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/.

1924 Steam Heat System Question

Hey guys, I have a question about our steam heating system at our office. I'm currently in the process of finding a appropriate Main Vent to replace the two ancient main vents that I'm sure are not working. Also, the system has a Hoffman #60 vacuum breaker on another return coming back through the brick wall into the boiler room, was this breaker put in and used with the coal fired boiler originally, should it be replaced with a regular air vent with the current has fired boiler? Pics following. Thanks for your help.

Comments

  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 994
    Nice car collection!
    JWE551982
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,955
    No one has responded yet so I'll say that if it were mine, yes, I'd put main vents in those spots. I would put a Maid O Mist or Gorton #1 in each space, but others might recommend the Gorton #2 which would be fine but costs a lot more.

    I don't quite understand the second "main" coming out of the wall...do you have multiple main pipes, or is that all the same pipe that runs all over the place?

    With those uninsulated mains, I think the #1 would get you "good enough" venting.

    I'm sorry to have to tell you but the near boiler piping is absolutely horrible. Does your system bang or shoot water from vents? If not, count yourself very lucky.

    PS: cool basement
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    JWE551982
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,853
    @ethicalpaul

    Nipples coming out of the boiler are probably reduced and no equalizer. Could be a lot worse
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,955
    edited February 25
    Worse than no equalizer (and really no header either)?? What could be worse? :sweat_smile:

    The random friable remnants of the asbestos insulation aren't great either
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    luketheplumber
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 311
    Breakaway - in a G T O

    (you aren't one of my cousins are you, the MG's and GTO's seem like their car choices)
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,289
    I don't recognise the green tee top,
    mustang ?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,423
    Those steam mains look fairly big. How long are they, and what pipe size?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    Thanks for the comments, yeah the GTO, MG, & 442 are Dad's cars the 280zx is mine, but back to the heat system yes the asbestos insulation is bad and needs replaced with fiberglass, but I'm obviously not touching it or disturbing what's left, & abatement is expensive so I can't cross that bridge right now, those vents at the end of each steam main were identified as thermodisc steam traps by a knowledgeable gentleman that was with Hoffman for 50+ yrs in Indianapolis so I trust he knows what he is talking about, the radiators have a few Hoffman #40's and many are Hoffman 1a's for adjustability and they are fairly new and seem to work fine, I'd say the mains are 3" & probably 50 ft long or so. I know that the lack of insulation is a major issue with these old 1 pipe systems.....
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,423
    OK, you will need at least one Gorton #2 vent on each main.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    JWE551982
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    Not 3" probably 5-6" mains
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,423
    Measure their diameter and let us know for sure.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    Hey guys, sorry it took so long, but I measured the mains and the best I can tell the o.d. is about 11". Also, there is a hoffman #60 vacuum break on the main that serves the back of the office, was that something that is a holdover from the coal boiler days? Does it need to be changed to a vent? Lastly my boiler supply company sent me 2 steam traps to replace the ancient ones on each main bank on each side of the basement that serves the front of the office. These will not work as they have to be plumbed in-line and the original ones are on a piece of pipe threaded directly into the mains. So not sure if they misinterpreted what I was needing or what, I will be posting pics as well. Thanks!
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16




  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,742
    Are the devices which you are referring to as "steam traps" the ones in the pictures? Because those aren't steam traps. Those are big vents. Which is what they need to be replaced with, if they aren't working. Is there any visible marking left on them?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,289
    what's that last picture of ?
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    The last pic is of one of the new steam traps they sent me, which I don't think are correct.
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    Steamhead recommended Gorton #2's to replace those old vents with.....
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    There is writing on the top but it is hard to read, I made out thermodisc, & Chicago,IL but thats about it....
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,742
    JWE551982 said:

    The last pic is of one of the new steam traps they sent me, which I don't think are correct.

    Nope.

    And why didn't you replace those with Gorton #2s, as @Steamhead suggested?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,853
    They are thermodisk traps. They tend to blow flash steam. I would use an f & T or a thermostatic trap
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    Jamie Hall, I will be changing them, just haven't ordered them yet. Will be getting them this week.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,263
    I looked thru these pictures several times and see no traps, unless the ceiling radiators have traps on the outlet if they are not 1 pipe rads.
    Also don't see any 11" OD pipe....maybe 6" for some of it.

    Main air vents is all I have noticed and some really old unique ones at that.
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    Should this vacuum breaker be left in place or should it be changed to a air vent as well? I thought these were holdovers from coal fired boiler days??
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,742
    Are you quite sure that's just a vacuum breaker, and not also a vent? In any case, I'd change it to a modern vent.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    @Jamie Hall, yes just a vacuum breaker Hoffman #62.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,742
    JWE551982 said:

    @Jamie Hall, yes just a vacuum breaker Hoffman #62.

    OK. But a modern vent will do the same thing (they open on vacuum) -- and I wouldn't be at all surprised if that location wouldn't be well served with a vent.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JWE551982
    JWE551982 Member Posts: 16
    Does anybody have a opinion on the Barnes & Jones Big Mouth Vent vs Gorton #2's for my main steam lines?
    Grallert
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,742
    Personally? I much prefer the Gorton #2, particularly as it has a float which ensures that if any water finds its way to the vent it will close and keep the water in where it belongs.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNEJWE551982
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!