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Dead Men Tales: The Unseen Damage of A Flooded Steam System

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HeatingHelp
HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 650
edited October 2022 in THE MAIN WALL



The Unseen Damage of A Flooded Steam System

There's more to a steam-heating system flood than meets the eye. In this episode, Dan Holohan troubleshoots a problem with an old one-pipe steam system.

Listen and subscribe here.

Thank you to our podcast sponsor Supplyhouse.com.
BroadwichCT

Comments

  • WigglyWalker
    WigglyWalker Member Posts: 28
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    Thank you, I have a call this week where a toilet overflowed and caused the auto feeder to get stuck on. I will definitely have this in the back of my mind
    jamplumb
  • njwags95
    njwags95 Member Posts: 15
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    Just finished flushing the boiler crud and pigtail from my one pipe steam system!
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
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    Thank you, I have a call this week where a toilet overflowed and caused the auto feeder to get stuck on. I will definitely have this in the back of my mind

    Do I want to even ask how a toilet overflow caused an boiler auto-feed problem?
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,090
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    I too, am mystified by the WC and water feeder connection.

    However, from working on old steam systems, one is 110 year old piping and rads, I have noticed that the dead men were stingy with the number of pipe hangers.

    They should have known that after about 100 years of hanging up their, their 3" mains would have a sag between hangers. ;)

    When they hung this piping there was no other 100 year old piping to compare it to.

    So I add a hanger between the original to correct the belly sag of the pipe itself.

    By the same token, there was little evidence of tree roots ever getting into clay tile pipe with cemented joints.....done a century ago.

    Same with "Orangeburg" piping for sewer lines.....along came detergents that washed the oil out of the "paper pipe".

    Will we learn something similar with PVC DWV piping in the far future? ....how about PEX?
    reggi
  • WigglyWalker
    WigglyWalker Member Posts: 28
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    The toilet was above the boiler and the water got into the feeder, luckily it only went to the max 5 gallon amount of the feeder setting. But I think it was a blessing in disguise, I was able to change out some main vents that needed to be replaced years ago and found that the pressuretrol was never set correctly, also the boiler kept going out on low water before it hit the 1-1/2 psi. I found most of the radiator valves and unions to be leaking steam. I was able to balance the system and get the water hammer issue resolved by flushing the system supply and returns. There was also a indirect tank that was leaking and the “handyman” that installed a new on demand water heater never isolated the tank from the boiler. So after removing the high limit control and turning of the valves off I probably saved the customer a tank of oil or more a year. If I could explain the amount of cob webs in this basement I think I would win a world record for the biggest Cotten candy broom handle. I love working on steam systems, I think it might be time for a comeback? 
  • John Mehrtens
    John Mehrtens Member Posts: 4
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    I had a situation where the automagic feeder sprung a leak, and slowly fed a single-pipe system. The entire system was pressurized to 22psi. Water was dribbling from a second-floor radiator, flooding the 70-year-old hardwood floors. Oak doesn't appreciate water like this.

    Opened the boiler drain and, via a hose to a basement sink, let the water gush until everything was back to normal. Refilling it, cleaning the return, and running the boiler for a while to get much of the free oxygen out of the 'clean' street water that the system now had.

    Finally, the sight glass stays clean. I suppose there's always a light at the end of the tunnel, no matter how small.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,840
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    JUGHNE said:

    However, from working on old steam systems, one is 110 year old piping and rads, I have noticed that the dead men were stingy with the number of pipe hangers.

    If you have to put the screws in by hand there is incentive to use less.