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Trying to figure out my 2 pipe vented system

Hey all - I've been lurking for a bit now trying to figure out the system I have in my old (1892) house. From what I can tell it's a 2 pipe vented system that hasn't had much love in a long time. I've been going through and repacking leaky valves. Nobody local seems to have vents so those are on order. I've gotten one so far (a Hoffman 1A), unfortunately it seems to pop in and out once the system gets up to temp.

I also have some banging when things get warm. I'm trying to track down the issue..part of which might have been dirt that had been piled on top of the pipes in the crawlspace. I've been digging at that, but any other thoughts on stopping it would be appreciated.

Since folks like pics, here are a few of the boiler. I can't see any model number on the outside...

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    When you say "pop in and out", what do you mean?
    There is a pipe connected to one of the risers-what is that connected to?
    The supplies could use some insulation, and what is your pressure in ounces?
    Is the water feed from the condensate tank throttled down?--NBC
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    How about some radiator pics? Include views of any valve or device at the radiator connections- this should help us ID your system.

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • jradley
    jradley Member Posts: 5
    When I say pop in and out I meant that the vent closes and opens every 3 to 5 seconds. The old one spat constantly.

    I've attached a pic of what I think you're asking about re the risers. Outside of the boiler room there's insulation on the pipes...but I think you're right.

    The valve on the condensate feed is wide open.

    I've attached a few pics of the upstairs radiators...the downstairs radiators appear to be handmade from cast iron pipes and fittings...don't seem to have issue with them.

    And I'm in Montana.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,317
    It's 2 pipe vapor but it's had a lot of work since 1892. Welded pipe at the boiler and the boiler feed tank are not original also F & T trap has been added. The first thing is to run it at the lowest pressure possible and actually the air vents on the radiators were not originally installed. Your air vent now is at the boiler feed tank vent
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,415
    Hmmm, anyone thinking what I’m thinking? Might have been hot water once actually. The only reason I suggest this is because they are hot water type radiators and (1) actually has a coin air vent. They also don’t have hand valves in the return which was common with 2-pipe air vent systems...think this will required every picture you can possible take :lol:
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    I think it's some sort of Orifice Vapor system. These systems don't use radiator return valves either.

    The hot-water-type vent on the ornate rad might have been an attempt to get the rad to heat up more quickly if there was someone there to open it. I've seen that before. Obviously whoever did that didn't know about main vents.

    @jradley , on this type of system there should be a vent on the dry (overhead) return line. This is what is supposed to get rid of the air in the radiators. If the vent is not there, it's certainly possible that Beavis and Butt-head removed it. I've seen that too.

    I've been to Montana. What part of the Big Sky State are you in?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,208

    Hmmm, anyone thinking what I’m thinking? Might have been hot water once actually. The only reason I suggest this is because they are hot water type radiators and (1) actually has a coin air vent. They also don’t have hand valves in the return which was common with 2-pipe air vent systems...think this will required every picture you can possible take :lol:

    Some people scoff but everything get's tried somewhere sometime. You'd think that changing HHW to steam means oversized rads & undersized pipes? But those oversized rads will condense all the steam so you don't need traps? And those undersized supply take care of too much rad area? All you need is a method to vent air well.

    Doesn't that rad with HHW vent also have a one pipe vent as well?

  • jradley
    jradley Member Posts: 5
    Yes, this is not the original, though the original coal boiler still sits down there (picture attached). It was retrofitted for gas at some point and then taken out of commission.

    What do you mean by F&T trap?

    I'm not seeing any vent on the returns...so is the pipe coming out of the boiler feed tank is acting as the vent?

    And I'm in Helena...though my family hails from your part of the country Steamhead...Southern MD!
  • jradley
    jradley Member Posts: 5
    Sorry, pic wasn't done uploading. Here's the old system, still in place.


  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,415
    That’s awesome, please keep taking pictures!
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,317
    edited October 2017
    Now THAST'S what 1892 looks like!!!!.

    Looks like maybe a gage glass and try cocks on the right hand side
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Don't ever let anyone rip that out! It is a jewel.
    MilanDNew England SteamWorks
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    How about some first-floor radiator pics? I bet they're Nason, Bundy or similar...........
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • jradley
    jradley Member Posts: 5
    Here are the first floor radiators. The one in darker picture is about 14 or so feet long. They all have pigtails coming off the return pipe with vents on them.



    AMservices
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    Wow! I think that's the first time I've seen pipe coils recessed into walls. They really went as far as they could go for 1892.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 610
    @jradley
    Let me congratulate you for showing @Steamhead Something he thinks he hasn't seen before.
    Bravo!
    You should get a T-shirt or something ;)
    Canucker
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    You never see it all. There's always something out there you haven't seen. Right, @Dan Holohan ?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Looks like manual air vent in one picture. Not that rare, gives you room by room control though.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    It's funny what some of think of as beauty. And that's a beauty.
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,208
    Not the first time somebody installs rad vents when they should not
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,317
    Those 90 degree fittings with the ribs are old. Like the pipe nipples between the rows for expansion rollars
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Is that some type of bleed valve on that radiator in the second picture? I do suspect this might have been a hot water system that was converted at some time???