Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Steam radiator squirting water

Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
So I have a customer that has been living in the house for 3 winters he has a 1 pipe steam heating system, he called us in to figure out the issue he is having for the frist time. Parts of his system that is having the issue is 2 radiators on the frist floor and 1 on a second floor that are connected to the same feed pipe off the header and there is a tee for the return between the radiator on the first and the other 2 radiators, so the issue is that he is getting alot of water out of only 1 radiator on the 1st floor and some out of the second floor radiator we changed the return line to see if it was clogged and still nothing we have no idea what it can be .

Just my thoughts I dont like how the return line is in between the 1st floor rad and the other 2 rads but it was working before not sure what it can be

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,513Member
    Is the near boiler piping correct according to the manual?
    Is the main venting large enough?
    What pressure is the system running at?—NBC
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 8,945Member
    What NBC said plus check all your pipe pitches.
    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
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    Yes it is all correct what I dont like is the return that its between the radiator feed line but it was working correctly according to the homeowner for years I'll try to get some pictures
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    Is the water squirting out of the radiator vent?
    Are the radiators pitched correctly?
    Has the pigtail for the Pressuretrol been cleaned lately? If it is clogged, it could be letting the system pressure build to 10 or more PSI.
    Has the Homeowner closed the radiator suppl;y valves? If so, steam can still seep in but condensate can't get back out?
    Are you sure when the Homeowner says it worked correctly for years that he actually is correct?

    Does that return pipe in your third picture drop into a wet return, below the boiler water line, somewhere?
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    Fred so here's the answer to your questions
    1. Yes they are
    2.Yes homeowner states that they had a plumber do a cleaning before winter started as for the pressure build but the gauge shows no pressure build up pressure Trol is set to 1
    3. Rad valves are new and open I have tried the system with the 1 valve closed and 1 open and vice versa
    4. The homeowner States that it has worked since he moved in for 2 winters already
    5. The return pipe I had changed it from black pipe to copper since I believed it was clogged and it does tie into a wet return in which the other returns also tie together
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    I hope someone has a solution because homeowner is using electric heaters on the 2 rooms with the radiators that he shut off because they leak.

    I love these kind of issues because they keep me on edge I usually can figure out the problem in a couple of minutes but this really has me going crazy I hope its something semple tbat I'm missing
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    edited December 7
    No valves on the return or on the radiator run-out, in the basement that may have been closed during the cleaning process?
    That Main is pitched downward on it's way to that Drip (looks like a Drip in the middle of the main to me rather than a dry return at the end of the main???). Does it continue to pitch downward after that drip or does it then pitch up, back towards the Drip? If it continues to pitch downward, after that drip, is there another drip/return at the end of that main? I know you said the owner says it has always worked but clearly something has changed.

    Did they leave any chemicals in the boiler when they cleaned it? Is the water green? If it has chemicals in it, like Squick, that can push a lot of water up into the mains.
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    No valves are closed, no cleaning chemicals like steam clean

    This picture where it shows the main pitch up then the return which is the drip but after the tee that's where us picks up the rad on second floor then the one on the Frist floor

    Let me know if I'm not explaining correctly
  • Gary SmithGary Smith Posts: 182Member
    Not clear on the pitch of the main. Does it pitch up from boiler to the drip then up again to the two rads that you are having trouble with? Or pitch down from boiler to drip and then up to the two rads after the drip?
    It does not appear that there is a vent on that main, is there and if so where is it and what size vent is there?
    What type vents are on the two rads that are spotting?are they vari-vents? They can vent too fast and cause the type of trouble you mention.
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    The pitch from the main is going up from the boiler and keeps pitching up until the rads, the drip is pitching down towards the boiler and it has a Gordon #1 on it, and yes the rads have vari valves but I have tried them with them almost closed still leak I put a Hoffman #4 and still leak. The crazy pit it also takes forever to get hot homeowner states that he has to turn the temperature really high so they can get warm but the rest of the house is like a oven and those to rads get warm then start squirting water like crazy
  • Gary SmithGary Smith Posts: 182Member
    What vents are on the other radiators?
  • Gary SmithGary Smith Posts: 182Member
    How many other mains and how are they vented?
    How many other radiators and how are they vented?
    My suspicicion is as often stated here:
    1. Bigger main vents
    2. Insulate steam mains
    3. Get rid of all varivalves and rebalance the venting according to radiator size and desired heat in each area, I like vent rite 1A’s for their ease of adjustment.

    Even when almost ortotally closed the varivents usually vent too fast for rads and make uneven heat and often spitting rads
  • Gary SmithGary Smith Posts: 182Member
    If it were me, I'd do this, admittedly a search for the answer not necessarily the answer:
    1. put a large main vent on the main after the drip, such as a Big Mouth, as close as possible to where it turns up to the last radiator.
    2. change the 3 radiator vents on the problem radiators to something not a vari-valve (these are not good for radiators and in my experience can unbalance the system).

    But what you have going on may be a more systemic problem with venting of mains and radiators that will take some time to work out.
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    I draw a little schematic of just the loop thats a problem not the the other loop for the other side

    Gary dont understand where exactly you say to add the big mouth, when I replaced the drip line I added the Gorden #1 it never had no vent
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    Some more pictures
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,513Member
    A new low 0-3 psi pressure gauge on this system would show the true pressure in the system.
    Who knows how effective the plumber was in his cleaning, especially if he were responsible for those modifications to the piping.
    Most boiler installation instructions will show the correct piping of the supplies for a counterflow system, which is what I think you have here.—NBC
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 3,822Member
    IMHO that vent isn't in a good location and most likely not enough to do the job being asked of it. If that main has a continuous slope upwards as you describe then there are other issues.

    The lowest point of the main (counterflow) needs a drip, if the low point is at the boiler that's where the drip should be. I think it's possible that someone didn't understand this a screwed up the piping on replacement.

    That really doesn't address your current pressing issue of why the vents are spitting water, but it certainly isn't helping matters.

    Since it doesn't have a good low pressure gauge you really don't know what the pressure is. The boiler was cleaned by a plumber and now there are issues, what did the plumber do? For me it sounds like something was touched and is now causing the issue. Can you find out what was done by the plumber, saying they did a cleaning is pretty much useless as everyone's definition of that is (sadly) not the same.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • Gary SmithGary Smith Posts: 182Member
    Draw the entire system including other mains and vents on those mains and run-outs to all radiators. Your steam system is a SYSTEM and steam goes to the point of lowest pressure first, so changes to any components affect how the other work.

    You can keep the Gorton #1 where you have it, it won't be very effective. Add a bigger main vent, like the Big Mouth or Gorton #2 as shown in the drawing below:

  • Gary SmithGary Smith Posts: 182Member
    OOPs the redlined location for the vent didn't come through, put it at the extreme right end of the main just before it goes to the 1st floor radiator. Sorry for that.
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    At what stage of the heating cycle does water start to spew out of the vent? It still; seems like a pressure issue to me. I know you said the Pressuretrol is set correctly and that the boiler was cleaned recently but does the pigtail under the Pressuretrol look like it was removed for cleaning? I'm still thinking it is clogged and the pressure builds to a point where the water can't return and/or the water is pushed out from the boiler into the return. The fact that old 0-30 PSI gauge doesn't show anything may mean it just doesn't work.
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    KC you are totally correct the plumber who supposedly clean the boiler did not do anything because I asked the homeowner and he was there for 20min not possible because when I do a cleaning I replace the pigtail and skim the boiler and make sure it is good to go but he didn't do that

    Homeowner says system did work after the cleaning

    As for the piping nobody has changed how the piping was so not sure what it can be as for the vent where should it be installed still not sure that is the issue that is causing water to come out
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    Ok will draw the whole system so you guys can see the big picture

    Fred I was under the impression that If it was a pleasure problem would it affect the entire system also not just 2 rads that are on different levels
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    edited December 8
    Dave8699 said:

    Ok will draw the whole system so you guys can see the big picture



    Fred I was under the impression that If it was a pleasure problem would it affect the entire system also not just 2 rads that are on different levels

    It depends on how the system is piped and where the returns/drips are in the system and/or where the radiators are in relationship to the boiler.
    PS: I said "Pressure Problem" not "Pleasure Problem" There is no such thing as a "Pleasure Problem" :)
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    Gary not understanding your saying that I should leave the gorden #1 where it is and add a second one in between the 2floor rad and the 1st floor rad
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    Just a thought here would an un balanced system create a stream of water leaking from 2 rads on different levels and the rest working fine
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    Dave8699 said:

    Just a thought here would an un balanced system create a stream of water leaking from 2 rads on different levels and the rest working fine

    No, there shouldn't be enough water pooled anywhere in the system to actually run out of vents.
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    > @Fred said:
    > Just a thought here would an un balanced system create a stream of water leaking from 2 rads on different levels and the rest working fine
    >
    > No, there shouldn't be enough water pooled anywhere in the system to actually run out of vents.

    Ok just was a thought I will try to provide a drawing of the entire system
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    So here's the entire system hopefully someone can give me an idea
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    The two radiators that spew water out of their vents are both on the other side of that drip. That main either has to pitch the wrong way, after that drip or the system pressure has to be high enough that condensate can't get back to that drip.
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    > @Fred said:
    > The two radiators that spew water out of their vents are both on the other side of that drip. That main either has to pitch the wrong way, after that drip or the system pressure has to be high enough that condensate can't get back to that drip.

    Fred not sure I understand your theory would you be able to explain it better
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    edited December 11
    @Dave8699 , based on your drawing, the only two radiators that spew water are the two that are at the far end of the main, past the drip. All the other radiators are fine. There is no return beyond that drip so the condensate has to make its way back and down that drip. If the section of main, beyond that drip is pitched towards the drip and has not changed (if the Home owner is correct and it worked before), then the only other reason water can't get back to the drip is enough pressure to prevent the counter flow back to that drip, or the section of pipe beyond the drip is too small to accommodate steam going one direction and water going the other.

    I have to assume it worked before and that nothing has changed, in terms of pitch or pipe size so that only leaves pressure. Did anyone change or adjust the vents on those two radiators to the extent that it may push more steam up to them? Did it work before because those two radiators were vented down enough that the steam velocity/volume to those radiators was reduced?
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    Ok so the pipe size has not changed or the pitch but now since you mentioned pressure maybe previous plumber changed pressure to standard low pressure I believe it was .5 or 1 what should it be too in this scenario
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    Dave8699 said:

    Ok so the pipe size has not changed or the pitch but now since you mentioned pressure maybe previous plumber changed pressure to standard low pressure I believe it was .5 or 1 what should it be too in this scenario

    .5 and 1 differential is good. Did anyone change or adjust the vents on those two radiators to the extent that it may push more steam up to them? Did it work before because those two radiators were vented down enough that the steam velocity/volume to those radiators was reduced?
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    @Dave8699 , also keep in mind that because the Pressuretrol is set correctly doesn't mean that it is cutting out correctly.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,513Member
    I would put a big mouth or two, at the end of the main, and adjust the pressure way down to a few ounces.
    Water spitting out of the rad vents indicates too much venting being called on for the rad vents to handle, so maybe slow them all down.—NBC
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    I'm going to put 2 Hoffman 1A on the lowest setting on both rads and see what happens
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    @Dave8699 , Good. Setting #3 on the Hoffman 1A's is about the same venting as a slow Hoffman #40 or 41 so you may want to start testing at that setting.
  • Dave8699Dave8699 Posts: 19Member
    So I put the Hoffman 1A valves on yesterday and homeowner says so far everything is working with no water
  • FredFred Posts: 6,960Member
    Dave8699 said:

    So I put the Hoffman 1A valves on yesterday and homeowner says so far everything is working with no water

    Encouraging! Thanks for the update. keep us posted.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

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