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First Winter Radiator Help

njwags95
njwags95 Member Posts: 15
I am a new homeowner and it is my first winter. Currently the average temperature has been 40s-50s F in central NJ. I have a one pipe steam system with baseboards and radiators and I am having some problems. One of the baseboards with a newer adjustable air valve is not working at all. Next an unused bedroom radiator gets hot very quickly and an used bedroom radiator never seems to heat fully. Both bedrooms have non adjustable air valves. Thank you in advance for help.

Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,736
    What type of baseboard? Baseboard can be made to work on steam...sort of, depending on which type and how it's piped.

    In general you most likely have a venting issue, not enough on mains and wrong sizes on rads, best guess.

    First question, are you interested in DIY, or would you rather have a pro come in and do the work? Or perhaps a mix of the 2? There are a couple of very good contractors in NJ for steam.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
    That’s what I was thinking. Pictures are both air valves. Larger opener is the radiator that heats quickly. Can I simply swap air valves were I want the heat most? Other photo is the baseboard and I have no idea what’s wrong. Pipe is not even warm. I would like to learn but would not mind a pro coming to help first. Thank you.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    edited November 2018
    Does that Baseboard have a slight pitch, back towards the steam inlet pipe? It looks like it may be pitched the other direction and may be holding water (condensate). Make sure it pitches towards the steam pipe and see if that helps. Same with the other radiators.
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
    Yes there is a pitch.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    njwags95 said:

    Yes there is a pitch.

    Make sure any horizontal pipe that feeds that baseboard, particularly in the basement also pitches back towards the Main. Do you hear any banging/water hammer? Do you have Main vents, in the basement? Where is the thermostat? Is it near a radiator and is it being satisfied before the rest of the house/radiators get steam?
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
    Pictured is directly below problem baseboard. Also pictured is main air vent from furnace. (Yes I’m aware that’s probably asbestos). Thermostat is about 30 feet from problem baseboard. Only hissing sounds which is normal from working radiators/baseboards. Could it be as simple as a feed vent being switched off somewhere I can’t see it?
  • ww
    ww Member Posts: 282
    I see you have the Gorton air vent #2. The cold air in the pipes must be vented quickly...and I notice there is no insulation on some pipes..I've made a number of vents on one main....is there another vent on the other side...

    Is there a pressure gauge on boiler...pressure in ounces to deliver the steam...check all the vents on radiators...look for a guide on vent sizes and look at the numbers on vents...there are different schools of thought on what vents to use and where.

    how old are the vents....sometimes can get clogged...do what someone mentioned ...get a level and make sure pitch of radiator is toward the pipe...check you water level...your pressuretrol too...and see if that pigtail (curved pipe) has any restrictions in it...You can clean up the vents....issues with no heating or partial heating sometimes is just a vent problem...are the valves open all the way?..

    i can't stress getting the cold air out of the pipes with possible multiple vents on mains...in the old days of coal I'm told multiple vents weren't needed since the coal burned all the time...you can check to see if the vents work by taking them off and testing them and see if vent is open when cold...when hot it closes...is your boiler water rusty....what level is the water on site glass?

    These are some tips you can look at.
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
    Thank you, # 1V and that is the only air eliminator. Can existing air vent numbers be swapped were needed? The problem baseboard has a pitch and a working air valve but I do not see a steam shutoff knob. Fresh water, sight glass at 3/4, and pigtail was done last month. I’m stumped.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,414
    Where in no I live in avenel nj
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
    edited March 2019
    .
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    @njwags95 , that is a Gorton #1 on that main. It is probably way too small to vent well if the main is more than about 10ft. long. It also looks like it is up against a floor joist.
    If it is longer than 10 ft., you can install a Barnes and Jones Big Mouth vent. It vents about six times faster than that Gorton #1 and it is a 2 piece vent so you can install the base in that limited space and the install the vent parallel to the joist.

    Do you have just one main? If you have 2 or more, each main must be vented or the air has to push out of radiator vents and that is so slow that some radiators may not get steam before the heat cycle ends.
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
    Main refers to the 2.5” main steam lines? 10ft one way and 20ft the other. Picture is of the overall setup. My knowledge is limited and I’m not completely following. Installing the larger vent is beyond my ability and it’s right next to possible asbestos which I will not touch. That is the most probable reason that one baseboard isn’t getting heat? Thank you again.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    A Gorton #1 is ok on the 10ft. main. A Gorton #2 should be installed on the 20 ft. Main (each of the pipes that connect off of that boiler Header (one looks like a larger diameter than the other) or is the smaller diameter pipe a Radiator Run-out? If it is a radiator run-out, it should be tied into the actual Main (the larger pipe). I see the near boiler piping is copper. It really should be black iron, threaded pipe to prevent joints from cracking due to expansion and contraction but it is what it is.
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
    Thank you Fred. Baseboard starting getting warm when the boiler was running for 10 min or so. Now im aware that copper is not a good choice. Is there anything to help prevent damage or watch out for?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Not much you can do to prevent stress on copper joints due to expansion and contraction. Just keep an eye on those joints and if you ever see any of them start to weep, have them replaced with black iron pipe.