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baseboard heater water spitting not fixed after three plumbers

ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
Sorry if I am not use the correct term or words as English is not the first language. I am trying to learn as much as I can from this community.
I have one pipe steam gas boiler system in an old house built in 1908. There are two bedrooms on the second floor with baseboard heaters where the water keep coming out of the air valve either in either spitting or dripping way .
The two baseboard heaters are located in two adjacent bedrooms facing back yard. The rest of 7 radiators that are either facing the opposite side toward the main road or somewhere in the middle are working fine with no issue.
The amount of water coming out of air vent of baseboard heaters on the second floor is a not just a tea spoon but rather a lunch box size container. See the picture.
I also experienced a very loud water banging noises at somewhere above basement ceiling and under the first floor where the pipe is. The noises usually would last up to half hour when the heater is reaching to certain temperature. After that, the noise will be gone until next time to reach certain degree.
I had several plumbers coming this winter already but no one seems to be able to fix it. The latest one I had coming by last weekend. He replaced total 9 air vents by Heat-Timer ‘s Varivalves. He also clean the waster glass tube and cleaning of the boiler by nitrogen and flushing water.
After he left, the heavy bang noises are gone but the water issue remains the same. I called the plumber right away. He asked me to put some coasters on the side of air vent to make it higher to see if there is any difference. The water issue remains the same.
I do some researching here and found Varivalves might be the issue as this product tends to spit more than others. Some fellows suggest trying a slow releasing air valve. Should I invent a more expensive one like Gorton C to fix this water leaking issue? Any other suggestions please? Thanks.


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Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 941
    edited May 7
    My predication is that your near-boiler piping is very wrong and is carrying water over into the steam supply which is then making it up to your baseboard unit(s).

    Also baseboards are not advised I think with 1 pipe steam and if you do use them, they must slope substantially toward the pipe side (away from the vent side).

    In my opinion, this is not the fault of your vent, it is a more fundamental issue.

    Take some pictures of your boiler from a medium distance so we can see the pipes. From different angles will help. and/or use the "find a contractor" to find a good local steam contractor. Where are you located?
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • Gary SmithGary Smith Member Posts: 288
    yes, most definitely get rid of the varivalves, they are way too fast in most all cases for one pipe steam radiator or baseboard vents. Get a slower vent. I like the adjustable Vent-rite #1, makes balancing the heat room by room easier.
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    I am in Montclair area. Do you have anyone to recommend? I do have another two baseboard hearers in the living room but they are both works without issue. I will post more pictures later.

    My predication is that your near-boiler piping is very wrong and is carrying water over into the steam supply which is then making it up to your baseboard unit(s).

    Also baseboards are not advised I think with 1 pipe steam and if you do use them, they must slope substantially toward the pipe side (away from the vent side).

    In my opinion, this is not the fault of your vent, it is a more fundamental issue.

    Take some pictures of your boiler from a medium distance so we can see the pipes. From different angles will help. and/or use the "find a contractor" to find a good local steam contractor. Where are you located?

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 941
    Well hello neighbor 😃

    I’ve used @Dave0176, he’s awesome. @EzzyT is also great and works northern jersey
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Member Posts: 2,571
    Do you know what the pressure on the boiler is set to?
    The baseboard should be pitched away from the vent.
    Did anyone look at the main vent(s)?
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    > @HVACNUT said:
    > Do you know what the pressure on the boiler is set to?
    > The baseboard should be pitched away from the vent.
    > Did anyone look at the main vent(s)?

    The plumber checked the pressure. He told me it should not be over 2. From what I can see, it is less than 1.
    The plumber installed two varivalves at the main valve in the beginning. But both main valves were leaking so he changed to something like below. Now both them works OK.
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Member Posts: 4,201

    > @HVACNUT said:

    > Do you know what the pressure on the boiler is set to?

    > The baseboard should be pitched away from the vent.

    > Did anyone look at the main vent(s)?



    The plumber checked the pressure. He told me it should not be over 2. From what I can see, it is less than 1.

    The plumber installed two varivalves at the main valve in the beginning. But both main valves were leaking so he changed to something like below. Now both them works OK.

    Those don't spit because they are for a hot water system not steam. Sorry to say you paid for something that is 100% wrong. The 2 people mentioned above are who you should call and stop using whomever you have been as they aren't educated enough to work on your system.
    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
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,068
    edited May 7
    Given that you hear banging somewhere in the basement ceiling or above it, does the banging seem to come from an area that the supply pipe may feed those radiators?
    If so, it is very possible that that pipe has lost its pitch and is holding water. What is your pressure during a heating cycle (take a picture of the Pressuretrol so we can see how it is set). If the pressure is high enough, it may be pushing condensed steam (water up into those radiators.
    - Check and correct the pitch of the horizontal pip/pipes that feed those radiators
    - Check the pressure settings on the Pressuretrol (Cut-out should be set at "1", Cut-In at .5)
    - Replace those vari-vents. They are not good.
    - I don't think those main vents, in your last picture are steam vents. They look like something that might be for a hot water system???
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    From my limited knowledge of steam heat system, the banging noises are from the main pipe that is at the spot from my basement to the first floor. After that, the pipe goes all l the way up to the second floor where the two problematic baseboard heaters are located.
    I will take pictures of the pressure of the boilers tonight.
    To replace Varivalve, what would you recommend?
    Fred said:

    Given that you hear banging somewhere in the basement ceiling or above it, does the banging seem to come from an area that the supply pipe may feed those radiators?
    If so, it is very possible that that pipe has lost its pitch and is holding water. What is your pressure during a heating cycle (take a picture of the Pressuretrol so we can see how it is set). If the pressure is high enough, it may be pushing condensed steam (water up into those radiators.
    - Check and correct the pitch of the horizontal pip/pipes that feed those radiators
    - Check the pressure settings on the Pressuretrol (Cut-out should be set at "1", Cut-In at .5)
    - Replace those vari-vents. They are not good.
    - I don't think those main vents, in your last picture are steam vents. They look like something that might be for a hot water system???

  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,068
    edited May 7
    @ShannonLee , Vent-rite #1 vents are great as well as Hoffman #1A. Both are adjustable so you can vent then at variable speeds to better balance your system and each room. Some like the Maid-O-Mist vents as well. They have a model that includes 5 or 6 different orifices to allow adjustment. Gortons are good too but they don't have an adjustable one so you have to buy a mix of sizes and experiment with the venting rate, relative to your room needs.
  • Danny ScullyDanny Scully Member Posts: 1,219
    edited May 8
    First of all, baseboard and 1-pipe steam will always be enemies. Consider another form of radiation. And yes, those vents are for hot water use, not steam.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 946
    @ShannonLee PLease post more pictures. Let's get a clear look at the boiler and the piping above it. Also take some pics of the rads that are giving you some trouble. Post them here so we can get a better view of what you are describing.
    More pics should help greatly.
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    edited May 8
    > @Danny Scully said:
    > First of all, baseboard and 1-pipe steam will always be enemies. Consider another form of radiation. And yes, those vents are for hot water use, not steam.

    @Danny Scully What would happen to keep those hot water vents there? Before replacements, the main valves always spit and drip. At least now those dripping are gone for the time being...
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    > @Intplm. said:
    > @ShannonLee PLease post more pictures. Let's get a clear look at the boiler and the piping above it. Also take some pics of the rads that are giving you some trouble. Post them here so we can get a better view of what you are describing.
    > More pics should help greatly.

    @Intplm. I post more pictures of boilers and piping in different angles. Please let me know what do you think...thanks
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,068
    edited May 8
    @ShannonLee Those hot water vents are the same as not having any vents on your steam mains. The boiler has to push all the air in the system out through the radiator vents and builds pressure in the system while it is doing that. That may be a part of your problem, especially with baseboards. Those hot water vents are actually "bleeders" meant to be opened, manually to bleed air from a hot water system, and then manually closed again.
    You need good steam vents, Gorton #2 or Barnes and Jones Big Mouths, on the mains and then you need good radiator vents to balance the system.

    When did those baseboards start to spit water?
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    > @Intplm. said:
    > @ShannonLee PLease post more pictures. Let's get a clear look at the boiler and the piping above it. Also take some pics of the rads that are giving you some trouble. Post them here so we can get a better view of what you are describing.
    > More pics should help greatly.

    @Intplm. Here are pictures of two problematic baseboard heaters on the second floor. The first three are based board#1 and the rest of three are baseboard #2
  • Danny ScullyDanny Scully Member Posts: 1,219
    edited May 8
    Loosen that red cap and they will spit again unfortunately. They are acting as plugs now. You need main vents meant for steam heating which will actually expel air and close on steam. Your near boiler piping is also incorrect and needs to be addressed. Finally, those baseboards are much too long. As I said, 1-pipe steam and baseboard will always be enemies. You should consider a more appropriate form of radiation. But I would first address the near boiler piping.
  • EzzyTEzzyT Member Posts: 893
    @ShannonLee feel free to reach me at
    201-887-8856 to maybe set something up
    Creative Solutions Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Lic #12683
    Co-Owners: Fred Drescher, Jr & Eliezer "Ezzy" Travis
    Marketing & Operations: Dawn Drescher
    201.499.0223
    Follow us on Facebook.
    Check us out on Instagram: creative_solutions519
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 11,229
    Nowhere near enough pitch on those poor things. No wonder they spit.

    That and no main venting and banging noises indicating that at least some of the other pipes aren't pitched properly...

    You have work to do.
    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
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    Indeed, the vent on the right was hissing non stop since it was installed. When the plumber came back yesterday, he just closed that red lid. I asked him why? He said it would release air slower...
    Form last night, it took 45 minutes for the baseboard heater to spit.

    > @Fred said:
    > @ShannonLee Those hot water vents are the same as not having any vents on your steam mains. The boiler has to push all the air in the system out through the radiator vents and builds pressure in the system while it is doing that. That may be a part of your problem, especially with baseboards. Those hot water vents are actually "bleeders" meant to be opened, manually to bleed air from a hot water system, and then manually closed again.
    > You need good steam vents, Gorton #2 or Barnes and Jones Big Mouths, on the mains and then you need good radiator vents to balance the system.
    >
    > When did those baseboards start to spit water?

    @Fred Indeed the main valve on the right was hissing non stop after the plumber removed Varivalve.
    > @Danny Scully said:
    > Loosen that red cap and they will spit again unfortunately. They are acting as plugs now. You need main vents meant for steam heating which will actually expel air and close on steam. Your near boiler piping is also incorrect and needs to be addressed. Finally, those baseboards are much too long. As I said, 1-pipe steam and baseboard will always be enemies. You should consider a more appropriate form of radiation. But I would first address the near boiler piping.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 941
    So much wrong 😟

    I guarantee that Utica piped like that is percolating water right up the main. Everything else that everyone pointed out is accurate too. It’s a lot
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    @Jamie Hall are your referring to the baseboard heaters? My plumber put a lot of coasters yesterday....

    > @Jamie Hall said:
    > Nowhere near enough pitch on those poor things. No wonder they spit.
    >
    > That and no main venting and banging noises indicating that at least some of the other pipes aren't pitched properly...
    >
    > You have work to do.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 11,229
    Well... that's at least better. It still may not be enough; it's difficult to get a long baseboard to vent properly without kicking condensate out the vent. As has been suggested -- slower vents. It also occurs to me that you need to make sure that the inlet valve Is a correct steam valve, and that it is fully open.
    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
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    @Fred
    Thanks for your suggestions. I took some pictures of my main air vents and the space around it. I found the Gorton#2 is huge in size so it probably won't fit in the tiny space I have. Do you think I could use Huffman #1A on my main valve and the problematic baseboard heater on the second floor. Does the link of the Huffman 1A looks right to you as there seems to be many knock off in the market and I can't find it in my local stores...
    https://www.walmart.com/ip/Hoffman-1A-Radiator-Steam-Vent-Pn-401422/100832787



    > @Fred said:
    > @ShannonLee Those hot water vents are the same as not having any vents on your steam mains. The boiler has to push all the air in the system out through the radiator vents and builds pressure in the system while it is doing that. That may be a part of your problem, especially with baseboards. Those hot water vents are actually "bleeders" meant to be opened, manually to bleed air from a hot water system, and then manually closed again.
    > You need good steam vents, Gorton #2 or Barnes and Jones Big Mouths, on the mains and then you need good radiator vents to balance the system.
    >
    > When did those baseboards start to spit water?
  • Danny ScullyDanny Scully Member Posts: 1,219
    edited May 11
    A Hoffman 1a is likely too small for your main vent. Unfortunately any vent you choose is going to spit until you address your near boiler piping.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,106
    Have you cleaned the pigtail loop under the pressure control?
    If partially plugged it will not shut off the boiler and allow high pressure to build which could be contributing to your problems.
    That should be corrected first.

    Then can you post pictures of the other side of the wall where the main vents are connected?
    There are options to get a larger vent installed there.
    You could extend the horizontal pipe nipple, and cut the ceiling open to gain height for the vertical riser.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,068
    The Hoffman 1A's are for radiators. They don't vent fast enough to be used as a Main Vent. If you are saying you don't have enough room for the Gorton #2 because you don't have the clearance, from the wall to turn it, you can use a union fitting on the bottom and on the nipple (coupling removed. That way the Gorton doesn't have to be turned.
    Also, the Barnes and Jones Big Mouth is shorter and comes with the union fitting. It also vents about 2.5 times faster than the Gorton #2
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,106
    Even though the pressure control is set to 2, it will not control if the pigtail is plugged.
    Before anything else on your system you need to be sure the pressure is low.
    Then install steam main air vents where the water vents are now.

    Then check radiator vents and slope.
    Also check piping slope.

    The person who put those on for you is lost as far as steam heating goes. He may have closed the caps when he realized the mistake and did not want to buy them back.
    They vent air and close when they fill with water....something you do not want for a steam system.
    True steam air vents vent air and close when steam comes to them.....this you want.
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    edited May 12
    @JUGHNE @Fred @Danny Scully
    I want to thanks everyone spending your precious time to help me.
    Here is what I did this weekend so far. I am happy to report at least two problematic baseboard heaters are not spitting for the time being and are quietly heating up two rooms on the second floor.
    Here are what I did this weekend:
    1. Order two Hoffman 1A online. Not sure when they can't delivered though
    2. I went to Home depot to ask if they have any slow venting air valve. They only have one brand. I showed him my Varivalves. The clerk I told me that he was the one to design the first generation until the company ask to cut cost to make the product to 1/3 so he left that company in Fairfield, NJ. " It is used to be good but now it is piece of crap " , he commented.
    He did warn me" if you don't like Heat-timer, ours are even worse". But you can try...
    3. I installed two Home Depot valves on the baseboard heaters and fired up the boilers. So far so good. No spitting water. No annoying water banging noises so far. The room is warm for the first time in a long time without any water!
    What else should I to main valve? Should I just leave them for the time being as the system is not cranky comparing to it used to be? The pressure is low. See that pictures.
    Also, is any shorter and slow venting steam valves I can used to replace Home Depot ones? It is working but too long to twist as space is very limited between the heater and wall. I have to push the heater out to install those Home Depot steam valves.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,068
    edited May 12
    @ShannonLee , those Home Depot vents will fail fairly quickly. They are junk. Try to replace them with better ones, either Vent-Rite #1 or the Hoffman #1A. You can also use the Maid-O-Mist vent. They have one that comes with 5 or 6 size orifices that you can trade out to adjust the venting speed. They may be a little smaller too and allow you to clear the wall.
    If you need more clearance from the wall, buy a 1/8" brass elbow and screw it into the radiator and then put your vent on.

    Do replace those Main vents. They are not removing any air from the mains and that causes you to burn more fuel pushing all the air out through radiators before steam can get into them.
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    edited May 13
    @Fred
    I already ordered two Hoffman. #1A. Once I receive them, I will replace those Home Depot ones.
    Regarding to main valve, I want to buy Barnes & Jones Big Mouth Air Vent since you mentioned before. But where should I buy this product? I don't know anything but Lowe's or Home depot. Is there any special store I can go in New Jersey or Manhattan that sell this product? Kindly advise.

    > @Fred said:
    > @ShannonLee , those Home Depot vents will fail fairly quickly. They are junk. Try to replace them with better ones, either Vent-Rite #1 or the Hoffman #1A. You can also use the Maid-O-Mist vent. They have one that comes with 5 or 6 size orifices that you can trade out to adjust the venting speed. They may be a little smaller too and allow you to clear the wall.
    > If you need more clearance from the wall, buy a 1/8" brass elbow and screw it into the radiator and then put your vent on.
    >
    > Do replace those Main vents. They are not removing any air from the mains and that causes you to burn more fuel pushing all the air out through radiators before steam can get into them.
  • Leon82Leon82 Member Posts: 629
    They were on Amazon but they sell fast from what I have read

    https://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/B01F26P13C/ref=cm_cr_arp_mb_bdcrb_top?ie=UTF8
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,068
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    @Fred
    I received Hoffman #1A today and installed immediately. I found there is still some water ( about two teaspoons) coming out when the baseboard heater is trying to reach the temperature. It is also " snoring" like hell. I wonder if it is normal? At least now it is not spitting like a fountain. Thanks.

    > @Fred said:
    > @ShannonLee , those Home Depot vents will fail fairly quickly. They are junk. Try to replace them with better ones, either Vent-Rite #1 or the Hoffman #1A. You can also use the Maid-O-Mist vent. They have one that comes with 5 or 6 size orifices that you can trade out to adjust the venting speed. They may be a little smaller too and allow you to clear the wall.
    > If you need more clearance from the wall, buy a 1/8" brass elbow and screw it into the radiator and then put your vent on.
    >
    > Do replace those Main vents. They are not removing any air from the mains and that causes you to burn more fuel pushing all the air out through radiators before steam can get into them.
  • RomanPRomanP Member Posts: 102
    Hi. You could try General Plumbing Supply ( approx 15 branches across the state) there also might be a Wallington Supply somewhere in that area.

    And yes. Replace main Hot Water bleeders with proper steam air vents. Bring near boiler piping up to manufacturers specs. Good luck
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,068
    @ShannonLee , It is not normal for the Hoffmans to make any noise, except maybe a click every now and then. You will have problems until you change out those Hot Water vents.
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    > @RomanP said:
    > Hi. You could try General Plumbing Supply ( approx 15 branches across the state) there also might be a Wallington Supply somewhere in that area.
    >
    > And yes. Replace main Hot Water bleeders with proper steam air vents. Bring near boiler piping up to manufacturers specs. Good luck

    @RomanP Thanks. There is one store near me. I will check this weekend.
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    edited May 16
    @Fred
    Can I install just one Barnes and Jones Big Mouth to replace the one hot water valve on the left ? Or I need two Barnes and Jones Big Mouth main vents in total ? The one on the left have more spaces to ceiling about 6 inches. I checked the Big mouth is 4.75" height. The one on the right is less 5 inches to the ceiling.
    If I install one Big Mouth on the left only, what should I do the the one on the right? What is your suggestion? Thank you.

    > @Fred said:
    > The Hoffman 1A's are for radiators. They don't vent fast enough to be used as a Main Vent. If you are saying you don't have enough room for the Gorton #2 because you don't have the clearance, from the wall to turn it, you can use a union fitting on the bottom and on the nipple (coupling removed. That way the Gorton doesn't have to be turned.
    > Also, the Barnes and Jones Big Mouth is shorter and comes with the union fitting. It also vents about 2.5 times faster than the Gorton #2
  • ShannonLeeShannonLee Member Posts: 21
    edited May 16
    @JUGHNE
    Yes the plumber cleaned the pigtail loop three weeks ago. I post some pictures of main valves. Any suggestions?

    > @JUGHNE said:
    > Have you cleaned the pigtail loop under the pressure control?
    > If partially plugged it will not shut off the boiler and allow high pressure to build which could be contributing to your problems.
    > That should be corrected first.
    >
    > Then can you post pictures of the other side of the wall where the main vents are connected?
    > There are options to get a larger vent installed there.
    > You could extend the horizontal pipe nipple, and cut the ceiling open to gain height for the vertical riser.
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