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TRV on old-school single-pipe steam radiator

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Hi everyone. Thanks so much for the help. I've made an appointment with a local pro to take a good look at the setup in the basement. In the meantime, I've been doing a bunch of research on TRVs. I understand that installing a TRV on the air valve (or vent valve) may help me control how hot a radiator in a specific room gets AND that swapping them out can be quite straightforward.

I've found this catalogue from Danfoss:
https://assets.danfoss.com/documents/99867/AF163386458944en-010101.pdf

And below are the pictures of a radiator in the house.




Is there a specific model I should get based on what you can see?

Comments

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    What is listed in the catalogue for 1 pipe steam will work fine, I’ve got one in my bedroom.  You don’t need their vent, any straight vent will work.

    I have to ask though, what size vent do you have on it now?

    I'm having a hard time believing a radiator that small is a big overheating problem in the house, many times just adjusting the vent size will make the difference.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • MJasick454
    MJasick454 Member Posts: 6
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    Thank you KCJones for the advice.

    Just to clarify, this is just an example of a radiator in the house. This particular room is actually perfectly fine. The radiators in the other rooms (both overheating an underheating) are the problem, although they have decorative grilles over them, so taking a clear picture is hard. The small radiator here is just an example of what the radiators in the other rooms look like, minus the grille.

    To follow up: (1) how can I tell what size vent do I have? Is it labeled somewhere? Do I need to measure it? (2) how do I “adjust the vent size”? Is that swapping out with a different vent, or with the TRV that will presumably allow me to adjust the size? (3) is swapping it out as simple as unscrewing it and rescrewing on a new one? I am doing some reading that’s made a lot of references to having to “thread it” and using some sort of teflon tape, etc.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    Vents do just unscrew and screw in a new one.  They are marked on the end what brand and size, both things are important.

    To be clear you can control the amount they hear with venting changes even without TRV’s.  It sounds like you have a balance issue, so honestly I’d start with that first.

    Venting starts in the basement with the main vents and once the main venting is squared away you can move to the radiator vents.  You size them based on relative location in the house, radiator size and with influence of what temperature you want the room.  Yes venting can keep some rooms cooler and some warmer independent of the actual thermostat settings, with exception of the room the thermostat is actually in.

    See why main venting you have in the basement, and let us know how long and what size the mains are and we can recommend the proper amount of main venting.

    On the TRV’s, if the radiators in question have covers you would need to get the operator with a remote sensor and that would be mounted on a wall slightly away from the radiator.  And it has a connection back to the operator head that needs to be run through the cover.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    Long Beach Ed
  • MJasick454
    MJasick454 Member Posts: 6
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    Here is a better picture of the vent. It appears to be a Gorton #4 equalizing valve.

    So all I need to do is (1) unscrew this, and (2) screw in the proper Danfoss TRV?


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    Yes, if you’ve got the system balanced with all proper venting and the radiator is still overheating then a TRV may be the only solution.  I want to be clear about this point, you should only consider TRV after all venting is balanced as good as it can be and you are still having issues.

    For the Danfoss TRV there are three parts that need purchase, the body, operator (remote or not depending on application) and a vent.  The TRV needs a straight vent and without TRV you use angled vents.  Also keep in mind with the TRV need to make sure the vent is sized appropriately.  The TRV tends to add some resistance so it can slow things down more than just a vent and could make the room colder if you aren’t careful with the vent choice.

    With all the involved components that is part of why I stress getting venting right first.  The cost of TRV and associated components is significantly more than just a vent and the expense may not be necessary.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    Long Beach Ed
  • MJasick454
    MJasick454 Member Posts: 6
    edited December 2022
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    Well understood. I’ve got the appointment with the pro to check on getting venting right first. My understanding is that every few years, my in laws try this and it doesnt work. Hence Im just thinking ahead.

    PS. What about “underheating”. Is that a thing?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    While you are at it, two very important things to keep in mind. First, a TRVent can only reduce the heat. It can't increase it. Second, it can only do so if the boiler cycles on and off (usually on pressure). Once a radiator gets hot, closing the vent (for instance, with a TRV) won't keep it from heating further.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • MJasick454
    MJasick454 Member Posts: 6
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    KCJones. Thanks again for your advice. So for my free-standing radiators, I should get:
    Body: 013G0140
    Operator: 013G8250
    Vent: 013L8011

    For my radiators covered by a grille, I should get:
    Body: 013G0140
    Operator: 013G8562
    Vent: 013L8011 and 013L8300 (what’s this?)
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,206
    edited December 2022
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    Sounds like you have other problems you are seeking to solve the wrong way. The only way you would be "overheating" is if you are "underheating" elsewhere. That's a balance problem or the radiators are improperly sized. Fix the problems and you'll save money. Patch them up with thermostatic valves will cost you...
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,739
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    Well understood. I’ve got the appointment with the pro to check on getting venting right first. My understanding is that every few years, my in laws try this and it doesnt work. Hence Im just thinking ahead. PS. What about “underheating”. Is that a thing?
    Not surprising, people come here all the time after pros have been there and venting is a common issue because it’s either ignored, or not understood.

    The TRV is really not a fix all that many want it to be, that’s why I’m emphasizing caution here.  Also Jamie’s point is valid as it only does one thing and everything needs to be running properly for that one thing to work properly.

    In addition adding them without having all the venting right can have an impact on other areas of the home, so other rooms that were fine could end up hotter, balance is the key here.

    Where are you located?  We may know someone capable of handling this in your area.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,703
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    That number 4 Gorton is a nice small vent. If I had a radiator with a #4 on it that was still heating more than I wanted, I would just put a blanket over the radiator.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    Long Beach Ed
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,695
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    That number 4 Gorton is a nice small vent. If I had a radiator with a #4 on it that was still heating more than I wanted, I would just put a blanket over the radiator.


    I would increase the venting on all of the other radiators in the house.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,703
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    Carefully, one or two at a time with gentle increases I assume!

    (although if the rest of the house is comfortable, I still stick by my "put a blanket on it" advice)
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    If you go with the TRV, you want to get the vacuum breaker feature included.

    Once the air vent closes and the boiler shuts down the rad may not drain back and eventually become water logged.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,695
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    JUGHNE said:

    If you go with the TRV, you want to get the vacuum breaker feature included.

    Once the air vent closes and the boiler shuts down the rad may not drain back and eventually become water logged.


    It would be pretty incredible for a wide open 1" - 1 1/4" pipe to somehow allow a radiator to hold a vacuum and stop water from leaving via gravity when the rest of the system is open to atmosphere. Wouldn't it? ;)


    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
    edited December 2022
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    Yes, it seems incredible. I would have never thought it could happen.
    However in our schoolhouse, the second floor rads would hold water and then eventually let go when the boiler shut down.

    In the basement it sounded like a WC flushing, 2" risers up 2 floors, 1 1/2" valves on rads.
    Connected to a 3" main. Pretty well a straight shot up 2 floors, a few 90's.

    Also there is an extra rad connected with the 100 year old valve shut off (as will as one would expect).
    I would unhook it and cap the pipe, but the valve is the only thing securing the rad in place.
    Huge and top heavy.
    No vent on it, just an 1/8" pet cock. (closed as an air vent would be when hot)
    Occasionally I open the pet cock and let the air in and have the same down rush of water I have heard before

    And why, pray tell, do they offer vac breakers with the 1 pipe steam TRV's?
  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 857
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    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,160
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    Wow, amazing floors @MJasick454
    mattmia2
  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 753
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    I have had first hand experience with Honeywell TRV's on my up stairs tenants radiators retaining water. Danfoss and Macom make much better units that let the water drain.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,695
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    I have had first hand experience with Honeywell TRV's on my up stairs tenants radiators retaining water. Danfoss and Macom make much better units that let the water drain.

    What were the symptoms?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,533
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    @MJasick454

    Just to stress what the others have posted above. A TRV is not a fix all but work well in the right. application.

    As @KC_Jones mentioned the venting in the basement has to be up to snuff. And as @Jamie Hall mentioned a trv can reduce the heat from an overheating radiator but cannot increase the heat from a cold rad
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    Gfrbrookline, do you mean the radiator itself retained water or the TRV control was water logged?
  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 753
    edited December 2022
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    @ChrisJ and @JUGHNE radiators retained water with the Honeywell units. My system tends to cycle twice with each call for heat. The radiator with the TRV heats and closes on the first cycle and then opens and bangs on the second cycle before closing again. When I removed it and installed the Danfoss units the hammering went away completely.
    Long Beach Ed
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
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    Pretty incredible.......huh ;)
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,660
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    I wonder if the trapped water has to do with a slug of water getting shoved around at some point such that it can fill the crossection of the runnout and prevent air and water from moving past eachother.