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added air vents, replaced traps, but still cold in Pittsburgh PA

rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
Hi everyone,
This is a larger 2-pipe vacuum system.

I have added 2 Big Mouths (now have 2 Big Mouths, 2 Gorton #2, and replaced all the cross over traps that I could find. I also replaced 9 traps on the ground floor.

No improvement yet. Temps are 73 on one side of the building, and 60 on the other side.

Here is a heat picture of one of the problem rads (below).


Looking for more ideas. Any recommendations for someone near Pittsburgh?




Thanks,
Phillip






Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,139
    Take a heat picture of the two runs of piping as it begins to make steam, and post that here.—NBC
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 306
    based on the information provided no one ca help you solve the problem.

    Your 2 pipe vacuum system has a problem, its not producing vacuum. The system should operate at max pressure 3/4 psig with 1/4 psig set back. Preferably 4 to 6 oz. steam pressure.
    Need to see pictures of the near boiler piping. steam main runs how the cross over traps were piped in and where the steam vent valves were installed.

    If you can get a name for the type of system you have that will be helpful.

    I worked on these old systems in New York, Conneticut and New Jersey in old estate houses.

    I can try to help you with the proper information. Additionally if you can give me the sizes of the steam mains.

    If you have oil heat make sure the nozzel in the oil burner is the right size for the boiler. Also tell me if the steam piping has insulation on it.

    Jake
    exqheat
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 227
    As @dopey27177 wrote, a better explanation is needed as are some pictures. As to the vacuum receiver, Dunham Bush was popular in your area. If this system is in a bigger building, I may have even worked on this system. That being said, more information is needed.
    exqheat
  • rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
    I will put together some pics of everything . I do not see any "vacuum pumps" in the building, were there non-mechanical vacuum systems? however, does anyone know what this is called?




  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 227
    edited January 15
    In your original question you said that this is a larger 2 pipe vacuum system, so I assumed that you had vacuum pumps. (my mistake) That item the pictures show is an F&T trap that separates the steam from the condensate. Once the steam condenses into water, it has a thermostatic disk and a float and either will allow the accumulated water to flow back the return piping to wherever it is going.The float and it's linkage can go bad as will the thermostatic element (disc). When this happens the trap can pass steam into the return or not allow anything to pass. If you need help servicing this system you could call "Denillo Heating and Cooling, at 412 885 2356, ask for Guy and tell him David George said to call. He should be able to help or find someone that can. (Me , I am retired)
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,947
    edited January 15
    If it was a vacuum system, it isn't any more -- the vents you have added make it impossible to hold a vacuum. Not saying that that wasn't the right thing to do -- since there is also an F&T on there (your picture) that won't hold a vacuum either, Where were the new vents added? With crossover traps, they should NOT have been on the steam mains. They should all be clustered together where the dry returns join before dropping down to the boiler and nowhere else.

    My guess -- and it is just a guess, since there isn't much to go on here -- is that there is no or woefully inadequate venting on one side of the dry returns. It may be that that F&T isn't venting, as @retiredguy suggested. It may be that there was supposed to be another vent on the dry return on that side which either isn't there any more or isn't working -- which wouldn't matter if the dry returns are properly hooked together well above the water line, as they should be, but someone may have gotten creative and changed that, eliminating the venting on one or more of the dry returns.
    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
  • rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
    I appreciate everyone's feedback.

    Here is one last piece of information that may be helpful that I have just noticed.

    The problematic radiators (rooms that are 10 degrees colder) than the rest of the building are the same radiators that get 10 degrees hotter than the rest of the building when we jack up the heat.

    When we jack up the heat, the other rooms may go up a few degrees, but these problem rooms go way up in temperature (10+ degrees)

    Does this symptom indicate anything new?

    thank you



  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,623
    edited January 15
    It tells me that the problematic radiators need faster venting (or the rest need slower venting if they are fast venting)

    "jacking up the heat" just results in a longer heat cycle. This longer heat cycle lets your problematic radiators get fully hot, and they are apparently large for their space, because once they are fully hot, then they are overheating the space.

    So somewhat counterintuitively, you have to make the problematic ones get hot a little faster so that in a normal call for heat (non-jacked-up), they get hot enough to warm the space as compared to the non-problematic spaces.


    EDIT: Possibly ignore most of the above, I was in "one-pipe" mode. One of the two-pipe people will tell you the real answer.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    rhodebump
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,947
    A crucial related question: when you "jack up the heat" do you mean the system runs longer, as in coming out of a setback, but at exactly the same pressure, or do you mean that after some time it is running or reaches a higher pressure? Might not be much higher?
    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
  • rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
    @Jamie Hall By jacking up the heat, I mean just raising the temperature on the thermostat. We do not adjust the pressure.

    When we raise the temperature, the system runs longer.

    Here is a pic of our vaporstat settings:



    Here is a google gallery of more boiler header piping, etc..
    https://photos.app.goo.gl/TwukYKNBESd2ezyD7

  • AMservicesAMservices Member Posts: 491
    Have you tried balancing the radiators?
    If it's 70゚ on one half of the building and 60゚ on the other half, I would recommend throttling The supply valves on the radiators that heat up the fastest.
    Make sure the packing nuts are tight around the stem of the handle.
    Leaking supply valves Is another way that steam can get out. And those are events that never close. So the steam may just be favoring that path.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,947
    I think I've noted it before, but... check all your main piping and runouts on the cool side for sags.
    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
    exqheat
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,428
    I'm no expert, but I don't think it is supposed to be as hot as the radiator and trap down stream of that steam trap in the thermal images. Probably not in itself this particular problem, but if many of them are failed in various positions it could be.
  • retiredguyretiredguy Member Posts: 227
    Is this building in Bloomfield, Pa? If not, no big deal. The Flir images of the radiators show hot piping on 3 of the rads and cold piping (original picture) on 1 rad. Is the cold rad on the cold side of the building and the hot rads on the warm side of the building? If that is the case, I would recommend that you replace all the radiator traps that are located in the radiators discharge. You do not have to replace the whole rad trap just the trap insert. You can buy these on line but if you want to get the coerrect trap and directions I would call a Barnes and Jones dealer. From their web site its Pinnacle Sales Supply 3862 East street 15214 phone 412-461 9663. Replacing these rad traps is not "rocket science" but you need the right tools and expertise and can break pipes. I would get a company versed in steam to do the job. I gave you a name and phone number in another post and here is another. CS&E Babcock Blvd 15237 412-821-8900. Ask for Tim in service.They are the best and best equipped. Actually, they can solve all your boiler and system needs.
  • rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
    Thanks everyone!

    On the traps, I was thinking this also (bad trap), but even after I replace the steam trap capsule, I see the same temps. I think that steam is getting into the dry return lines and going up to the radiator traps. I have not been able to narrow down what is the source of the steam but I am thinking that it is a failed open trap, but alas, they all look like failed open.

    Once a steam trap capsule is exposed to steam from a dry return line, is it bad? I remember reading somewhere that you had to replace all the traps at once or you will ruin traps. It doesn't make sense to me, but I did read this, and it made me concerned.








  • rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
    @retiredguy The building is in a borough outside of Pittsburgh called "Tarentum"
    I am going to try to replace a few more traps. There are probably 52 traps and I have replaced just about all of them over the last couple of years.
  • rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
    @AMservices No, I haven't tried balancing yet. When I first posted about the big imbalance, folks thought that the air venting of my mains was the problem. I added lots more venting (2 big mouth, 2 gorton #2) and back to the original problem.


  • rhodebumprhodebump Member Posts: 118
    @Jamie Hall I did check for sags on the dry returns, I did not see anything sagging.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 12,947
    How about sags in the mains and runouts? I'm sort of thinking that a sag in a main could be delaying steam arrival beyond it (nothing like a puddle to discourage steam...)

    Your mention of the possibility of steam in the dry returns... don't overlook the possibility that somewhere out there in the wilderness there is a water seal on a couple of drips which doesn't.
    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
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