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Found where my system is losing water. What is this part?

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I've been trying to track down why my water feeder keeps kicking on. I changed a couple valves that were hissing a little, but nothing that would account for as much water as I was losing. My chimney looked normal, well at least the same as my neighbors anyway. Finally I found thing thing under my porch in the old coal room. It has a big slit in it and a puddle of water under it. Is it some sort of steam trap? There are no couplings around it. Not sure how I'd get it out of there other than cutting and replacing the two pipes holding it there and replacing with at least one coupling?


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  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
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    Looks like a bucket trap.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    What does the piping to this go to and where does it come from?
    Maybe needed or not.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,311
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    It does, doesn't it? The real question then is -- why is it there? The obvious thing to do is to cut it out and just replace the pipe (I'd take out the strainer, too, while I was at it). Some clever fitting of nipples and a union, or... Fernco time!

    But first, I'd try to figure out why there was a trap there in the first place...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
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    I’m wondering if it used to supply a small unit heater to keep the coal room warm to dry out the coal that was often stored in piles outdoors. My coal bunker room pitches back towards my boiler room and I suspect there used to be a floor drain under where the boiler is sitting now. Floor seems to pitch that way.
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    So, this is my coal room under my finished porch. I think maybe the porch wasn't finished at some point and they closed it in. It has baseboard steam units running along the entire outside wall, and two wall units on the wall that is inside the house. This loop appears to feed 2 of the baseboard units. Here's my best guess according to what i can see in the pictures. Blue is supply, yellow is return.

    From the boiler:


    Entering the porch area. It appears that the pipe feeds a unit as it enters the room and also acts as a return? Maybe, I didn't crawl in there yet and see, it could be feeding two different units.


    And to the trap. There is another line feeding another radiator here that is not in frame because it's in the joists:


    So I guess the trap is acting as a stop so the steam fills those radiators?

  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    It also looks like someone tried to fix this thing by slathering jdweld or epoxy or something similar on the bottom of the bucket...which admittedly may have also crossed my mind.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529
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    Looks like a bucket trap being used as an end of the main drip.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,311
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    It is quite possible that it was intended to act in some way as a steam trap. You would want to check what the elevations of the various pipes are in relation to the boiler water line to make sure that steam can't get into the returns.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    So something like this should work right? Provided that the pipe is actually 1"...i'll have to measure to make sure but it looks like 1":

    https://www.statesupply.com/an1086a
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,311
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    Looks pretty darn close to me.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,655
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    i bet it froze and split at some point
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
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    If there is no equipment that needs steam in the coal bunker remove the the bucket trap. Make sure you put a vent valve at the drop point of the steam pipe. The vent should be between 6 and 12" from the drop.

    Additionally you have quite a lot of un-insulated steam piping shown in the picture, that all all needs to be insulated.

    Jake
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    Additionally you have quite a lot of un-insulated steam piping shown in the picture, that all all needs to be insulated.

    Jake

    Can you recommend somewhere to buy insulation in bulk at less than the 8$ per 3 feet that the big box stores want?
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    Got the new trap today and installed:


    pecmsgIntplm.
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
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    I would have left a strainer before it. The amount of crud that could enter it can cause it to malfunction.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • deyrup
    deyrup Member Posts: 62
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    You can try these guys as well https://www.buyinsulationproductstore.com/Fiberglass-Pipe-Insulation-SSL-ASJ/. Their shipping fees are a little high and they don't label the sizes as far as I can tell. So if you get a bunch of sizes it can be hard to tell which size is which, but I like their product overall.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,655
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    Labeling sizes is tricky. Different types of pipe of the same nominal size are different outside diameters and labeling it by its actual id could be confusing as well. The fiberglass pipe insulation I have seen had a part number printed inside the flap that holds it together.

    Probably should put that hanger back.
  • underdog32
    underdog32 Member Posts: 91
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    Ironman said:

    I would have left a strainer before it. The amount of crud that could enter it can cause it to malfunction.

    Yes I should have done that. I added a drip leg to replace the strainer. Thanks for the reminder