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I have 2 Pressuretrols one is set pretty high

theald
theald Member Posts: 11
I recently purchased this 16 unit 100 yr old apartment bldg. Having problems with heat getting everywhere. I haven't been able to check all of the radiators yet, but I know I have people using the shutofff valves to try and control Temperature and I'm sure there are vents not working or plugged off. Why would I have to pressuretrols?

My pressure gauge cuts in at 5 cutsout at 6 1/2 according to a 30 lb gauge. The pressuretrol on the right seems to be set at 7 1/2 and the one on the left is set at the bottom so I guess probably .5 I just read "The Lost art of Steam Heating" by Dan and obviously my pressures are way too high. Would I be foolish to turn the pressure down in the winter like this and then start looking at all the other issues?

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,918
    Not at all -- but the first thing to do is to find out why the pressure is cutting out at 6 1/2, while you have a pressuretrol set at 0.5 (which would be the cutin). That's not right -- and I'd be mightily suspicious of a clogged connection to the pressuretrol -- though that shouldn't happen with that piping arrangement for them. Either that or the gauge is wrong -- which also could be. The other pressuretrol -- the one set at 7.5 -- is a manual reset, so you would know if it were controlling.

    You do need two, by the way, for code compliance for an apartment building -- at least in most jurisdictions.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    LS123
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,323
    The pressure control on the left is your operating control. That is the one that is cycling the burner. The one on the right is a high limit safety control (notice the red reset button) It will shut the burner down if the other control fails....it's a back up safety control that's why it is set to a higher pressure.

    Your pressure is too high. A steam heated residential buildings are designed to heat at 1.5-2 psi or less.


    If you decide to monkey with the left hand control you should set the cut in just above 0 and then take the cover off and set the white wheel inside (the differential) to 2. But note where it is set now so you can return to it if need be

    Before you go fooling with things post some pictures of the boiler and the piping around it. Also look around all the piping in the basement looking for air vents.

    A pictur eof a couple of radiators would help


    theald
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,667
    known to beat dead horses
  • theald
    theald Member Posts: 11
    I'm in Kansas. Temp can swing up and down pretty quick in January 50 one day 20 the next making it more of a challenge to keep everyone happy.
  • theald
    theald Member Posts: 11
    Being in Kansas there's not as many steam systems around making it hard to find someone who really knows their way around them. That's why I'm self educating. Any other resources would be appreciated.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,608
    16 families rely on this heating system. You have to call a pro
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,021
    Cleaning pigtails is always a good start.
    Adding a 0-5 PSI gauge while keeping the 0-30 onboard.

    Where in Kansas?
    theald
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,726
    Also, it looks like both controls are on the same pigtail. That's a major no-no, since if the pigtail gets plugged it disables both controls.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    theald
  • theald
    theald Member Posts: 11

    This is the only vent I've seen on a main run that goes down 1 side of the building. The pipes running the length of the building are enclosed in a pegboard style enclosure to heat the basement apartments. Naturally no radiators in basement.
    The white pipe goes to the other side of the building. No known vent on it. I'm thinking this is probably an issue.
    This is typical radiator for the building. These are large studio apartments. They are using Hoffman #40 vents. Some are plugged off. Also an issue.

    This is the boiler. It seems to keep the water level where it should be according to the site glass.
    We are supposed to have a warmer weekend so I'm going to investigate the pressure issue while it doesn't need to run too much.
  • theald
    theald Member Posts: 11
    Topeka, KS
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,918
    You do indeed need more main venting -- or some! That will help the heat distribution. However, your unnsulated main piping isn't helping you at all. That will slow down the heat to the more distant radiators, main venting or no main venting. It's very attractive to use the heat from uninsulated pipes to heat the apartments they run though, but it makes it very difficult to get anything like even heat elsewhere in the building. You may at some point what to consider giving the basement apartments their own hot water heating loop off the boiler. It's not difficult to do, and gives everyone a lot more control.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • theald
    theald Member Posts: 11
    I found my pressure problem! The spring inside the Pressuretrol had gotten out of place. Put it back where it belongs and reduced the pressure dramatically. Have better gauge ordered so I can get a more accurate picture. Since then my pump control stuck and filled the whole system with water. Got it working for now and ordered a new head for it. Time will tell what else I need to address. Thank you all for the comments . It was a big help.