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Went to help and found problems

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jdp83
jdp83 Member Posts: 6
My parents purchased a house a few yrs back with 2 pipe steam and steel fin tube rads. They complained from the first winter in the house about being cold and the fin rads not holding heat for long. My father decided to purchase a few new cast iron rads and asked me to help install in certain area's of the house. As soon as we took the rad covers off I noticed that there was no steam traps on the return side of the rads. I then checked all the rads in the house and not a trap to be seen. I made my way to the basement and saw his returns run the ceiling of the basement and drop down by the burner to the Hartford loop.
What i know to be wrong right now is a undersized header in copper ( I don't believe designed right), galvanized pipe mixed in with black on the supply, some copper on the supply to rads. Site glass and pressure gauge was clogged due to build up. I disassembled both unclogged and skimmed burner. With all this going on my father insisted moving forward with the 3 cast iron rads. After installation 1 rad on the first floor got completely hot 2nd rad on first floor just the top and about 50% of the rad on the second floor. Went back down to the basement and there was two Hoffman 75 on each of the main returns not functioning. I know this system has been in the wrong hands for a very long time and I not sure how the original system was designed. I am going to purchase some gortons air vents to install this weekend in hopes it can help get the rads hot. The return on the left side of the burner is much longer then the right so I know I'll need to speed the venting up on that side more then the right. I understand the negative affect all this has on the system and would like to try and get them by this winter so it be corrected in the spring. Am I on the right track here? Thanks for any help in advance.

House built in 1927 Weil Mclain sgo4 with two take offs and two returns. 

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,835
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    Were those steel fin-tube rads made by Trane?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • jdp83
    jdp83 Member Posts: 6
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    I didn't notice a name, I did check the inside of the 90's and unions and there was no internals. I have read about the older systems that incorporated like a ball that acted like a check in the 90 even remember something of a stick maybe in the union. Nothing of the sort. If it helps there was no valves on most of the supply to the fin rads, didn't see any orificed inlets either and house is in nj by pa borderline. 
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,845
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    I see 2 vents on what appears to be the returns at the boiler.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,286
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    How's your budget? There's a lot of detective work there to figure out how it was supposed to work -- and a lot of obvious and less obvious work to get it right again. But -- there are some very good people in your area who can help. Try @EzzyT , for instance.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EzzyT
    EzzyT Member Posts: 1,295
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    @jdp83 feel free to contact me at 2018878856 and hopefully we can set something up.
    E-Travis Mechanical LLC
    Etravismechanical@gmail.com
    201-887-8856
  • jdp83
    jdp83 Member Posts: 6
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    My father said he replaced the vents last yr but they seem to have failed already. I put a cheapo box store vent on one of them this Sunday just to confirm which you can see in one of the pics. I was working there Sat and Sun and not once did I hear the Hoffman's go off. I'm picking up Gorton's #1 this week as I can only get to the house on the weekends. I figured maybe I can get the heat even with some venting tactics on the returns.

    I know ezzyt works in nj but I believe we are pretty far apart, I know at one point JohnNy was doing some consulting in nj. 
  • jdp83
    jdp83 Member Posts: 6
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    Thanks for the offer Ezzyt, I know you have a solid reputation around here. Let me see if I can twist the old man's arm. He's about a grand into the new rads and parts. His thought process right now is to try and get system functioning as best as possible for this heating season and hit the major work in spring.
     My plan this weekend was to hopefully get the steam even with venting on the main returns, install skim trap with a 90 at the end and get a blow down on the site glass. There just so much not right.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,639
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    I'm curious about the radiators. i assume it was something that was designed to not have a steam trap on the return.
  • jdp83
    jdp83 Member Posts: 6
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    Ezzy added traps to all the return lines in the basement as there was no room to place them next to the fin rads. It's a mystery to me if it was designed with no traps or someone just got real lucky removing them and installing that copper header and by lucky I mean barely working. Ezzy said he will post all the work and scope, can't wait to see it. 
    mattmia2SuperTechkcopp
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,286
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    Glad you got things going -- and it's always a treat to look at @EzzyT 's work!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    that looks so much better , , ,
    known to beat dead horses
    mattmia2
  • KingPlumbing
    KingPlumbing Member Posts: 0
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    So satisfying watching the transformation done there. Excellent work!