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2 pipe poor heat in upstairs rad

Preface this by saying I’m at my wits end with this. I can fix BMW with the most f’d up driveability problem but I can’t figure out a 100yr old steam radiator lol. I have 8 radiators in the house, 4 on each floor. 1st floor, no problems. Second floor 2 of them don’t want to heat up completely unless I crank the heat up to hell level. 
  The two that work correctly have dedicated supply/return lines. The two problem ones share a common supply and return which splits and goes to each one. The one in question has a vent of the side and a trap. Now I’ve been reading up on this system for a good week now and read never do this. I took the top off the trap and there’s no guts in it. So apparently someone at some point Jerry rigged it. Not really concerned with that one because I have it shut off and the trap plugged effectively eliminating it from the loop for troubleshooting purposes. 3rd room over I have shut off as well as the room is unused and door stays closed. Which brings me to my problem child in the bedroom. 
 This one has a odd looking 3/4 sphere shaped 90 degree angle thing with a square head removable screw on the end of it. There’s supposed to be a metal ball in it thats missing that I guess rolls back and forth to open close the trap? I know this because I swapped it with the one on the radiator in the unused room which has the ball in it. Didn’t fix anything as the radiator still doesn’t get hot correctly and now I have a rolling ball banging around noise too.. fml.
 Symptoms, radiator will only get hot around the inlet side on top to maybe four fins over(8 total) and doesn’t want to get hot on the bottom. Will also hammer and make noise when the heat first starts coming on. The pipes come up from the basement through a 1st floor closet. If I touch the supply line it’s hot as hell 3ft off the floor then after that gets cold. Unless I have the tstat cranked up then it’s hot all the way up and the radiator works. I also notice what sounds like a gurgling noise inside the supply pipe. It sounds like water and steam mixed together which makes no sense. 
 I’ve tried bleeding it, swapped the traps, it’s sloped correctly, on off valve on top works correctly… I’m at a loss. The boiler is set at .5/1.0 cut in/out. What am I missing here? Note I only know what I’ve self educated myself about steam heat from Google over the past week or so. I’m in desperate need of help because I’m loosing my mind trying to fix this. 
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Comments

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,942
    Right. Air vents are not needed on 2 pipe steam.  With no guts in the trap you have live steam entering the dry returns causing heat flow issues and "air locks' to other radiators in the system.  You need to change ALL the trap elements in one shot and probably upgrade your main vents, make sure operating steam pressure is nice and low.  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,942
    Pictures would help. It sound like you could have Boynton Richardson type of ball trap.  These system work best at really pressures. Don't feel bad, I can't fix a BMW. Mad Dog
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,942
    It seems that you've established the fact that ALL steam radiators get steam to them.  Thats the most important thing but also the easy part. The question is why  its all getting hot when I put everything back together and thats when you get in to venting and dry return issues of pitch, bad traps et cetera. Definitely need pics of near boiler piping, rad traps et al. Mad Dog
    DaveSmith2
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    Thanks for the reply. I should note that I didn’t just buy this house. It was my aunts and spent a good part of my childhood and was here pretty much as a second home and exclusively since she passed away 15yrs ago. It was originally a coal stoker then converted to gas maybe 25yrs ago. There’s been no recent work done to the system and it always worked fine. 
     Few years back I was sleeping downstairs so I shut the 3 radiators off in the unused rooms, except for the bathroom. Don’t remember how long they were off for, maybe a winter.. idk. Seems like maybe since then the problem started? 
     Frustrating thing is I’m sitting here right now listening to a nice flow of steam coming to the radiator. The supply pipe is hot as hell, too hot to touch. But the radiator is only hot right around the area where the supply pipe connects. One thing I did notice is this radiators sister who shares the same piping with the gutted trap has pressure in the return pipe. Let’s call them Jack and Jill lol. Jack is in my bedroom here and Jill is in the adjacent room. I have Jill’s supply valve shut off and the return plugged with a steel punch. It’s end is tapered so it seals off the opening perfectly. If I remove it when the heat is on there’s a good amount of steam pressure coming up through the hole. Is this maybe the problem? Seems like the steam is fighting each other from both ends to fill the radiator. But it makes no sense that these two radiators are the only ones who have this problem as all the other ones in the house work perfectly fine. 
    I’ll take some pics and upload them. 
    BrianF
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    Some pics. Also is it possible I’m making this problem worse by taking radiators out of the loop? Maybe throwing off the pressure balance/raising the pressure in the system? I just went in to the adjacent room and with gloves and rags and removed the punch sealing off the return line and there’s a LOT of pressure there. First two pics are Jack, my main nemesis in the room I’m in. Second two are Jill in the adjacent unused room. Stamped on the top of the ball trap on Jack is “Richardson heat” with a patent # below it I can’t really make out 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,524
    Steam pressure in the return is killing the steam flow to the radiator. Now the question is, where is that steam pressure coming from? It may not be -- probably isn't -- the problem radiator nor the one that's shut off. Some other radiator is passing steam through into the return. Time for some exploration.

    Also, if any (or all!) of the radiators have the same ball type of trap you mention, you absolutely must keep the pressure in the system down -- less than half a pound at cutoff (you'll need a vapourstat).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    Thanks for the reply Jamie. So here’s the setup downstairs. 4 radiators, kitchen has what looks like a trap similar to the one Jill has with the cover on top that unscrews, thermostat type? Next room over has the ball type like in the first pic, next one over has the ball type as well. Final one… one pipe only to the radiator with a vent on the side. All of these radiators work fine. I have an infrared/laser thermometer I guess I could use to check the temp on all of them. I would assume if one isn’t working correctly the temp would be lower? 
    Also I did an experiment earlier. I put Jill back in the loop. This one has the gutted trap so for all intensive purposes has no trap but has a vent on the side. When the heat came on Jack got hot. So I believe you are correct, there’s too much pressure in the returns and by putting this radiator back in the loop being it has a vent, it removed some pressure and let the other one work correctly. 
     My knee jerk fix would be to remove the ball trap on this one and just swap the one back that’s missing the ball and run no trap but put a vent on the radiator instead. My problem with that is though the little flat head screw plug that seals off the hole where a vent would go is seized in there. So I would have to drill it out or drill and tap an alternate hole. I think there’s still too much pressure in the return because when the heat first comes up I can hear the ball rolling back and forth for a while. No other radiator with this type of trap does this. 
  • TonKa
    TonKa Member Posts: 69
    Could you quantify "there’s a LOT of pressure there"?

    What's your pressuretrol/vaporstat set at?


  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 3,942
    You're probably ready for total tral rebuild.  Tunstall makes the all.  Mad Dog
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,524
    Your infrared laser may help. Remember that a shiny pipe will give a different reading from a painted ont -- a lot of folks run a wrap of electrical tape around the pipe and measure that.

    OK. That said. What you will be looking for is not a radiator that is cool, but one that is hot -- and that has a steam hot return. That's the real key to it. There should and may well be very warm condensate in the return, which will make the pipe hot -- even as much as 200 perhaps -- but not steam hot. Compare the inlet to the trap (or elbow affair) with the outlet. There should be a real temperature difference.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ScottSecor
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    TonKa said:
    Could you quantify "there’s a LOT of pressure there"?

    What's your pressuretrol/vaporstat set at?

    Enough that I said oh **** I probably shouldn’t have pulled the punch out of the return hole while the heat is coming up lmao. Looked kinda like a miniature geyser at Yellowstone. If I didn’t have gloves on I would have burnt my hands. The pressure setting thing on the furnace is set at .5 cut in and the cut out is at 1.0. That’s the lowest setting possible. Goes 1-5psi. 

  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    Your infrared laser may help. Remember that a shiny pipe will give a different reading from a painted ont -- a lot of folks run a wrap of electrical tape around the pipe and measure that. OK. That said. What you will be looking for is not a radiator that is cool, but one that is hot -- and that has a steam hot return. That's the real key to it. There should and may well be very warm condensate in the return, which will make the pipe hot -- even as much as 200 perhaps -- but not steam hot. Compare the inlet to the trap (or elbow affair) with the outlet. There should be a real temperature difference.
    When should I be measuring the temp, when the steam is actively entering the radiators?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    That trap with the ball is part of a specific system, that is the key to figuring out how this system is supposed to work. it probably needs a vaporstat to keep the pressure below 8 oz or so, it is probable a system where the steam is kept out of the returns by controlling how much steam is let in to the radiators through metering valves and very low pressure.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,524



    Your infrared laser may help. Remember that a shiny pipe will give a different reading from a painted ont -- a lot of folks run a wrap of electrical tape around the pipe and measure that.

    OK. That said. What you will be looking for is not a radiator that is cool, but one that is hot -- and that has a steam hot return. That's the real key to it. There should and may well be very warm condensate in the return, which will make the pipe hot -- even as much as 200 perhaps -- but not steam hot. Compare the inlet to the trap (or elbow affair) with the outlet. There should be a real temperature difference.

    When should I be measuring the temp, when the steam is actively entering the radiators?

    Yes -- when the system has been running for a while.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    Ok so checked the temps on 3 of the 4 radiators downstairs. 4th one isn’t relevant because it’s a one pipe setup with a vent. One has a thermostat type trap, other two have the ball traps. Thermostat one has a inlet/outlet temp differential of 20+ degrees. The two other radiators the temp reading is about the same on the inlet and outlet. I took the plug out of the both ball traps and check the guts. One has the ball present, the other the ball is missing. The one with the missing ball seems like the outlet temp is slightly higher than the inlet. Idk what the right course of action is. Try and find a replacement ball for the one? Switch to a thermostat style trap. Switch to one of those new style traps with the dial on it? 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,524
    What are the inlet valves on the radiators with ball traps? If you keep the pressure low, and the valves are the correct type, you can do just fine by closing the valve some so that the radiator heats all but the last section near the outlet.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    mattmia2
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 323
    Open all the radiator inlet valves even in the rooms you're not using, plug up the air vent and get a replacement disc for that trap with the drift stuck in it..that Richardson could be matched with a ball bearing  ... 
    Let's see what it hooked up to in the basement..
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    What are the inlet valves on the radiators with ball traps? If you keep the pressure low, and the valves are the correct type, you can do just fine by closing the valve some so that the radiator heats all but the last section near the outlet.
    All the radiators in the house have the inlet valves with the wheel on top you turn to open/close. They are all at max open. What I’m trying to avoid here is switching over to newer style traps and possibly make a worse situation than I have now opening the proverbial can of worms. After thinking about the overall setup with one ball trap on the first and second floor missing the ball, it almost seems like this was done purposely for some reason. Being my problem is too much pressure in the returns on these radiators who share the same piping, can’t I try and run no trap with a vent on the side on main problem one? The sister one in the adjacent room with the gutted trap has a vent on the side. Now that I put that one back in service I’m getting heat to this radiator. Just not at what it should be. 
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    reggi said:
    Open all the radiator inlet valves even in the rooms you're not using, plug up the air vent and get a replacement disc for that trap with the drift stuck in it..that Richardson could be matched with a ball bearing  ... 
    Let's see what it hooked up to in the basement..
    How do these ball traps even work? I put that one with the punch in it back in service and now I’m getting some heat in it’s sister which is the main problem one being it’s in my bedroom. The basement is pretty standard I would think. It has one vent on the end of the return pipe furthest away from the boiler. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216

    4th one isn’t relevant because it’s a one pipe setup with a vent. 

    This is absolutely relevant. There is a problem with steam in the returns or the returns not venting and instead of fixing that they put a 1 pipe vent on it.

    Look closely at the valves, give us detailed pictures. There are some of the type with a knob that have a means of metering the steam built in although metering valves more often have levr handles.

    You need to control the amount of steam that is let in to the radiators so that it is no more than it condense. That is a combination of running the system at around 8 oz of pressure or less and controlling the size of the opening in to the radiator on the inlet. this can be done with a special valve or with an orifice plate with a hole punched in it.

    You also need to make sure the returns and the mains can vent.
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    mattmia2 said:
    4th one isn’t relevant because it’s a one pipe setup with a vent. 
    This is absolutely relevant. There is a problem with steam in the returns or the returns not venting and instead of fixing that they put a 1 pipe vent on it. Look closely at the valves, give us detailed pictures. There are some of the type with a knob that have a means of metering the steam built in although metering valves more often have levr handles. You need to control the amount of steam that is let in to the radiators so that it is no more than it condense. That is a combination of running the system at around 8 oz of pressure or less and controlling the size of the opening in to the radiator on the inlet. this can be done with a special valve or with an orifice plate with a hole punched in it. You also need to make sure the returns and the mains can vent.
    No no, what I’m saying in regard to the 4th one downstairs is it’s an oddball in the system, a one pipe radiator where all the others are two pipe. It’s got only one pipe running to it and has a vent on it as I believe all one pipe radiators should. Why it was setup like this idk. But like I said the system has been the same in this house since I was born and I’m 48. The only thing ever done to it was going from a coal stoker to gas furnace and that was probably close to 30yrs ago. As I said, there’s a vent on the return in the basement only. Not on the main, but there never was one either. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    the main may be vented through crossover traps in to the returns.
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    mattmia2 said:
    the main may be vented through crossover traps in to the returns.
    I’ve looked over the piping in the basement and I don’t see anything trap related or any apparatus attached to any of the piping aside from one of those radiator type air vents sitting on top of the far end of the return line. All the inlet valves on the radiators are just like the ones in the pics. Just have an arrow on top denoting which way to turn to open. Well actually there are two radiators in the house that have a valve that has instead of the wheel, it’s has lever with a pointer on the opposite end that you turn to open/closed and the pointer points to open/closed stamped into the metal surrounding it. 
    What I’m not understanding about you and Jamie saying about not opening the supply valves completely. The boiler is set to achieve a certain amount of PSI, correct? And my problem seems to be too much pressure in the return on the problem twin radiators. So I don’t understand how not opening them completely will effect the pressure overall. The way I’m looking at it is the pressure in the system is the pressure in the system. Whether I’m allowing all of it into the individual radiators or not, the overall pressure in the system shouldn’t change. The pressure is still there in the pipes. Unless I’m adding a vent to relieve some of it, the pressure shouldn’t change. Correct me if I’m not understanding this correctly.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,524
    Ah. Yes, I can see where some confusion might arise. In a two pipe system -- whatever the kind, traps, orifices, odd widgets, whatever -- there should never be any pressure in the dry returns at all, nor should there ever by -- by the same token -- any steam in them. Just air and condensate. There is -- or should be, unless the piping is wrong -- no way for steam or system pressure to get into them.

    Now. How can this be done? Well, in a system with thermostatic traps it's obvious. Steam comes into the radiator, and any excess steam makes it to the trap and closes it. Condensate in the radiator gets to the trap, and the float lifts a little and lets it out, and it promptly recloses. But what if there is no trap? Remember that steam is condensing in the radiator. If you let in only as much steam as that specific radiator can condense, then there is no left over steam to make it to the outlet -- and no steam or pressure can make it out of the outlet into the return. This is accomplished by throttling the inlet to keep the amount of steam to the right value. In some systems, this is done with orifices while in others it's done by partly closing the inlet valve -- either approach works. I would suggest that, in the absence of functioning traps, that you simply close the inlet valves down until all but the last section of the radiator gets hot.

    But there is a ringer in the deck: the flow of steam through an orifice or a partly closed valve increases very rapidly as the pressure increases -- so if one is to use this approach (which works splendidly, by the way) it is imperative to keep the operating pressure low -- as has been mentioned, certainly no more than 8 ounces, and preferably less.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,381
    Do you know what the old boiler had for a pressure control and do you know for sure when this problem started? Is the new boiler oversized? Installers are loathe to install vaporstats because they cost a lot vs a pressuretrol.

    It would be nice to know if thgose valves are supposed to meter the amount of steam getting into the radiator or if the working radiators have orifices in them.

    If you have a good 0-3PSI gauge on the system you could sit by the boiler and shut it off every time it hits 10oz and restart it when it gets down to 4oz (mimicking a vaporstat) until the thermostat was satisfied. Then go upstairs and see if the problem still exists, if it does still exist you've wasted a little time, if the problem goes away you know high pressure is the culprit.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    BobC said:
    Do you know what the old boiler had for a pressure control and do you know for sure when this problem started? Is the new boiler oversized? Installers are loathe to install vaporstats because they cost a lot vs a pressuretrol. It would be nice to know if thgose valves are supposed to meter the amount of steam getting into the radiator or if the working radiators have orifices in them. If you have a good 0-3PSI gauge on the system you could sit by the boiler and shut it off every time it hits 10oz and restart it when it gets down to 4oz (mimicking a vaporstat) until the thermostat was satisfied. Then go upstairs and see if the problem still exists, if it does still exist you've wasted a little time, if the problem goes away you know high pressure is the culprit. Bob
    The old boiler was a coal stoker. It was converted to gas probably 25yrs ago if not longer. Far as I know, no work or modifications has been done to the system after the gas furnace was installed. The furnace has a pressuretrol? The thing with the screw on top and a white wheel on the inside. It’s set at .5 cut in and the cut out is as low as it will go, 1.0
    Odd thing I noticed is while I seem to have too much pressure in the return on the problem radiators, I don’t on the next room over which has its own dedicated piping. I have the radiator disconnected from the piping temporarily and the pipes plugged off. The supply pipe is hot, the return is ice cold as it should be. The problem seems to only be with these two radiators who share supply/return piping. Would it help at all to put a vent on the main supply run in the basement that feeds these radiators? 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    Going back to the basic question, are you sure it worked well before you inherited it or if you just didn't see it because you only visited, you didn't live there?

    Let's assume it was working well, let's look at what could have changed:
    Some traps are no longer working properly and not allowing something to vent or are letting steam in to someplace it shouldn't be(conventional type traps, not the richardson trap)

    The vent is no longer opening or is blocked.

    the vaporstat has its pigtail clogged or is bad,

    The boiler is fired higher than it was (not likely with gas but could happen with service if it is oil)

    Some piping has sagged and is now trapping water somewhere.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 323
    Take a look at the 2 radiators and the piping they share.. I don't recall seeing Richardsons ball traps ever added to a system that wasn't a Richardson to begin with..Now that riser looks 1-1/2 and goes half the height of one the radiators before a reduced "T" is jambbed in and as Dan would say..."Steam is lazy"... I'd have to bet the 2 nd radiator doesn't see steam until that one is at least half full ( THOSE RISERS USUALLY COME IN BELOW THE RADIATOR HEIGHT AND HAVE ANOTHER PIPE REDUCTION OR SO BEFORE SPLITTING TO THE RADIATORS) 
    OR maybe when you closed the valves a few years back something might not of come back up when you opened them back up impeding the steam from entering the radiator..
    Though we can keep beating the Radiators most know there's only so much you can do without a look at the layout in the basement of the system that you're hesitant to do...there isn't any "Ordinary" 100 y.o. system.. .. maybe you can start with the riser in the basement..?
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    reggi said:
    Take a look at the 2 radiators and the piping they share.. I don't recall seeing Richardsons ball traps ever added to a system that wasn't a Richardson to begin with..Now that riser looks 1-1/2 and goes half the height of one the radiators before a reduced "T" is jambbed in and as Dan would say..."Steam is lazy"... I'd have to bet the 2 nd radiator doesn't see steam until that one is at least half full ( THOSE RISERS USUALLY COME IN BELOW THE RADIATOR HEIGHT AND HAVE ANOTHER PIPE REDUCTION OR SO BEFORE SPLITTING TO THE RADIATORS) 
    OR maybe when you closed the valves a few years back something might not of come back up when you opened them back up impeding the steam from entering the radiator..
    Though we can keep beating the Radiators most know there's only so much you can do without a look at the layout in the basement of the system that you're hesitant to do...there isn't any "Ordinary" 100 y.o. system.. .. maybe you can start with the riser in the basement..?
    I hate this damn basement lmao. This is a really old house. The back part of the basement is dirt. The walls are made of stacked rocks with mortar with that white wash stuff they put on the outside. It was probably built in the early 1900’s. Thinking back I think the heat worked better when it was coal powered. The old boiler is still down there. It has some thing on the front of it that had at one time an electrical connection on it and has two square head screw in plugs on the top of it. I don’t see any writing on it but it’s also covered with dust and dirt. 
    I was poking around down there yesterday and I did find what looks like a trap on the far end of the main/return. They each run the length of the back cellar feeding the radiators above, then take a 90* turn down to the floor. In between them is this trap looking thing. I tried to get the cover off it yesterday but it didn’t want to move. Here are some pic. It gives me anxiety going in that back cellar as it looks like something out of Silence of the Lambs lol.
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63

    mattmia2reggi
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    mattmia2 said:
    Going back to the basic question, are you sure it worked well before you inherited it or if you just didn't see it because you only visited, you didn't live there? Let's assume it was working well, let's look at what could have changed: Some traps are no longer working properly and not allowing something to vent or are letting steam in to someplace it shouldn't be(conventional type traps, not the richardson trap) The vent is no longer opening or is blocked. the vaporstat has its pigtail clogged or is bad, The boiler is fired higher than it was (not likely with gas but could happen with service if it is oil) Some piping has sagged and is now trapping water somewhere.
    Three radiators upstairs have the ball traps. One had a thermostat trap. Two radiators downstairs have the ball traps, one has a thermostat trap, the final one downstairs is ran as a single pipe setup for whatever reason. The two problem ones, thermostat trap with the guts missing with a vent, the main problem one had no ball in the ball trap. One of the two ball traps downstairs is also missing the ball. I mean if a plumber was working on this system even 50yrs ago he would know those balls can easily fall out when connecting the radiator to the trap. I can’t see someone screwing this up on two radiators. Seems like it was done intentionally for whatever reason. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    In that back corner where the main and the return connect at the top is where you need to look. It looks like there is a vent there that is leaking or is getting water from the boiler thrown at it. We need better pictures of the vent and of what happens between the main and the return. There is probably a crossover trap between the 2 that isnt functioning or the vent isnt functioning and possibly water from the very wrong near boiler piping is preventing air from getting out.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    That device at the floor is a check valve. Not sure why it is there, sometimes they were used with various condensate return assist device which you may still have or which may have been incorrectly been removed with the new boiler.
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    mattmia2 said:
    In that back corner where the main and the return connect at the top is where you need to look. It looks like there is a vent there that is leaking or is getting water from the boiler thrown at it. We need better pictures of the vent and of what happens between the main and the return. There is probably a crossover trap between the 2 that isnt functioning or the vent isnt functioning and possibly water from the very wrong near boiler piping is preventing air from getting out.
    That vent is a couple weeks old. The new section of pipe with the Union on it to the left of that check valve thing, I replaced because it was leaking and replaced that vent while I was back there. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    Not the part at the floor, the part near the ceiling. How do they connect at the ceiling, or does one have a vent that was removed and plugged?
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    Red is the supply, blue is the return. The pipes circled in yellow go off 90* into a crawl space in that back dungeon then straight up the wall, through a closet on the first floor, then come out to the problem radiators upstairs. The only vent on the entire piping in the basement is the one pictured. Unless there is a trap in the piping behind one of the walls that I can’t see. But that would make no sense to place one somewhere which is inaccessible.
    When I’m not getting heat upstairs I can feel the supply line in the closet and it’s hot for the first few feet then gets cold as you go further up the pipe. When the heat makes it up here the pipes hammer and bang. If I listen to that supply pipe in the closet it sounds like it’s gurgling, like water is in it or something. Doesn’t sound like pure steam. And again, this pair of radiators are the only ones that won’t work right in the entire house. Makes no damn sense to me. If there’s too much pressure in the return, why is it not effecting all the radiators? 
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 323
    @DaveSmith2 Dave. . you still there?
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • DaveSmith2
    DaveSmith2 Member Posts: 63
    reggi said:
    @DaveSmith2 Dave. . you still there?
    I’m here, I thought I replied to you. Sometimes I get sidetracked trying to respond to everyone. I posted pics of the basement. 
    retiredguy
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 323
    Any reason why the riser to your problem children is run through the closet and appears the one radiator was moved and repiped to hookup to it while the radiator in the opposite room looks like it's exactly where it should of been for 100 years ?

    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,216
    It isn't pressure in the return. Read "we got steam heat". The gurgling is water trapped in the piping or possibly just air pushing through the return trap on a radiator.

    The air needs to get out of both the main and the return somehow. We need to figure out how that is. in your setup as i see it, i would suspect if we look at the far end at the top where the main and return come together that there will be a steam trap that allows air in to the return but not steam and then that air goes out the vent.

    It may be that it is sort of working because the pressure is cranked up high enough that the air is getting compressed instead of vented and that is allowing steam in to some radiators.

    Take a picture of the top 2 pipes at the end 90 degrees from the current picture.