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1885 Victorian mix of 2 pipe and 1pipe radiators all with vents

Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
I have experience with single pipe steam heat and tuning. This new house has a mix of 2 pipe and 1 pipe radiators. All 2nd floor radiators are 2 pipes entering and exiting the rad at the floor level and all the first floor are 1 pipe and are different style except a fancy one with plate warmer that is piped with modern copper and no valves. All radiators in house ~15 have vents of various brands. In the basement, I have 3 main vents near the boiler they appear to be rusted shut that appear to loop back returning to the boiler. Underneath these 2 pipe radiators and the fancy plate warmer version are u-shaped loops that have clean outs I assume for condensate. The house has sufficient heat, most rads are only half heated and many of the vents on the rads I suspect may not be functioning properly. Personally, I am very interested in mastering this system and learning its design, proper terms, and where and why it was hacked (modernized). I had great experience with my one pipe system in my old house and accept the challenge. I have purchased (not yet arrived) "The lost art to steam heat." I spoke to Ken at Gorton who was kind enough to suggest I post here to get some advice. Meantime I purchased 2 Gorton #2's and a #1 (for a much shorter 3rd run) to replace these main vents as a first measure. I realize a 2 pipe system typically does not have vents and I do not see any small traps. I did find a large unused 2 pipe rad in the attic and I feel some of the first floor radiators had an additional hole in the floor leading me to believe the first floor may have had 2 pipes originally. I would be grateful for any education one might provide on how to begin to improve this system. Is this mixed system ok? Do I expect to start tuning the rads with regular vents?








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Comments

  • IronmanIronman Posts: 4,200Member
    It's a mixture of a 2 pipe air vent system and a 1 pipe system. It was not uncommon for that era.

    2 pipe air vent systems were used before traps were invented. Read about it here:
    https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/two-pipe-air-vent-steam-heating/

    It appears your boiler is piped wrong. Can you get some better pics that show the near piping of it?
    Bob Boan







    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,143Member
    You will need more main vents than that-maybe double.
    One rad has a modern vent on it which may be too fast, and may need to be replaced with a Hoffman 40 or equivalent.
    Put on a low pressure gauge, so you can see what the pressure really is. set it very low-ounces with a vaporstat if need be.
    I agree with Ironman that the boiler piping appears to be incorrect.--NBC
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 365Member
    edited March 12
    The loops you pictured look like water seals. This stops steam from short circuiting through return and shutting the vent. Measure the loop height and divide by 28 to figure out max pressure so water doesn’t get blown out of loop.
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    Here are more images of the boiler piping.

    Bob thank you for the link I had read that and it helped me to realize what I had might be ahead of the invention of traps.

    nicholas "Hoffman 40 or equivalent" I have ordered some Groton 4, 5, 6's. My goals was to first change the main vents to Groton #2 these loops are very large I should measure and the 3rd was shorter by half so I figured Groton #1. Then I was to replace the 2 rads in the front hall with Groton 4's smaller than hoffman 40. Then work the other rads using more 4, 5, 6's to try and fill at the same time. I wanted to try adjustable vents but then worry they would get played with over time. Given hoffman 40's are very small I'm trying to understand your concern (house is 3sqft). Maybe your concern is having an adjustable wide open would be way too much. Given 2nd floor is 2 pipe and first floor is 1 pipe do I need some tuning knowledge here?

    Hoffman 40 0.042 0.067 0.087
    Gorton 4 0.025 0.040 0.055
    Gorton 5 0.080 0.130 0.160
    Gorton 6 0.150 0.235 0.300

    https://heatinghelp.com/assets/documents/Balancing-Steam-Systems-Using-a-Vent-Capacity-Chart-1.pdf

    @the_donut I will measure and if the gauge is correct and accurate enough I am just over ~3psi.

    Maybe I need to measure my pipes and provide more info. Thoughts?







  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,191Member
    Those are lovely radiators! I'm jealous! As others have noted already that's one of the original two pipe with air vent systems -- they're very like one pipe systems in what it takes to get them really singing sweetly, in that the two keys are adequate main venting, venting similarly the dry return lines, and then controlling the individual radiators to taste with their individual vents.

    One thought, though -- or rather two. First, it's an older house. Check the pitch of all the piping. It's probably fine, but older houses do settle some... the other is you do have some water seals; keep your pressure nice and low, as @the_donut said. You may find when you do the math that a vapourstat may be needed.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • FredFred Posts: 6,464Member
    Boiler is piped very wrong. If you have the I&O manual, take a look at how it should be piped correctly, at a minimum. Larger drop header would make for a lot dryer steam.
    Try to get the pressure down to somewhere around 1.5PSI or less. Set the Pressuretrol Cut-in to .5PSI and the Differential to "1". Make sure the pigtail is not clogged. 3PSI is too high and with that gauge, it may actually be higher than the gauge shows. You really should add a 0-3PSI gauge to the pigtail with the Pressuretrol.
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 4,200Member
    edited March 12
    Unfortunately, you're near boiler piping is totally wrong. It's extremely important that it be done correctly on a steam boiler. Look at the diagram carefully and you'll see many errors: risers, no header, no equalizer, Hartford loop, etc.



    Here's another diagram that shows how the steam main should NOT be tapped between the risers of the boiler or else you'll get wet steam.



    Bob Boan







    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 4,200Member
    edited March 12
    The white streaks on the flue pipe and draft hood indicate that flue gases have been condensing in the pipe. This will rot your chimney, flue piping and boiler. It probably comes from the boiler short cycling. It could also be that your chimney is unlined which would also cause it.
    Bob Boan







    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • FredFred Posts: 6,464Member
    Seems like it would have been a much more effective installation had they turned that boiler 180 degrees and put the flue closer to the chimney.
  • New England SteamWorksNew England SteamWorks Posts: 1,039Member
    Beyond the near boiler piping issues, -it is also a pretty big boiler. Is it a pretty big house?
    Serving Rhode Island & Eastern Massachusetts
    Old Houses & Steam Heat Our Specialty
    newenglandsteamworks.com
  • newagedawnnewagedawn Posts: 521Member
    check main vents and radiator vents, its all in the venting, been running with bad near boiler piping this whole time, time for some new vents,especially those mains, going bigger wouldnt hurt
    "The bitter taste of a poor install lasts far longer than the JOY of the lowest price"
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,779Member
    An approximate length and diameter of the steam mains would determine what size vent for each of the 3 mains. You may need more venting then the Gorton #2 can provide.

    I agree you may need a vaporstat to keep the pressure low but that near boiler piping has to be fixed first.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    I want to start by saying I am overwhelmed by the amount of help and passion you all have for sharing your experience. Thank you kindly!

    @Jamie Hall thank you yes I will opt for this lower pressure and vapourstat approach and seeking education online.

    @Fred "Try to get the pressure down to somewhere around 1.5PSI or less. Set the Pressuretrol Cut-in to .5PSI and the Differential to "1". Make sure the pigtail is not clogged. 3PSI is too high and with that gauge,"
    The gauge after watching it seems frozen and likely clog as you suggest. I can check for clog then curious if id immediately make the adjustment? Also I will ask they rotate 180 on the repipe.

    @Ironman rather fortunately now you have made me aware along with Fred my near piping is wrong. This chimney serves 3 fireplace center of the house and I am looking into the health and linings of these and I doubt they are lined and I very much see that my rads and basement runs are not getting hot and assume this boiler has been doing odd cycles. I will get the pipefitter to review (I have not shared yet) and correct asap over the next 2 weeks this will become part of a larger reno I am working through. I am most concerned with condensing gasses and potential damage to my chimney. I hope the longer length of flue piping has caught a lot of it (wishful thinking) and assume there is nothing I can do to correct residue already in chimney (clean/sweep) other than stop it.

    @New England SteamWorks The house is large 3 full height flrs but the finished heated sqft is 2floors 3000sqft. 16 or so radiators. If folks are willing to assist after I complete the vent sizing I can measure the distance to rads and their volume. Given I have a repipe to do this would be a reasonable time to get a new boiler if required. I wish the runs were separate floors so you can get 2 boiler zones. I do plan to AC and could add heat to 2nd floor with vents removing the radiators on 2nd (I refuse to do that on 1st floor and assume not at all I love steam) But zones and energy savings are ideal but I would need allot fo convincing. But I could run a small boiler for 1st floor alone. I hope everyone here says that is a terrible idea.

    @BobC and @newagedawn Agree to the math and as I previously mentioned I am really into this so thats exactly what I set out to map and measure. Grateful for the help and review of the numbers so that I can tell the pie fitter to give me the necessary locations for the # required vents.


  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    edited March 13


    (pipe size inches) length

    Run #1
    Leaving Boiler:
    (2.5) 8’11”
    (2.5) 12’2”
    (2.5) 20’2”
    (1.5) 12’2”
    Returning Boiler
    (1.0) 12’2 (yes its only 1” here it heads to a single rad 1.0) 5’6” water seal loop (not sure to include or how affects flow to vent)
    (1.5) 9’4”
    (1.5) 9'0"
    (1.5) 20’4"
    Vent

    There is an odd 15’8” (1") pipe return connecting run 1 and run 2?

    Run #2
    Leaving Boiler:
    (2.5) 7’10”
    (2.5) 18’0”
    (2.5) 7’6"
    (2.5) 3’0”
    (2.5) 18’2” (2.5 total 54'6")
    Returning Boiler
    (1.5) 22’2"
    (1.5) 15’2"
    (1.5) 2’3" (1.5 total 39'7")
    Vent

    Run #3
    Leaving Boiler:
    (2.5) 7’10”
    (2.5) 15’7” (2.5 total 23'5")
    Returning Boiler:
    (1.5) 16’2”
    (1.5) 8’8”
    (1.5) 1’0” (1.5 total 25'10")
    Vent
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,191Member
    edited March 13
    Aren't you having fun! If it were mine, I'd put priority on getting the main venting (both mains and dry returns) right first, and making sure the pigtail on the boiler is really clean. As part of that project, I'd get a low pressure gauge (0 to 3 psi) and a vapourstat, and put them on a pigtail -- if possible, on a separate pigtail from the pressuretrol. I'd leave the pressuretrol as a backup control.

    Then this spring -- if it ever gets here (it's snowing hard as I write this) I'd find a really good chimney sweep. They aren't cheap. And I'd have that chimney carefully evaluated and probably lined. There are lining options which will retain all the draught (very important for the fireplace flues) and protect the masonry; these options do not include the simple minded approach of dropping a metal liner! They are a little harder to do -- hence more expensive -- but worth the price. While you have your chimney people working, check to see if there are other openings into the flues other than the boiler and the fireplaces. It was not uncommon for there to be wood stove connections on upper floors, and those should be sealed off.

    Two boiler zones is an attractive idea -- at first. Until one realizes that if only one zone is open, the boiler is oversize by a factor of at least two, which doesn't help anything. In my opinion it is much better to control the heat in the individual spaces by getting the various radiator vents set to where you are happy, and then leaving it alone.

    I will happily say that providing a small boiler just for the first floor and trying to do the second with heat pumps is a terrible idea. Don't do it.

    There are a number of good approaches to adding air conditioning when you decide you need it. If you decide you need it.

    To go back to main venting. There are a number of ways to figure out how much you need, but it is worth contemplating just what it is you are trying to do: get the steam to the ends of the mains as quickly as is reasonable, and more or less to the ends of all the mains at the same time. While there is no real harm to over venting, there is no real benefit, either. What has worked for me is to start off with what I have, plus a low pressure gauge. Fire up the boiler with the pipes cold, and observe the pressure. It should rise to some low level -- a few ounces -- rather quickly. Then it should "plateau" -- rise only very very slowly -- until most of the radiators are heated. Then it will rise again more quickly. You want to set the cutout of the vapourstat at a pressure somewhat greater than that plateau, but it doesn't have to be much greater. If you don't see that plateau effect, you need more main venting -- start with the slowest main first. If you do get the plateau effect, and the mains heat to the end at about the same time, you're fine.

    While you are at it -- insulation. Insulate all the mains and dry returns before you try to figure out the venting! Insulation makes a big difference.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,338Member
    edited March 13
    Yes, your steam piping at the boiler needs work.
    However it looks as if you have 3 dry returns coming to the boiler room. One of them drops to the floor by itself.
    But the other 2 are tied together near the ceiling then drop with one pipe.
    As steam approaches from the shorter pipe it would close it's air vent first........also close the other dry return air vent shortly there after (too early). This would throw things out of balance with the longer return not being vented completely.
    If those 2 returns were dropped to the floor into the wet return water seal like the single pipe is on the third return then the steam pressure in one pipe could not jump over into the other return and close that air vent prematurely. This would not be a wasted effort to do now even before a complete boiler change out or repiping.
    Could make a fair amount of difference is your venting strategy by not having to backtrack down the road. IMO
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 365Member
    edited March 14
    I assume run #1 is all one pipe until the water seals. No air or steam will vent through seals. That is probably why the pressure is cranked up. Above 2.5 psi the water seals will be blown out by pressure and air and steam can go by. Without the pressure than radiator and anything downstream will take a long time to heat as only venting will be from radiator vent.

    Looks like a repipe is in order for near boiler and for the crossover/bypass on runs 1 and 2.
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    edited March 14
    @Jamie Hall I am very concerned about the chimneys in the house and will take a very serious and mindful look at doing that right. The roof is very steep and all slate. If you have a recommendation of a sweep that will respect the slate please let me know. - Snow was crazy here I am in Middlesex. The boxes will also need some attention.

    I am looking for help with the main vent math assume I need a chart and some examples maybe I need await my book "The lost art to steam heat."

    I have put out a call to the team that I use for Heat, cool, elec, plumb (a dear friends family company) they do allot of residential and commercial and while they have not been here (new to me house) I am one that wants to get my own education to enjoy what I have here. I will get them onsite ASAP to repipe, 180 the boiler, add vaporstat and low-pressure gauge. Id like to make sure we get enough spots to add vents. I want to make sure that we get the returns piped properly and all this feedback assure we review and raise all the issues.

    @JUGHNE "But the other 2 are tied together near the ceiling then drop with one pipe. As steam approaches from the shorter pipe it would close it's air vent first........also close the other dry return air vent shortly there after (too early)." < Good input will raise this.

    @the_donut I was mistaken about the water seal mid-Run 1 that is part of the rad seals as all 2nd floor 2 pipes have them around the run and the main pipe continues uninterrupted.

    My current issue: (again I just moved in the previous owner was not interested in repair)
    While I have heat. Most rads are cold, partly heated. While I wait for the fitter I tried to limit the venting of the 2 rads in the hall by the thermostat. This seems to have increased my cycle and other rads are more active(my bedroom is warmer).

    I have received (2 #2 Gortons, 1 #1 Gorton, and a mix of 4's, 5,s, and 6's) My gut tells me I should just install the #2's on the long runs despite the goofed piping and the #1 on my short run as the ones there currently are covered in rust and I suspect blocked. Unless I should get piped first (getting on schedule) to not hurt my new vents. Then I was going to put the smaller #4's in the front hall and start to tune from there just to get the house improved. I think I need to nail the math to advise the fitter to how many vents I will need room for.

    Any other input on what I should be doing to prep and or advise those repiping me?

    I will also start getting on the pipe insulation.


  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,191Member
    Chances are the vents you have -- the two #2s and the #1 -- will be sufficient for the mains. You can check that really fast once you get the low pressure gauge on there! I would, however, make sure that your pressure is at least less than 3 psi at shutoff before I put the new vents on -- no sense in overpressuring them the first time out! They don't like that...

    Changing the vents on the two radiators near the thermostat and thus increasing the heat elsewhere is no surprise. Once you get the mains vented nicely, you will have the chance to go around and fiddle vents to get the heat just as you want it. Remember that it is better, in general, to slow down a radiator which is giving too much heat rather than trying to speed up one which isn't. Also remember that, except for the very coldest days, the radiators don't have to be hot all the way up down and sideways -- if the space is warm enough for your taste, whatever the radiator is doing is just fine.

    On the chimney. Sorry, I don't have a reference for sweeps in your area. I'm sure they are out there... the slate is an issue; you really don't want the three stooges up there banging around with ladders. Ask for jobs you can take a look at or talk to the owners about. There is nothing wrong with stainless steel liners, but they do have to be installed properly, and the correct stainless steel used corresponding to the use of the particular flue.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • IronmanIronman Posts: 4,200Member
    If the chimney becomes too big of an issue, the boiler could be power vented through a side wall. That's not my first choice, but it is an option.
    Field Controls an Tjernland both make power vent kits that are certified for this.
    Bob Boan







    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    edited March 14
    Besides figuring out how to do the math to advise the piper fitter on how many 3/4 sites I need for vents to be added and gathering more vents I guess I might be through with what I can accomplish.

    Regarding adding these vents and assuring <3psi.

    Fred said:
    "Try to get the pressure down to somewhere around 1.5PSI or less. Set the Pressuretrol Cut-in to .5PSI and the Differential to "1". Make sure the pigtail is not clogged. 3PSI is too high and with that gauge,"

    I am not sure about my gauge as I have not seen it hit zero. Can I take Freds advice see if it get sub 3 on this gauge (assuming actual is always higher than it reads). I can also clean the pigtail.

    Maybe I should take these steps now. If success add the vents. Tinker a bit on adjustments while I await my team to rescue. I shut down the system to monitor the gauge and clean the pigtail for now.

    Agree?

    Thank you again!
  • FredFred Posts: 6,464Member
    No matter what else you do or when you do it, the pressure on a residential steam system should never be over 2PSI. Anything much over 3PSI can ruin vents and will slow the flow of steam. Also, cleaning the pigtail ensures the Pressuretrol can actually see the system pressure so both of these things should be done now and the pigtail cleaned annually.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,338Member
    Before you insulate, you may want to check the slope of all piping and add additional hangers as old pipes will develop a "belly" sag between existing hangers.
    Your Lost Art Steam book will guide you thru this.
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    Fred I will get the work done. Thank you for validating.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,143Member
    Always leave one more tapping on the venting antler for one more main vent on each run, and have him put a nipple, and cap on it.
    You will find with the improved main venting, and lower pressure that the radiators are much more balanced, and evenly heated, as the original installers chose the sizing of the radiators very well for the rooms to be heated
    When the boiler piping is corrected, you may burn a lot less fuel.
    Here is the order of repairs that I would do:
    1. Separation of the returns, and drop to below the boiler water level. Installation of new main vents.
    2. Install low pressure gauge, and vaporstat, (set to 8 ounces on, and 2 ounces off).
    3. Check all pipes for good slope with a level.
    4. Correct the boiler piping with a drop header.
    5. Flush, or replace the wet returns.—NBC
  • SuperJSuperJ Posts: 189Member
    Seeing your guys passion for steam systems almost makes me want to own one someday. :smiley:
    Nothing wakes up this website like a steam problem.
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    Finished the near boiler piping. Hopefully this is set up better.
    Manual did not call for a drop head.

    1. Separation of the returns, and drop to below the boiler water level. Installation of new main vents.
    2. Install low pressure gauge, and vaporstat, (set to 8 ounces on, and 2 ounces off).
    3. Check all pipes for good slope with a level.
    4. Correct the boiler piping with a drop header.
    5. Flush, or replace the wet returns.—NBC




  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    edited March 31
    What are the settings for the vapor stat. I understand the main is the max in oz before it shuts down. The differential in oz is subtractive. Can someone help with the theory on how the differential works and a min pressure in. I am trying to interpret set to 8 ounces on, and 2 ounces off. Is that 8oz on main and 6oz differential (8-6=2oz)? Its drops to 2 and starts again? Then 0-2 its running and it waits til 8 and then lets pressure slide until 2oz when it starts again? How far off am I?

    I am awaiting a 0-5lbs psi gauge mine is broken (Any recommendation struggling with options like to make sure I get the right thing. The pigtails to were clogged tight when I started.

  • FredFred Posts: 6,464Member
    Are these pictures of the re-pipe? If so, it still isn't right. The header is reduced, on the horizontal. Water can't run back into the the equalizer. That reduced portion of the header should be at least the same size as the portion on the right. Also, there are no swing joints from the boiler risers into the header. The lack of those swing joints will put stress on the boiler sections and cause the boiler to fail, prematurely.
    The Hartford loop looks like it is above the boiler water line. The returns should drop to the floor (or very near it) and then the Hartford loop should rise back up and be about two inches below the boiler water line.
    Maybe it's just the way the picture is taken but it looks like you may have used the wrong boiler tapping for the return water. There should be one closer to the bottom of the boiler???
  • gerry gillgerry gill Posts: 2,786Member
    that dining room radiator is to die for!
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com

    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    edited March 31
    I will take some better pictures when am back. The boiler instructions did not have a drop header if that’s a swing arm. It leaves the boiler at 2.5” both outlets. Are you saying it should be immediately increased to 3”? It drops 2.5 still further into the boiler i think. The boiler is sitting on 6 inch blocks so I can re-cement my floors. Maybe thats why the loop looks high? The loop is low will get a measure. You can see it goes up to the water line on this new picture not sure about how high specifically will check to see if high enough. The tapping is a spigot correct there is another on side I did not get. Both side actually. Not saying it’s right but need to better understand.
  • Danny ScullyDanny Scully Posts: 922Member
    edited March 31
    Tappings on the Independence are 2”. You really didn’t need to do too much more to do the right job...sometimes you can’t see through the simplicity of the upsized drop header. I will say it’s an upgrade, but it’s still not ideal. The return, however, is the appropriate configuration. The header, though, not so much. Also you should have set up the skim tapping while you were at it. Getting rid of those oils is paramount.
  • FredFred Posts: 6,464Member
    edited April 1
    - Yes, I can see better from these pictures. You do have swing joints (elbows that turn in to the side of the header. The other pictures looked like the risers out of the boiler entered straight up into the bottom of the header. You're Ok there.
    - The Hartford loop also looks like it is probably Ok too.
    - The only issue I see is the header should be whatever diameter the manual calls for (at a minimum, usually at least one size larger than the risers) But it should be the same size as it spans each boiler riser and to the end where the Equalizer attaches to the end of it. The risers are fine at the same diameter as the boiler tapping but I would do a 3" Header (the horizontal pipe that each riser ties into). There should not be any pipe size reductions on any of the horizontal piping. Reductions should occur on vertical pipes. In your case, with the larger pipe being on the equalizer end, it will likely work but the velocity down that smaller portion of the header may impede the steam flow out of the other riser.
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    edited April 2
    Fred, Thank you. The team working with me I have a long standing relationship. They are here to do a larger renovation to my house and while very experienced not steam experts. Everyones help has been amazing. Id like to revisit the header and get it corrected. I would like to share a few additional images soon too. Just to make sure we get it right and confirm.

    For now I would like to get advice on:
    #1 My vaporstat is set Main 8OZ and Differential 6OZ. What is recommended?

    #2 What 0-5PSI gauge should I order and from where (if allowed to post such info)? Lots of odd models in my search and like to know I get the right one.
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Winters-Instruments-PLP305-2-1-2-PLP-Steel-Low-Pressure-Gauge-1-4-Bottom-NPT-w-Brass-Internals-0-5-PSI (Though if my gauge is ok where it is then a rear mount is better)

    Last, I timed my vents. From the main stack just getting hot to touch I got almost 8min for my shortest run and 13 to 15min for my longer runs. I have room on my antlers. Like to get some feedback on what that might be?

    My short run is a Gorton #1 and the two longer runs are #2's.
    (my lengths are listed with pipe sizing in post above if helpful)

    Thank you all!
  • FredFred Posts: 6,464Member
    edited April 2
    - Setting the Vaporstat, Main at about 12 ounces and Differential at about 8 ounces should work fine.
    - Here is the link to the 0 - 3 PSI gauge most of us use: https://www.pressureworx.com/product/low-pressure-gauge-25-0-3-psi
    - Typically, we suggest a Gorton #2 for every 20 ft of 2" Main. You can also order a Barnes and Jones Big Mouth Vent, from Amazon, for about the same cost as a Gorton #2 but it has double the capacity. 13 minutes is a bit long to get steam to the end of a main but there are a lot of variables that can affect timing, venting being one of the biggest factors.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,191Member
    Your vapourstat settings are fine as is. Looks good.

    The main venting may -- or may not -- be adequate. One can use the tables (which would suggest more is needed) but I advocate a more reliable approach -- which does require a low pressure gauge (the one you suggest is fine). First, before you do anything else, insulate the mains if they aren't already.

    Then, fire up your boiler cold. What should happen is you should see your steam pressure rise a little -- perhaps to two to three ounces -- and then stay there. With only a slight rise, if any, until you are getting steam into the radiators. If that is the case, your main venting is adequate and you can start fiddling with the individual radiator vents. If it doesn't stay almost constant, you need more main venting.

    You may see another period of levelling off after the mains are hot and the radiators start to fill. That's normal. Then once most or all of the radiator vents close, the pressure will start to rise again -- and that's where you want the vapourstate to cut off.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • the_donutthe_donut Posts: 365Member
    I would pull the plugs and vents off your long main during a cold start and time the arrival of steam. That’s the quickest it will arrive due to venting at that antler.

    If it is no faster than with the vents, then the majority of your steam is condensing in the radiators before the end of main, pulling a vacuum and preventing steam from moving to the end of the main. Figure out which radiator is vented too aggressively and replace the vent/turn it down if adjustable. We carry a few hoffman 1A’s in our supply house for balancing purposes.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,143Member
    Well maybe not a cold start for timing purposes.
    Make the boiler steam, then cut off, then 5 minutes later, start it up, and see how long steam takes to arrive at the end of the main.
    This measures just the steam travel, and not the heating of the water to steam.—NBC
  • Johnny_DJohnny_D Posts: 13Member
    I am going to take Jamie's suggestion and order some fiberglass insulation for my mains and returns. Is there a specific name or type. Like PVC coated? I see they make PVC T's and elbows. I looked on supplyhouse.com website and only see foam options. Anyone know where I might place an order and particular brands that will be cost and shipping effective. I saw a few posts taking about it and mentioning >1" like 1.5 or maybe 2" for the mains. Or should I check a local supply house in MA given they are bulky? I ordered the Wika 0-3psi last night. I will add this new test as well timing the steam to the mains.

    If someone can tell me what to get and where the ordering is the easy part given Im all measured up.
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