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Making a couple changes to a steam system in a new house, looking for confirmation

lmoore8lmoore8 Posts: 13Member
I recently moved into a house with steam heat and I've been learning about it. The pressure gauge that was on there didn't have a pigtail, and I don't think it was particularly accurate (it sat at 3 or 4 psi when the system was off and cold, which didn't seem like a good sign). I put together a setup to both add a pigtail and to add a 0-3 psi gauge. I also added a ball valve to keep that 0-3 psi gauge isolated except when I want to use it. I don't have that gauge yet, so there's a large 0-30 psi gauge in its place at the moment (in the picture). Does this setup make sense? Also, I used RectorSeal No 5, which is recommended a lot and seems appropriate for the purpose based on their info. Are there any changes that I should make?


I also added some main vent capacity. I put on two Gorton No 2s, which is certainly enough to handle to size that system we have. And other than cost, I don't think there's any downside to having extra venting capacity. Plus, if one of them clogs, the other can still vent the system (there was only one main vent before). Does this setup look reasonable? I know it shouldn't really be coming off the end of the return right before it drops, but changing that seems like a much more major change than I'm prepared to try right now. Also, the vents do fit there, but there isn't a lot of room above them. It looks like they vent from the top, but off to the side. Is being an inch or so from the ceiling above them a problem?

Comments

  • JohnNYJohnNY Posts: 2,324Member
    Those ¼" nipples are going to be a problem. You should take the bushing out of the boiler and put in full-size nipples and tees, or even better, cross tees if you can get them. What you've got there is going to clog frequently and easily.
    For installations, troubleshooting, and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 394Member
    Looks good but turn the vents 45 degrees so the are above the main if you can, it will be tight with that joist. This will allow them to drain properly.
    What are your pressurtrol settings?
  • JohnNYJohnNY Posts: 2,324Member

    Looks good but turn the vents 45 degrees so the are above the main if you can, it will be tight with that joist. This will allow them to drain properly.

    Why would that allow them to drain better than in their current position?

    For installations, troubleshooting, and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 394Member
    I should have said 90 not 45. I am assuming the main is sloping down, if the tree is perpendicular it will be level, if it is above the main it will drain better.
  • lmoore8lmoore8 Posts: 13Member
    Thanks for the input. I can try to turn the vents so they’re at least closer to being in line with the main, which should get some slope on that pipe.

    I hadn’t considered increasing the size of the gauge lines. Replacing the connection to the boiler seems a bit scary given how old it is (30 years). If a rusted area breaks, I’d be in trouble. What would you think of getting a 90 degree fitting that converts it to a larger size and running the larger size from that first 90 on? Would 1/2” be what you recommend? Is the benefit of a cross tee having an access point to clean it?
  • JohnNYJohnNY Posts: 2,324Member
    edited October 9
    It's not critical because we're talking about gauges and not operating controls or safety devices but this would be the next-to-ideal setup if you've got to go with ¼" piping:


    The first tee coming out of the boiler would allow you to remove the plug and use one of the gauge glass protection rods to push through and clear out the horizontal nipple into the boiler.
    For installations, troubleshooting, and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
  • lmoore8lmoore8 Posts: 13Member
    Thanks for the detailed description. I'm on the hunt for that cross fitting. I found one place that has it, but I'd have to pay shipping (or go way out of my way to pick it up at an inconvenient time), so I'll make a couple calls locally before I pull the trigger on that.
  • lmoore8lmoore8 Posts: 13Member
    Alright, success on both counts. The main vent line was exactly horizontal, or maybe even sloped a bit the wrong way. I rotated it to closer in line with the main (after removing a bit more insulation), and it's sloped the right way now. And I added the cross fitting and tee fittings to make it possible to clean out the lines leading to the gauges. Thanks for the help.





  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 394Member
    Job well done!!
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Posts: 904Member
    I’ve gotten into the mindset that any right angle on any pipe near the boiler should be a tee... except the steam header.
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