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Main vent on steam line help

jmet
jmet Member Posts: 15
When I bought my house there were a bunch of cast iron radiators in the basement. Unusable. And once winter came the knocking and banging started. Someone had capped a few lines and ran electric heat instead on second floor other than one remaining radiator with a return line. Seems they were slowly converting over but my whole main floor is heated by steam. Its a gas boiler, and I noticed the capped line runs to the hartford loop and thats where the main vent is located, and spits water. Looks like two mains correct me if im wrong, should those lines both need main vents? All the first floor radiators are one pipe pitched to the valve. Im not really sure what to do here since its been chopped up, local plumbers checked it out and says o its pitched good etc, but not familiar with steam systems and how the hartford loop / main vent works. 

Comments

  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15
    I forgot to mention that the capped line was originally capped further away, it ran to an area where a radiator was originally and they capped the elbow. That was all that ran off that line as far as i could tell. 
  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15
    Would it be silly to close the yellow handle ball valve 
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    jmet said:

    Would it be silly to close the yellow handle ball valve 

    Very, that's how the water gets back into the boiler.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    New England SteamWorks
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    All mains need a main vent. The main vent is usually after the last radiator before it turns back to the boiler, but having them right before the wet return can work also.

    It's a shame someone ripped it out instead of fixing it. Banging, many times, is relatively easy to fix. Steam should be absolutely silent when it's running.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    jmet
  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15
    That whole line seems useless a this point, theres about 20’ of line thats capped and goes nowhere. But holds the only vent. Trying to gather as much intel as possible to pass along to someone i hire to repair. My thoughts were to cap that union right next to the red handle valve and add a vent elsewhere?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    If it goes nowhere and really is a steam main -- and you don't want to add more radiation, for instance in that electrically heated area -- take it out and cap it as close to the boiler as is reasonable. The vent on it is, no surprise, useless.

    I presume that this line is actually one of the two pipes which rise from the boiler header? I must admit that as I look at the pictures it is a little confusing to me as to exactly which pipe is in question. In the picture with the red arrow and the vent, the pipe to which the vent is attached is, in fact, a return -- not a steam main.

    Which leads me to suspect that this whole system has been messed up a good deal more than you may realise.

    In trying to figure out this system, it would be very helpful to have a picture or two of one of the remaining radiators, and a diagram of all the pipes attached to the boiler and where they go, if you can produce that.

    In any even, find the real steam main -- the one that actually does something -- and see if there might not be a convenient place to add a vent at or near the end of it.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15
    If it goes nowhere and really is a steam main -- and you don't want to add more radiation, for instance in that electrically heated area -- take it out and cap it as close to the boiler as is reasonable. The vent on it is, no surprise, useless. I presume that this line is actually one of the two pipes which rise from the boiler header? I must admit that as I look at the pictures it is a little confusing to me as to exactly which pipe is in question. In the picture with the red arrow and the vent, the pipe to which the vent is attached is, in fact, a return -- not a steam main. Which leads me to suspect that this whole system has been messed up a good deal more than you may realise. In trying to figure out this system, it would be very helpful to have a picture or two of one of the remaining radiators, and a diagram of all the pipes attached to the boiler and where they go, if you can produce that. In any even, find the real steam main -- the one that actually does something -- and see if there might not be a convenient place to add a vent at or near the end of it.

  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15

    No
  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15

  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15
    The dry return as a labeled is the pipe that was capped. All radiators return via steam pipe. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    Oh dear. Where does the return on the radiator in the first picture go? It must have gone somewhere...

    I'm not sure I see the relevance of the diagram you posted to your system, though there are some resemblances.

    If all the radiators return via the steam main, then it is a counterflow system, or at least it is now. It wasn't, to begin with. In which case, the risers are too small...

    It appears that you have two risers, hence two steam mains? Where do they go? What do they do? They both need vents.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15
    The second floor line I believe was capped at the 90 in the basement. and it appears that the radiator is pitched the wrong way then. Essentially that return pipe is just full of cold wate hanging off that radiator serving no purpose.  Both risers feed 3 radiators each.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    EEK!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jmet
    jmet Member Posts: 15
    edited December 2020
    Headache after headaches with this system. But the two fellas i got quotes from wanted an arm and a leg to look into it and “see what they can do” i had replaced the damper thermocouple and blocked vent safety switch myself as it was gonna run me around “$” which turned out it was about $ and an hour of my time. Then for the knocking and venting they were just puzzled which made me turn them away. Simply stating they follow diagrams but couldn’t figure out what to do with what was done. 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,517
    @jmet
    Post where you are located and try "find a contractor " on this site. Even if no one here is in your area they may recommend someone
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    Reviewed pics again.  My comment about the valve is based on how it should be not how it currently is.  That pipe should be hooked to the other end of the main and is the return.

    Judging by the fittings I see I’d speculate a large portion of that system was reputed at some point and someone did multiple things wrong, then to “fix” it later someone just started abandoning the system for electric.

    If you really want to fix this I’d say you are in for a fair amount of work or money, depending on how much you want to DIY.

    What size are the mains off the header, they look like they might be 1 1/2” (1.9” actual OD)?  If so, I don’t see any way to get that size to work correctly as a counter flow, which is what you indicate.  In addition it isn’t piped correctly to be a counter flow.  If it’s parallel flow, then the pipe you want to turn off needs to be connected to the end of main and the other main will need a similar return.

    Someone really screwed that system up.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    "Someone really screwed that system up.: Kinda what I said, @KC_Jones
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    "Someone really screwed that system up.: Kinda what I said, @KC_Jones
    I totally missed your post @Jamie Hall.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    I was just seconding you motion, @KC_Jones ! Though I might add that honestly I think "screwed up" is a charitable understatement.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England