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/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Can't get steam main vents off.

Roddy
Roddy Member Posts: 63
edited October 2020 in Strictly Steam
Single pipe steam with a parallel flow, two mains and two returns. One of my returns appears to not be venting at the main. I put some Gortons on this main more than a couple of years ago, and I may have over muscled it as for the life of me I cannot get them off. To add to this, they're in a tight spot way up at the basement ceiling (yes, I raised them up from their original height) and running near a joist. I'm thinking of cutting off the riser and antlers set up and starting over. Thoughts? Should I cut? What's the best, easiest cutting tool so as to not crush any of the pipe? I'm a novice at this, but I've learned a lot from all of the experts here, and my old system works pretty well---until now, that is. Thanks in advance.

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Send a picture if you can, that will help give the best advice.

    But if you have to cut the riser can you get the remaining piece of riser out? There's nothing worse than cutting in order to get something off and then still not being able to get it off, not that I would know hahahaha

    Also before cutting be really sure they have failed. You have verified that they aren't letting out any air?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Roddy
    Roddy Member Posts: 63
    I'll get a pic and post it. No, I haven't actually confirmed they've (the main vents on the one return) failed, but I'm basing it on the fact that all or most of the radiators on that main aren't heating and when I felt the returns above the boiler, the other return was hot while the one I suspect has the problem was cool, which is unusual---they both used to be hot. I've checked the radiators on that line and the vents are still working and they're still sloped adequately. You know, maybe I should just try tapping on the main vents with a mallet, if they are stuck, maybe that would unstick them. ? Not really sure. Also, I've looked at the main supply line and it looks like the slope has not changed, etc. Hmmm.
    ethicalpaul
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    Do tap on them before you start cutting things. The one minor failing I have noticed with the big Gortons is that if they have been significantly overpressured they sometimes stick shut.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ethicalpaul
  • Roddy
    Roddy Member Posts: 63
    I should clarify that mine are not the big Gorton main vents, they're the smaller main vents.
    ethicalpaul
  • Roddy
    Roddy Member Posts: 63
    Pictures: My rotation didn't save, so the view is skewed. The problematic ones are the arm with the 3 Gortons. That's tucked behind the other main vents in front of it. I CAN get to them with a pipe wrench, but I can't budge them.




  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    Try this buy an open end wrench to fit the hexangle part of the vent.

    Use a pipe lever on the on the wrench and pull for what you are worth.

    Surprised that you cant remove the vents because the brass usually does not fuse with iron.

    Jake
    ethicalpaul
  • Roddy
    Roddy Member Posts: 63
    Thanks to all of you who commented. Jake, I'll give it a try with an opened end wrench and pipe lever. The more I read the more I think I do NOT want to cut any pipe. Thanks again. I'll let you know.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Seeing it, I wouldn’t be too scared of cutting that riser nipple with, say, a sawzall. Looks like you’d have more room to handle a big pipe wrench on it.

    for the future, I just use like an 8” crescent wrench on those main vents. Our steam pressure is so low you don’t have to crank very much.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    edited October 2020
    You could see if the riser pipe will loosen at all.
    If so then you can saw the riser, take the assembly to a vise to loosen the vents.
    For replacement you could get 2 6-8" nipples and put a union between them for the future.


    Looking again maybe a 4" and 2" to place the union lower for wrench swing.
    Also the horizontal vent manifold needs to drain back to the return.
    You can add a couple of swing 90's to get that slope if needed.
    ethicalpaul
  • Roddy
    Roddy Member Posts: 63
    Success! Thank you all---again. I got the Gorton #1 Main vents removed. After considering all your advice, some of which I'll use in my next steps, I realized if I muscled them on a number of years ago, I should be able to muscle them off now (even though I'm not as strong as I was when I put them on), and it worked. I did this "muscle job" this morning after a good night's rest and a good pep talk to myself. I should mention/confess that I gave the vents a squirt of DW 40 and PB Blaster last night and let it work overnight...I suspect that helped. :)
    Again, my thanks.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Congrats! WD-40 doesn't do much probably but PB Blaster is some solid stuff. I'm not allowed to use it though because if I so much as use a tiny squirt in the basement my wife can smell it in the house for days.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Roddy
    Roddy Member Posts: 63
    LOL. I had to light scented candles in the basement and in other locations. I knew from experience that would be a requirement based on my wife's input. Still a little PB smell remains in the basement, but that's it for now. Strong, strong smell---You're right.
    ethicalpaul