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Steam Heat - Losing a lot of water and 2 rads getting no/little heat
An admirer of this site, I’ve owned a house with a one pipe steam heat system for just under a year.
Reading Dan’s Lost Art book and the advice on this site has helped improve my heating tremendously - including from installation of 2 Gorton #2 Main vents, replacing radiator vents, and insulation.
I’ve 2 major outstanding problems I cannot seem to solve (and 4 heating and plumbing companies later...) so I wanted to reach out for your help.
Does anyone know a good steam pro. in the South Orange New Jersey area (NJ 07079). I'm about 20 miles west of New York City?
Problem #1: Losing water...
I’ve found and had repaired 3 leaks in the steam pipes over the past year but I am still losing a lot of water.
My Weil McLain EG/PEG Series 5, Model 35 gas fired steam boiler (installed in 2015 by previous owner to replace an Oil fired boiler ) needs to be filled up every 2-3 days - which I know is not good. I’ve traced every pipe I can, including all crawl spaces at least 3 times. I know there’s a chance of an underground leak but it would need me to remove half the house to find it. Hence, I though about having a steam pro diagnose if there’s a crack in the heat exchanger/boiler as I read that steam would vent up the chimney if so. I’ve heard that it requires draining the boiler and using nitrogen to diagnose a small crack? A larger one would I guess be visible.
Problem #2: 2 upstairs radiators get little or no heat.
Everything heats up quickly except 2 upstairs radiators (1 very small one in the bathroom gets no heat, 1 larger one in the rear bedroom gets very little). I can only get heat in the bathroom if I turn off all the downstairs rads. (impractical). However, I’ve noticed these 2 radiators are the only ones served by smaller 1 inch iron pipes which travel horizontally in the basement floor for 8-10 feet before rising about 15 feet to the second floor and then horizontally again before they reach the radiators. I can hear gurgling, water hammer type sounds by those rads. and perhaps the final horizontal leg before those radiators may be back pitched slightly (i cannot see as the pipes are hidden), but the pipework to get to those rads. in my 1891 house is so convoluted and would cost a fortune to access and reinstall. The rest of the rads get served by 1.5 inch pipes that pretty much go directly (vertically) to the radiators without these twists and turns and they work fine. It would require major reconstruction to change the hidden piping so I’ve invested in supplemental (i.e. electric plug in radiators) heat in those 2 rooms. I wanted to get your perspective on anything else I could try to get more steam heat to those 2 rooms. All the radiator vents have been recently changes to Gorton (mix of 4,5,6, C, D). My only other observation is that the near boiler piping header is only 22.5 inches (not the minimum 24 inches) above the mid-level of the sight glass (water level) so I may have some wet steam. The technical staff from Weil McLain didn’t see this as a reason for getting no heat to the bathroom radiator. It has a lot of air to vent given the horizontal and vertical distances to those rads.
Thanks for any advice you can give.