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Steam Radiators with heating Element

usndave03
usndave03 Member Posts: 35
I just baught my 1st home. Its an older home (1930s). It has a steam heating system. I think it is a 1 pipe system. The house has 18 radiators over 2 floors. I was wondering what type of radiators these are. Does anyone know the manufacture or any information on these? Does it look like a 1 pipe steam system? The inside of the radiator has some kind of cast iron heating element. Im assuming that the frame also fills with steam because all the radiators frames have vents attached. Since they are flush with my wall...pitching them does not seem possible. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated.

Dave

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,065
    Those are cast iron fin tube convectors. That nice white panel is just decorative (and very nice, too!). The steam goes into the finned tube in back, near the bottom. Your picture _212730 shows the vent for the fin tube, and _212620 is the valve.

    If the whole system is similar, it is one pipe steam.

    You will want to make sure that those valves are all fully open! Also, the amount of heat from the radiator can be balanced by fiddling with the vents -- but you won't want to do that until you've lived with it for a while.

    What you do want to do is to go down into the basement and see how the boiler is, and how it has been maintained -- if it has been maintained.

    Steam heat should be virtually silent, and very even. If you find that it is otherwise, there is much that can be done to improve matters.

    You might do well to get a copy of the book "We Got Steam Heat" - available from the store on this web site. It is a very good homeowner's introduction to steam heat and how it works.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    usndave03
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    Jamie, these are Weil-McLain Radiant Concealed Radiators. There is steam inside that front grill. There are cutaway drawings of them on page 171 of my book, E.D.R.
    Retired and loving it.
    usndave03RomanGK_26986764589
  • usndave03
    usndave03 Member Posts: 35
    Thank you for the detailed response Jamie! Im actually reading the lost art of steam right now but im going to pick up "we got steam" as you suggested. I really want to learn all i can and optimally tweak my system. All my radiators are the same type i originally posted. Ive noticed that some radiators are not getting hot so ill be doing some troubleshooting. I have a Peerless Boiler...it looks like its in good condition. However, i noticed that the pipes in the basement are not insulated, i dont have 24" (A dimension) on the main risers coming out of the boiler and the pressurestol is set way to high. My automatic water feed was stuck open, pressurestrol was tripped and i had leaks coming out of my main vents (system was flooded). So I drained the system, isolated the auto water feed pump, and manually filled the boiler with the bypass valve...she fired back up. Attached are some pics of the boiler
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,065

    Jamie, these are Weil-McLain Radiant Concealed Radiators. There is steam inside that front grill. There are cutaway drawings of them on page 171 of my book, E.D.R.

    Clever. I guess I have to get a copy of EDR...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,368
    Good luck changing the air vents in those radiators. You need to remove rad in order to change vent. I understand the aesthetic benefit of having the air vent on the inside but sheesh. Removing rad every time you need to replace an air vent. The designer probally didnt do service calls. I have one customer with these rads. Pain in the neck
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    edited June 2017
    That's probably why they didn't last long in the market.
    Retired and loving it.
  • usndave03
    usndave03 Member Posts: 35
    I noticed the fins inside have gotten extremely dusty as well. No easy way to clean them other than removing the rads. I'm sure the dust bunnies don't help with the heat exchange process. however, these radiators are nice to look at (my wife actually likes them too!)...I think I can go the extra mile to try to keep them running in good shape.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,195
    edited June 2017
    > @usndave03 said:
    > Ive noticed that some radiators are not getting hot so ill be doing some troubleshooting. I have a Peerless Boiler...it looks like its in good condition. However, i noticed that the pipes in the basement are not insulated, i dont have 24" (A dimension) on the main risers coming out of the boiler and the pressurestol is set way to high.

    >>the pressurtrol is way, way too high. Setting the operating PA404A to just above 0, with a 1lb diff, and the other from 12.5 to 3 psi should help getting steam to all rads, assuming the vents are good.
    usndave03
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,434
    And incorrect piping on the boiler.
    Retired and loving it.
    usndave03
  • usndave03
    usndave03 Member Posts: 35
    Thanks HVACNUT!
  • usndave03
    usndave03 Member Posts: 35
    Yes i realize the near boiler piping is no good. Seems like a big job, i may have to contract it out or ask my father who has plumbing experience to help me rebuild it according to specifications from Dan's books and seminars. Do you think this is a job that could be handled with basic plumbing skills or should i go with the professional and not attempt it?