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Sylphon adjustable radiator valves?

My son bought a 2 pipe steam heated 1928 home in Grosse Pointe Park, MI. It has these Sylphon radiator valves with handles. Some are frozen in place. Are these rebuildable? Or replaceable? He also has Sylphon 1/2" radiator steam traps. Anyone know if cage units are available for these? Or direct replacements? Pics enclosed.


Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,203
    On the traps -- collect as much information as you can on the traps. Numbers, anything. Then contact Barnes & Jones or Tunstall to see what they can do for you. They are pretty good at fitting odd traps.

    On the valves. Again, try Tunstall with as much information as you can off the valve. That said, with some ingenuity they probably can be rebuilt. For that matter, if they simply won't turn, try just a little bit one way, and then the other. You can gain some leverage with a short bit of pipe over the handle -- but don't be a gorilla. You can also break the handle, which is a nuisance.
    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
  • ted_pted_p Member Posts: 38
    edited September 11
    I don't know anything about those radiator valves, but the steam trap your third pic does not look anywhere near 90 years old. The union tailpiece also suggests to me that it's a replacement; the original traps more likely connected to the radiator bushings with left/right threaded nipples.

    It sort of looks like a Hoffman 17C. If that's the case, both OEM repair parts and conversion cage units/capsules (Barnes & Jones, Tunstall) are readily available.

    Here's a guy selling the OEM parts cheap on eBay:

    BELL & GOSSETT 600084 Hoffman 17C Dura-Stat Replacement Module For Steam Trap
  • johnlobbjohnlobb Member Posts: 17
    I'm going over there today. I will try to get all the numbers I can, and also to disassemble a steam trap to look at the innards. Thanks so much for your help.
  • johnlobbjohnlobb Member Posts: 17
    I share your feeling the trap looks like a Hoffman 17C.
  • GordoGordo Member Posts: 737
    edited September 11
    @johnlobb : Hi! Welcome to the wonderful world of two-pipe (vapor) steam!
    Below is a video which I hope you might find useful on the Hoffman 17C


    In regards to the radiator valves, from what I can see, you have two different models: The "Sylphon" and what appears to be an early 1920s Warren Webster, which I refer to as an "innie" as the bonnet threads in on the inside of the valve body.
    The Sylphon brand ( the "outtie") was bought by Warren Webster, so that might be old old stock.
    It takes a bit of doing to get those buggers to move (think lots of penetrating oil, heat, and patience). The Sylphon may have a bellows in it that is not rebuildable, and as others have advised, Tunstall is your best bet there.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,947
    That's a Webster system. As Gordo says, the Webster company owned the Sylphon company for a number of years, but IIRC they were separated as a result of antitrust action.

    You will probably find some more Webster devices in the basement. Look around the boiler area, but also at the ends of the steam mains. There you will find either crossover traps, which look like radiator traps, perched up in the piping- or larger float-and-thermostatic traps. Post pics of what you find.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 378
    These radiator valves have bellows seals in them. before contemplating fooling around with the handles spray WD-40 to loosen any rust that accumulated in the valve. This can take several applications before movement will occur. Try not to use a lever.

    Jake
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,098
    Would this system originally even had rad traps or just relies on the inlet valve controlling the steam for perhaps 80% steam fill?
  • johnlobbjohnlobb Member Posts: 17
    Update: I found out that Barnes & Jones does make a cage unit for these thermostatic steam traps, model number 1998. We have some ordered. I am not finding anything on the Sylphon radiator valves. Took one out and the soft seat was entirely missing. Son found an old radiator in his garage that had another Sylphon rad valve attached and I removed the innards. It has an old white cracked rubber looking seat attached to the bellows. What material would you replace that with? Also thinking of replacing the Sylphon rad valves with regular angle rad valves. I believe these valves are globe valves, would it be OK to use these type valves to modulate the steam on each rad? Has anyone come up with a angle ball valve rad valve?
  • johnlobbjohnlobb Member Posts: 17
    In reference to Steamheads question, I found a Sylphon angle 1/2" thermostatic steam trap mounted in what to me seems a backwards mode. The inlet is piped to the condensate return, and the outlet is piped to the steam main. Any thoughts on this anomaly?
  • johnlobbjohnlobb Member Posts: 17
    I did replace that trap with a Hoffman 17C Barnes & Jones lookalike.
  • ted_pted_p Member Posts: 38
    johnlobb said:

    In reference to Steamheads question, I found a Sylphon angle 1/2" thermostatic steam trap mounted in what to me seems a backwards mode. The inlet is piped to the condensate return, and the outlet is piped to the steam main. Any thoughts on this anomaly?

    Could you post a picture of that?

    Sounds like it might have been intended as a "crossover trap" (typically used as a drip, and or to speed venting of the main) but don't know why it would piped backwards. Maybe just some past knuckle-heading? I found an F&T trap piped backward in my system:

    Ever see an F&T trap piped backwards (and how to best to correct this)?
  • ted_pted_p Member Posts: 38
    edited September 26
    johnlobb said:

    .... Also thinking of replacing the Sylphon rad valves with regular angle rad valves. I believe these valves are globe valves, would it be OK to use these type valves to modulate the steam on each rad? ....

    Yes it would, as long as you aren't using them on a vacuum system.

    But what they would lack, compared to the original valves is an adjustable stop or adjustable orifice, which allows the installer to set an upper limit on the rate (in pounds per hour) at which steam can enter the radiator when the valve handle is turned to the full open position. The orifice or stop was adjusted by the installer to only allow about the amount of steam that that radiator is capable of condensing, which of course is in proportion to the size of the radiator; bigger radiators need more steam, smaller radiators need less steam. When done on all the radiators in a system, this balances things so that all the radiators get hot at the same time. It also greatly reduces the wear-and-tear on the radiator steam trap elements, because little steam actually makes it to the trap, and that which does, takes a lot longer to get there.

    A few companies still make high quality packless radiator valves with an adjustable stop or orifice, but they're pretty expensive; you can buy a couple boxes of ordinary, packed radiator valves (imported) for the price of one of these. The Mepco Type SWRF, Model B (adjustable orifice), and Type SWRF, Model C (adjustable stop) are a good examples (see attached). If you're interested in these, Joe Stropoli at GS Dunham is the man to talk to (@Joe_Dunham on The Wall).

    You can also do the same type of balancing by adding homemade "orifice plates" (with holes sized to match each radiator) to ordinary radiator valves. The plates get inserted between the union tailpiece and the valve body. If you want to go that route, let me know. I can help with blank plates and provide a table for hole size selection.




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