smaller vent on the radiator.

    Now for that new pipe... the pipes to the radiator must be pitched back to the steam main all the way. They can't be even level -- there must be a real pitch to them. I'm going to guess that when the pipe was relocated, this got messed up.

    If you had banging before, that pipe may not be the only one that doesn't have the correct slope. It might not be a bad idea to examine all the pipes, to make sure that all of them pitch back to the steam main, and the steam main itself pitches so that the water can get back to the boiler.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • steamsosteamy
    steamsosteamy Member Posts: 7
    edited March 2017
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    <blockquote class="Quote" rel="JUGHNE">
    Pictures from far back of the pipes that were changed are needed. Steam piping has to slope in a particular way so to drain the water back to the boiler. Sounds as if they may have lost that slope.
    Radiators with 1 pipe connection need the valve completely open so as to return water from the radiator. Completely closed does not usually work as with age they will still pass steam.
    What is the highest pressure showing on the gauge on the boiler when running?</blockquote>

    The highest pressure I think is 10 psi based on this:
    http://m.imgur.com/VjoWgLf

    I opened up the radiators, i'll monitor it. Looks like leaving the radiator valve completely open that was gurgling, as well as replacing the vent fixed that issue.

    I'll try to get pics of the pipe work but it looked to have a slope to me. As for the return vent spraying water, do you guys think replacing it will work?

    > @Abracadabra said:
    > #1 - Boiler was not skimmed after the new piping work.
    > #2 - New piping was installed incorrectly.

    Can the boiler still be "skimmed"? What is involved in that process?
  • steamsosteamy
    steamsosteamy Member Posts: 7
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    JUGHNE said:

    Pictures from far back of the pipes that were changed are needed. Steam piping has to slope in a particular way so to drain the water back to the boiler. Sounds as if they may have lost that slope.
    Radiators with 1 pipe connection need the valve completely open so as to return water from the radiator. Completely closed does not usually work as with age they will still pass steam.
    What is the highest pressure showing on the gauge on the boiler when running?

    The highest pressure I think is 10 psi based on this:
    http://m.imgur.com/VjoWgLf

    I opened up the radiators, i'll monitor it. Looks like leaving the radiator valve completely open that was gurgling, as well as replacing the vent fixed that issue.

    I'll try to get pics of the pipe work but it looked to have a slope to me. As for the return vent spraying water, do you guys think replacing it will work?

    #1 - Boiler was not skimmed after the new piping work.
    #2 - New piping was installed incorrectly.

    Can I still get the boiler skimmed? What does that involve?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,109
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    Your picture is of the pressure control. Look at the PSI numbers on the right side of each scale. You are set to shut off at 2 PSI and turn on at about 1.25. The gauge you have may not show any pressure, you certainly so not want to see anything above 2 PSI.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited March 2017
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    @steamsosteamy said: The highest pressure I think is 10 psi based on this:
    http://m.imgur.com/VjoWgLf

    You had me worried there. That Pressuretrol is set for a max of 2 PSI
    Yes, the boiler needs to be skimmed anytime it is replaced or anytime new piping is added to the system to remove the oils from that new piping. Draining the boiler does not remove the oils as they float on the surface of the water and cling to the sides of the boiler when the water is drained so skimming is essential.
    That main vent is too small for the main. How long is the main?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,109
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    Cutting oil is used for threading pipe and some gets inside of the new pipe in the process. A little oil goes a long way in causing problems with boiling water. Think of foam produced by adding cooking oil to boiling water on the stove.

    You need someone versed in steam systems. If the plumber who moved the pipes was not aware of the slope required you need someone else.

    Where are you located?
    There is a Find a Contractor service on this site.