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Heat Timer Vents Locking Up?

I have a one pipe steam system and have been using Heat Timer vents throughout the system. 

As heating season has begun, I noticed 4 of my radiators running slow or not at all. I took off the Heat Timer vents and they are running perfectly with an open hole (I know I can’t leave them that way, but that’s where I am right now). 

Two questions:

1. Is there any way to fix these vents, or must they be replaced?
2. Should I be worried about the other vents running slowly? I’m wondering if I should apply whatever fix is suggested to the rest of the vents too. 

Any other venting suggestions? Are there vents that still vent air as rapidly as the Heat Timers but don’t break after a year? Thanks!


  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 917
    What steam pressure are you running? Are you sure the pressuretrol is working, and the pigtail that connects it to the boiler is not clogged? Sticking vents are one symptom of excess steam pressure. You want no more than 2 psi, 1.5 is better.

  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,210
    We installed hundreds of Heat Timer's VariVents one year and had 20 - 30% fail. They have a defective design that causes the bellows to separate from its mounting and fall into the seat, blocking steam.

    Our many attempts to discuss the problem with Heat Timer were ignored, so we no longer specify any of their products. Many have held up fine, for over a decade, but the failures of the vents were too great.
  • merikus
    merikus Member Posts: 73
    @Long Beach Ed, that is quite interesting. Thank you for that information. What vent did you move to?

    @bburd, I’m sure those settings are correct, it was one of the first things I fixed when I purchased our house. Looks like from the other comment I need to replace the vents. Quite frustrating, I spent a lot of money on them. 
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,210
    edited December 2022
    We only use Gortons now, unless we need something very slow and then it's Hoffman. Gortons close a bit slowly, but we find them consistently reliable. Virtually every one we've installed 45 years ago still works. A great company too.

    We still have many Heat Timers out there working fine, though some have failed us. Generally, if they rattle when you shake them, throw them out.