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Trap repair options?

Zipper13
Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
We have six of these in our 1921 house (the other three have been replaced altogether).

After insulating the mains this year, we're finally seeing steam actually reach, and unfortunately pass through, the traps on several radiators.

They all appear to be the same size.

Do these need to be completely replaced or are there repair kits for the internals?











And this unfortunate onewith built-ins put in right up to it.



New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    Hoffmans. Check on the cover -- it should tell you which one. I think both Barnes & Jones and Tunstall have repair kits for them.

    That one tucked up against the baseboard could be a chore to get the cover off of. A six point socket to fit is the best choice, but... not sure you can slip it in there.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    Good tip. I found one with less paint caked on and if I shine the light just right it looks like it might say NO 3 or 8
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    No. 8. Piece of cake.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    That's encouraging. Thanks! Now I at least have a direction in which to head in my search for parts.
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @Zipper13

    The one against the baseboard I would remove the radiator then maybe the trap could be pulled off the baseboard a little so you can get the cap off.

    Better yet, since that one has poor access just replace the trap
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,629
    Might be worth finding a socket and line wrench to fit the cap and bottom respectively
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,830

    No. 8. Piece of cake.

    This. Both Tunstall and Barnes & Jones make repair kits for these traps. Very easy to install once you get the cap off.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Looks like the cap would be less difficult to remove, than the trap, with its outlet pipe.—NBC
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,944
    You might want to look into a company called Tunstall.
    They make rebuild kits for almost all types of steam traps. I have used their product and services often with much success.
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    edited December 2020
    Popping the cap and replacing the internals sounds safer to me (I think I just saw yesterday about someone who snapped a nipple trying to remove something!).

    I would be OK, shaving shaving the baseboard enough to fit a socket or to allow enough room for the cap to rotate - we or the next owners will need access someday again anyway.

    Forgive me, this does sound straightforward, but I'm hitting a wall in the search. I had hoped I could search explicitly for "Hoffman no 8 trap repair kit" or something similar, but there seem to be no direct replacement parts. I'm afraid I'm still unsure exactly how to proceed in the search. There must be more general search terms I need. I've looked at Tunstall and B&J, but I'm unclear which would apply to me.

    Can anyone offer a link to the part(s) i'd likely need or to some literature that might help guide me?

    thanks again!
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    Here's Barnes & Jones replacement guide...
    https://barnesandjones.com/products/repair-guide/thermostatic-h-m/ or the cage unit (take of cover, lift old one out, plop
    and this may the correct cage...
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Barnes-Jones-3500-Cage-Unit-for-Hoffman-Specialty-Traps
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,629
    I think that once you move the radiator(not a simple task in itself), you can move the pipe over enough to get a socket between the baseboard and the cap. I would recommend the socket and line wrench because they are least likely to distort the body or the cap and you have a number of them.
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    @Jamie Hall again with just the right nudge for me to move forward on this. I think this might be it for the #8 based on the the guide you linked to.
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Barnes-Jones-3494-Cage-Unit-for-1-2-or-3-4-Steam-Traps-HOFF-89CL-1-11

    @mattmia2 I'll keep that in mind. I definitely want to avoid marring or tweaking anything!

    Thanks, all!

    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,944
    @Zipper13 Just google up Tunstall. They are very good if you have any troubles. They match and cross-match all traps. It's what they do. :) (Just in case you can't find what you are looking for elsewhere.)
    Zipper13
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,830
    Zipper13 said:

    @Jamie Hall again with just the right nudge for me to move forward on this. I think this might be it for the #8 based on the the guide you linked to.
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Barnes-Jones-3494-Cage-Unit-for-1-2-or-3-4-Steam-Traps-HOFF-89CL-1-11

    That looks right. The 3500 is for the 17C, a completely different trap.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Zipper13Zman
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    I think this is my last question for now!....Is there a difference between "Hoffman model 8" an "Hoffman # 8" ?

    Model 8
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Barnes-Jones-2168-Cage-Unit-for-Model-8-Hoffman-Specialty-Traps

    # 8
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Barnes-Jones-3494-Cage-Unit-for-1-2-or-3-4-Steam-Traps-HOFF-89CL-1-11

    To my eye, the existing covers read "No. 8" so I'm leaning toward the latter as the likely replacement
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • Temporarily, while waiting for the parts, you could put an orifice plate in the supply pipe of the radiator, which will enable the radiator at least to be functional.
    One could be cut from an aluminum soft drink can.
    During this time, also it is a good time to check your pressure, and maybe put on a vaporstat, and low pressure gauge.--NBC
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    @nicholas bonham-carter thanks for the suggestion. All rads have mostly operable adjustable supply valves so things are well balanced for now. At the moment, all the rads function OK for heat, I'm just blowing steam into the returns on colder days when it runs longer or after small (1 or 2 deg setbacks) and figure that cant be helping comfort or fuel use.

    I have a low pressure gaugue and I've never seen it go higher than 3oz. I'm sure that will change once we get some working traps! so the vaporstat is definitely on the radar
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @Zipper13

    Just call Tunstall 1-800-423-5578
    mattmia2
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,060
    IIWM, I would get a good 6 point socket that fits tightly on the caps. You may have to scrap paint to get the socket to fit tighty.
    Also cleaning the top of the cap may give you more ID numbers to go by. With a right angle dental pick I would break the paint seal around the bottom of the cap.
    Then after the socket will fit on all caps, the one against the wood will need some work. A very sharp cupped chisel, such as used on a wood turning lath might do a nice job.
    (The fact of the the trap being that close to the woodwork indicates that trap may have never been opened since installation.)

    Then rent or borrow an electric impact gun, you will probably need extensions. I would put a back up pipe wrench on the trap body and nudge the cap off with the impact gun.

    I have opened a lot of traps and could not imagine doing it with out the impact.
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    I reached out to Supply House, BJ, and Tunstall. The first reply was today from SH. They said that there is no cage unit replacement for the "No. 8" and that the entire trap needed to be replaced by the 8C.
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,830
    Zipper13 said:

    I reached out to Supply House, BJ, and Tunstall. The first reply was today from SH. They said that there is no cage unit replacement for the "No. 8" and that the entire trap needed to be replaced by the 8C.

    Wrong. We've rebuilt #8 traps with B&J and Tunstall parts.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Intplm.
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    Thanks for the encouragement @Steamhead .
    I went ahead and ordered a B&J 3494 to test anyway.
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
    Intplm.
  • Zipper13
    Zipper13 Member Posts: 229
    Popping the cover to drop in the replacement cage unit sounds simple but I thought it would be easy too!

    I have 2 replacement cage units to drop in: one to test for fit in the Hoffman #8 traps and I also got one for an 8C that appears to have been newer as its on a non-original radiator.

    I can't budge either cover! So far I've used sockets on an impact driver and a ratchet + a 1 ft. pipe.
    I don't want to go too hard on these and snap something!

    This is definitely dropping onto the spring to-do list so I have a buffer to call in someone to fix what I might end up breaking!
    New owner of a 1920s home with steam heat north of Boston.
    Just trying to learn what I can do myself and what I just shouldn't touch
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    The one thing you don't want to do is round off that hex -- be sure, whatever you are doing, that you use a six point socket which exactly fits the hex. Also -- despite the radiator being there to hold things -- it doesn't hurt to have a backup wrench, such as a big crescent -- on the hex on the bottom of the trap body.

    But -- what you are doing makes me very glad that the system which Cedric powers is Hoffman Equipped, and the heavy lifting is all done by the adjustable valves and not the traps!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,516
    @Zipper13


    A bigger cheater pipe but use a back up wrench so as not to snap anything.

    Put a lot of tension on the cheater pipe and beat the cheater with a big hammer while a helper puts pressure on the trap with a back up wrench.

    If the trap cover is stuck with paint some heat from a torch may help