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2 pipe heating system Mix use long corner property

HELP, purchased building 10 months ago. Landlord for over 35 years. FIRST TIME DEALING WITH 2 pipes heating,
Opened a few traps some dont have, some so old cannot remove Dunham discs, tenants complaining some heat some no heat... All tenants said previous owner NEVER DID sh.... to the building.
where do I begin?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,442
    Seems to me you have some work to do -- but you know that. First thing you should do is purchase a copy of "The Lost Art of Steam Heating", right here: https://heatinghelp.com/store/detail/the-lost-art-of-steam-heating-revisited
    and study it. It's worth every penny.

    More to the point, it has some very thorough discussions of two pipe steam heating systems and how they work. They can work wonderfully and economically and evenly -- with some TLC. They can also be knuckleheaded surprisingly easily...

    Steam traps on each and every radiator are a must. Barnes & Jones makes replacement elements for almost every known steam trap -- including your Dunhams. It will be worth the time and effort (and money) to go through your system and replace the innards. A photograph of a few traps will help the experts here identify exactly which ones, or you can go directly to Barnes & Jones. Getting stuck trap covers off can be difficult, but a properly fitting wrench on the cover and a backup wrench on the outlet can usually get things going.

    The return tank constantly leaking from overflow is a concern. Unless the building is very large indeed, it may not be really needed and may have been installed to "fix" a symptom of something else. That said, it may also be needed to compensate for clogged or very slow wet returns. The overflow, though, is a concern as it also means that you must be adding fresh water to the boiler, and boilers don't like that.

    Some pictures of the boiler, and that tank, and the near boiler piping would be very helpful. Try to take them so that we can get a good idea as to what pipes really go where.

    As you will read (or may already know!) main venting is very important on two pipe systems -- but there are several different ways to pipe these things, and the arrangement of main venting is different, sometimes drastically different, for various approaches to the piping. So a sketch or a really good verbal description as to how the system piping is arranged out in the building would be helpful. Pay particular attention to the arrangement and fittings, if any, at the ends of the steam mains and any dry or wet (usually both) returns in the same vicinity.

    Last... where are you located? We may know of a good steam person in your area who could help you, if you need help.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    Why ya yelling...we didn't do it to you.

    As @Jamie Hall mentioned. Learn what you can from the books, find a steam expert here to help you with the rest.
    Fix it once, fix it right, save money and aggravation. The rest of the maintenance you can probably handle yourself.

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