Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

Looking to refresh my VERY old steam boiler (oil) Please provide some guidance.

colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
edited September 11 in Strictly Steam
Backstory: Bought a house 2.5 years ago (built in 1915), 1211 sq. ft. Has 2 radiators upstairs and 4 downstairs. Steam boiler, runs on oil, Location- Maine. We have had the boiler serviced each year, so 3 times in total. System appears to be working pretty well but it is OLD. We found an original manual and I believe the year made was 1977. Boiler also heats our water.

I've included some pics that hopefully shed some light on what I'm working with. Like I said system is working well (83% efficient according to our boiler guy) but I was reading the other day about how you can switch out the air vents (not sure how long these have been on, all diff ones on radiators) and I'm guessing I could upgrade the vents on the 2 main valves? (should be seen in picture)

Overall I just want to do what I can to help this old heating system in anyway I can without screwing it up. We plan on putting some covers on most of our radiators soon (have a 1 year old so needs to be done) so ideally I don't want to have to tinker with the adjustable air vents, I'd prefer a set it and forget type setup.

I can take more pics if it will help, thanks for reading.












Comments

  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,729
    edited September 11
    That boiler was probably replaced in the 1950's or so. That oil burner is much newer. You could still use adjustable air vents on the radiator, once you get everything balanced you don't need to touch them again. There are methodologies to pick fixed vents to more or less balance the system as well.

    How much water does it use? Does it all heat at the same time?
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,223
    I think that is a rebaged Dunkirk boiler they were ok. I would guess late 60s-mid 70s

    I would skip the radiator covers they will reduce your heat. The kids learn pretty fast.

    Ist thing is to up grade the venting
    luketheplumberCanucker
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,729
    er, never mind, someone replaced the control but not the burner.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,203
    Best thing to do is what you are doing -- maintain the boiler. Make sure it gets thoroughly cleaned and the burner is adjusted properly. 83% by combustion test isn't bad; you'll not do much better.

    As @mattmia2 implied, though, the next thing to do is to check how much water it's using. It should use very very little, except what you use when you blow down that low water cutoff (you do do that, don't you? At least once in a while?). If it's using more than a gallon a week on top of that, you have leaks somewhere which you want to find -- and they can be very very hard to find, but it's worth the effort.

    Then insulate any steam piping -- including the headers -- as well as you can.

    If the system is heating reasonably evenly and quietly, I'd not worry about the main vents. If not, or if the pressure has to be over a pound or so to do that, then yes -- bigger main vents might be in order. I don't think I saw a picture of them anywhere, so I don't know what you have now.

    I have nothing to add on the radiator venting... except to second the idea that covers may not be necessary. Kids do learn really fast!
    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
    luketheplumber
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    mattmia2 said:
    That boiler was probably replaced in the 1950's or so. That oil burner is much newer. You could still use adjustable air vents on the radiator, once you get everything balanced you don't need to touch them again. There are methodologies to pick fixed vents to more or less balance the system as well. How much water does it use? Does it all heat at the same time?
    I’m not sure how much water it uses. Every now and then I’ll “top off” that water pipe on the side. Not sure how much it uses. When we first moved in we let that fill pipe drain completely and then the boiler wouldn’t start up (new nothing about steam or boilers)

    id say if I wait 1 month the water line may drop an inch or so, prob more during the hearing season, can’t recall 
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    I think that is a rebaged Dunkirk boiler they were ok. I would guess late 60s-mid 70s I would skip the radiator covers they will reduce your heat. The kids learn pretty fast. Ist thing is to up grade the venting
    Any recommendations for the venting? I’d prefer to to replace all of them with the same new vent. 

    One of the vents on a radiator is actually duct taped so it’s definitely cracked or something. The system is not overly noisy as is. We do have some adjustable ones right now but I didn’t know how to use them until a few days ago. 

    The dials on them just spin in circles tho, does that mean they’re broken?
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    I was close to buying a 10-pack of air vents on Amazon for $60 until I realized how many different options there were. I’d definitely prefer to get some quality ones that will last. 

    I also saw the “this old house” guy online mention that you can replace the vents each year, anyone doing that?

    How important is the valve/handle on the opposite side of the radiator (on the floor)? We have a broken/cracked one and trying to decide if I should replace it 
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,203
    There is no need to replace vents every year! In fact, some of us take that long to get the balance the way we want it -- but then leave it alone!

    The valve on the other end (floor level) should be fully open all the time. Leave it alone. So a cracked handle is an aesthetic problem. If you can live with it, don't worry about it.

    The water quantity doesn't sound bad. Do keep an eye on it, though.
    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
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    There is no need to replace vents no every year! In fact, some of us take that long to get the balance the way we want it -- but then leave it alone! The valve on the other end (floor level) should be fully open all the time. Leave it alone. So a cracked handle is an aesthetic problem. If you can live with it, don't worry about it. The water quantity doesn't sound bad. Do keep an eye on it, though.
    What would you recommend for vents? Looking for an all fixed option or potentially some type of combo setup. 

    I do have 1 radiator that is next to our doggy door so I’d rather keep that one “low” if it was safe to do so 
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,120
    Vents are selected by the size of the radiator (EDR) and what size and length of pipe feeds each radiator. Generally you want the EDR rating of the boiler to be about what the total of all the radiators is. A main vent (in cellar) is sized so it can vent all the air in the boiler and the steam main quickly, the radiator vents should be sized to allow all radiators to fill with steam at about the same time. As i said above the vents rating is proprtional to the radiator size and the volume of the air filling the pipe that runs from the steam header to that radiator.

    Because of the different volumes of air in each radiator and it's piping you may not be able to use the same size vent on each radiator. So now the question arises what size vent on which radiator/

    To be sure all radiators heat evenly we usually vent the steam main fast and the radiators slowly. Unless you know what your doing adjustable vents make the job easier. You stary betting all the radiator vents on a low setting and make notes as to how fast each one fills with steam. If some radiators are much slower to heal, increase the vent rate and see what affect that has.

    It sounds like some of your radiator vents might be ventrites #1, that is a very good vent and they are priced accordingly. When they get old the white knobs fall off and then you have to guess what the setting is. If it's turned fully CW it's set very low or off, if it's full CCW its set to vent fast.

    As i said ventrites are very good vents, they cost $26 or more each. I find the Maid O Mist 5L vent to be pretty good and a bit cheaper ($10 or less if you buy them right), this vent comes with 5 different orifices in the box so you can choose the rent rate you want. The Gortons are a good vent but they are not adjustable so you may have to buy extra's to get the balance you want. The ventrites cover the low end of the range very well (0.03cfm to 0.08cfm at 1oz) while the Maid O mist and the Gortons cover a higher range (0.03 to 0.34cfm at 1oz). Hoffman makes an adjustable vent that covers the 0.02 to 0.14cfm range but they can be tricky to adjust and those with long radiatpor leadouts have reported trouble with them getting blocked with water droplets.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    BobC said:
    Vents are selected by the size of the radiator (EDR) and what size and length of pipe feeds each radiator. Generally you want the EDR rating of the boiler to be about what the total of all the radiators is. A main vent (in cellar) is sized so it can vent all the air in the boiler and the steam main quickly, the radiator vents should be sized to allow all radiators to fill with steam at about the same time. As i said above the vents rating is proprtional to the radiator size and the volume of the air filling the pipe that runs from the steam header to that radiator. Because of the different volumes of air in each radiator and it's piping you may not be able to use the same size vent on each radiator. So now the question arises what size vent on which radiator/ To be sure all radiators heat evenly we usually vent the steam main fast and the radiators slowly. Unless you know what your doing adjustable vents make the job easier. You stary betting all the radiator vents on a low setting and make notes as to how fast each one fills with steam. If some radiators are much slower to heal, increase the vent rate and see what affect that has. It sounds like some of your radiator vents might be ventrites #1, that is a very good vent and they are priced accordingly. When they get old the white knobs fall off and then you have to guess what the setting is. If it's turned fully CW it's set very low or off, if it's full CCW its set to vent fast. As i said ventrites are very good vents, they cost $26 or more each. I find the Maid O Mist 5L vent to be pretty good and a bit cheaper ($10 or less if you buy them right), this vent comes with 5 different orifices in the box so you can choose the rent rate you want. The Gortons are a good vent but they are not adjustable so you may have to buy extra's to get the balance you want. The ventrites cover the low end of the range very well (0.03cfm to 0.08cfm at 1oz) while the Maid O mist and the Gortons cover a higher range (0.03 to 0.34cfm at 1oz). Hoffman makes an adjustable vent that covers the 0.02 to 0.14cfm range but they can be tricky to adjust and those with long radiatpor leadouts have reported trouble with them getting blocked with water droplets. Bob
    Ok thank you. I see some Vent-Rite #1s on eBay for around $26 so I think I’ll just buy 6 of those. 

    What would you consider a good low setting to start with on these vents? As it sounds like the 1 setting is practically off. 

    And to clarify, I should put them all on low to start and then increase them as needed if they are slow to heat up, correct?
  • SnowmeltSnowmelt Member Posts: 1,222
    Thats the same exact set up as my mom and dads house, no complaints most likely oversized by a little, only complaint is on start up it bangs but that when they know it’s on
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,947

    I think that is a rebaged Dunkirk boiler they were ok. I would guess late 60s-mid 70s

    I would skip the radiator covers they will reduce your heat. The kids learn pretty fast.

    Ist thing is to up grade the venting

    mattmia2 said:

    er, never mind, someone replaced the control but not the burner.

    That's correct, @EBEBRATT-Ed - it is a re-badged Dunkirk, possibly their "Blue Circle" model.

    @mattmia2 , the burner is a re-badged Beckett, probably an AF. Still a current model.
    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
    mattmia2
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    edited September 11
    There is no need to replace vents every year! In fact, some of us take that long to get the balance the way we want it -- but then leave it alone! The valve on the other end (floor level) should be fully open all the time. Leave it alone. So a cracked handle is an aesthetic problem. If you can live with it, don't worry about it. The water quantity doesn't sound bad. Do keep an eye on it, though.

    I have 2 that look like this now. Not an issue? Is it easy to just replace the handle? can’t air pressure escape near that handle?
  • Robert O'BrienRobert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,220
    That's a Dunkirk 13 series Blue Circle rebadged. Texaco used the Ducane burner(TWJ) in those boilers until mid 70's. I would guess this one is circa 1976-1980. Sold and installed many in those days
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,203
    On the handle -- air won't escape -- or, rather, if air can steam will also, and you will notice a significant loss of water from the boiler. You might even notice some dampness, but I doubt that -- steam turns into water vapour pretty fast, unless there's a really catastrophic leak.
    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
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,120
    The Ventrite #! settings, these were measured by a couple of our members -
    1 off
    2 0.03 CFM
    3 0.03
    4 0.03
    5 0.05
    6 0.06
    7 0.07
    8 0.08

    Start with everything at #3 and advance the setting if a particular radiator seems slow to heat.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    BobC said:
    The Ventrite #! settings, these were measured by a couple of our members - 1 off 2 0.03 CFM 3 0.03 4 0.03 5 0.05 6 0.06 7 0.07 8 0.08 Start with everything at #3 and advance the setting if a particular radiator seems slow to heat. Bob
    Thank you. What would be a good amount of time to expect them to all heat up? 1200 sq.ft house, relatively compact. 

    Just wondering if say after 20 mins there only “warm” is their a chance I should raise them all up to 5 or something like that 
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,169
    edited September 16
    The main venting should be improved first, maybe with Gorton 2’s, and then do the radiator vents.
    Large main venting will enable all the air in the main supply pipes to escape easily, with no restriction, and then when those vents close, the steam will move up to each radiator simultaneously.
    Your present radiator vents maybe correct for the application, but you won’t know until after improving the main vents.
    Do not follow the Gorton website instructions, as they make excellent vents, but over simplify the choice, and installation.
    Insulation on the pipes will also help with speed of heating, and efficiency.—NBC
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    The main venting should be improved first, maybe with Gorton 2’s, and then do the radiator vents. Large main venting will enable all the air in the main supply pipes to escape easily, with no restriction, and then when those vents close, the steam will move up to each radiator simultaneously. Your present radiator vents maybe correct for the application, but you won’t know until after improving the main vents. Do not follow the Gorton website instructions, as they make excellent vents, but over simplify the choice, and insulation. Insulation on the pipes will also help with speed of heating, and efficiency.—NBC
    The main vents are the 2 silver ones shown at the top in my last picture, correct?

    is it as simple as unscrewing them and putting new ones on? I’m worried about upsetting the “equilibrium” of the system 

    any potential downside to upgrading these? And how do you determine between gorton #1 or #2s?
  • dopey27177dopey27177 Member Posts: 378
    STOP!!

    Based on what you are reporting, no issues with the heating system do not start with replacing the radiator vent valves. If all your radiators heat evenly and the rooms are warm, don't fix what a'int broken.

    The only vent valve that may need to be replaced is the main vent near the boiler. That can be replaced with a Gorton # 1 vent valve.

    If you have a disparity in temperatures in the rooms you can and should buy a few decent thermometers and hang them each room. Where to hang the thermometers, Hang on the opposite all from the radiators.

    The reason for that is, heated air rises to the ceiling first and travels across the ceiling, eventually the heated air cools when it reaches the wall and it drops down to the floor. Think of the air circulation as a big continuous circle that will not stop until the boiler stop firing.

    If you determine that the rooms drastically heat unevenly you can then begin to replace some or of the vent valves.

    Radiator Valve replacement!!

    AS BOB SAID

    Use the Maid O Mist 5L radiator vent valve because they provide 5 different orifices that can be used to speed or slow up the venting process.

    Think about guessing wrong with a vent valve that costs $15-26.00. Its used you can't return it and you need to buy another one.

    Maid O Mist has been around longer than my career of 55 years in this industry, it is a very good valve.

    As far a longevity for vent valves, I've seen valves as old as the bible still working. The key to the longevity is to operate the system with the lowest possible steam pressure for the building and make sure there is no water hammer in the system.

    Install a Vaporstat in place of the pressure control and set at 12 ounces on and one pound off. Also clean or replace the pig tail.

    Many people worry about the efficiency of the boiler and recommend replacing old boilers with new higher efficient boilers. What in most cases is the efficiency of the heat transference of the heating system'

    To improve the heat efficiency of your system Install pipe covering on the entire steam main and near boiler piping including the boiler header.

    The near boiler piping is not correct, but if you have no problems leave it alone. This can be addressed when and if you need to replace the boiler.

    Before hiring a contractor select a boiler manufacturer. Go on the internet and search for Dunkirk, Burnham and Peerless.

    When asking for boiler information give them the spec as shown on your boiler ID plate.

    Each of these companies manufacture fine cast iron boilers.
    you want a boiler with push nipples not gaskets between the sections. Additionally, ask what boiler chemicals do they recommend to clean the boilers internals after installation.

    Above all ask for their installation instructions.
    when getting a price to replace the boiler the contract shoud include these main parts;

    Boiler manufacturer and size with matching oil burner
    Coil for hot water
    Pipe in as shown by the boiler manufacturer instructions
    All controls and safeties be new and installed with the new boiler project

    What I did notice is the radiators.
    The vent valves are located near the bottom of the radiator which is good because the entire radiator will get hot from top to bottom.

    Here and in this case the air in the house may become to dry and cause some discomfort with breathing, possible sore throats or dry nose syndrome.

    This can be addressed with buying pans that can be hung from the back of the radiator and filled with water which add humidity to the house


    Good luck with your tuning up the heating system

    Jake

    PS
    How do you determine what is the best valve to use as the main vent.
    This is not an exact science. I as every one else in this business has an opinion.

    Me for one understands this premise.

    1. Small house
    2. six radiators
    3. not a lot of piping

    When the fuel equipment and boiler starts it heats water and makes steam. As steam begins to form it pushes the air out of the boiler into the piping system. At that point the six radiator vents and quick vent begin to release the system air.

    The quick vent is the first one that stops venting air during that heating cycle. It does not open again until the internal element cools.

    Meanwhile the radiator vents are venting air until the steam fills the radiator and the vent valve closes.

    Steam travels in a low pressure steam heating piping system depending on design anywhere from 15 miles per hour to 45 miles per hour. Think about that! Even at the lower end of the speed steam will reach the radiator in manner of minutes.

    Added to those minutes is how long does it take for the boiler to produce that steam.

    See not an exact science, the variables have to be plugged in. Who really cares how fast the air leaves the system based on a super sized vent valve. All the radiator valve are venting steam, how much time is shaved off the delivery of the steam to the radiators, it seems to me that maybe you save 5 minutes in the start up cycle if that much because the flow and speed of steam is controlled by the fictional resistance of te pipe. That is an exact science.

    I usually don't get this windy when writing. I guess the corona virus has affected my brain.

    Oh: incidentally I wrote a book on steam heating it may help you with your heating system that may not need anything other than some tweeking.

    Jake











    ethicalpaul
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    Can I get some more feedback regarding my main vents? Should I replace them with Gortons?
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,203
    colty31 said:

    Can I get some more feedback regarding my main vents? Should I replace them with Gortons?

    Yes. There are guidelines for whether you use #1s or #2s -- but I'd use 2s. It's almost impossible to overvent a main.
    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,713
    edited September 16
    It is possible to overspend on venting a main however :)

    Here's the best bang for the buck. Equivalent to a Gorton #1: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Jacobus-Maid-O-Mist-J1-1-3-4-x-1-2-Main-Vent-Valve-3563000-p?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5563-ent6wIVh5WzCh3NMg9_EAQYASABEgLr4fD_BwE
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Precaud
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    Can I get some more feedback regarding my main vents? Should I replace them with Gortons?
    Yes. There are guidelines for whether you use #1s or #2s -- but I'd use 2s. It's almost impossible to overvent a main.
    The #2s appear to have a narrower feed/connector head correct? Would I need to purchase some type of adapter to use them?

    #1s appear to have the right size head for my current setup 
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    It is possible to overspend on venting a main however :) Here's the best bang for the buck. Equivalent to a Gorton #1: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Jacobus-Maid-O-Mist-J1-1-3-4-x-1-2-Main-Vent-Valve-3563000-p?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5563-ent6wIVh5WzCh3NMg9_EAQYASABEgLr4fD_BwE
    Do you think 2 of those would be sufficient for my current system? I’m not sure what my current main vents are, I believe there the 2 nipple shaped vents near my boiler 
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,203
    I've never figured out why the Gorton #2s have a smaller connection. But they do. You can use a bushing to make them fit. Without knowing the total length and diameter of the mains which you are trying to vent, I wouldn't care to say whether they were too big, too small, or just right!
    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,713
    edited September 18
    colty31 said:



    It is possible to overspend on venting a main however :)

    Here's the best bang for the buck. Equivalent to a Gorton #1: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Jacobus-Maid-O-Mist-J1-1-3-4-x-1-2-Main-Vent-Valve-3563000-p?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5563-ent6wIVh5WzCh3NMg9_EAQYASABEgLr4fD_BwE

    Do you think 2 of those would be sufficient for my current system? I’m not sure what my current main vents are, I believe there the 2 nipple shaped vents near my boiler 


    I'd bet money that if you replace your two existing vents with these you'll be in good shape. (if you want verification of what your main vents are, send pictures and the group will tell you if they are)

    To really know, the best way is to time how long the steam takes to get to the vents.

    So do a call for heat from cold and time how long it takes the steam to get to your existing vents (you can tell by gingerly touching the vent or pipe until it's "steam hot" (too hot to hold). Note that time.

    Then remove one of your existing vents just leaving the open hole, and redo the test from cold and compare those times (if the time is much shorter without the vent on there, then your existing vents weren't doing their job).

    Then install the new vents and run the test one more time. If the time is close to the "open hole" time, then you are venting as much as you'll ever need to.

    If it's still taking significantly longer with those two new vents, then you can look at spending the big bucks for a Gorton #2 but I doubt you'll need anything more than those two #1s.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    It is possible to overspend on venting a main however :) Here's the best bang for the buck. Equivalent to a Gorton #1: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Jacobus-Maid-O-Mist-J1-1-3-4-x-1-2-Main-Vent-Valve-3563000-p?gclid=EAIaIQobChMI5563-ent6wIVh5WzCh3NMg9_EAQYASABEgLr4fD_BwE
    Do you think 2 of those would be sufficient for my current system? I’m not sure what my current main vents are, I believe there the 2 nipple shaped vents near my boiler 
    I'd bet money that if you replace your two existing vents with these you'll be in good shape. (if you want verification of what your main vents are, send pictures and the group will tell you if they are) To really know, the best way is to time how long the steam takes to get to the vents. So do a call for heat from cold and time how long it takes the steam to get to your existing vents (you can tell by gingerly touching the vent or pipe until it's "steam hot" (too hot to hold). Note that time. Then remove one of your existing vents just leaving the open hole, and redo the test from cold and compare those times (if the time is much shorter without the vent on there, then your existing vents weren't doing their job). Then install the new vents and run the test one more time. If the time is close to the "open hole" time, then you are venting as much as you'll ever need to. If it's still taking significantly longer with those two new vents, then you can look at spending the big bucks for a Gorton #2 but I doubt you'll need anything more than those two #1s.

    Are these the main vents? Little silver guys? They are the only vents I see near the boiler 
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,203
    They are. They're cute. They're also too small for a modern fuel fired boiler.
    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
    ethicalpaul
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 13,947

    They are. They're cute. They're also too small for a modern fuel fired boiler.

    This.

    @colty31 , how long are your steam mains, and what pipe size are they?
    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
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,713
    The nice thing is they are accessible. Can you feel any air escaping them during the beginning of a heating cycle?

    Also if you get bored after the vents are fixed, send some pictures of your near boiler piping...it looks a little weird.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,729

    The nice thing is they are accessible. Can you feel any air escaping them during the beginning of a heating cycle?

    Also if you get bored after the vents are fixed, send some pictures of your near boiler piping...it looks a little weird.

    The boiler may be old enough to have a large enough hx that the seemingly definitely wrong near boiler piping works ok.
    ethicalpaul
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16

    Are these broken handles a big issue? I tried replacing them with the generic one pictured but it doesn’t appear to fit 
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    The nice thing is they are accessible. Can you feel any air escaping them during the beginning of a heating cycle? Also if you get bored after the vents are fixed, send some pictures of your near boiler piping...it looks a little weird.
    Haven’t checked yet. It’s cycles to heat our water but haven’t turned on the heat yet. The top of the vent seems closed, I don’t notice a hole. 

    Are the main vents supposed to be very difficult to remove? Mine seem cemented on and my largest wrench is too small for it. I wanted to make sure I could easily remove them before ordering new ones..
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,713
    They aren't supposed to be very difficult to remove, but they often are, having been rusting in place for decades, like they do.

    Your largest wrench must be pretty small :)

    Try some PBBlaster or similar product, but in the end you'll just have to convince them to move with a large wrench and maybe a cheater pipe on it.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    BobC
  • colty31colty31 Member Posts: 16
    Sorry for all the noob questions, but how important would you say it is for me to replace my main vents?

    trying to decide if it’s worth doing right now as the boiler overall has been working well “as-is”

    am I potentially damaging the boiler with these older main vents? Causing a huge loss in oil?
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,713
    edited September 23
    It really depends. The existing ones may be working! (this is why I'm curious as to whether you can feel any air escaping from them during the start of a heating cycle)

    The thing that would make me want to change them would be: does it take too long for heat to get to my radiators when my thermostat calls for heat?

    Do you know how long that takes for your system?

    To answer you other questions, you probably aren't causing a huge loss in oil, nor are you damaging the boiler. If they are not operational (or if they are very undersized), the only issue is it takes longer for the steam to push the air out of all of your pipes (because it has to push a lot of that air out of your small radiator vents instead of letting it out in the main vents)
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • mattmia2mattmia2 Member Posts: 1,729
    You could measure those vents and buy a combination wrench that size. It would make it easier. Be sure to counted hold the pipe with a pipe wrench. If the combination wrench alone doesn't do it, you can put a pipe or even a 2x4 with some bolts as an extension on it.
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!