Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Single pipe feeding radiator

Options
tsgrau
tsgrau Member Posts: 10
How does this work?  Single pipe runs to each radiator, and each of these single pipes tap into a larger pipe that appears to be circulating from and to the boiler.  Each single run appears to be a one way pipe that terminates at the radiator.  

Photo of radiator showes one pipe coming up thru the floor.

On photo shows the single pipe under the floor running to the radiator. The single pipe under the floor branches off of a larger pipe that appears to be circulating around all of the radiators. But each radiator is a single pipe leading off of this main pipe.

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,454
    Options
    A very common system -- one pipe steam. Steam (NOT water) flows from the boiler through the big pipe and forces air out of the silver device, called a vent, on the far side. That vent will close when the radiator is almost full of steam. As the steam enters the radiator, it transfers that heat to the metal, which then heats the room. The condensate from the steam, which is water, is much smaller in volume than the steam -- in fact, 1700 times less -- and that small amount of water flows back out of the radiator in a trickle at the bottom of the same pipe the steam came in by, and then down to the big pipe and then -- still really not much more than a trickle -- back to the boiler.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,709
    Options
    tis the season,
    welcome to 1 pipe steam,
    lots you can learn here, enter google foo,
    the website store sells a primer book great for 1st timers,
    "We got Steam"
    and welcome to the club,

    Now post pictures of your boiler, from a couple angles, floor to ceiling,
    it's gonna be a helluva ride.
    known to beat dead horses
  • tsgrau
    tsgrau Member Posts: 10
    Options
    Wow, ok, So I want to disconnect the radiator from the pipe, so that I can put a new floor in the area. Does that mean I don't need to drain the system cuz it's really just full of air?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,753
    edited September 2023
    Options
    Make sure the boiler is turned off because you don't want it to fire and fill the house with steam and boil the water out of the boiler but as long as the boiler is off there is just air and maybe a little trapped water in it.

    Have the right equipment to move it because it weighs several hundred pounds.

    That is likely asbestos insulation someone attempted to contain or hide under the duct tape.
  • tsgrau
    tsgrau Member Posts: 10
    Options
    You are right about the asbestos.  I had it inpected and was told that it was properly and safely contained.  Just, DO NOT DISTURB!  
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,454
    Options
    tsgrau said:

    Wow, ok, So I want to disconnect the radiator from the pipe, so that I can put a new floor in the area. Does that mean I don't need to drain the system cuz it's really just full of air?

    Right -- one of the many beauties of steam heat. There are a lot of others! It's easy enough to disconnect -- the joint between the valve and the radiator is a union, and the big nut will just unscrew.

    There are a couple of tricks to putting it back together, though. First, make sure that the radiator is no lower than it is now. Second, make sure that the end away from the pipe is slightly higher than the end with the pipe. Third, unions are wonderful. But -- make sure that the mating faces are clean and very smooth (various folks have various approaches to that -- but no sandpaper or anything like that! I use nylon abrasive sponge...) and then make sure that everything lines up nicely. Then thread the big nut on, but only no more than a quarter to half a turn past hand tight. Don't be a gorilla!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England