Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.
Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.

wet steam,randomly out of rad vent, what are the root causes?Main vent replace?

LS123
LS123 Member Posts: 339
Hello All,
Randomly and occasionally, one of my steam rad vent seems to have water inside, or rad it self has water. I had replaced the vent, at that time vent stopped having discharge steam and small amount of water (Pipes Rad levels are on correct slope.) Now its happening again. this radiator is connected to the supply line that has a main vent in the basement, and near the return line.

This main vent start releasing pressure about 1 PSI, then it will not stop, hindering pressure buildup in the system... Because of this main vent not stop, burner keeps running. Although main vent will not shut, boiler slowly build up pressure and its take a while so.

(** I have another main vent on the other side of the basement, that vent has never opens to release pressure for last 4 years, but the all the steam rads on that side of the house gets heated much faster)

I am guessing the main vents may need a replacing, but not sure if that is what makes randomly have water and steam come out of above mentioned rad...

Love to get your thoughts on this matter

See attached.
Thank you!


@LS123
Steam Heat Enthusiast
-- In Learning Mode --
" Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,373
    A vent -- main or otherwise -- should close in the presence of steam. It should never open to relieve pressure -- that's not it's function at all. If you have a vent which is doing that, it's junk.

    A recap here: the purpose of the vents is to release air from the system as the boiler begins to create steam. Thus they should be wide open at the beginning of a heating cycle. When steam hits them, they should close.

    Further, you neither need nor want pressure buildup in a steam heating system. The burners will keep running to create steam, which carries the heat to the radiators. If the burners aren't running, there's no steam being created, and with no steam created, there's no heat. And oversized boiler will slowly build up pressure, but that's not desirable, and its controls should turn it off to allow the rest of the system to catch up.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    LS123ethicalpaul
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    thank you @Jamie Hall . I will definitely have to replace the main vent valve mention in this post. Because that vent (on one of the main supply lines) never stop releasing air, steam ( because this vent never shuts down even when the steam is going to the radiators, and the boiler is running for neatly 20 minutes at 1 psi. )

    It seem like main vent valves are kind of expensive. My local heating and plumbing store only has vent rite. I would rather spend the $$ and get something really good. what would you recommend?

    Best!
    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,373
    My preference -- for years -- has been Gortons. Probably #2s for the mains. Yes, they are expensive, but they're darn near bullet proof, and a good investment. They're available from a number of places on line -- Amazon has them, but so does supplyhouse.com. And you're right -- Plimpton&Hills -- which usually has everything -- doesn't have them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    LS123
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    I called Plimpton&Hills at torrington they only mention vent rite.. I will call the again.... supply house is good, competitive prices... what is #2 on the main vent refers to? Also what Gortons # of vents should I use for radiators? Thank you @Jamie Hall
    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,373
    I meant the Gorton #2 vent for the main vent. Radiators are all over the place in terms of sizing and numbers. The Gorton D is the same size as the Gorton #1, with a different connection. The others get smaller from there. However, I'd probably use Vent-rite #1's on the radiators, as they are adjustable so you can fiddle without having to take them on and off.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    LS123
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    thank you @Jamie Hall
    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,762
    If you are on a budget you can get a Maid O Mist #1 which is functionally extremely similar to a Gorton #1 from supplyhouse.com for $18.

    This is smaller capacity than the Gorton #2 that @Jamie Hall mentioned, but it's a lot of bang for the buck
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    LS123
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    thank you @ethicalpaul , I already ordered two gorton #2 main vent plus whole bunch of things... its only two I need and I have not had them replaced for nearly 4 year. I am excitedly waiting for arrival of my steam boiler parts goodies... I feel like a kid in a candy store when I am on supplyhouse site..
    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
    ethicalpaul
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    @Jamie Hall @ethicalpaul @ by the way, I took a look at the Main Vent that has been releasing steam a lot non stop... when I took it out I can hear metal parts inside shaking... It is Rite Vent 75 it says... but looking forward to the new Gortons not sure what cause it to break...
    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,762
    edited January 14
    It's not unusual to hear the internal parts of vents rattling when you shake them, depending on the design. It might also have chunks of rust in there from earlier water level issues, corroded parts of the vent, etc.

    You'll be happy with those vents, they are solid (and BIG!). I feel the same way when I get a shipment from supplyhouse
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    LS123
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    yes... I think that main vent must be really old.. yes it rattles like a rattle snake... and its was like that last winter... I thought it was normal....now I have learned a lot from this site... I realized it time for upgrade...
    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,175
    When you receive your G-2's, you can test them.....they should rattle, that is the float.....hold them up and you should be able to blow thru...(unless your breath is at steam temp which would close it).....then while blowing, tip them down and they should seal shut...that would be the float sealing the air vent.
    LS123ethicalpaul
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    @JUGHNE thank you SO much for this info... I had no idea that one could test them... I was going to depend on Gorton's quality assurance team.... but with my luck I probably have a high chance of getting a defective one... my breath only get to steam temp when I have to deal with my ex-wife :D
    So hopefully I will avoid convo with her until I get my main vents... and test them... B) staying cool for now... thanks again for the tip on how to test them...
    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
  • LS123
    LS123 Member Posts: 339
    @Jamie Hall @JUGHNE ... omg ... Gorton 2 main vent is Huge.... by the way @JUGHNE i tested the gortons... works well.. by the way you forgot to put in the fine print and disclaimer... that its going taste like DW-40... not that i try WD-40... perhaps accidentally :D
    By the way Gorton two has made a significant difference... see below pic ... what used to be as a main vent and the gorton 2

    @LS123
    Steam Heat Enthusiast
    -- In Learning Mode --
    " Trust But Verify " Suzanne Massie, an American scholar
Sign In or Register to comment.

Welcome

It looks like you're new here. If you want to get involved, click one of these buttons!