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Radiator vents not closing

Levie
Levie Member Posts: 79
I'm looking for someone to enlighten me on what can cause a brand new vent not too close and release steam.
I tried several new ones so I don't think it's defective and I used a laser thermometer and I am getting around 180 - 190 f. If the system is producing wet steam can that cause a Gorton vent not to shut? Are there any other things besides for dirt that can cause it not to shut if it reaches temperature?
I have had this issue with Gorton #2 on a steam main also and it only shot after like 5-10 minutes of releasing steam.
Thank you in advance.

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    What you describe isn't normal. I have seen a couple folks report some bad luck with recent Gorton vents. Try a Maid O Mist, at least for experimentation's sake. They are very inexpensive and actually quite good.

    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Jacobus-Maid-O-Mist-J4-4-1-8-Angle-Air-Valve-3564000-p
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    delcrossv
  • bmma
    bmma Member Posts: 32
    When you're boiling is firing and the vents are releasing steam, what pressure is your gauge showing? If you're running at a high enough pressure you could be pushing right past the vents and ruining them.
  • I have this same problem with the new Gorton 5, 6 and C vents I installed on my larger rads. My smaller rads have Hoffman 40s and they seem to close. I don’t know what pressure I’m operating at because of my useless 0-30psi gauge (another issue I need to deal with). Do you know your system pressure when your rads are fully heated and the vents should be closing?
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    In a one pipe system no manufacturer vent valves will work properly if the steam temperature is below 212 degrees. Assuming you are at sea level your boiler should be set at no less than 1 1/2 psi where the steam temperature is 216 degrees. At 212 and above the vent valves should shut down unless they are defective.

    Resetting the pressure control to 1 1/2 psi off and 1 psi on. An issue like none insulated steam mains can affect the temperature of the steam before it gets to the radiators ( the vent valve takes a long time to shut down).

    jake
    Hap_Hazzard
  • Levie
    Levie Member Posts: 79
    Jake tnx that's exactly what I wanted to understand.  So if a boiler is not piped properly so water is entering with the steam (causing it to cool down faster) and there is not a lot of latent heat in the steam the vents will have a hard time shutting if it's under 212?  Because when I read from the manufacturer they claim that it will shut at much lower temps.
    Tnx
    Levi
  • StevenNYC
    StevenNYC Member Posts: 31
    @dopey27177

    In a one pipe system no manufacturer vent valves will work properly if the steam temperature is below 212 degrees. Assuming you are at sea level your boiler should be set at no less than 1 1/2 psi where the steam temperature is 216 degrees. At 212 and above the vent valves should shut down unless they are defective.

    Resetting the pressure control to 1 1/2 psi off and 1 psi on. An issue like none insulated steam mains can affect the temperature of the steam before it gets to the radiators ( the vent valve takes a long time to shut down).

    jake

    I have the opposite problem. Rads are quiet till around 5-8 oz then they let steam though. After 8oz to my 16oz cutoff they quiet down. Rads are completely hot with less than an oz of pressure. It’s not until 5-8 oz that they hiss steam. Mostly on the top floor. Main is fully insulated.

  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    Your 5-8 oz at the boiler is not 5-8 oz at the radiator. it takes some time for the air leaving the rads to heat up enough to close the vent valves.

    Just a shot in the dark.

    try a smaller vent valve on the rads, maybe the air is leaving to fast and that may be why the vent valves are noisy.

    Jake
  • StevenNYC
    StevenNYC Member Posts: 31
    Your 5-8 oz at the boiler is not 5-8 oz at the radiator. it takes some time for the air leaving the rads to heat up enough to close the vent valves. Just a shot in the dark. try a smaller vent valve on the rads, maybe the air is leaving to fast and that may be why the vent valves are noisy. Jake
    @dopey27177 the vents are scolding hot and rads are fully heated at a fraction of an oz. This building has poor insulation so I have this issue when it’s cold or coming from a degree of setback. And the main is insulated and properly vented with 2 number 2 Gordon’s. Even my number 5 vent on a large radiator on top floor is doing it. The other 2 culprits are D vents feeding large cold rooms about 90 feet from the boiler. The 2nd floor has all number 4 vents except for the one farthest from the boiler on that floor. That’s a number 5 and quiet. I’m trying to balance the floors because the 2nd floor is about 3 degrees warmer due to the risers. First floor is commercial and has no radiators. 
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
    @StevenNYC After your main vents close the steam will look for its next path of least resistance. If well balanced and radiators venting relatively slowly then this should be pretty unnoticeable. However, if you are trying to bias steam to a large radiator or cold room by heavily venting this particular radiator then after the mains close steam flow will tend to concentrate to that riser leading to that radiator and you will hear a hissing associated with air rapidly being driven out by the advancing steam. My experience that I cannot totally explain has been that once the steam reaches and starts filling the radiator the amount of hissing and thus probably rate of steam delivery to that radiator decreases. If you have purposely unbalanced your system in order to get steam to certain rooms faster you will likely just have to live with those rads hissing when evacuating air and likely hissing again or whistling when the boiler shuts down and vacuum sucks air back into the system through those large radiator vents (they will often open before the mains reopen). Your best bet to reduce the issue while maintaining the balance that you like would be to slow everything down at the radiators.
  • Levie
    Levie Member Posts: 79
    My issue is not so much with the hissing but with vents that are already 190 degrees but don't want to shut so I get quite a bit of steam out of them until they finally shut after 5-10 minutes was wondering if that is an issue only with Gorton's
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    May I humbly enquire... if all your radiators are nice and hot at a fraction of an ounce, why are you letting the pressure build beyond that? Why not stop at 6 ounces or so, or even less?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ethicalpaul
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 887
    Just a shot in the dark,

    Are the radiators on the top floors the same size as the radiators on the lower floor?

    When I was a helper 65 years ago my job was to carry the rads up and install them in certain rooms.

    Not all the rooms had the same size radiators, the top floors had smaller rads than the lower floors.

    I asked my boss how come. He then said to me the reason for smaller rads on the top floor is heat rises.

    You know we do this work for high end customers so I have a shop engineer that does heat calcs for all the buildings we work in and as a result we never get come back.

    Unfortunately for me I went away in the navy at that tie and did not learn about heat loss in a building and heating element design an placement till 20 years later.

    Jake
  • Levie
    Levie Member Posts: 79
    So just an update on my Gorton #1 that was not closing I replaced it with a Hoffman 75 and it closes perfectly this is after trying several Gorton's straight out of the box not sure why that is but I'm not sure I can trust Gorton for the mains anymore :(
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,966
    Recently, I have had numerous Gorton vents fail to close. As in, they are letting out steam. Something is up with Gorton. Not happy
    StevenNYC
  • StevenNYC
    StevenNYC Member Posts: 31
    Recently, I have had numerous Gorton vents fail to close. As in, they are letting out steam. Something is up with Gorton. Not happy
    @STEAM DOCTOR yeah they’re acting weird here on my end. It’s like they have to be superheated to close. I especially have this problem when my vaporstat cuts out and then restarts the boiler. Hissing fizzling for several minutes till the vent is super hot. Considering raising the cut out to 1.5 to .5 psi cut in if it’ll go that high. Currently at 16oz cut out with 2 oz cut in. 
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,966
    Probably more cost effective to change the vents. Running at low pressure is ideal. 
  • StevenNYC
    StevenNYC Member Posts: 31
    Probably more cost effective to change the vents. Running at low pressure is ideal. 
    @STEAM DOCTOR they’re all brand new! You really think half a psi will affect the heating bill that much? Everything heats pretty evenly and nice the way I have it set up. I’d hate to switch to Hoffman and have to rebalance this system. This issue is mostly when it’s cold out or heating from a set back which causes it to reach the 16oz cut out. 
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078

    Recently, I have had numerous Gorton vents fail to close. As in, they are letting out steam. Something is up with Gorton. Not happy

    Me too….I used to use Gorton vents exclusively. But I have been having nothing but headaches with new vents not working as of the past year. They won’t close. I switched to Barnes and Jones, Hoffman, and Ventrite…now no problems closing but had to acquire new venting strategy etc.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    StevenNYC
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,966
    Had issues with the BJ Big mouth. Lots of them. I was a huge and loud proponent of the Big Mouth. Not any more. Had way to many that leaked steam. Heavy leaks. Some leaked from day one. That's half a headache. Had a bunch that worked fine when installed and started to leak weeks or months later. Some with property damage. 
    ethicalpaul
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,966
    Where does one buy ventrites?
  • PhilKulkarni
    PhilKulkarni Member Posts: 70
    edited February 2022
    Last month I replaced two Ds and two #5 vents, all MOMs, with one Gorton D, one C and two number 5s, and much to my chagrin not one of the 4 vents closed on steam. I sent them back and replaced the #5s with Hoffman 40s, the Ds with MOMs and the C with a Ventrite #1 open all the way.

    The Ventrite hisses loudly but closes with a reassuring thump as do the two Hoffman 40s. The Two MOM Ds keep venting air for the most part but when the outside temp drops and the boiler runs more frequently they then close. All rads heat evenly across.

    I have replaced two defective Big Mouths with BJ-2VV Vari-vents from Barnes and they have never once leaked steam in three seasons. My boiler operates at 1.2psi and shuts down at 1.8psi. All my rad vents open before the main vents and suck in air. My steam is pretty wet but my mains and returns are fully insulated.

    Any suggestions with respect two MOM Ds that are on the 2 largest rads that seem reluctant to vent air completely? Thanks in advance.
  • StevenNYC
    StevenNYC Member Posts: 31
    @PhilKulkarni

    Last month I replaced two Ds and two #5 vents, all MOMs, with one Gorton D, one C and two number 5s, and much to my chagrin not one of the 4 vents closed on steam. I sent them back and replaced the #5s with Hoffman 40s, the Ds with MOMs and the C with a Ventrite #1 open all the way.

    The Ventrite hisses loudly but closes with a reassuring thump as do the two Hoffman 40s. The Two MOM Ds keep venting air for the most part but when the outside temp drops and the boiler runs more frequently they then close. All rads heat evenly across.

    I have replaced two defective Big Mouths with BJ-2VV Vari-vents from Barnes and they have never once leaked steam in three seasons. My boiler operates at 1.2psi and shuts down at 1.8psi. All my rad vents open before the main vents and suck in air. My steam is pretty wet but my mains and returns are fully insulated.

    Any suggestions with respect two MOM Ds that are on the 2 largest rads that seem reluctant to vent air completely? Thanks in advance.

    Do those radiation’s gurgle by any chance when they’re nice and hot?



    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Yeah, how wet I was wondering
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • PhilKulkarni
    PhilKulkarni Member Posts: 70
    Out of a total of 10 radiators spread over 3 floors there are 2 on the 2nd floor that gurgle quite loudly but heat up normally. I increased their pitch but see no difference.

    While this is a minor concern, my greatest headache is a leak in the system that I have not been able to fix which is consuming approx 1.5gallons/day when temp in NYC drops to 20F and below. I have checked the usual suspects-boiler leak, radiator valve joints, leaking main and radiator vents in my previous post, horizontal run outs, wet returns, tel tale signs of leaks through the insulation on the mains, billowing steam through the chimney. Had two different plumbers including an HVAC company who felt 1.5-4 gallons of water draw/day by a steam boiler was quite normal. I have plaster walls everywhere and there are no water stains on any.

    This leak has persisted for 3 seasons but my boiler miraculously seems to have 9 lives, though it is 12 years old.

    Thanks in advance for any expert suggestions on how I might address this pesky leak.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Had two different plumbers including an HVAC company who felt 1.5-4 gallons of water draw/day by a steam boiler was quite normal.


    Hilarious
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    KC_Jones
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 431
    Yes, but also very sad.
  • PhilKulkarni
    PhilKulkarni Member Posts: 70
    Amazing how two people look at the same problem. I called in the two professionals asking them whether they were familiar with steam heating and when they said yes I asked whether they could find and fix a leak in my one pipe system. I was careful not to seek their opinion on my system- just find the leak please. Yet one found none, asked if I had skimmed the boiler, and I told him the boiler water level did not surge. He said there was no leak got paid and left. The other said the water consumption was normal, made little effort to find the leak, but got paid as well. Wallet just got lighter, Ouch!
  • StevenNYC
    StevenNYC Member Posts: 31
    Amazing how two people look at the same problem. I called in the two professionals asking them whether they were familiar with steam heating and when they said yes I asked whether they could find and fix a leak in my one pipe system. I was careful not to seek their opinion on my system- just find the leak please. Yet one found none, asked if I had skimmed the boiler, and I told him the boiler water level did not surge. He said there was no leak got paid and left. The other said the water consumption was normal, made little effort to find the leak, but got paid as well. Wallet just got lighter, Ouch!
    @PhilKulkarni my site glass wasn’t surging that much but my low pressure gauge was jumping around like crazy until I skimmed the boiler. I actually made a post about it. 
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
    but a jumpy pressure gage, or a bouncing sight glass isn't a gallon a day leak, it may be a wet steam, low water in the glass type problem, but not a gallon a day problem,

    but since you said sight glass,
    it itself could be leaking, and the one I had I never saw, until , , ,
    close the top valve and see if the water rises in the glass, that would be steam/air leaving the top of the glass,
    and you'll never see it unless the steam is VERY wet,
    might be worth a look.
    known to beat dead horses
    StevenNYC
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,966
    How did you check boiler for leaks?
    ethicalpaul
  • PhilKulkarni
    PhilKulkarni Member Posts: 70
    In early November, I filled the boiler until the water came out of the Big Mouth at the end of the main which is approx 31" from the center of the sight glass. Let it sit there for 48 hrs and then checked the firebox to for any drips or wet spots. Then last month when the temp in the NYC area was in the teens and the boiler was operating more frequently, I stepped out a couple of times to look at the chimney but saw no steam which if it was going up the chimney would have been visible against the ambient air. Finally, I don't see any steam coming out of the piping around the boiler including the top of the sight glass as suggested by a member on this thread. My returns are above ground in the basement.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703

    , , , Finally, I don't see any steam coming out of the piping around the boiler including the top of the sight glass as suggested by a member on this thread.

    read what I wrote again,
    I didn't see steam from the top of the glass either,
    but while exercising the glass valves, the level rose in the glass, quickly, when the top valve was closed,
    air or steam was escaping out that upper gasket, until it was snugged up a bit more.
    known to beat dead horses
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
    edited February 2022
    and it could be the lower gasket also,
    that steamin hot water could dry off before it makes a mess

    just another place to check , , ,
    known to beat dead horses
  • PhilKulkarni
    PhilKulkarni Member Posts: 70
    Checking the sight glass gaskets. I took off the two copper rods on the sides of the glass and shut off the top valve while the boiler was running. The water level went up by about 1/8”. I opened it and closed it again but this time the water level stayed the same(put a mark on the glass with a pen). I wrapped a paper towel around the lower gasket and checked for signs of moisture but came up dry. Checked the upper gasket for moisture the same way and also came up dry.

    I am thinking of inspecting the 4 riser joints at the mains one more time. I will have to take off the fiberglass insulation and the plastic wrap around the tees which is a pain because of limited space between them and the floor boards above. Unless there are multiple leaks in the system that occurred at the same time 3 yrs ago-none of which I have been able to find, I am back to speculating that the boiler is the culprit and believing that looking at the chimney for escaping steam is not the easiest diagnostic.

    Is it possible that the boiler has a leak which reveals when the boiler expands, i.e. producing steam but stays closed when the boiler is cold and thus passes the flooded boiler test?
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 431
    Did you check all the radiator valves are fully open and no leaks at the radiator valve stems. Similar to the sight glass they can leak almost invisibly. Use a tissue when the boiler is running and the rads are hot.