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Hey all, this board is awesome! Thank you!
I have a gas boiler and one-pipe steam radiators. I'm losing water at a high rate, and need to refill the boiler once or twice a week.
So far this week I discovered that the vent damper had been switched off, so I switched that back on, but maybe that's still a source of lost steam cause it makes an awful sound when it spins, so maybe it needs some cleaning and possibly lubrication to make a proper seal when closed.
I also replaced the air valves on every radiator last weekend with Hoffman 1A valves (the same kind that was previously on some of the radiators). Those were probably 20 years old and some had been completely painted over. I also repacked the nut at the base of each radiator with graphite packing rope.
I thought these steps would take care of the water loss, but I'm still losing quite a bit. I was thinking the next step would be to find and clean or replace the air vents on the main lines, cause maybe the vents are clogged and stuck in an open position. So far I've only located one of these vents though, and from what I gather there should be at least two (one for supply line, one for return line) and possibly more. I also saw somewhere on here that doing something to one valve without doing it to the other can cause an imbalance. So I'm wondering what the next step should be. Also, if I can't find the other main air vents, if some are in fact held open due to an accumulation of scale or other buildup, I'm wondering if maybe using one of those descaling chemical treatments might be able to fix them from the inside.
Any and all advice is welcome. I'm really getting into steam these last few weeks (I'm a mechanical engineer, so on some level this stuff all makes sense and is really cool, and I'm looking forward to doing some of the other stuff like skimming once I get this water loss figured out).