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Balancing Steam Systems - Pressure Question
Brand new steam system owner here. I have a one-pipe system and some of the radiator vents are clogged entirely and I'm pretty sure the main vents are as well. This system is able to heat 2 radiators (of 6 total) to screaming hot and the rest are ice cold. I will make another post about appropriate radiator vents to buy once I can take pics of each radiator because they're all different.
In the mean time, I just got done reading The Lost Art, and I'm looking at the Balancing Steam Systems Using a Venting Capacity Chart
PDF and I have some questions.
- Should I run this test regardless of whether the radiator vents are working appropriately?
- When I start the boiler with the main vents off entirely, what should I do about the radiator vents? Open them full blast? Close them? Right now I have adjustable radiator vents, but I was planning on getting Gorton vents that aren't adjustable.
- The chart describes the CFM air flow at certain ounces of pressure. How do I know what oz I'm using in this case? I have the cut-out at 1.5 psig on the boiler. How do I determine oz from that?
- My main is cast iron, but the returns are copper. These venting capacities are for steel pipes - does that matter?
- I kind of have "3" mains and 3 returns that are vented by 3 vents. They are all served by the same boiler, but the header splits the main to go in two directions and the there's a third main that branches off from one of those that connects directly to the header. Each of these branches has its own dry return with its own vent to a common wet return. Would I be taking all of the main vents off at once, or run the test 3 times with a different vent off each time?
Alternatively, I could just do a simpler question: Can I just buy 3 Barnes & Jones Big Mouth main vents and call it day? They're not terribly expensive each and they have the most venting capacity on the list. Would that cause any problems?
Any advice about sizing main vents (or about getting this system working correctly more generally) is greatly appreciated. The previous owners of this place payed $600/month to heat 1000 sq ft. That seems insane to me, so I'm trying to make this system work as efficiently as possible.