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Leaks everywhere - one cause?

ka4222
ka4222 Member Posts: 13

Hey all,

I’m planning on calling a plumber who I’ve heard knows steam tomorrow but wanted to see if there’s any input here also. The last plumber/hvac company I called out really didn’t know steam dispute their assurances so definitely looking to continue to educate myself and get any wisdom here  

I have a few issues on multiple radiators in my living and dining rooms and I’m trying to figure out if they are truly separate issues or one larger one (beyond these super low temps we’ve had the last few days in NJ). 

  1. Steam is coming out of the stem/junction of my dining room radiator. I’m thinking it needs to be repacked. This was an issue last year when an hvac tech put the pressurtol up way too high and seemed to resolve after it was reset and a corroded main vent was replaced. 
  2. Last year, one radiator (of 2 in the living room where the thermostat is) started having a good amount of water leak out of it. I assumed this was also related to the high pressure and replaced the broken radiator air vent. A few days ago, it started leaking out the bottom of the (new) maid o mist air vent. Is it possible that the new air vent really broke within a year and was just a dud? Was waiting for temps to pick up before turning down the boiler so I Teflon taped it to stop the leak but replacing hopefully tomorrow. 
  3. The second radiator in the living room has an air vent (adjustable maid o mist that was there when we moved in) that’s definitely letting out way too much steam. I tried to adjust it to see if I could get it to let out less which seemed to just make it worse, even when I set it back to the most closed setting. I’m planning on replacing that one also. 

I’ve been checking the sightglass every day given these issues and last night, I was surprised the automatic shut off hadn’t kicked in based on how low the water was - and I had just added water the day before. In comparison, there are no issues with any of the radiators on other floors or in the den off the living room. 

So could this be 3 separate issues all exacerbated by the frigid weather? Or should I be looking at some sort of larger issue with the system that’s causing multiple radiator issues?  Any suggestions appreciated. 

Comments

  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 879
    What pressure are you running? It is unfortunately common for the connection between the pressuretrol and the boiler to plug up with crud so the pressuretrol can’t sense the pressure, and from your description your boiler is oversized and will build pressure if the pressuretrol does not cut out during a long call for heat. Excess pressure may have ruined those vents. 

    Bburd
  • ka4222
    ka4222 Member Posts: 13
    bburd said:
    What pressure are you running? It is unfortunately common for the connection between the pressuretrol and the boiler to plug up with crud so the pressuretrol can’t sense the pressure, and from your description your boiler is oversized and will build pressure if the pressuretrol does not cut out during a long call for heat. Excess pressure may have ruined those vents. 
    It’s on the lowest possible setting but I wonder if that’s the issue. I did have to replace both main air vents last year since they were so corroded/blocked up so I wonder if maybe the pressuretrol is also like you suggested. 

    I went through 2 brand new air vents on the radiator in the den last year before finally getting one that seems to work. I assumed they were just duds but also would be explained if it is a pressure issue…

    Thanks for the suggestion. I’m going to ask the plumber to check that connection. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,454
    You also get what you pay for in vents. Box stores don't generally stock quality vents.

    What is this about teflon tape and the vent? If the threads were leaking and teflon tape on the threads stopped it, that is how it is supposed to work, tape or dope is needed to seal the threads.

    It sounds a lot like the pigtail (pipe with the water trap) to your prssuretrol is clogged so it is running pressure that is too high again. You can unscrew the pressuretrol and pour water through the pigtail or blow through it to make sure it is clear, Be sure to refill the pigtail with water to keep the steam out of the pressuretrol.
  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,188
    Clean the pressuretrol's pigtail and replace the Chinese vents with domestic ones, properly installed so they don't leak at the threads.