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Top most radiator spitting

Hello all,

I have read the guide (How to get the best..) and searched around this forum quite a bit.

I have a New Yorker CGS50c steam boiler (about 10 years old) in my basement & 10 radiators total on my first and second floors. The boiler has a BJ-3BM main air vent.

Every radiator has a new air vent (I recently purchased my home & every vent was either stuck or broken or both). The boiler is regularly flushed. I am not sure when it was last cleaned (probably never). The owner's manual provides no good information for maintenance beyond taking measurements on the water's pH & recommends all other maintenance be done by a professional.

I plan to purchase this to clean the boiler. Is that going to be sufficient?

My main problem is, the largest radiator on the top floor hisses and drips slightly. It's not very loud or that bothersome, but I know this is the telltale sign that something is wrong.

I have measured my A-gap, and it appears to be around 30" (I know the minimum is 24"), so I don't think that's the issue.

Here are some photos of the boiler system.






Thank you for reading!

Comments

  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,004
    edited April 8
    you've got some issues,
    read this next,
    https://heatinghelp.com/store/detail/we-got-steam-heat-a-homeowners-guide-to-peaceful-coexistence
    https://heatinghelp.com/store/

    does the pressure gage return to zero ?
    it is way too high, and should be tripping the safety valve at over 15 psi,
    safety valve should be replaced if gage is reading true,

    the Ptrol needs to be set as low as possible,
    the scale on the right, set it down to between the 2, and the mark below that should be 1, (or at the 10kpa mark),
    set the left scale to 1,

    the looped pipe under the Ptrol, is your pigtail,
    it needs to be checked for clear and free breathing back into the boiler so the Ptrol can detect what the boiler pressure is at,

    the boiler near piping is incorrect
    that can wait for now,

    what vents are on the rads,
    slower is better at the rads,

    if the high pressure is true then all your venting may be compromised and need replacing,

    check that pressure issue first,
    pressure should not be over 2,
    1.5 is more desireable, lower the better.
    known to beat dead horses
    BobCMekkelRichardsmattmia2
  • MekkelRichards
    MekkelRichards Member Posts: 5
    edited April 8
    neilc said:



    does the pressure gage return to zero ?
    it is way too high, and should be tripping the safety valve at over 15 psi,
    safety valve should be replaced if gage is reading true,

    the Ptrol needs to be set as low as possible,
    the scale on the right, set it down to between the 2, and the mark below that should be 1, (or at the 10kpa mark),
    set the left scale to 1,

    the looped pipe under the Ptrol, is your pigtail,
    it needs to be checked for clear and free breathing back into the boiler so the Ptrol can detect what the boiler pressure is at,

    the boiler near piping is incorrect
    that can wait for now,

    what vents are on the rads,
    slower is better at the rads,

    if the high pressure is true then all your venting may be compromised and need replacing,

    check that pressure issue first,
    pressure should not be over 2,
    1.5 is more desireable, lower the better.

    - I actually own that book already, and have read thru most of it. Love that it exists.
    - I guess I have never bothered to check, but the pressure gage seems to stay always around 17.5psi, regardless if the boiler is dormant or boiling.
    - I just removed & replaced the looped pipe under the PTrol. It was very dirty and most likely clogged. It is now perfectly clean
    - Also adjusted the PTrol to be set to 1 on the left scale & 1.5 on the right scale.
    - After the adjustment, the Internal Syphon gauge still seems to be hitting 20.5 after the boiler's ran for 15mins.
    - I will order a new safety valve if it seems like I need one.
    - I will take note of the near piping. Not able to tell what's wrong though. I have tried comparing to what else I've seen online.
    - Half of the rads have Varivalve vents. The other half have the Home Depot standard adjustable vents

    Thanks a whole ton for taking the time to give a serious reply to this. People like you make the internet a worthwhile place still!
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,004
    the book is a great introduction, an easy read,

    the gage, it may be fouled behind it also, or the gage is bad, you could replace it with another 0-30, required by code and insurance,
    consider adding a low pressure gage at the Ptrol, a 0-3, or 0-5, this will give you a better idea of what's happening with the boiler and Ptrol,

    and as the gage may be fouled behind it, so may be the pigtail,
    the port the pigtail is screwed into, did you check that it was clear and open into the boiler?
    if you remove the gage, and back at the pigtail, check the boiler ports and poke them open if fouled.

    without being sure of the gage operation it's hard to condemn the safety valve,
    but it should blow at or just above 15 psi,
    actually, check what that safety is rated at,
    it must be a 15, for your steam boiler, not a hot water 30,

    again, your vents may be damaged at this point,
    but let's deal with the boiler pressure, or not, first
    known to beat dead horses
  • MekkelRichards
    MekkelRichards Member Posts: 5
    neilc said:

    the book is a great introduction, an easy read,

    the gage, it may be fouled behind it also, or the gage is bad, you could replace it with another 0-30, required by code and insurance,
    consider adding a low pressure gage at the Ptrol, a 0-3, or 0-5, this will give you a better idea of what's happening with the boiler and Ptrol,

    and as the gage may be fouled behind it, so may be the pigtail,
    the port the pigtail is screwed into, did you check that it was clear and open into the boiler?
    if you remove the gage, and back at the pigtail, check the boiler ports and poke them open if fouled.

    without being sure of the gage operation it's hard to condemn the safety valve,
    but it should blow at or just above 15 psi,
    actually, check what that safety is rated at,
    it must be a 15, for your steam boiler, not a hot water 30,

    again, your vents may be damaged at this point,
    but let's deal with the boiler pressure, or not, first

    I agree, I have learned a ton from it.

    I will get that 0-30psi gauge replaced. I took it off, and there was no blockage behind it. I shone a light in.

    As for a gauge at the PTrol, I would assume this type of setup would be proper? Just ordered a 3psi gauge & will add that in Monday (have to wait for shipping).


    I checked the pigtail port, and it was also clean and open.

    The safety valve says "15 PSIG" on it, so that sounds like it should blow at 15psi. The boiler's 0-30 gauge right now is reading 20, so that gauge must either be bad or the safety valve is bad. I just bought a new 0-30 gauge that should also arrive Monday.

    Thank you!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 6,553
    edited April 9
    The 0-3 or 0-5 psi gauge can go on a tee between the pressuretrol and the pigtail, dont need 2 pigtails. I'd throw a union in there too since it looks like you have to unscrew the pigtail from the boiler with the pressuretrol on it to take it apart to check it now.

    Could be your lowest bidder in China from home depot vent is just bad too. But figure out and lower the pressure.

    The needle in those gauges moves with a little gear on a rack connected to a curved tube that moves slightly with pressure so if the case or the tube gets bent a little the reading will be wildly inaccurate.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,004
    edited April 9
    yeah, without the 0-30 returning to 0,
    all bets are in the wind
    (maybe you're doing 2-3 psi between 17 and 20, ????)
    known to beat dead horses
    MekkelRichards
  • MekkelRichards
    MekkelRichards Member Posts: 5
    My radiator that is spitting is the one with the nice Varivalve vent. The rest of the vents in my home seem to work fine. I hear the cheap ones *ping* every once in a while indicating the closing of them. None of them seem to spit either. The Varivalve's do a quick & quiet *whoosh* sound, all of them except this top-most radiator's.

    The new gauges look like they will be here in the mail tomorrow. I will install them before Monday & report back. Thank you!!!!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 6,553
    I'm thinking someone tweaked the gauge with the preuuretrol or a wrench while installing or removing the pigtail and pressuretrol.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,004
    mattmia2 said:

    I'm thinking someone tweaked the gauge with the preuuretrol or a wrench while installing or removing the pigtail and pressuretrol.

    nah, go back and look at the original pictures, "17" before we started the discussion
    known to beat dead horses
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 6,553
    neilc said:

    mattmia2 said:

    I'm thinking someone tweaked the gauge with the preuuretrol or a wrench while installing or removing the pigtail and pressuretrol.

    nah, go back and look at the original pictures, "17" before we started the discussion
    I think that someone was an installer or tech that broke it and didn't tell anyone.
  • MekkelRichards
    MekkelRichards Member Posts: 5
    Sorry for the extreme delay. I ended up getting deep into many other old home projects since April.

    Here is a photo of how the new gauges are installed. Let me know if I have installed them incorrectly. My top most rad's vent is still spitting / hissing / staying open longer than necessary.

    I will provide a detailed reading of the gauges tomorrow when the system kicks on again.

  • 109A_5
    109A_5 Member Posts: 390
    Hello @MekkelRichards

    - Half of the rads have Varivalve vents. The other half have the Home Depot standard adjustable vents
    My top most rad's vent is still spitting / hissing / staying open longer than necessary.

    I think the Varivalve units are known for that behavior maybe swap it with one of the home Depot vents.
    National - U.S. Gas Boiler 45+ Years Old
    Steam 300 SQ. FT. - EDR 347
    One Pipe System
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 790
    How high does your pressure go with the new gauge on line?

    You don't mention the sizes of the vent valves. Varivalves do not shut off venting completely (a widely known fact on HH), the minimum is about a #5 radiator vent. What is yours set at? What about vents on the mains?

    The low pressure gauge is a good move, but it should only be reading pressure when someone is at the boiler, so I highly recommend you install an isolation valve for just that gauge.

    If your spitting vent is on a higher floor and far from the boiler, you may need some venting at the end of the riser, just before the radiator itself.

  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 2,801
    Just wondering have you looked at the installation manual either left w the boiler or on line . The boiler is not piped correctly as per the manual and this in turn drastically effects system performance . Vari vents are the worst and should be replaced w any thing else , gorton comes to mind . The pressure gauge is shot and should be replaced and a additional 0 to 3 psi gauge the 0 -30 is a code requirement the 0 -3 is to see what’s going on . The way it’s piped I would highly doubt anyone has really cleaned and flushed the boiler out and either skimmed or wanted . The whole sight glass assembly and low water cut off probe should be removed and cleaned and re installed aside from test the lwco for proper operation. The safety valve should be removed and it’s piping to the boilers block checked to ensure it is not clogged . Without really going to the manual and seeing what looks like a 3 inch existing main the way it’s piped I know that that system is not seeing steam in the way it was designed to which is dry steam not wet . Even though the boiler has been in place for years doesn’t mean it was performing correctly .
    Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    Long Beach Ed