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110 year old 2 pipe steam system, help needed. Area code 68901

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245

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  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,728
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    I'm not familiar with a phenomenon that causes the water level to rise in the gauge glass during firing (except other than slightly). Can you specify what is exactly the level when it's not boiling and then exactly when and how high it rises?

    It can fall due to these two causes that I'm aware of:
    - "wet steam" -- water/foam being "carried over" by boiling action into the main pipes due primarily to incorrect near-boiler piping
    - Pressure build up in the boiler will push the water "out the back" and up the returns

    Maybe one or both of the gauge glass ports is blocked?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,707
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    top sight glass valve closed or plugged , , ,
    top glass seal loose and leaking air , , ,
    boiling starts and pushes water line to top of glass,
    boiling stops and air leaks back in and water line falls to low level , , ,
    # question mark, exclamation mark , , ,

    or post a picture of the boiler floor to ceiling, showing header, equalizer, and return
    known to beat dead horses
    ethicalpaul
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    I have posted other photos earlier on this post of the returns. 
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
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    I think you are priming due to excessive water treatment, judging by those bubbles I see in the sight glass.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    Grallert
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,735
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    Whatever is in the water that is pink and foamy certainly isn't helping matters.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    The bubbles -- yeah. Priming or foaming or both. pH probably too high; too much water treatment chemical.

    This will also cause very wet steam, though you may not notice the detriment to your system.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,728
    edited February 2021
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    At what point in the heating cycle are the last two photos? In the last photo the level is about half with lots of bubbles and in the second to last photo the level looks full of water.

    Might as well skim it, that will take care of any stuff floating on top and will also "lean out" the treatment that's in there (looks like 8-way to me). It's got the "speed skimmer" and skim pipe and valve all set up
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    It is 8 way. I put it in at start of heating season.
    The bubbles are after the sight glass fills up and starts to drop back down. The boiler was still firing.
    The other is after pressure is gone.

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,735
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    So the high level is after the boiler is off and the half full sight glass is while firing?
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    Is the water supply shut off while this happens, are you sure your feeder is not adding water?
    Have you tested both of your low water cut offs (LWCO) to assure they shut down the burner when activated?

    IIWM, I would do as recommended above....drain the system and then skim the boiler for some extended time.

    You have a very unusual piping and venting arrangement.
    Also there is a check valve in the horizontal line down near the floor, that may be hung up and holding water up in the return piping.
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,728
    edited February 2021
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    mattmia2 said:

    So the high level is after the boiler is off and the half full sight glass is while firing?

    Yeah it sounds like it. I think this is the opposite of what was posed in the original question or maybe I wasn't reading it as intended. Makes a lot more sense this way.

    If the glass is full when the boiler isn't firing, the water level is definitely too high. So here's what I would do:

    - skim until the water is about 1/2 as dark with treatment as it is now, or even lighter.
    - Drain to put the water level at about 1/2 up the glass.
    - turn off the valve to the auto feeder (although it looks like it's already off in your pictures)
    - watch the water level closely for a few days or more
    - turn back on the valve to the auto feeder
    - watch the water level again and see if it rises

    You want to address the weird sudsy water and also the question of if your water level is mysteriously rising.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • kenlmad
    kenlmad Member Posts: 56
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    Regarding the rising water line in the sight glass, the exit velocity of the steam during the firing could be creating a tilted water line. The single steam outlet riser is on the same side as the sight glass.

    As Dan H. states in his TLAOSH Chapter 4, "Like a crowd leaving a burning building with not enough fire exists, the steam panicked. It pushed and shoved so hard that it actually tilted the water line toward the outlet!"

    I love that book.
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    I drained, skimmed and did check valve yesterday.
    Today turned thermostat up higher than normal. Gauge topped out in less than 2 minutes runtime. Main steam valves closed, water fell below setting for refill. Pressure had risen to 5 psi, pressuretrol tripped. Cut in pressure set half to 2 psi. Pressuretrol gauge trip set at 2.5. Pretty sure a new low water cutoff needed. Float is sticking down. Autofill is overfilling.
    JUGHNE, if I add rad valves, will the return pipes need to be capped off at boiler?

    Thanks
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,735
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    Was the system hot or cold when it hit 5psi in 2 minutes? it sounds like it isn't venting air for one reason or another so the steam isn't making it to the radiators so you are just compressing steam in the mains instead of condensing it to water in the radiators. Are the vents steam hot when they close or are they filling with water and closing? the water level could be dropping because it is throwing that much water up in to the mains or because the pressure is pushing it up in to the returns or possibly both.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    By gauge do you mean sight glass?
    Did you open the check valve, was there anything in it?
    Does your top pressuretrol have a reset button/lever on the top of it?
    If so that is manual reset high limit, do you ever have to push it?

    Your bottom control is set low as possible, how about under it's cover, is a wheel you should try/set at 1.

    Have you been draining the LWCO regularly?

    You have a second LWCO, have you tested that? It is the black box on the boiler with 2 buttons on the top. One is test....burner should shut off and the other is reset after it locks out.......it has a probe that goes into the boiler water. It needs cleaning every 1-2 years.
    Come spring you can open the blow down LWCO and clean the float and chamber.

    However you must have LWCO working.
    If the float is stuck down then the burner should not fire.

    If you put air vents (not air valves) on each radiator then I would cap/plug the small lines right at the radiators as finding the other end of the small pipes seems difficult to locate.
    Leave the return piping intact for now.


    Now if you have the water level in the sight glass 1/2 to 3/4 full...with a cool boiler...and then shut off water supply. Then when boiler fires what does the water level do??
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    Yes, I mean sight glass.
    There was about half a cup of water that came out of check valve.
    It does have a reset on top and yes I have had to reset it.
    I set it at 1 this morning.
    I do the blow down quite often. I use it to lower water in sight glass when it gets too high.
    I think the float works, but I think it is slow to rise? because the feeder does not stop until over half filled.
    When boiler is cold and fires the water tops out the sight glass and stays there until main vents close. It then slowly drops and holds where it should. Sometimes after pressure is gone it falls farther and calls for water. If the feeder is off when it cools the water will come back to normal. It doesn't make sense to me.

    How detrimental is it too have radiators turned off when that part of the house is not being used? We rarely use the second floor now.

    Since draining the system down 2 days ago, the hammering has become much worse. What would the reason be for this? I need to find a plumber that has time to work on steel pipe.

    Thanks for everyone helping me out!
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    Was the check valve clean and the flapper not stuck...easy swinging?

    Your top pressure control is for high pressure protection only.
    It should be set maybe to 5PSI. This is assuming that it is level by looking at the built in pendulum pointer.
    It is not part of the operating system, only there for the event of the failure of the lower control that should keep the pressure at 2 PSI or so maximum.

    When cold and fires and the water level rises, is the water supply shut off?
    In other words is the water feeder turning on when first firing and adding water?

    If you leave the water supply valve off, all 3 ball valves, will the water level ever drop to shut down the burner.

    Did you test the electronic LWCO with the push buttons?
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,707
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    where are you hearing the hammering?
    at the boiler?
    that long hartford loop horizontal is supposed to be a close nipple, and with the fluctuating water line I am expecting this is where you're hearing the hammer.

    Did you dilute that pink water?
    I would go as far as to dump it all, save it in buckets(??) for later if you wish to reintroduce some of it,
    try running clear(enough)(mostly clear) water and see if water settles down,

    those pictures of your sightglass,
    am I seeing leakage from the top seal ?
    pretty sure I see drip lines, or remnants of past leakage,

    I still stand by my first post here,
    check that top valve that it is clear all the way back into the boiler,
    I am wondering if the frothing bubblage seen in the sightglass is boiling over thru the LWCO connection , ,

    the manual reset Ptrol should be set higher than your operating pressure or you'll be resetting all the time,
    if the operating Ptrol is set at 2, set the manual to 3,4, or 5, double the operating pressure,
    set the operating Ptrol to cut out around 1.5, and cut back in at 0.5

    known to beat dead horses
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    I drained, skimmed and did check valve yesterday.
    Today turned thermostat up higher than normal. Gauge topped out in less than 2 minutes runtime. Main steam valves closed, water fell below setting for refill. Pressure had risen to 5 psi, pressuretrol tripped. Cut in pressure set half to 2 psi. Pressuretrol gauge trip set at 2.5. Pretty sure a new low water cutoff needed. Float is sticking down. Autofill is overfilling.
    JUGHNE, if I add rad valves, will the return pipes need to be capped off at boiler?

    Thanks

    If the gauge topped out in less than 2 minutes, you have essentially no venting at all. In fact, if that's timed from the first steaming, I'd almost say that you must have a severe restriction in the steam piping near the boiler. Something is very very much amiss there. Honestly the only times I've seen that fast a rise is with a king valve closed on the steam main.

    If the pressuretrol didn't trip until 5 psi, and yet it is set at 2.5 psi, obviously it's not working -- either not sensing pressure or simply not working at all. That has nothing to do with a low water cutoff.

    You will never get your water levels under control until you get your pressures under control, so I'd attack that problem first. However, the boiler isn't safe to fire -- even to test it -- until you are certain that both low water cutoffs are working.

    If the float on the float type cutoff is stuck down, the boiler shouldn't fire at all. If it does, you are going to need to replace the switch and float assembly -- at least -- and might as well replace the whole thing. But before you go that far, how is it you are certain that the float is sticking down? The autofill overfilling might be the float stuck down -- somehow -- in the narrow margin between calling for water and shutting off the burner. But it could be the autofill.

    I think what I would be inclined to do -- very carefully -- is fill the boiler, manually, to about two thirds up the sight glass when it is cool and the rest of the system is cool. Then shut off all possible feed water sources. Set the supposedly active pressuretrol to a cutout of 1.8 psi. Now fire the boiler, keeping a close eye on the sight glass. If the pressure starts its crazy rise, shutoff the boiler and find out why the pressure is rising so fast. If you like, again, keeping a eye on the sight glass, let the boiler fire to the 1.8 psi setting of the pressuretrol. If the boiler doesn't shut down at that setting, find out why the pressuretrol isn't controlling it. Miswired? Bad pigtail? Broken pressuretrol? There aren't too many possibilities.;; Fix that. Don't go any further until you have the pressure reliably under control. And don't run the boiler at all unless someone is right there to turn it off if either the pressure rises too far or the water goes below a third of the way up the sight glass

    Once you get the pressure under control, so you can run the boiler for a civilized length of time, fire it up and drain water from it -- slowly -- until the water level drops to where the float type low water cutoff should stop the burner. Does it? If it doesn't, set about fixing that low water cutoff. Refill the boiler manually as before. Start the boiler again, and press test on the probe type low water cutoff. It should shut off the burner. If it doesn't, go and fix that low water cutoff.

    Now at least you are at the point where you can more or less safely run the boiler. Leaving all the water fill sources valved off, run it. Now what does the water level do?

    Honestly, from what I am reading you have several things misbehaving. You have to tackle and solve one, and only one, problem at a time.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mattmia2Canuckerdelcrossv
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    If you have some radiators shut off by the supply valves there could be steam still passing into the rad and then the water not returning. The rad can fill up with water and cause hammer.

    Or because of the small venting pipes connected to the radiators and going to where no one knows, that water could suddenly be released and come down the returns to over fill the boiler.

    You could try a simple experiment by opening all the rad valves and running the boiler thru a few cycles and see if the overfilling changes.
    Keep the water supply valves off for this trial.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    We were both typing at once, @JUGHNE ! I'd like him to get the pressure under control first, then make sure the low water cutoffs are working. Then we can start to worry about filling radiators... and hammering... and so on. For what it's worth, if he's got a number of radiators valved off, though, that could be part of the pressure problem -- ridiculously oversized boiler.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    Okay now, I have set differentiator to 1.5, sufficient light helps. It had been shutting off at 3 psi earlier today.
    I have tested the lwc with hitting reset buttons while running shut itself down immediately. I lowered the water in boiler down, turned on and would not fire. Added water turned back on, it fired ran to 2 psi and shut down, cut in at.5.
    Earlier when I ran for 35 minutes, before changing differentiator setting it shut down at 3, then started back up after pressure dropped.
    Note, the 2 main vents closer to boiler had steam and shut within minutes, third vent took 25 minutes for steam to close.
    I opened three radiators upstairs (I heard water draining in first one.) Hammering is minimal.

    Water still filled sight glass full for shorter period of time before falling to acceptable level.

    As always, I will check frequently.

    Wish us luck.
    Thank you again.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    J, the temp is supposed to warm into the 60's for you next week, starting Tuesday.

    You could clean your sight glass valve ports. You will have to drain the boiler below the lower glass valve. You can loosen the packing nut just behind the handle and remove the stem for both upper and lower. There is a small drain port under the lower valve, it should be removable.
    There is a short piece of copper tubing connecting the sight glass assembly to the LWCO, carefully loosen the nuts on the tubing and remove it. That tube needs to be clean. You then check into the LWCO for blockage. Do not jam anything sharp into it as the float could be damaged. You may be able to open the blow down valve and feel the float with your rubber hose you have for testing the pigtail, you should be able to push it up and with a pencil (easer end) in the top hole feel the float move up and down.
    With a long brush or the one of the protector rods along side the sight glass you need to be certain that all these ports are open into the boiler.
    I would NOT try to remove the sight glass at this time, the glass breaks easily.

    Also, you could clean your pigtail, if not done recently. If you unscrew the gauge, install a short 1/4" pipe nipple and then get a 2' length of hose that fits tightly over that nipple and blow into the hose. After a little resistance from the water in the pigtail you should be able to blow thru it easily.....if not then you have to unwire the controls...(take a picture of the wire connections), unscrew both controls....(do not remove the screws on the bottom), remove the gauge. Check the bottom of the controls and gauge for any sludge. Unscrew the pigtail and run water thru it to insure it is clear.
    Remove the 90 the pigtail is screwed into and insure that short pipe nipple is clear.

    Also there is a cross fitting where the water return to the boiler, there is a plug in the side and a nipple with cap on the bottom. If you remove those and see what is inside as far as sludge build up.
    The returns that drop down behind the boiler are going into a wet return pipe, that often is a problem with sludge and slow water returning to boiler. If you can open any unions back there and check the condition of the wet return it would be helpful.
    Sometimes there are enough unions to remove an assembly of piping and take it outside to flush with a garden hose.
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    Tonight's update.
    You'll have to excuse me, this is exciting to me, I was raised a carpenter and this is good stuff to know what you have been teaching me, because I think I'm lucky to be alive because of my ignorance.

    The boiler appears to be cycling between 1.5 and 2.5 psi as it works to match the setting on the thermostat. I am hoping this is the goal or close to it. Opening up the radiators on the 2nd floor has greatly increased the speed on the third main vent closing that has been lagging.

    The sight glass still has the water rising to the top on first firing. Perhaps more studying will help work that out.

    As I work through all of this, with all of your advise and guidance, I hope you know how important you are to people like me. I realize I'm not done, but on my way. I will probably be back soon, when the weather warms.

    Perhaps not all of the dead men`s work has been ruined by the ignorant.

    With much gratitude.
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    JUGHNE,
    I've checked out the pipe coming to sight glass valves, all clear.
    The float moves easily in lcw.
    The copper pipe from lcw to sight glass doesn't want to come off. At this time that's probably okay. Please see photo of that pipe. It's not so good looking. Is this pipe already made up to buy? I'm not sure I want to solder what appears to be a pin hole. Maybe clean and JB weld? Maybe the reason for such fluctuations?
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
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    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    JHamburger
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    I have replaced the upper tube assembly and glass for site gauge. I have found no one in my area interested in working on a boiler.
    I have started re-insullating the pipes, but I read through the forum and the return pipes do get as hot as the supply side. Which come back and drop into wet return manifold. It was commented they should not be as hot. I do not see any sign of a steam trap, anywhere. Should there be one on each radiator to stop the steam continuing back to the boiler? Is there one that can be installed where the return fastens to the radiator? The return piping is very small at this location.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    Can we kind of back up here? I think we may have lost the thread a bit...

    First, have you ever figured out exactly where the small pipes go? I think the suggestion earlier on to try disconnecting them and substituting regular one pipe steam system vents has merit.

    As to the "return" getting as hot as the supply -- on a system such as you have, with only one steam supply pipe (the big one with a valve on it low at one end), there is no true return. That -- or those -- would be extensions of the steam mains -- continuous pipe all the way along, although possibly smaller in size. One would expect them to get hot. Each such "return" should be main vented individually, before it drops down below the boiler water line. They should not be connected together.

    Thay small pipe on each radiator is not a return. They may very well get steam hot, too, as there is nothing to prevent steam from getting into them once the radiator is pretty well filled. All the more important to figure out where they go...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    Jamie Hall, the smaller pipe coming from the tops of the radiators from the first floor tie into the vertical pipes rising up from wet returns with the main vents at the top. Some of these are tied together before the vertical pipe attachment. The second floor pipes appear to share the supply lines but have a second smaller line running lower which runs along the ground to what should be wet return? It sounds like a lot this is not the way it should be. I believe that a lot of this setup is original to the system.

    On the subject of radiator vents, would their placement at the location where the smaller lines leave the radiator be favorable, they are about 3/4 of the way to the top? Which vents would be the best to install?

    On a side note, since my draining of the pink water and my tinkering with the upper tube assembly the old Hammering has quieted down considerably.

    I appreciate your help and advice.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    Interesting. I have a feeling that if those small lines have good access to free air -- that is, so long as air can pass through them into whatever (those drips, for instance) and from there to a vent, all without going through water, they are probably fine just the way they are. I'm a little concerned about that for the second floor lines, but without being there I'd hesitate to be sure. You can trace them out and, thinking like air, figure out how you would get out of there!

    It all probably is almost the way it was intended to be... but it's that "almost"...

    There is, however, a potential "gotcha" in the various vent lines joining together: none of the should see steam. This is, however, as much a matter of making sure that the maximum operating pressure of the system -- the cutout -- is low enough, and at the same time if some of the radiator valves have been "adjusted" to be too open, closing them down enough that the, while the radiator heats almost completely, there isn't enough steam coming in to overload it and try to escape through the vent line. This may take some fiddling.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    I'm wondering if those small pipes from the radiator vent holes went to a Trane mercury pot back in the day.

    https://heatinghelp.com/assets/documents/Trane.pdf
    Retired and loving it.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    Hadn't even thought of that, @DanHolohan ! Could well be.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    PC7060
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,544
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    That vent piping looks original, and there's no sign of a Paul-like vent anywhere.
    Retired and loving it.
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    Well, it does seem that the returns are sending steam to the vents to the point that they close. Is this better than putting steam vents on the radiators? Does it seem that more steam is being made to get to the point of closing the main vents than necessary to heat the radiators, or am I seeing this wrong? The intricacies of steam heat (which I love this kind of heat) is a little baffling at times. Sometimes my common sense thinking is not what works.
    But you think the valves on the radiators will slow the steam down enough?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,428
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    We may have a bit of a terminology problem here. By "returns" do you mean the little pipes, or do you mean extensions of the steam mains?

    Each steam main on your once upon a time it was a Trane or Paul system is going to need its own vent at the end farthest from the boiler -- measured along the run of the main. The little guys can all tie together somewhere and be vented together.

    Now if steam is getting into the little guys, try first making sure your pressure is low enough -- 8 ounces per square inch is all it should ever be -- and then identify the radiators where steam is getting on through and partly close their inlet valves, as I suggested above.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    Yes, terminology is my problem here. Thanks. I was referring to the small pipes that come back to the main vents.
    So I need to get a vaporstat as you pointed out so long ago. I appreciate your patience with me.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    JHamburger, I may be passing thru your area in about 2 weeks, I could stop for a look-see if you wish.
    I will send you a personal message for details.
    PC7060
  • JHamburger
    JHamburger Member Posts: 86
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    I would be most appreciative of a visit, if time permits.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,074
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    I did make it to (OP) John's house today. For just over an hour, not nearly enough time to study things very well.

    The house itself is as unique as the steam system.

    If you look at the very first picture of a CI rad he posted on page one, you can see the top of the one piece curved steel back plate that directs heat out horizontally.
    Kind of like a hood on the top with full plate on the back.


    The rads are all single pipe not connected across the top.
    IIRC all had the small air vent pipe.

    The boiler has a single 2 1/2" riser, with 2 1/2" header and equalizer drop.
    There is a single 2" steam main riser....then after that a little of everything happens.

    Many of the steam runouts are parallel flow with a drip under the rad risers that returns to the boiler wet return manifold.
    This explains the 5 return drops at the boiler. Also how the steam flows with smaller piping (1--1 1/4"). The rad condensate is returning thru the drip return.

    Some short runs are standard counter flow.

    The boiler heats up pretty quickly and just about all pipes get hot at the same time.
    Supplies and some returns get steam hot. Once the steam is up there is a lot of the mild clicking water hammer in the pipes. We did not run it very long today, (It was 70 degrees outside).

    Starting with a correct water line, the sight glass water surges a little and then the boiler appears to suddenly fill with water for awhile and then the level drops to about normal. The boiler water looks clear of any treatment you saw in the first pictures.

    There are a lot of pipes running around and hard to trace out. Some are insulated and some dive into crawl spaces.

    Over the years a lot of pipe has lost its slope, many sections of pipe has rusted thru probably from retaining water in both supplies and returns.

    The small air lines disappear into the floor or some cases the wall. I think they are all connected above the ceiling and end up in the bottom 3/4" pipe coming up into the bottom of the wet return as you can see in the picture.

    The most recently added radiator was plumbed in copper from a supply line and the air line was connected to one of the drip return lines.

    I think the rad air is pushed by way of the small piping (1/4 to 3/4") out up into the wet return and up thru the return drop vents. Then when burner is off water is trapped in the rads as there is no way for air to break the vacuum in the rad. When the boiler fires again I thinks this captive water returns suddenly and floods the boiler.

    I suggested to disconnect and cap the air lines so as to retain them in place just in case. Then to add air vents to each radiator to make it a standard one pipe steam system.

    Also correct the slope so all piping drains back to the boiler.

    ADVICE NEEDED for 1 pipe rad air vents. I do not have that much experience trying to balance a single pipe system.

    Should he go for the slow ones or get adjustable ones.

    The second floor is seldom used, not needed to heat up that much.

    That is all for tonight, from Nebraska, thank you.

    JHamburger