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Un-Insulated Steam Pipe Issue

fxrgrunt
fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
Good evening all. It's been a minute since I've been on but as we draw closer to heating season here I am. The last two winters living in this home my downstairs was always cold and upstairs piping hot. I'm talking 90 upstairs and 66 downstairs. This was due to the radiator in the dining room (where the thermostat is) not kicking on the first winter. After I examined the radiator and noticed the valve was off I tried to turn it on. It was frozen shut and I couldn't shake it because it was under an asbestos sheet stapled to the built in. So following the winter, having the asbestos removed there and off the steam pipes, fixing all of my venting,  properly pitching everything and learning everything I could about my steam system from you guys and books I thought I would finally have that radiator running last winter. Wrong. It would kick on, then the vent would clog with water and then it wouldn't come on again. The pipe to this radiator went out the side of the basement to an overhang that was part of the dining room. The only thing I could imagine was that maybe that pipe wasn't insulated after it left the basement leading to the steam immediately turning to water when it hits the cold outside temperature pipe. So finally took all the old wood covering down and the only insulation in between the joists was loose fill slag wool. No insulation on the pipe. So I went ahead and insulated the pipe, added foam board insulation to the joist, sealed it all in with great stuff, and made a removable cover to have access to the pipe if ever needed. Will stuff with Rockwool for additional insulation. Just thought you would get a kick. See pictures.


Comments

  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    More pictures. 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,678
    edited October 5
    That will help I am sure. Just make sure that everything is well pitched before you close it up.

    I am suspicious of not having enough pitch on the runout to the radiator and my reason is that the riser going through the floor up to the radiator only has 1 elbow, no swing joint which tells me the horizontal pipe is basically flat. Check the pitch of the radiator also.

    I would hate to see you close it up after all that work and not have it fixed.


    mattmia2
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,089
    Insulation is good. But I predict your problem will remain. I had 3 radiators supplied by 1” pipe in uninsulated exterior walls and they supplied fine.

    I suspect you might have incorrect near boiler piping that is causing water to be thrown up into the main and to the kitchen radiator.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    mattmia2
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    That will help I am sure. Just make sure that everything is well pitched before you close it up. I am suspicious of not having enough pitch on the runout to the radiator and my reason is that the riser going through the floor up to the radiator only has 1 elbow, no swing joint which tells me the horizontal pipe is basically flat. Check the pitch of the radiator also. I would hate to see you close it up after all that work and not have it fixed.
    They just 45'd it at that main. It does have a continuous downward pitch. I pitched the radiator good last year. Will double check. I made the cover removable with thread inserts into the framing so if I do have to remove its 5 screws and I have access. I was thinking how I don't want to have to take this all apart again. Her is a pic of the pipe before I insulated it.
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    Insulation is good. But I predict your problem will remain. I had 3 radiators supplied by 1” pipe in uninsulated exterior walls and they supplied fine.

    I suspect you might have incorrect near boiler piping that is causing water to be thrown up into the main and to the kitchen radiator.
    I'll throw pictures below of the near boiler piping before and after insulation. I do believe the header should have been larger than two inches and it probably would have helped if they used both ports to run the two lines out instead of one. The dining room radiator (the one I'm having issues with) is the first radiator off the line going to the right and the kitchen radiator is the first off the line going to the left. I have no issues with the kitchen radiator and it heats great. They are about equal distance down the line. The only difference being the kitchen one is insulated all the way to the radiator so that is what lead me to believe the insulation was the issue, although I did wonder if it could be wet steam. Let me say that this wasn't just an uninsulated wall cavity that still has the heat of the house on one side of the wall and then board insulation and siding on the other side providing some sort of insulation. There was maybe 1/2 crumbling particle boarding looking wood right up against the pipe and that was all between the pipe and outside. I hope this fixes it and I guess trial and error is the only way to know haha. I always appreciate your input.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,214
    I would open that bay to the basement. Much less chance of freezing. Insulate the outside cover.

    Why do they notch floor Joyce like that? Consider sistering up or at least some plywood bolted and glued where those notches are.
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    pecmsg said:
    I would open that bay to the basement. Much less chance of freezing. Insulate the outside cover. Why do they notch floor Joyce like that? Consider sistering up or at least some plywood bolted and glued where those notches are.
    I had thought about leaving it open. The coldest the basement gets is in the 40s so I figured it wouldn't have much chance of freezing with it open. I imagine with the notches it was just piss poor planning when initially installing. Should have installed the main slightly lower or came up with a different idea for running the pipe. I will definitely sister it. Thanks!
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,844
    pecmsg said:

    I would open that bay to the basement. Much less chance of freezing. Insulate the outside cover.

    Why do they notch floor Joyce like that? Consider sistering up or at least some plywood bolted and glued where those notches are.

    My house, as well as many others I've been to have the joists notched around steam piping.
    But I've been told repeatedly that the dead men were smart and never did anything wrong, so, I guess it's A-OK. But if you do that today you're a dangerous hack.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,214
    ChrisJ said:
    I would open that bay to the basement. Much less chance of freezing. Insulate the outside cover. Why do they notch floor Joyce like that? Consider sistering up or at least some plywood bolted and glued where those notches are.
    My house, as well as many others I've been to have the joists notched around steam piping. But I've been told repeatedly that the dead men were smart and never did anything wrong, so, I guess it's A-OK. But if you do that today you're a dangerous hack.
    When that home was build few power tools were used. Hand saw to cut and hammer to knock it out. Wasn't right then and still wrong. 
    delcrossvChrisJ
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,678
    To me the riser going up with no swing joint is a dead give away that the pipe is not pitched enough. In order to have the riser go up straight the pipe cannot be pitched.......or at least not pitched enough.

    You can't bend an elbow and "pipe sag" will not provide enough pipe pitch
    mattmia2
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    To me the riser going up with no swing joint is a dead give away that the pipe is not pitched enough. In order to have the riser go up straight the pipe cannot be pitched.......or at least not pitched enough. You can't bend an elbow and "pipe sag" will not provide enough pipe pitch
    If you look close at the picture of the uninsulated pipe that's outside it almost looks like the pipe within the cavity is bent slightly. Also the riser isn't straight at a 90 and does kind of crook to the side. It definitely has pitch but maybe not enough. If it doesn't work after all this I may need to evaluate redoing that pipe. Just not sure if that thing will come off after being on for 90 years haha. Probably would need to cut the pipe and rethread after the T off the main. Again, all depends on if the insulation fixes the issue or not. If not then on to the next. If it's and issue with near boiler piping then it's a whole other thing. It never ends yet I genuinely enjoy working with this system.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,844

    To me the riser going up with no swing joint is a dead give away that the pipe is not pitched enough. In order to have the riser go up straight the pipe cannot be pitched.......or at least not pitched enough.

    You can't bend an elbow and "pipe sag" will not provide enough pipe pitch

    I have four long runouts and all of them have nothing more than a 90 on the end where it goes up to the 2nd floor from the basement. These are in the neighborhood of 10' long horizontally, 1 1/4" pipe.

    I can't say that it's right, but it does work on all of them.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,668
    fxrgrunt said:

    If it doesn't work after all this I may need to evaluate redoing that pipe. Just not sure if that thing will come off after being on for 90 years haha. Probably would need to cut the pipe and rethread after the T off the main. Again, all depends on if the insulation fixes the issue or not. If not then on to the next. If it's and issue with near boiler piping then it's a whole other thing. It never ends yet I genuinely enjoy working with this system.

    Cut the fitting, not the pipe, then you can screw a new fitting on the pipe.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,678
    @fxrgrunt

    The near boiler piping looks ok if the sizes are right.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,668
    This looks like a good case for the blocks under the feet of the radiator.

    Did you take apart the valve to make sure part of it didn't come loose and block the seat?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,678
    @fxrgrunt

    I would disconnect the union at the radiator and see if you can pull the riser up, if you could get it an inch or more it would probably help a lot. Maybe a little wood trimming would be needed.

    If it comes up you can add a hanger or a shim to hold it up. Then you could put shims under the radiator (may be ugly) or shorten the riser to make it work.

    Just bust off the CI elbow at the bottom of the riser and put a new elbow on with a new riser
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,760

    @fxrgrunt

    The near boiler piping looks ok if the sizes are right.

    They're not.

    That boiler was made by Dunkirk, regardless of what brand name is on it, and these boilers are known for wet steam unless they are piped just so. The piping at the steam outlet is bushed down from 2-1/2" to 2", and the pipe supplying the main on the left is bushed down too. Can't tell with the other main.

    Whoever installed that boiler did not read the instructions. Here's the diagram if you're only using one steam outlet:

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,760
    And here's the diagram when using both outlets, which is essential on larger models in this series:

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,668
    If you look at the OP's other posts, there are posts about surging and skimming which would seem to indicate the problem is wet steam.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,345
    edited October 5
    show the radiator also,
    is it possible you have too fast of a vent on that rad, and you're pulling condensate up there ?
    how is the main venting in the basement ?
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    Steamhead said:
    And here's the diagram when using both outlets, which is essential on larger models in this series:
    This is what I was tracking with the sizing. Thanks!
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    mattmia2 said:
    If you look at the OP's other posts, there are posts about surging and skimming which would seem to indicate the problem is wet steam.
    It is but I also only started messing with the boiler last year. Which was my first full winter in the home. I don't believe previous owners ever touched it or did anything from 2014 to 2019. It had tons of oils/contaminants in the boiler so I skimmed and cleaned. A lot was clogged up. I added too much treatment in and had to clear that out. I definitely am getting wet steam but I'm not sure if that is the particular cause for that radiator because of it being uninsulated. After this winter I will probably have the near boiler piping redone to take that equation out. Unfortunately there is noone on this forum close to the Albany New York area. Lots of guys about 2 hours away in Mass and NJ though. Maybe someone would be willing to travel.
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    edited October 6
    neilc said:
    show the radiator also, is it possible you have too fast of a vent on that rad, and your pulling condensate up there ? how is the main venting in the basement ?
    Radiator has a Hoffman 1A. I have had it all the way open and at lowest setting. On the 64ft main line I have a gorton 2 and hoffman 75 which I plan to Chang to two gorton 2s. I have 3 MOM vents on the shorter 45ft main. My plan is to take the hoffman 75 from the other main and just add as the 4th on my antler to the 3 MOMs. Picture of radiator attached. 
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 1,345
    others here will need to check me on this,
    but I think the hoffman adjustables are still a fast vent, even when shut down,
    and same others will suggest a different vent,
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 3,668
    Is that valve the same as other radiators? That looks like it might be a modulating valve used on 2 pipe systems but others will know better than me. I assume it is open fully, but I am still suspicious.
  • fxrgrunt
    fxrgrunt Member Posts: 115
    mattmia2 said:
    Is that valve the same as other radiators? That looks like it might be a modulating valve used on 2 pipe systems but others will know better than me. I assume it is open fully, but I am still suspicious.
    There was like 3 or 4 of them which look to be original. They are gortons. I repacked them last year as well. Straight out they are open and turned to the left or right They are closed.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,678
    @mattmia2

    It does look like a modulating valve
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 11,844
    Hoffman 1As are very difficult to adjust and have so much slop they can by wide open or fully closed at pretty much any number on the cap.

    Completely remove the nut and the cap and see if it heats
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment