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Steam component question, What is this thing?

Customers just bought this 1600's house and wanted to Zone the 3 floors with a two pipe system. I went to check it out and told them that it would probably be better to just make sure everything was first in working order and then just balance each radiator. When I was in the basement I came across this (see images), not sure what it is or does. 4" header and the 3/4" pipe feeds into the top of this. Also is the asbestos insulation? She said she was living in a house that had steam and that every room had its own thermostat, i haven't seen that before and from what i have read, zoning a steam system is ideas of the devil.




Comments

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,558Member
    edited June 13
    Pictures from farther back to include all the piping near the boiler would help.

    This is a Steamhead question, he has seen one somewhere.

    If the insulation is wrapped in plastic & duct tape, that was often used as an attempt to abate the dust of asbestos.

    And perhaps the lady had TRV's on her other house.
    Is she sure it was a steam system?

    Also pictures of the rads and especially the trap and inlet valve.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 4,558Member
    On your return if you could find Trademarks and brand name on the valves and the traps. A small brass brush will clean up any lettering.

    This is some very low pressure vapor system, that is all I am fairly sure of. My questions and requests are to prep you for those who know and may check in later in the day.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,535Member
    Oh @Steamhead , we need you! The valve is familiar, but I can't place it.

    And make sure you don't just do a heat loss -- add up the EDR of the existing radiators. That's the number you're going to need.
    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
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,296Member
    edited June 13
    That radiator valve is marked ADSCO- an acronym for the American District Steam Company. This is one of their Vapor systems. ADSCO is covered in chapter 15 of Lost Art, though this one is a bit different.

    The device in the original post with the sight glass is a condensate receiver. There is probably a scale next to the glass that shows ounces of pressure. Assuming the receiver was mounted a certain distance above the boiler waterline, rising water in the glass would show the system pressure in ounces.

    The receiver is probably vented to atmosphere at the top. I can't see what's up there. It might be a pipe leading to the chimney- if so, they were using the chimney draft to pull air from the system.

    The device in the fourth pic in @WigglyWalker 's second post looks like an air vent. Where is this device installed on the system?

    The fitting on the radiator return might be one of several things- an outboard thermostatic trap, a water seal, or maybe a Donnelly-type check valve with a small hole in it- again, Lost Art chapter 15.

    Further research is necessary. Where is this job located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • WigglyWalkerWigglyWalker Posts: 21Member
    Southern Maine is where I’m at. The top of that “condensate receiver” is connected to the header with that 3/4” copper pipe I found that weird. I’m going back next week I’ll take more pictures. Didn’t want to poke too much with all that insulation.
  • WigglyWalkerWigglyWalker Posts: 21Member
    The main vent is coming off of the return header if you could call it that. Only seems like it would be venting one of the returns the way they had the swing checks.
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,296Member
    Just a thought- not sure who specializes in steam in Maine, but you might be able to get one of the guys from the New England area to come up and consult. It would be money well spent.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • WigglyWalkerWigglyWalker Posts: 21Member
    I called a company in NH that was recommended from this site. Waiting for a call. I’m only an hour north of Boston.
  • GordoGordo Posts: 621Member
    @WigglyWalker :
    Below is a YouTube video of an ADSCO valve break-down that I hope you may find useful.
    Please "like" and "subscribe" if you do.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • JackmartinJackmartin Posts: 112Member
    The item you are looking at is a No09 steam seperator it is on page 125 of the Crane plumbing and heating catalog date 1924 it has a working pressure of 125 psig. They were used to ensure dry steam and in 1924 they cost 170.00 to purchade which was incredibly expensive. All the best Jack and do not size your heating load to a heat loss with steam you always size to your connected load.
  • WigglyWalkerWigglyWalker Posts: 21Member
    There was an old half inch pipe going into the chimney that was redirected out to the peak of the roof coming out of the steam separator. There was one recently replaced main air vent but other than that it is all I saw for Air vents. I did notice that red vacuum component that I thought was the air vent before. There was an old half inch pipe going into the chimney that was redirected out to the peak of the roof coming out of the steam separator.
  • WigglyWalkerWigglyWalker Posts: 21Member
    Another new tip from the archives
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