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Dead Men Tales: Old Buildings, New Steam

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 654
edited January 2021 in THE MAIN WALL



Old Buildings, New Steam

In the 1980s, New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development renovated hundreds of old buildings and installed brand new one-pipe steam systems. In this episode, Dan Holohan shares why steam was the solution and how he taught their contractors to install steam systems from scratch.

Listen and subscribe here.

Mad Dog_2

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,839
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    Love it!!
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Can't make this stuff up.
    Retired and loving it.
    luketheplumber
  • GCPlumber
    GCPlumber Member Posts: 1
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    A couple of years ago or so there was an incident in NYC (the Bronx, I think) where two children died when a leaky or defective steam valve caused a problem that killed the kids. I've always hoped to read some comments or explanations about this incident. Since I work on the steam systems in public schools, I thought I should be aware of things that could kill children.
    Apparently this doesn't happen too frequently, but twice is enough. Does anyone know anything about how this happened?
    Mad Dog_2
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    The air vent came off the radiators and the room filled with steam.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,215
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    ...I always assumed in that case the pressure was probably higher than it had to be also, and while NYC requires a lock out pressurtrol, I suspect it was set higher than two pounds or the pigtail clogged. We've seen ten/fifteen pounds of steam blowing out a broken off vent and it isn't pretty.
    CLambMad Dog_2ethicalpaul
  • Stuart Rogers
    Stuart Rogers Member Posts: 49
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    https://www.rt.com/usa/369705-bronx-homeless-radiator-burns/ Tenants were complaining of out-of-control heat that day. Sounds like pressure was way too high.
    Mad Dog_2ethicalpaul
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Tenants will often turn the air vent upside-down to stop the air from venting and slow the steam. If more than one person is doing this and not telling the other, it's very easy for the vent to fall off, especially if the steam pressure is too high.
    Retired and loving it.
    Mad Dog_2
  • echosair
    echosair Member Posts: 7
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    I appreciate that. There's a lot of good point to glean from. Thanks
  • eauciel
    eauciel Member Posts: 5
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    Great story and good lessons!
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    Yeah..the old 1/8" Radiator tappings get loose and wobbly. Sometimes, the Air Vents will fall right off.  I think Dan said, the Steam displaced all the oxygen in the room. Mad Dog 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,245
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    The "shell game" was played on me too!
    1999.  Bed Stuy (Do or die) Brooklyn.  We were building a new wing on to Interfaith Hospital. (No comment)  Atlantic Ave.   I was driving Barbara's 1986 Malibu.  Came out of work one day...GONE. Went to police PCT.  The cop said there was a good chance, we'd get it back...hmmm. He made a call and 5 minutes later some dude from Area comes up to me right outside the PCT: "yo..."we" know who took your car.....$1000 bucks, they'll return it!"
    Swindle!!!   I wasn't going to play their dirty game and the car was a beater anyway..Car showed up a few blocks away stripped and destroyed days later.  That's Livin and Workin in the Big City!!!  Gotta love it...or you'll hate it!   Mad Dog
  • Gjpelletier78
    Gjpelletier78 Member Posts: 1
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    Thanks Dan, thats a great story.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Thanks!
    Retired and loving it.
  • FStephenMasek
    FStephenMasek Member Posts: 88
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    Wonderful story! If I owned a building in an area with harsh Winters, I'd probably want one-pipe steam heat
    Author of Illustrated Practical Asbestos: For Consultants, Contractors, Property Managers & Regulators