Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.

If you've found help here, check back in to let us know how everything worked out.
It's a great way to thank those who helped you.
Need to contact us? Visit

New home owner, New to steam heat

rshisslerrshissler Posts: 4Member
edited October 2018 in Strictly Steam
The wife and I recently bought a fixer-upper from her family. It's a single story home with a single pipe 2 main steam heat system. We only lived in the home for maybe a month or 2 last winter and I was busy with other projects to look at the system. I do remember the automatic feed kicking on 2 or 3 times a week even though I was draining to crap out of the bottom of the holding tank and filling it back to its mark.
So this year before winter hits I've been focusing on revamping the system and maintenance. So far I know all but 1 air vent leaks. So they all need to replaced. Going with Gorton brand.
My question is, down stairs on my main lines. I have 2 vents on each run. Each vent is only a few feet from the other. Is this normal and/or necessary? I provided pictures to show what I mean. I know my pipes need to be wrapped haha they removed the old asbestos wrapping when they did a cleaning of the basement for me.


  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,872Member
    edited October 2018
    How long are the steam mains and what pipe size are they?

    In the first picture, the bushing screwed into the last radiator tee is causing water to back up behind it. This is probably causing banging. Have this fixed before replacing vents, or the new vents won't last long.

    Where are you 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.
  • rshisslerrshissler Posts: 4Member
    The first picture (one with the two vents within a foot of each other) is about a 20 to 25ft run of 2" pipe. The other is about maybe 10 feet of 2".

    I'm from Northeastern Pa
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,947Member
    Don't ignore Steamhead's advice about getting rid of that reducer, it should not be there and was probably used because that is all they had on the truck at the time.

    That said the existing vents in the basement are way to small, you will need a minimum of 2ea Gorton #1's on the 20 ft main and one #1 on the 10 ft main - more would be nice.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • gerry gillgerry gill Posts: 2,904Member
    Also flood test your boiler. Fill the boiler a little higher than the boiler and see if it leaks. 3 times a week adding water is excessive. I serviced a one pipe system yesterday in a 100 year old home that only used 6 gallons all last season.

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

  • rshisslerrshissler Posts: 4Member
    edited October 2018
    I'll give test the boiler today after work. The automatic feed is reading 218... It's a newer furnace but nothing was taken care of and the basement was extremely damp and mold infested before we cleaned it all and water proofed it. there's a considerable amount of rust/rot on the back of the outside case.

    Is the boiler passes that I'll continue first with replacing that reducer bushing. Hopefully I can get the pipe undone.
  • rshisslerrshissler Posts: 4Member
    When I got home today I fired up the furnace and left it get hot and checked all the pipes for leaks. I found none. But I did find out that none of main vents work, as in they don't even bleed air, they're stuck shut.

    Shut the furnace off for a few hours and then did a flood test. Filled it to the top of the sight glass and left it sit for half an hour. Took off all the panels I could and still couldn't find any leaks.

    So I guess I'll continue on with replacing that reducer and then vents.
  • jason2018jason2018 Posts: 3Member
    Hopefully there is a union near that reducing bushing so you can attempt to unthread that guy. If you’ve never worked on steam before your in for a real treat! Easiest route maybe to just cut the pipe, get a pipe threader and repipe accordingly. Just my two cents.
Sign In or Register to comment.


It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!