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Testing Steam Traps Idea

Dairon421
Dairon421 Member Posts: 38
edited March 25 in THE MAIN WALL
Hey guys I just thought about something. So I know steam traps fail open and close. But it also hard to tell if it fail open. I never tried it but have you guys every just disconnected the steam trap from the pipe and then just connected the trap straight to the radiator ,and we leave the supply piping connected to the radiator.  So when the system start up if nothing coming out the trap its failed closed, if steam coming out the trap failed open. If the radiator finally decides to work then their asteam strap the its fail open nearby that letting steam in return line.

Comments

  • Dairon421
    Dairon421 Member Posts: 38

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,091
    edited March 25
    I believe
    Dairon421 said:

    Hey guys I just thought about something. So I know steam traps fail open and fail close. But it also hard to tell if it fails open. I never tried it but, have you guys ever just disconnected the steam trap from the pipe and then just connected the trap straight to the radiator? Leave the supply piping connected and operate the system. So when the system starts up if nothing is coming out, the trap has failed closed. if steam starts coming out the trap has failed open. If the radiator finally decides to work steam comes from the open return pipe, there is a failed trap nearby.



    Makes sense to me!
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
    Dairon421
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,851
    Better is to take the trap off the radiator and plug the radiator and the return line. Then in the basement build a trap testing station you could put a tee between the boiler relief valve and the boiler to do this.

    keep a few spare traps and when one is bad install a new one. Then take the old one to the basement and put it on the trap testing station and test and rebuild it

    Otherwise you will be repainting and buying new curtains.
  • Dairon421
    Dairon421 Member Posts: 38
    Better is to take the trap off the radiator and plug the radiator and the return line. Then in the basement build a trap testing station you could put a tee between the boiler relief valve and the boiler to do this. keep a few spare traps and when one is bad install a new one. Then take the old one to the basement and put it on the trap testing station and test and rebuild it Otherwise you will be repainting and buying new curtains.
    Great Idea but I have a question for you. Just say we dealing with a old steam trap. All steam straps have a union fitting that goes directly to the radiator and with age they are hard to get out. Will a old steam trap threads screw on a new union fitting?
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 2,091
    edited March 25
    The union fittings are different from one manufacture to the next. I remember removing some radiators for someone that wanted to have new floors. we put the radiators back and i found that one radiator had a valve union that would thread seal up nicely but the identical radiator in the next room would not allow me to start the threads. Come to find out, I reversed the radiators from one room to the other. I needed to disconnect and swap to get everything to fit properly. The fitting was only off by 15 thousandths of an inch but that made the difference.

    You need to take the matching spud from the radiator with the trap. (unless the traps are identical... brand, size & model number. Even the year built can have different threads in some cases)
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey Shore.
    Cleaned & services first oil heating system at age 16
    Dairon421
  • Dairon421
    Dairon421 Member Posts: 38
    edited March 25
    Correct. I think the best way to do is disconnect the trap from the return piping like I said before. And to prevent condensate and steam leaking on the floor or on a curtain is to install a street elbow with a ball valve shutoff on the trap. And out of the shutoff fitting having a nipple that goes inside a container to catch any condensate 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,851
    @Dairon421

    If you replace the trap with the same identical trap it will fit. But most will rebuild an existing trap which is easy to do.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,260
    I have a photo someplace that a superintendent sent me. He welded a trap body to the cover of a spaghetti pot. During the summer, he would take the elements out of the traps and boil water in the pot (sadly, without spaghetti) and then test each element on the tenant’s stove. 

     
    Retired and loving it.
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 1,590
    The photo of the steam trap on the spaghetti pot is in this video:


    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    STEVEusaPA
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,260
    Thanks, Erin!
    Retired and loving it.
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,647
    I ve found that the easiest way to find bad traps is to raise the thermostat up 5 degrees and start checking your dry return for excessive temps . After the system Is building up some pressure usually the worst trap s will appear first . In some cases it takes a few times of goin through this process before you get them all either repaired or replaced . Finding failed closed is pretty easy and I usually will leave them to repair or replace latter no sense in repairing when there’s one down the line passing steam into the dry return . I find that most are reluctant to even start the process unless you explain there function and the cause and effect of there not working properly which is usually the reason they have terrible distribution and high fuel bills and of course some cold rads and some that are baking them out . This is especially true w older vapor systems which have been usually knuckle headed for years w poorly installed and piped boilers and tons of wrongly done repairs none of which are cheap to de knuckle head and get back in proper functioning . It’s seems to always be the Buddhist interpretation of cause-and-effect Except in a non spiritual way but in a mechanical way unfortunately . I find that when i deal w system which have never had trap checked or maintained that it can be quite expensive and that if a plan was implemented and stuck to it would not be such a expensive endeavor and easier in the long run . I also see the alternative to trap repair and replacement which is usually just crank up the pressuretroll and hope for the best but this usually does come w a price of more over heating and higher fuel use but in some cases cheaper then the alternative usually they ask about a different type of system which of course is way more money . In closing do a survey see what traps you have and get to work or save a lot of money and rip it out and start again w some thing else you have to pick your poison . The test station is great but for a home owner w a large system and no king valve on the main it could also be a expensive thought . If there all ancient then cut to the chase and have them all updated , size them properly and use a trap which replace elements are easily obtained ( Barnes and Jones ) and are not 10 bucks less then buying a new traps Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
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