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Spitting Radiator

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Hello I have a Client that has had two Plumbers that can not get a second floor radiator to stop spitting out water out of the steam vent.........

I went over there on Friday to take a look and this is what I checked:

-- The pitch of the second floor radiator was correct
-- They already changed the radiator shut off valve so that was new.
-- The newly changed vent was in a stuck open position but was almost brand new (Client told me that it has been changed multiply times)
-- The condensate wet return was open near the boiler and the water was not full of sediment
-- The pressuretrol was set correctly and the water fill line was at the manufacturer's fill line.
-- All of the other radiators where not fouling up, this was the only problematic radiator.
-- This radiator was the last on the main before it went back into the return
-- The Client indicated that he never had the problem before but for the last two heating seasons nobody has ever solved the fouling up radiator.

Any ideas on what it could be??

Thanks,

Keith.

Comments

  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    picture of the rad? and new valve? vent too for that matter,
    were other valves changed also?
    is the new valve made for steam? they are different
    known to beat dead horses
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    What is the runout from the main to the radiator like/
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,530
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    Could be too long of a runout, or the runout has sagged due to a pipe hanger working loose. Some how some where water (condensate) is being trapped.

    Is this a one pipe or two pipe system?
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 917
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    Have they tried a slower vent?

    Bburd
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,478
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    There may be a horizontal pipe under the floor that is pooling water because of bad slope. Try lifting the entire radiator (GENTLY) and put wood shims to hold it up there.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
    delcrossv
  • KeithDoell
    KeithDoell Member Posts: 22
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    Hello:

    Thanks for the responses:

    I requested a pic of the rad from the Client but it is a standard column radiator. All of the other radiators are of the semi recessed cast-iron type, all are using the VariValve. He also told me later on the phone that some of the other radiators are turned off (I told him that was not a good idea) since I suspected that the boiler was over sized. There was a kitchen addition done on the home where he had a hydronic boiler heating that space an an enclosed porch.





    There are two supply tappings that run along the left and right exterior walls of the basement I would say they are about 30 feet long. There is pitch on the pipes and there is no water hammering during or after operation. There are no main steam vents on either main which I know it should have but there are a lot of systems out there that do not (I always keep in mind that the problematic radiator use to work). The riser is at the end of the main, 90 and then 45 straight up the exterior wall and then most likely 90s back since the pipe can not be seen on the 1st floor.
  • KeithDoell
    KeithDoell Member Posts: 22
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    One retired Plumber friend of mine thought that maybe the riser was plugged. Since I saw the radiator spitting I was not sure whether that was true or not, thoughts?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,530
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    @KeithDoell

    doubtful the riser is plugged unless some of the valve internals came apart
  • nde
    nde Member Posts: 86
    edited November 2021
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    Sounds like that rad is having to act as the main vent. If spitting water and stuck open new then likely running way too much pressure. If rads are shut off even worse. That is a pretty big input if shutting off rads. So yeah balancing issue that have to check in person look if any possibility for main vents first but then open all rads You can remove the problematic vent alltogether if needed to see how fast you can get steam to hit it but sounds like too many btus and too little radiation.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    "all are using the VariValve"

    Those are the most aggressive vents on the market, we hear problems with them on this site all the time. That is how they are getting away with no main vents, and I would suggest is also part of the culprit here.

    Open all rads this would be my guess as to where the problem came from. If they complain of overheating then the next step is fixing the imbalance properly which means:
    1. main venting
    2. slower radiator vents either better adjustable, or size accordingly.

    I'd bet the radiators are closed due to overheating, from the aggressive radiator vents, imbalance due to lack of main venting. Also if the boiler is oversized, that will only add to the issues.

    Pipes aren't plugged, that's darn near impossible on a steam supply, wet returns are another story, but I don't see that being an issue here.

    Curious why they didn't put a hot water zone off the steam boiler, I will never understand adding a second when there is plenty of output in the steam boiler.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ethicalpaul
  • KeithDoell
    KeithDoell Member Posts: 22
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    Attached is a pic of the radiator and valve you guys wanted



  • KeithDoell
    KeithDoell Member Posts: 22
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    Thanks for the input; I requested that the Client send me pics of all the radiators with height and width to figure out if the boiler is too large. In the meantime, I told the Client to open all the radiator shut off valves and use the adjustable Steam vent to prevent it from getting too hot too quickly in the rooms that are overheating.

    Also, another interesting thing was that somebody moved the thermostat to the second floor master bedroom where he told me he leaves the windows open because it gets too hot.... Normally on steam, I always see the thermostat in the Dinning or living room on the first floor.

    All of these tiny details from the Client makes me feel that there is not one thing going on here to get to solution.

    Thanks again for all your input ;)
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    "somebody moved the thermostat to the second floor master bedroom where he told me he leaves the windows open because it gets too hot"

    um... really? The thermostat is in a room with the windows open? And things get too hot?

    I wonder why.

    I think, as you say, you have more than one problem here... perhaps starting with the nut setting the thermostat which may be loose?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bburdBobCethicalpaul