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The case of the non heating steam system, this Friday's case

RayWohlfarth
RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,441
edited December 2023 in THE MAIN WALL
In this case, the contractor asked me to look at a residential steam system with two zones, the first and second floors. The first floor worked perfectly and so did the second floor zone until a few years ago. The problem is the thermostat on the second floor shuts off before the rooms are warm. The contractor replaced the thermostat with a new one and the problem continued. The back story on this is when the problem started, the homeowner moved her two boys to the attic because their baby was taking their room. Prior to that, they never heated the attic. I will let you know what I found on Friday at 6:00am EST
Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons
Tom Befford,Scott Technical ServiceSgtMaj

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,617
    Two zones? Was it two boilers or was there something crazy like a motorized valve?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,733

    My best guess is that there was a steam radiator in the attic that had been disabled for years. When the boys moved up there, they reactivated the radiator (with the valve, or by re-installing a plugged vent, whichever).

    But the supply pipe for that radiator was in the wall behind the thermostat, heating it prematurely.

    I think so too.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
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    ethicalpaulmattmia2old_diy_guy
  • jesmed1
    jesmed1 Member Posts: 554

    My best guess is that there was a steam radiator in the attic that had been disabled for years. When the boys moved up there, they reactivated the radiator (with the valve, or by re-installing a plugged vent, whichever).

    But the supply pipe for that radiator was in the wall behind the thermostat, heating it prematurely.

    Yup. We had that problem in my condo building when I moved in and took over maintenance. Upstairs units were not getting enough heat. I investigated and found the hot water boilers were short cycling for a number of reasons. The hardest reason to find was that the Tstats were located on the walls right in front of the hot water pipe chases, because the installers used the chases to run the Tstat wires easily.

    The hot water risers were heating the walls right behind the Tstats, causing short cycling. I moved the Tstats, fixed the other issues, and problem solved.
    ethicalpaul
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,469
    We have had at least 4 steam systems not heating this week.

    But I also think the risers for the attic are behind the thermostat. So move the t-stat or insulate behind it or slow down the heat in the attic.
  • Tommi68
    Tommi68 Member Posts: 29
    The thermostat is in a dead air zone. Any heat generated in the common space will satisfy the thermostat, regardless of the condition of the bedrooms. Kids rooms in the attic will have closed doors always.

    Is there a radiator in every room with a door?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,469
    I'll throw in open door to attic stairs is now pulling heat up from the first floor to satisfy the t-stat.
    ethicalpaulhot1
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,617
    I hope Ray's OK!!!
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,441
    Sorry everyone Had a routine medical test and they wouldn't let me have my cell. All is well. I thought for sure I would stump you on this. @ethicalpaul got it first. There was a steam pipe behind the thermostat that went to the attic. They kept it valved off before the boys moved there. Here is the link
    https://youtube.com/watch?v=Bn9wCCs8ZE8
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    ethicalpaulold_diy_guyMarjPinard
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,469
    I guess @RayWohlfarth has never leaned on a wall in a commercial building and noticed it was warm.
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,441
    Thanks @ethicalpaul
    @mattmia2 I have This was in a residence and never thought of the steam pipe going to the third floor I learn something new all the time in this trade
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    mattmia2PatNHJHKMarjPinard
  • BritoPlumbing
    BritoPlumbing Member Posts: 8
    Two zones? Was it two boilers or was there something crazy like a motorized valve?
    I was wondering the same. Any answers?
    ethicalpaul
  • BritoPlumbing
    BritoPlumbing Member Posts: 8
    edited December 2023
    Two zones? Was it two boilers or was there something crazy like a motorized valve?
    I was wondering the same. Any answers?
    Should had watch the video before asking. @ethicalpaul got that one too. 
  • garfieldsimons
    garfieldsimons Member Posts: 13
    It only is a few degrees, I would not go to the trouble of moving the tstat- I would just remount it on an insulated base