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One pipe mixed with 2 pipe steam

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New here! New to this, have taken Dans deadman’s steamschool seminar,( actually it plays in the background of my shop on a loop daily) Have a copy of Lost art of steam, and a few other in front of me. I inherited a steam system in the Historic Hotel Colorado in Glenwood Springs Colorado. I’m the night commandant so I have to answer calls, no heat, how do I turn this on? I keep spinning the silver thing nothing happens( really), mainly “it’s too noisy” .
This place has been on auto pilot for decades since I worked here 30 years ago. It was opened in 1893, served many functions but in 1943 the US navy turned it and the hot springs pool across the street into a naval convalescence hospital. They “modernized” it with fire sprinklers and steam heat.
It’s a 130 room hotel, U shaped, East and west wings are only 4 floors and a two pipe system. The back of the U has a fifth floor, topped with two penthouse or bell tower suites all one pipe.
All though I’m over my head, balancing this system isn’t insurmountable.
The boiler is less than 5 years old, which doesn’t mean diddly until I complete a spreadsheet of all my radiators and sizes to have a total EDR rating,( I wonder if now gross heating cap 2520000 is too big).?
Last year we changed 1/2 our traps, we are changing more and should be the right size, ( I read an article of Dans detailing the perils of traps being the same size as piping) and I’m welding a contraption with a pressure cooker to check my traps off season when I don’t use thermometer.
Fifth and six floors rads all have new Hoffman # 40’s, pitched cracking the level line on inlet side. My mains are insulated.
My near boiler piping insulated as well, the headers about 29” above the waterline, as per man specs, but 10” above boiler ( preferred?)
It’s cleaned yearly, blown down once if not twice a day.
At the end of the cycle, before pressure is reached on the heat timer I get hammer.
I put my ear to the dry going to the wet return ( before I know it’s gonna start) I hear the trickle, then surge and bang. It’s gotten better, but here under the 5 and sixth in the basement in the wet close to the condensate pump it’s loudest.
Constantly pulling water out of couple 5th floor units is not a solution, so do I try to double vent my larger radiators? Can I put a main vent on my 5th floor hallway radiator? Even though it goes up to one radiator in a penthouse, no it’s not the very top of the main, the powers that be worry about noise, people in the west aren’t too familiar with steam. Right?, can i only vent my way out of this? Do have tons of more questions to follow as get more of a handle on this system, as we demo more basement walls and uncover stuff as I chase pipes, feel for heat, and do a lot of listening, Mickey Spillane’s nothing on me! :)

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    That does sound like an interesting job...

    I would definitely figure out a way to put some good big main vents at the top of the risers up to your single pipe area. I wouldn't double vent a radiator. If a radiator is the only accessible point, however, you might be able to figure out a way to put an extra vent on the inlet side. Better, though, if you can figure out a way to vent the risers themselves. Another possibility is to rejigger the inlet plumbing to a radiator -- perhaps that hall one you mention -- and put a vent on there. Some ingenuity is in order here...

    The water hammer you mention... is this related just to something at the bottom or near the bottom of the fifth and sixth floor risers? And just at the end of the cycle? It may be that the additional main vents will help that (it almost sounds as though condensate is being held up in some way), or even a vacuum breaker.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    csawestpat
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
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    Is there a master steam trap before the condensate pump.

    If there is one is the wet return tied into the master steam trap.

    Send pictures of the piping connecteed to the condensate pump.

    Jake
    csawestpat
  • csawestpat
    csawestpat Member Posts: 10
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    Thanks Jamie Hall, thanks I agree, maybe double venting radiator is extreme. Especially since it’s twin ( 5th hallway on west side) doesn’t have problems, but it’s a column radiator, whereas the “ problem child” is a tube radiator, and my day guy might of done something with the tongue fitting the vent. I think I can vent the top radiator on six floor penthouse out into attic space ( to avoid noise) using a #10 Hoffman?
  • csawestpat
    csawestpat Member Posts: 10
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    Thanks Jake, I’m off a couple days but will snap pictures and map and sketch the return to give a better picture in minds eye, really appreciate any info!
  • MarkMurf
    MarkMurf Member Posts: 35
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    Up in Mt. one of the four agreements , as not to assume anything always pertains . 100 + years ago , one must not forget we were on the frontier of our nation . They'd get the welders and the pipe fitters from the Northern Pacific Rail Road to fit the systems up yonder . A steam locomotive ain't quite the same as a low pressure steam heating system ! ! I have found some systems which have worked for 100+ years, some semblance of correct . But when you put a discerning eye ball on them and just follow the basics you magically do away with 100 year water hammer and cut the fuel bill drastically , as well as balance comfort and system abuses .
    Sounds like you're plugged into some possible venting solutions . My rule of thumb on such a sizable system is yer end of line vents can't be big enough , especially on a one pipe . What's yer operating pressure ? Just fer hahaha open up those flooding radiator supply valves and check the valve stems . I was on one recently whereas they had installed hot water radiator valves with very small valve seats on a one pipe steam job . Brought me back to the old man cranking the radiator valves wide open with a wrench and taking the handle off so no one would try to control heat output of a radiator with the hand valve . Those valves HAVE to be wide open for your condensate to trickle back . And an ipso facto properly operating radiator air vent to break the vacuum preventing a 'water logged' radiator .
    Now yer water hammer ? Tell the owner to reserve me one of those bell tower suites for a long weekend and my hot new inspector Watson type and I will make our way down from Montana , get with you and see about getting to the real crux of the issue ! ! MURPHY'S HEATING SERVICE , LIVINGSTON , MT . , 406-223-5740 .
    csawestpat
  • csawestpat
    csawestpat Member Posts: 10
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    Then 12’ line from GM’s apartment and garage , replaced traps out there
  • csawestpat
    csawestpat Member Posts: 10
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    Then out 95’ before riser come in from east wing 2,3, and 4th floor
  • csawestpat
    csawestpat Member Posts: 10
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    Then takes off to the west
  • csawestpat
    csawestpat Member Posts: 10
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    Then we start tearing the walls out to uncover the some of this wet
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    The pressuretrol in the picture on the left, with the pushbutton, is a safety backup control. It's fine. The one with two scales is the controller, and the cutout should be set to 2.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    csawestpat
  • csawestpat
    csawestpat Member Posts: 10
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    Got it thanks 🙏