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Help On Possibly Repairing Damage to Steam System

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Hi Everyone!
I purchased a home almost 3 years ago in northeast PA. With that came a single-pipe baseboard steam boiler setup. A setup I had never encountered in my life. The system worked, but there were problems. Major leaks in the bathroom at the L. Water not draining and getting stuck at the tip and leaking out. And the heating bill was high(Or so I thought) to my unexperienced brain. Long story short, during renovation I cut some of the pipes that were faulty with a SawZaw and just left them open, or covered them with new flooring. Effectively rendering the boiler useless. Now it's winter, and the electric heat is atrocious. Barley keeping the house warm for more than it cost to heat the house VERY well with the boiler.

With that being said, my pipes just froze last night. The boiler was acting as a little heater for the basement and now without that the basement has nothing and it's cold. I made a ton of mistakes with this, and would like to try and get the system up and running again.

My questions are, where the heck do I buy basebaords for this system? Everywhere I look they're selling little pipes, not the pipes I need.
And is it possible to cap pipes that have been sawzawed, or somehow reconnect a baseboard there? Thanks

The pictures are what type of pipe I'm looking for.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    Do you still have the old baseboards? or did they go out?

    There are a number of good manufacturers of steam radiators and steam baseboards -- a brief Google search will bring them up (I just tried it). One pipe steam baseboards are a little problematic if they are long, but they can be made to work and work well. The problem you had with the one in the bathroom was simply that it wasn't pitched correctly; a matter of ten or fifteen minutes work to fix.

    The little pipes which you cut are, unfortunately, matched to the valves which are left. Once in a while one can get lucky and find new ones which will match the old valves and not leak. Not often. Usually one needs to get a new valve -- with its matching pipe. Is that photo a typical example? That particular location is going to be a little difficult, as while you can cap the riser pipe and get away with it, you will have to get the valve off to do it. You can take the cut section off -- that's just a matter of undoing the big nut holding it to the valve; it's what's called a union -- but I'm not at all sure that that will give you enough room to swing the valve. If you can get at it underneath, you might be better off to cut the riser to the valve and unscrew it from the nearest fitting -- and screw a plug into that fitting.

    How much else has been disassembled?

    Honestly I'm not surprised that you are somewhat disappointed with the electric heat and sorry the steam is gone. Most people who take out their steam systems regret it bitterly -- but what's done is done, and we will try to help you get back on track.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,843
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    You have a few choices in this situation. Beacon-Morris makes commercial fin-tube that will work on 1-pipe steam in short lengths, as long as the right element is installed:

    https://www.beacon-morris.com/twinpak-hydronic-baseboard

    OCS makes some nice ones too. Also check out their Base Vector:

    https://ocsind.com/products/

    Or you could find some traditional cast-iron radiators.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
    edited January 2022
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    Craigslist is a good source of traditional radiators. People are constantly cutting them out of their flip houses and selling them. Here in NJ you can find them for $50-$100

    If you care to, you might post a couple pictures of your boiler so we can see if it's worth restoring. You might drain the water out of it also to prevent it from freezing and cracking the boiler...it might not get that cold down there but it's easy insurance.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,543
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    @tltLuke

    Sounds like you need a steam guy. "Check find a contractor" on this site. Sounds like you have a real mess going on now
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
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    Your valves may be ok, the spuds are still there in the unions.  Traditional radiators would be you low cost option but will be a workout to move and prep.  Some here feel that they are beautiful. It will take a torch, pipe wrench and probably sawzall to remove the spuds in the salvaged radiators.  Again, this is a ton of work so a pro may be advisable.  They will probably need paint jobs, more work.  If you are involved with someone creative you can let her detail your radiators with an oil based sharpie.

    Spend a little time understanding the size of radiators, edr, and heat loss.  Avoid the huge radiators, 
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    respectfully, it doesn't take a torch or much time to remove spuds from old radiators. The best method is to carefully saw slits through the spud. There are good YouTube videos on it.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    STEAM DOCTOR
  • cross_skier
    cross_skier Member Posts: 201
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    Around here sawing the brass spud is the last resort because you risk damaging the threads in the radiator.  I've done 8 of them, moving them is probably the worst part of the job.  If you don't need to move them it's not so bad.

    Plumbers I'm my area want quire a bit to do this, sorry can't quote actual $ on this site.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,704
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    Yeah care is required and I can't say I've never nicked any but I haven't killed any yet :sweat_smile:
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el