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What is this pipe spewing steam?

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ariccio
ariccio Member Posts: 44
A family member is staying at HSS. I can't help but notice this pipe outside their window.

 

Seems to my gut like a bodge pipe installed to get rid of steam that's in a place it shouldn't be anyways... What could it be? It's blasting huge amounts of steam constantly.

Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
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    There are some steam systems that just use the steam once and then dump it.

    Or, most likely bad traps passing steam into a condensate or feeder pump.
    That is the vent pipe for that pump.

    If it was vented into the building than some action might be taken.
    Intplm.mattmia2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,920
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    Are you in England?  Europe?  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • dko
    dko Member Posts: 589
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    Looks like a flash tank vent
    SlamDunk
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,920
    edited March 9
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    "Bodge pipe"??? Mad Dog 🐕 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,517
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    Probably a vent form a boiler feed tank or flash tank
    SlamDunk
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,946
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    Often a condensate return tank will vent out side and show some steam coming from the vent.
    SlamDunk
  • Pumpguy
    Pumpguy Member Posts: 655
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    Actually, its not steam, its vapor. Could be the air discharge from a vacuum pump.

    The vacuum pump discharges saturated air. A typical discharge air temperature could be 150*F. When that hot saturated air comes in contact with the cold outside air, that moisture condenses out, and you see clouds of vapor like those in the picture.
    Dennis Pataki. Former Service Manager and Heating Pump Product Manager for Nash Engineering Company. Phone: 1-888 853 9963
    Website: www.nashjenningspumps.com

    The first step in solving any problem is TO IDENTIFY THE PROBLEM.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,920
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    What is a Bodge pipe? Misspelling?  Mad Dog 
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
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    @ariccio might be English. Bodge = mistake
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    Yes, common in electronics:

    (Britain, Ireland) To do a clumsy or inelegant job, usually as a temporary repair;
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    ariccio
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 912
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    In US technical English that would be "kludge". 

    Bburd
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 6,920
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    Where Arricio at? Maybe he can Splain?  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Neild5
    Neild5 Member Posts: 167
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    HSS is the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City. 
  • ariccio
    ariccio Member Posts: 44
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    Heh, sorry, I don't get notified by email when there are replies

    HSS is a New York City hospital where a family member needed some suspension work done. (Do you know how much those mechanics charge to swap out an OEM hip joint for an aftermarket model?!)

    I called it a bodge pipe because, well, it's a rusty pipe dumping steam into the cold outdoors. If there was that much steam left *on purpose* after it did it's work, and we're not talking an old timey steam engine train, I'd imagine someone would do something reasonable with it. It is winter after all, and hospitals need ridiculous amounts of makeup air and hot water, I'd imagine that anybody paying bills would hate to waste it intentionally.

    The engineer and accidental institutional sociologist in me has a gut feeling someone got tired of working in a hot and steamy mechanical room, lacked the authority or motivation to fix some underlying problems (like steam traps leaking steam), said "**** it!", drilled a hole in the wall, and got to work with a box full of pipe fittings. 

    The fact that the pipe has like 5ft of riser on it also has me wondering if it was getting those heat pumps nice and soggy in the winter, which is just great for frost formation. My vivid imagination pictures someone else coming along, seeing an undocumented short pipe dumping steam, and deciding the best course of action was to make it about 5ft taller 🤣

    Bodge is a word that EEs tend to use for itsy bitsy wires soldered onto PCBs when someone screws up and it's too late to change the layout in production. You'd be amazed how often EEVblog tears some actual on-the-market product down and sees wires awkwardly running around the board.
  • ariccio
    ariccio Member Posts: 44
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    Oh what the hell? I type out a long reply and it gets eaten?!
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,284
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    ariccio said:

    Oh what the hell? I type out a long reply and it gets eaten?!

    Sorry @ariccio. Your post got held for moderation, but I've sent it through.

    You can set up email notifications in your profile settings. Also be sure to check your email spam folder to make sure notifications aren't being sent there.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
    ariccioAlan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,525
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    I think HSS is on ConEd steam. The discharge is probably coming from a sterilizer’s flash tank. 
    Retired and loving it.
    ariccio
  • ariccio
    ariccio Member Posts: 44
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    Ah! Thanks. I kinda figured it was the swearing, but didn't see a popup or other message saying it got held. UI/UX can be weird on mobile!
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,517
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    Steam is wasted constantly. District steam systems usually dump all the condensate. Steam systems with traps constantly blow steam out of boiler feed and condensate tank.

    Huge number of BTUs lost and it goes on everywhere.

    Sometimes due to lack of maintenance.
    Sometimes that's the way it is.
  • ariccio
    ariccio Member Posts: 44
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    Steam is wasted constantly. District steam systems usually dump all the condensate.
    Hmm, y'know, I think I've read of this when I've read of the devices that cool condensate below some legal limit before allowing it into the sewers. 

    I can imagine this is some comical amount of wasted energy worldwide. I wonder if anybody's ever estimated exactly how much waste this amounts to. The Japanese Gaia seasonal geothermal heat pump snowmelt system gives me inspiration thinking how we might use all this wasted energy to clear snow off the city streets instead of spreading enough salt to turn our cars back to iron ore... The gears in my head are turning now, but I have actual work to do.

    I finally noticed the setting for email notifications. 🤦‍♂️
    CLambErin Holohan Haskell
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,525
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    In NYC, they often run the condensate through fintube to cool it and keep the heat in the basement. They also use the condensate to preheat domestic water through a heat exchanger. 
    Retired and loving it.
    ariccio