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Figuring out this steam (Paul) system mess in NYC.

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JohnNY
JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
edited December 2022 in THE MAIN WALL
I love my consulting work and it's very rewarding when things start to come together. This is a Paul system altered by many unqualified hands over the years. Restoration is my approach in most cases but that may not be possible here. This one's going to be challenging fun.







Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
Consulting & Troubleshooting
Heating in NYC or NJ.
Classes

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  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,711
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    maybe if you sit quietly in the last rows the dead men will talk to you
    known to beat dead horses
    EdTheHeaterManCLambGGross
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,737
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    Challenge doesn't seem enough to do it justice
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,429
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    So you tease, tell us more! 🤣
    CLamb
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,551
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    John is on a first-name basis with the Dead Men. 
    Retired and loving it.
    EdTheHeaterManJohnNY
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,940
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    @JohnNY , I'm sure you are up to the challenge.

    You'll need some way of pulling a vacuum on the air lines. Maybe @Pumpguy could help out here.

    From the looks of those three pipes, it looks like the radiators are piped as two-pipe air-vent with the Paul system handling just the air venting.

    Hoffman #3 air vents for Paul systems appear to still be available.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    Steamhead said:
    @JohnNY , I'm sure you are up to the challenge. You'll need some way of pulling a vacuum on the air lines. Maybe @Pumpguy could help out here. From the looks of those three pipes, it looks like the radiators are piped as two-pipe air-vent with the Paul system handling just the air venting. Hoffman #3 air vents for Paul systems appear to still be available.
    Someone put traps and Hoffman 75 air vents all over the building, including on some drip lines. There is clear evidence of a condensate return pump having been installed and then removed but much of the piping remains. The Paul vents were all removed, no one knows when, and air vents were put in their place. All radiators have traps now. The current set of hands on the system, the guy who called me, removed the air vents on the radiators (seeing they have traps and having read that traps and vents do not mix) and they went cold immediately. They’re running mini splits to heat those cold areas now. I’m thinking to vent the heck out of it at boiler level and add TRVs or orifice plates at each radiator. But I looked at it for an hour, and not ready to commit to anything. I seem to have trouble with commitment in other areas of my life too. Just ask the highly patient Melissa. 
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,429
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    So the Paul vent lines are all abandoned @JohnNY ?
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    All but one line, @Danny Scully, yes.  (Did my buddy Dominic call you?)
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,429
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    Not sure @JohnNY, I’ll inquire with our CSR. What was it about? 
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 664
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    Some years back I was called to look at a large home in a suburb just north of Milwaukee with a one pipe Paul airline system. Considerable renovations had been done for the new owners including installing a new boiler and boiler feed pump and tank.

    The installing contractor removed the vacuum pump but fortunately the Paul valves on the radiators were still there as were the air lines.

    When this new arrangement wouldn't heat, a second contractor was called in who realized it was a Paul system that now didn't have a vacuum pump.

    No one could tell me anything about the original vacuum pump.

    Using a small liquid ring vacuum pump with re-circulated seal water from the boiler feed tank, we were able to restore this Paul system back to its original design. Even though we used a rebuilt vacuum pump, this was maybe 5-8 years ago, I haven't had any feedback from the using customer or the contractor, so I have to assume all is working as it should be.

    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
    JohnNY