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Curious about the length of the main and placement of the vent

I am curious Of a couple of aspects to the length of our main steam pipes. When we moved in a year ago there was an ancient Arcoliner steam boiler heating the house. The main formed a nearly square layout and is around 60 feet. I noticed that most of the homes in our street are steam heat also. Upon checking a neighbor’s setup, the length of the main was much smaller. I also noticed their vent is on the return end near the boiler where as ours is opposite of the boiler/ halfway along the main. I’m not sure why a main vent would be anywhere else but the end by the boiler. Also, is there an reason why a main would be tighter loop? The houses both date from the late 1920’s. They would have been oil fired boilers right? We recently had our boiler replace and the oil tank removed. I wondered if the Arcoliner was the original boiler or perhaps there was a coal fired boiler. Just wondering if anyone has some guesses and to what the dead guy was thinking how original installed our steam system.

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 11,458Member
    Hard to say. The dead men - just like us -- all had their preferred ways of doing things. As to where the main vent or vents are located -- it depends a lot on exactly what type of system (there are several) and how it's hooked. With most one pipe systems, anywhere on a steam main after the last radiator runout will do. Many one pipe systems were set up so that the steam main kept right on around the basement and back to the boiler (some call that a dry return; it's not) and those often had the main vent at the boiler -- which had the virtue of being noticeable and accessible. Some had two steam mains -- or a main that split -- that came back to the boiler; on those it's important that each side be vented separately, and that they drop to the wet return before they join. Two pipe systems are a completely different ball game, however. Don't confuse them.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    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
  • tomsloancamptomsloancamp Posts: 41Member
    Our system is a one pipe system. There are four radiators on each first and second floors. Three of the four on the first floor and two second floor are before the vent. I could understand if the kitchen might have been added later, but 2 upstairs bedroom radiator are on the main after the vent.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,104Member
    I’d see if there’s a place after the last radiator that you can add one
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • tomsloancamptomsloancamp Posts: 41Member
    I see no sign of a place where there was a vent maybe have existed closer to the boiler. Unfortunately, I don’t have that experience or confidence to add a vent closer.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 495Member
    edited December 6
    Do the kitchen and bedroom radiators heat?

    It is possible they were both added to the system. There are many homes that were built with heat on the first floor and air grates to allow the heat to rise to the second floor. I lived in a bungalow that was heated this way. It is likely that the upstairs was not getting enough heat or the owner didn't like the sound to transfer openly between the two floors so there was a second leg added to the main.
  • tomsloancamptomsloancamp Posts: 41Member
    I don’t see a sign of vents unfortunately. I’m struggling with the kitchen radiator. It’s either too hot or too cold. Right now I have a heat-timer variable valve so I can see where to set it. It’s a smaller radiator. I was wondering if there was another source of heat in the kitchen. When we renovated our kitchen, there was an hole in the chimney and I assume something (stove?) was vented into it. Maybe a stove was hot enough to warm the bedroom above it. The piping to the bedrooms had to moved when we renovated said kitchen because we removed a wall and the pipe was where the stove was to be relocated. Another question, were there oil fired boilers in the 1920’s? Possibly the original was coal? Fortunately, I have balanced the other radiators and vented the main line with 2 gorton #1’s. The bedroom radiator that are after the main vent seem to heat fine and just have cheap durst air vents on them.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 11,458Member
    The original might have been coal, but at least by 1930 there were oil burners. The hole in the chimney in the kitchen, though, was very likely a stove -- perhaps even the kitchen range -- and they put out a lot of heat and would have been quite enough, I expect, for the kitchen -- and, considering the age -- the bedroom upstairs.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,104Member
    Coincidentally I just removed the wall in front of my chimney and discovered a hole on the dining room side in the brick that was also busted through the orange tile liner. I know my house was originally coal. I doubt this was the range being in the dining room, but I suspect it was a woodburning stove that they used in the shoulder seasons rather than stoke up the coal boiler for a 50 degree day.

    It had a crudely-bricked-in plug but this flue is currently abandoned and capped up top.

    I see no sign of a place where there was a vent maybe have existed closer to the boiler. Unfortunately, I don’t have that experience or confidence to add a vent closer.

    If you take some pictures of that last part of the main maybe we can suggest something
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • tomsloancamptomsloancamp Posts: 41Member
    The kitchen radiator air vent is releasing condensation... is this a side effect of the placement of the main air vent?
  • tomsloancamptomsloancamp Posts: 41Member
    edited December 6
    I’ve included some pictures of the main feeding back into the boiler. The ladder in the last picture is where the main vent is currently.
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