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

Two Pipe Steam with 2 air vents

steamfitter Member Posts: 156
On Wed, 7-5, I went on the "Beneath the Breakers" tour in Newport, R.I. to check out the old Mills HW boilers and piping that heated the famous Vanderbilt's cottage (mansion). Dan Holohan tells great stories about his visits and subsequent help in uncovering the history of the heating system there. Great tour!
Yesterday (7-6), I toured another great mansion (The Elms) that appeared to have a steam system based on the radiator in the sent photo (didn't get to see the basement). I noticed a 2-pipe radiator in the service staircase and had to take a picture. Interestingly, it has 2 air vents! I guess it helped to remove the air and quickly heat up this large radiator.

The owners of this mansion were the Berwins from Philadelphia, who made their fortune selling coal to many folks, including the NY transit system and the US Navy.


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,832
    Yup- that's a classic two-pipe air-vent system. The vent on the inlet side was to get steam to the radiator quickly, and the other is to control how fast the radiator heats up.

    See if they will do a basement tour if we can get enough people to go >:)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    they should replace the broken handles on those valves :smile:
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • steamfitter
    steamfitter Member Posts: 156
    thanks guys!
    I agree, they should replace the handles.
    Unfortunately I am back home in Jersey, but it is something to think about regarding a basement visit.
    I found out that the Breakers is in the middle of a Geothermal installation. I saw the rolled up HDPE piping under the huge stone patio. The tour guide said they drilled cores approx. 100 ft. deep but she wasn't sure how many.
    It's interesting that this old place will soon have heat and A/C from a modern energy efficient system.
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
    > @gerry gill said:
    > they should replace the broken handles on those valves :smile:

    Mr. Gill, send them a sample. They will order a bunch, for sure!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,525
    I'll be going back to the Breakers in October. I'm so glad they were finally able to put this tour together.
    Retired and loving it.
  • steamfitter
    steamfitter Member Posts: 156

    This article in the Newport Daily News explains the Geothermal system being installed at The Breakers.
    Apparently I was mistaken when I previously stated that the coils (which will feed the Ground Source Heat Pumps) I saw were HDPE piping. HDPE is usually black in color. I was wondering why the coils I saw were white. They are actually copper lines with some type of protective coating/insulation.
    This systems uses refrigerant lines (DX) directly into the ground for the heat exchange which allows for less drilling because you don't need as long of a loop as compared to geothermal HDPE water lines. Great stuff!

    75 holes- 110' deep. That's 16,500 feet of refrigerant filled copper tubing. Wow!