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2 pipe primers never under estimate the stupid

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clammy
clammy Member Posts: 3,112
I know some of us think we see it all well and now for something completely different . I always try to be diligent in looking at 2 pipe issues and well I figured I caught it all but as a refresher and in case you forget this rule here’s the reminder look look and look some more and always throw the disclaimer in there over and over . Well after fixing what was surely the main issue no traps on recessed radiator which where pressurizing the dry returns and updating the dry return and end of the mains which made huge differences being they where never updated from the coal days .one radiator which had no trap and was blasting heat now gave nothing I realized there some a miss ,there where some old water seal traps and a mis mosh of all types of radiator traps marsh ,Hoffmann and sarco and that there’s gonna be bad ones and of course the mis mosh of replacement radiators and most all missing the original orifice supply valves .As I looked at the rad which was blazing and now ice I started to look again at the riser which serves another radiator . I figures as badly as a lot of piping was that it did work at one time . We finished up order some more traps and informed the Ho we would return to finish . As I drove home and hours later it can to me who ever installed the recessed 2 Nd floor radiator had reverse the supply and return w a hand valve on the return and Richardson water seal trap on the supply .so yet another de knuckling project removing and reversing the piping on the recessed rad in a beautifully super bath . So for all you 2 pipe fixers never under estimate how stupid some trades men can be ,the original plumber who was working on the system for years finally admitted he was licked all over and was done only after about 10 years of dicking around and replacing all sorts of stuff ,traps .radiator supply valve but never updated the dry return venting or main venting ,aside from the traps and bad piping the boiler near boiler piping is garbage using a single tapping and a 2 1/2 header for a 300 btu boiler . I m hoping to repipe this rad and replace a few more traps and hope no other major issues are still hiding . So when out there looking at 2 pipe issues remember that If there s newer radiators and there’s recessed or free standing to really double down on following everything out and to never rule out the stupidity of those who can before you . Last note is if they won’t let you crank the t stat up to find the issues that usually appear after a 15 to 20 minute cycle on 2 pipe system you should just leave them to the rubes and there form misery a 2 pipe system w issues . In closing just when u thought you seen it all someone will amazing you w some thing even stupider then you could have dreamed or done wrong yourself as a youngster ,just can’t make it up and former vapor vacuum systems do not work well w recessed radiator without traps or orificed supply valves and even w they perform like garbage .leave them free standing radiator feeding at the top ,If you don’t want issues . On a side note those who complain about there 2 pipe issues usually except the miracle network to appear and it all to be fixed in a Minute they really are clueless and it’s even sadder that total clueless parade and offer repairs can’t make it up . Now back to work u all
Peace and good luck clammy
R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
NJ Master HVAC Lic.
Mahwah, NJ
Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
luketheplumberLarry WeingartenBobC

Comments

  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,112
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    Bigger side note that 2 Nd floor rad has been mis piped for over 20 years and endless plumbers and heating guys missed it maybe cause they never knew what they where looking at . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    luketheplumber
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
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    Thanks, @clammy -- and so true.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    Clammy I'm your biggest fan but we have to start a collection to get your "return" key fixed man :smiley:
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    STEVEusaPALarry WeingartenPC7060
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,112
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    LOL Paul ,not a computer or typing guy was not a shining student in school either , just old school nothing fancy type can always be seen in a tee shirt and the only shoes I wear are work that’s me nothing complicated what u see is what u get so let’s just keep it simple and lets just get it done while where still young . Always thinking it out before leaping and as you get older you use your brain more then the muscle cause they did there time and may need a rest . Thanks for the words peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpaulLarry Weingarten
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
    edited January 2021
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    clammy said:

    I know some of us think we see it all well and now for something completely different.
    I always try to be diligent in looking at 2 pipe issues and well I figured I caught it all but as a refresher and in case you forget this rule here’s the reminder look look and look some more and always throw the disclaimer in there over and over.
    Well after fixing what was surely the main issue no traps on recessed radiator which where pressurizing the dry returns.
    Updating the dry return and end of the mains which made huge differences being they were never updated from the coal days. One radiator which had no trap and was blasting heat now gave nothing. I realized there some a miss ,there where some old water seal traps and a mis mosh of all types of radiator traps- Marsh ,Hoffmann and Sarco. There’s gonna be bad ones and of course the mis mosh of replacement radiators and most all missing the original orifice supply valves.
    As I looked at the rad which was blazing and now ice I started to look again at the riser which serves another radiator. I figures as badly as a lot of piping was that it did work at one time. We finished up, order some more traps and informed the H/O we would return to finish.
    As I drove home and hours later it came to me who ever installed the recessed 2nd floor radiator had reverse the supply and return with a hand valve on the return and Richardson water seal trap on the supply. So yet another de knuckling project removing and reversing the piping on the recessed rad in a beautifully super bath.
    So for all you 2 pipe fixers never under estimate how stupid some tradesmen can be. The original plumber who was working on the system for years finally admitted he was licked all over and was done only after about 10 years of dicking around and replacing all sorts of stuff-traps, radiator supply valve but never updated the dry return venting or main venting. Aside from the traps and bad piping the boiler near boiler piping is garbage using a single tapping and a 2 1/2 header for a 300k btu boiler.
    I'm hoping to repipe this rad and replace a few more traps and hope no other major issues are still hiding. So when out there looking at 2 pipe issues remember that If there's newer radiators and there’s recessed or free standing to really double down on following everything out and to never rule out the stupidity of those who can before you.
    Last note is if they won’t let you crank the t stat up to find the issues that usually appear after a 15 to 20 minute cycle on 2 pipe system you should just leave them to the rubes and there form misery a 2 pipe system w/issues.
    In closing just when u thought you seen it all someone will amazing you with some thing even stupider then you could have dreamed or done wrong yourself as a youngster.
    Just can’t make it up and former vapor vacuum systems do not work well w/recessed radiator without traps or orificed supply valves, and even with them they perform like garbage.
    Leave them free standing radiator feeding at the top if you don’t want issues.
    On a side note those who complain about there 2 pipe issues usually expect the miracle network to appear and it all to be fixed in a minute.
    They really are clueless and it’s even sadder that total clueless people and offer repairs can’t make it up . Now back to work u all.
    Peace and good luck clammy

    Ok, now I can read it, but still can't figure out what's in bold.

    Good stuff as always Clammy!

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,540
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    I had one years ago for my brother in laws father. He was in his 90s. He had a house with an old steam boiler with a tank less heater which had been replaced with a gas hot water tank.

    The main house had steam heat but the addition which was 30 years old when I got there had a hot water loop using the tank less coil.

    The hot water loop had never heated very well since it was added (30 years) and the old man was old now and liked to sit in that room and was complaining it was cold.

    They told me i was the last resort they had every plumber in town work on this and it wouldn't heat.

    They had ripped out the CI radiation , replaced it with baseboard then ripped the baseboard out and put the CI back in.

    Had a 1" supply out then split the loop with two 3/4 returns Taco 110 circ.

    I folowed the pipe and the supply was hot near the boiler then lukewarm farther out then cold. I thought air bound. The old man shakes his head and says "thats what they all say" So I bled it and just got water.

    I stood and stared at the boiler and thought about the tankless,,,,how it had 1/2" connections and how many feet of 1/2" tubing were in it.

    Went and got a pump with a higher head rating
    ...fixed
  • Dan_NJ
    Dan_NJ Member Posts: 247
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    "realized there some a miss" sure looks to me like "something amiss"
    "was licked all over" - two possibilities - either the original plumber was a cat, or he realized he was beaten and gave up. Probably the latter :smile:


    ethicalpaul
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    I learned a long time ago that you have to sit back and look at everything at some point. Just assume it was all done wrong and go step by step.

    Years ago we were making a power supply for a navy radar system after the original manufacturer went under. Our supply worked great but once in a while a specific fault would show up. Swapping out the supply did not help. After some head scratching i looked at the system that was faulting out and looked at the circuit diagrams for that system.

    It turns out we supplied one aux voltage feed (24v nominal) for misc use and that was an unregulated line but one are that aux feed supplied used it as a voltage fault detector. if that ever dropped below 22v it faulted out. We ended up putting a couple of extra turns on the transformer that fed this aux supply and the problem stopped.

    That aux feed navy spec was wrong it should have either been a regulated output or had an absolute minimum level specified. By pure chance the original supplier supplied a slightly higher voltage and thus did not fault out.

    Always suspect things you know are right, sometimes things change and that that was right isn't anymore.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    This is similar to BobC's story.

    I was called to look after a 1938 schoolhouse. An older building next to it had housed the boiler. Both were removed in the late 70's. The new 50+ HP boiler was craned down into a new basement room and had roof built above it. Of course this install was done by pro's from the city probably 200 miles away....who would question their ability??

    The water hammer was terrible, you could see there were various attempts to fix this. The place put up with this for years.
    It is a 2 pipe system with part of the dry returns using gravity return with a check valve and the lower returns using a condensate pump. Zone valves installed for each.
    I danced with this situtation for some time.

    Finally asked an older person who remembered the older building that was removed, had another sub basement where the original boiler was. This allowed the whole original system to use gravity return.

    The light bulb in my head came on. I kicked myself for assuming that because the new boiler was installed by the big boys from the city that they knew what they were doing. With the zone valves they did not have enough "B" dimension. The old boiler's water line was probably 3' lower than the replacement.

    The solution for the problem was to use the condensate for both returns. Half a day of repiping took care of a 30 year problem.
    ethicalpaul
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,112
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    I de say the biggest difference upon just adding the venting on the end of the steam main was time and distribution . Before the end of the supply main never got hot the thermostat would shut the boiler down before the mains really had steam established . It was a lucky set up the front of the home would get some heat and just when they got hot the other rads without traps would by pass pressurize the dry return and stop all steam distribution and within a few minutes the stat shut it . When I turned it up past normal setting it got very interesting and even noisier . After the initial repairs and additional repairs and venting upgrades , there was still a lot of start up noise because of very poor near boiler piping but the end of the main is hot within 4 to 5 minutes w a Luke warm steam main ( after a 5 hours shut off for repairs ) . Steam is hitting all the supply valves at the rads within about 2 to 3 minutes and at the end of the cycle w the t stat satisfied every rad is hot . With the extra venting on the dry return there no back pressure the boiler topping out at 3 to 5 ounces and the returns are cool no radiators traps are leaking and at such a low pressure even the original Richardson water seal traps about 9 left seem to be functioning ok and not by passing any steam into the returns .They still suffer from the bad boiler piping which is really tossing some water into the single steam main and just plain wet steam so even though it’s much better it ain’t what it should and could be dryer steam ,but it’s a slippery slope in re piping the boiler 20 years old so it’s kinda like invest or wait till replacement . I really haven’t done a edr on all the rads but I ll get around to it in the next visit ,it may not be to far off on size there s a lot of iron there 22 radiators in total over 3 floors . I think just having the traps working and not pressurizing the dry return and main venting has the system running the best it ever has in 20years or so or to when it was completely original and ran into a vacuum like most Richardson’s I have run into , I can’t see how it even operated well w no traps on 3 radiators but steam even 2 pipe is quite forgiving to a point . .It will be interesting to see how much the gas bill drops and of course comfort increase . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating