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Radiator Identification

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Newly purchased apartment in an apartment building. Steam system with cast iron radiators. I hope to have some individual radiator controls put on the individual room radiators once the steam system is shut-down for the summer (DHW is separate). For now I am trying to figure out the capacities of the radiators. Building was built in 1957.








Comments

  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    My eyes are playing tricks on me...is this two-pipe steam or hot water? I see no radiator vents which makes me think it may have been converted to hot water at some point.

    I'm just a one-pipe counterflow guy.... the real pro's will comment shortly.
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 742
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    It's two pipe vapor. I see a trap peeking out from behind the riser. I think those are Hoffman valves if I'm reading the logo correctly. Way before 1957 though.

    is there one of these in the basement?

    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.
    mattmia2
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    I see some O-E return fittings on some of those radiators. And, the radiators themselves can't be any newer than about 1926. That was about when they went out of production.

    Where is this building located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2
  • KevinWyman
    KevinWyman Member Posts: 35
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    Definitely a two pipe steam system. I recognize the sight glass in the basement. Building was built in 1957 according to the tax records but I suppose they could have repurposed of had some older radiators in stock. The windows were updated to double pane in the 2000s as it converted from an apartment building to a condominium complex. Located in West Hartford, CT with oil heat and a relatively new Weil McLain boiler Series 1 5 section boiler. There is a loop on the condensate return tank. Boiler capacity is 515,000 Btuh (at least according to the black sharpie scrawled on the nameplate). I did a heat loss for the building and came up with about 201,600 Btuh so some contractor oversized the boiler (and that was using a minimal amount of attic insulation and no insulation in the brick and mortar walls. There is a tick mark next to the steam capacity of 386 MBh so no more than 74% efficient?

    Anyway just trying to understand the radiator sizing. Could this system be converted to hot water? I haven't been in any of the lower floor apartments but I think the risers just go straight up and down except maybe the bathroom unit. My concern is that no one is looking at the boiler on a regular basis. I will lobby that at least a camera get added to look at the boiler remotely so I could at least peak at it from time to time. There already is a number of nest cameras I believe. Someone invested in a Nest thermostat to operate the boiler but not sure how that works. The day of the home inspection I suspect the boiler was off since the pressure gauge was reading zero psi. By the time we got back up stairs there must have been a call for heat, since a previous cold radiator began emitting. Getting warmer now so not an issue but I want to address the control issues over the summer if possible and add some room control.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
    edited March 2022
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    Anyway just trying to understand the radiator sizing. Could this system be converted to hot water?

    Only if you like living dangerously. This seems to be a knee-jerk reaction with folks who don't know steam.

    You don't say how tall this building is, but for each floor including the basement, a hot-water system needs 6 PSI at the boiler to get the water to the top of the system. That means for a 5-story building, the boiler pressure would have to be 30 PSI. 30 PSI is the pressure at which the safety valve blows off on a standard cast-iron hot-water boiler. Not gonna work.

    The steam system in your building was certainly designed to run at no more than 2 PSI at the boiler, and since it's Vapor, probably less than 1 PSI. If you try to convert this to hot-water, the increased pressure will do a great job of finding weak points in the system. They will leak. And leak. And leak.............

    When sizing a steam boiler, the proper method is to measure the radiators' capacity and size the boiler to that. So I bet that boiler is not as oversized as you think.

    You need a Steam Man. Get in touch with @STEAM DOCTOR , @Charlie from wmass , @New England SteamWorks or one of the others you will find here:

    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    reggimattmia2kcopp
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,660
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    Those window trim looks much older than 1957 as well. There was still steam being installed in 1957 but they wouldn't have done it like that.

    I think you are confusing square feet of steam/edr with btu/hr input and output on the ratings plate. You can put thermostatic radiator valves on each radiator or even zone valves but yo need to be careful about what happens to the boiler when few radiators are calling for heat.

    That system can work well with correct piping in the basement and good steam traps.
    reggi
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 512
    edited March 2022
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    Yes MrWyman  by the pictures posted your building is screaming 20's 30's .. those radiator controls are from different systems as mentioned prior all pictured and identifiable are from ultra low pressure systems that predate the 1957 records by 30 years.. except perhaps the unknown steam trap..
     They were installed when the
    building was built most likely.yes...but it's probable the building records may be incomplete or incorrect . .  Well that's not question though I'm not familiar with anyone designing a building using heating controls that were specific to systems that were last produced ...at least with O-E , 1927 +/- as far as I can find product sale information..
    30 + year prior.. . And also as mentioned the pictured radiators are from that 
    It's not 100%
    edit: if  you have a Apartment in the building you want to take control of it's heat and supply or if it's the building in it's entirety that you're discussing..
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
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    OE specialties didn’t survive the Great Depression.
    gwgillplumbingandheating.com
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

    reggi
  • KevinWyman
    KevinWyman Member Posts: 35
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    Well, my main concern is overheating of the apartment. The building is three stories, 6 apartments - 2 per floor and I am the owner of one of the 3rd floor apartments that has lovely South facing windows. I would like to have TRV installed this summer but perhaps that is not advisable?

    Secondary concern is a steam system that isn't being checked regularly. There is about a 50-50 split between owner occupied and renters and the owners aren't very technical as far as I can tell. Unit is too small for a property manager so much of that will fall to me I am guessing.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    Secondary concern is a steam system that isn't being checked regularly. There is about a 50-50 split between owner occupied and renters and the owners aren't very technical as far as I can tell. Unit is too small for a property manager so much of that will fall to me I am guessing.

    Get yourself a Steam Man, as mentioned above. This will save you a LOT of trial-and-error.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting