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/.

Running smooth now

bfry
bfry Member Posts: 13
edited July 8 in Strictly Steam
All tuned up and good 

Comments

  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    I meant to ask if anyone can recommend a good steam guy in the metro NYC area
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,634
    Well the steam expert depends on just where you are in the metro New York area -- there's @JohnNY and @EzzyT , for starters. Give them a shout.

    You have traps on the outlets to those radiators. They may or may not be working -- if they aren't, and the union you are opening is between the trap and the radiator, there's your problem. However, they may be working and the pitch of the dry return may not be right. Which would account for all three radiators being dead at once... and taking a day or two to die once they were drained.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bfryBobCJohnNY
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,771
    Also, air from your radiators goes thru the traps and out via a vent in the basement. This vent is usually in the piping near the boiler- have you found it yet?

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    Pretty sure this is the air vent - top left.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,634
    Yep. Main air vent. And right next to it is a crossover trap.

    Now. The first thing I'd do is to check all the traps. I'm kind of thinking that those three are failed closed -- if they are, the air can't get out and the steam can't get in and no heat. Which is what you describe.

    But.

    You should also check all the other traps as well. It is quite possible -- in fact from your comment " Riser to that radiator and return became hot ". The return isn't supposed to get hot. The trap should keep steam from getting to the return. Warm, yes. Hot, no.

    Further the presence of that crossover trap suggests to me that somewhere in the distant past this may have been a vapour system -- that is, very low pressure steam. That vent and those traps are used on Hoffman Equipped systems. If that is the case, and the rest of the system hasn't been too badly knuckleheaded, you will be much happier running at very low pressure -- less than 8 ounces per square inch -- which you can only control with a vapourstat.

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bfry
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    Thank you for the response and the  references before.
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    The gauge above btw does work
  • Canucker
    Canucker Member Posts: 698
    bfry said:

    The gauge above btw does work - when the system has been running for a while, the “vial” will tilt left causing the entire system to shut down until the “vial” tilts back to the right

    That's your vapourstat. Looks like you're set at 10 oz with an 8 oz diff. That's a good sign your system might not be too knuckleheaded and you only need to get the traps repaired like @Jamie Hall suggested.
    If your steam guy said it was set to 5 psi after looking at that vapourstat, it's a sign that you need to find some one else
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
    bfry
  • Fizz
    Fizz Member Posts: 537
    You mentioned your service guy removed radiator air vents and had to wait to install them...if this is a 2 pipe system radiators shouldn't have vents.
    bfry
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    the second to last in the system has an air 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,634
    bfry said:

    Yeah - only that one radiator (short, white, stubby looking one - what I believe to be the second to last on the line) out of all the radiators in the system has an air vent (see pic) as far as I can tell - not sure how that fits into the whole equation but definitely has one.

    Odds are pretty good that it didn't heat, so someone decided to put a vent on it instead of repairing the trap which they should have done. Take the vent off and repair the trap. Easy...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bfry
  • Scott.Malo
    Scott.Malo Member Posts: 19
    Hi guys - sounds like a bad trap(s) to me. Also, there are situations where the radiator on the floor below (same line) has a bad trap (failed open) and some steam can get into that return and cause an equalizing back pressure causing the radiator above to be air bound and not heat up. If you need any repair kits, shoot me an email at [email protected]
    bfry
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    Steam Pro came out today
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 719
    In any two pipe system air vents on a radiator is a no no.
    It seems to me that a steam trap failed open and air is being pushed into one of the radiators causing an equalization of pressure in that section thereby no steam can flow to those radiators.
    bfry
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    about equalization, a failed trap could be a problem 
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    So I decided to try and figure out exactly which solvent to use


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,634
    Somebody got really creative...

    You don't need a second trap on those lines. What you do need is one working trap for each radiator -- and get rid of the air vent.

    Do you have a copy of The Lost Art? If not, you might be interested in getting it and really learning how your system is supposed to work. But you're definitely getting there!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,722
    I was at the home today. There's live steam in the return at the connections to all three dead radiators. There are at least three traps in the area that are clearly passing, but as many of you know, once the system is hot it gets harder to pinpoint which others are truly passing. One radiator has a vent on it. From the description it sounds like there's been a 508-type cork vent on it for a while now but there's a Gorton C on it at this point. That will likely be removed once we're working with functional traps. I think we're asking a lot of the one vent that is currently installed on the main, but again, we can't expect anything good to happen until we have working traps.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber
    in New York
    in New Jersey
    for Consulting Work
    or take his class.
    Erin Holohan HaskellJUGHNECanuckermattmia2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,634
    Oh wonderful! I'm glad you're there, @JohnNY . Keep us posted on what else you find...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Canucker
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,722

    Oh wonderful! I'm glad you're there, @JohnNY . Keep us posted on what else you find...

    Thank you, Jamie!

    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber
    in New York
    in New Jersey
    for Consulting Work
    or take his class.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,705
    I thank JohnNY for the response with the solution.

    Many times there are steam problems and the OP does get a pro hired from this site but we hear nothing of the solutions or result.

    It would be interesting if there was more of this feedback, IMO.
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    Tightened everything up and fired it up.




  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,771
    @bfry , I know @JohnNY will find the cause and fix it. At this point it could be more bad traps, pipes that are off-pitch, or something else.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    bfryJohnNY
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 16,634
    I'm quite sure @JohnNY has looked at this... but from your description it almost sounds as though those two recalcitrant radiators are double trapped by that shared trap lower down... which won't work...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bfryJohnNY
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    Thanks for the responses everyone
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,771
    That burner is way out of tune- modern oil burners do not generate soot like that unless there's a problem. Call them back and have them send someone who actually knows what they're doing.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    bfry
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    The sight glass water is crystal clear
  • bfry
    bfry Member Posts: 13
    edited July 8
    now draining perfectly clear
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,714
    edited July 7
    bfry said:

    I meant to ask if anyone can recommend a good steam guy in the metro NYC area - no disrespect to the service person I had out, but they themselves are basically telling me there is nothing further they can do and recommending that I consult a “steam expert” - thanks again.

    I can tell for your description they don't know what they are doing. I'm sure that is described in excruciating detail over the next 40 comments...

    Without reading my bet is on some other steam traps that are bad along with whatever knuckleheading occurred with the 1 pipe vents on 2 pipe.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,714
    Having read it now, and i'm absolutely positive @JohnNY can eventually sort this out, I wonder if there is still another bad trap that is causing the double trap in the basement to see steam from the returns and close and preventing the return from both those radiators from draining so it won't allow the air to vent from those radiators so they can't heat.

    Unless I am missing something, you can remove the guts from that trap on the riser with the individual radiator traps. You still need to find where the steam is still getting in to the return but that is an easy fix for one of the problems.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,722
    Hello all,
    To update, I was at the home last week for a look but went away this week, returning today. I'm glad the burner issue was revealed by the homeowner. As a consultant, it's not an issue I would be at liberty to publish publicly. Get an Errors & Omissions insurance policy of your own and you'll be educated as to why. This home has been negotiated for sale, has a buyer, and the Home Inspector wants to see these final two radiators get hot before he signs off on the heating system. We're proceeding as if the buyer himself will be performing some upgrades and renovations after the closing. That being the case, we don't want to repair/replace every trap although there are likely others that are in a failed state. We also don't want to redesign or re-pipe the branches to the problematic areas since, although they are seemingly (I'm still not positive about this) double-trapped, they are original and the system worked well prior to this current failure.
    Still, what has to be done, has to be done and I'll check in soon.
    Very best,
    John Cataneo




    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber
    in New York
    in New Jersey
    for Consulting Work
    or take his class.
    CanuckerJUGHNEbfry