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Main steam pipe vent question

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mayzejane
mayzejane Member Posts: 19
Hey again, all! I'm working on refinishing my basement. I just ordered a new radiator for the basement wall and now figuring out how to insulate everything and put sheet rock up. I wanted to put the steam pipes BEHIND the sheetrock. Does anyone know if there is a way to get rid of this vent off my main steam pipe? I feel like I probably shouldn't be hiding this behind sheetrock as is, no? This is the furthest point away from the boiler (the radiator goes up to my bedroom). Any insight would be greatly appreciated.



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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,998
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    You definitely need a vent there. The solution would be to install an access panel in front of the vent, so you could get at it. The opening would need to be big enough so you could swing a wrench.

    That vent is pretty small. How long is that steam main, and is it 2" pipe?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mayzejane
    mayzejane Member Posts: 19
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    @Steamhead Cool thanks! So I can hide it behind an access panel? I'd say about 40-50 feet to the boiler. Does that seem wrong?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,998
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    The vent is in a bad location. Water coming down the main can slam right into the vent, shortening its life.

    If I were doing that job, I'd move the vent to the side of the pipe, rather than the end. I'd drill and tap that last tee for 1/2" pipe, since the metal in the tee is thicker, then upgrade the vent to a Gorton #2. This would get the steam to the end of the main more quickly, saving fuel.

    Depending on where you put the wall, a vent so mounted could hide behind an access panel, or the pipe could stick out of the wall so you wouldn't need a panel.

    Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mayzejane
    mayzejane Member Posts: 19
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    @Steamhead this might be why my gas bill is so expensive in the winter! Are you in NY by chance? I'm in southern Westchester right next to the Bronx border. Know anyone?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,998
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    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mayzejane
    mayzejane Member Posts: 19
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    @Steamhead NYC area is weird, if you are on LI or the city no one ever wants to come up to Westchester, but I'll keep trying to find someone!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,102
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    Is your boiler on the same level as the garage/basement floor or is there a step down into the boiler room?

    Steamhead, I wonder if it is at the same elevation, that the return line should be lowered and made into a definite wet return below the water line??
    It would have to be cut into for a return for the added radiator anyway. And then a tee added at the drop for venting on the vertical dry section of the return.
  • mayzejane
    mayzejane Member Posts: 19
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    @JUGHNE the boiler is about one foot down as it's a split level, which sucks because I was just going to add baseboards but was told I can't because it's now lower than boiler water line!
  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 753
    edited March 2020
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    Assuming you can add a heating coil to the boiler I am not sure why you couldn't do baseboard on a hot water loop below the boiler water level if it is plumbed as a closed system and works off a coil in the boiler. If it is a closed system the water just circulates in the pipe. Put the pump is on the return side, you need an expansion tank and the air is removed it should work. Did the contractor understand it was hot water baseboard and not steam?

    It will not work if you can't install a coil and rely on take off and return using boiler water. When the boiler makes steam the water level will drop and suck air into the hot water loop which will bind the pump.
    ethicalpaul
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,040
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    > @mayzejane said:
    > @JUGHNE the boiler is about one foot down as it's a split level, which sucks because I was just going to add baseboards but was told I can't because it's now lower than boiler water line!

    You can definitely add baseboard. Baseboard is easier to add when baseboard and piping are below the waterline. This stuff is elementary.
  • mayzejane
    mayzejane Member Posts: 19
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    @STEAM DOCTOR sorry, I meant the baseboard would be higher, but I just read the article by @ethicalpaul and definitely seems doable. @gfrbrookline yeah that's what the contractor said but obviously he doesn't know, since the article makes it seem easy! I called everyone on the NY list and no one can come to my area/most are commercial only. If anyone has any people they know that might service Westchester, let me know!
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,040
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    Even above water, not that difficult. If you know what you are doing.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,792
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    Article not by me, just often read by me :)

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el