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.

steam problems

mike terry
mike terry Member Posts: 33
this old 2pipe system ive been working on has a boiler return trap that has a pipe running up to the air elimination trap.If i understand correctly this is the alternating reciever set up.if that air eliminator trap goes bad what can i do? could you cap of the line from the return trap? and put some big vents there?This system used to be coal fired now its gas so im getting my water back due to the cieling hieght and the pressures low.aaaaany ideas?
thanks
mike

Comments

  • what brand name is it?

    i might have its catalog and could then see it to better answer your question.
  • mike terry
    mike terry Member Posts: 33
    All dunham

    Allthe stuff is dunham. Rad traps and all.Its set up with an inboard and outboard check valves and has a check way up on top.I have some big vents temporary installed on the end convectors.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    You are correct

    that's an Alternating Receiver. It sounds like your Float/Trap/Air Eliminator isn't working- check the "cap" on the top. There's probably a disk in there that has gotten stuck.

    Once you have the FT/AE fixed, the air will come thru the dry return and out thru the FT/AE, the way the Dead Men intended. Then you can take the vents off the convectors.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Fred Harwood
    Fred Harwood Member Posts: 261
    Receivers

    The dry return enters a receiver with float that shuts off the receiver vent if condensate stacks that high. A nearby standpipe and box between two check valves is the alternating return trap, which returns condensate to the boiler only when steam pressure is high enough to make condensate stack as high as the mechanism in the box.

    With a vaporstat and oil or gas firing to 8 ounces or less, the ART is unnecessary and may be removed. The receiver vent and float orifice, designed for coal firing, probably should also be removed because the cycling of the firing requires very fast air evacuation (replace it with an external enlarged screen to prevent mice etc. getting into the vent hole, if that large). Steam should never reach the receiver via the dry return, and with a vaporstat at 8 oz. condensate should never rise more than 15 inches above the water line, so the receiver float is also unnecessary.

    Or did I misunderstand your question.
  • Don Flanagan
    Don Flanagan Member Posts: 2
    New Boiler Causing Uneven Heating

    I had to replace the old steam boiler in my 1888 house. I hired a local contractor that has been around as long as the house, and they replaced the old asbestos-clad boiler with a large new Burnham. But in the process, they also had to remove all the insulation from the pipes in the boiler room (also asbestos). Now the boiler and pipes generate a great deal more heat in the basement than the old system, and the heat comes through the floor to the dining room where the thermostat is. So when the thermostat says the desired temperature has been reached, some radiators on the second floor are stone cold. We used to keep the thermostat at 65, and the whole house was that temp. Now I have to crank the thermostat up to 74 or so to get a little heat upstairs, and there are still cold radiators. I had the contractor come back to wrap most of the pipes in the boiler room, but that has not made enough of a difference. What else can I do?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Take some pictures

    and post them here. Something has changed and that's what's causing your problem.

    Is this a one-pipe or 2-pipe (Vapor) system?

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Don Flanagan
    Don Flanagan Member Posts: 2
    Uneven Heating with New Boiler

    It was originally a two-pipe system that was converted to a one-pipe system years ago. the old return pipes are still in place but disconnected and capped off.

    What should I take pictures of?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Everything

    boiler including new piping around boiler, radiators, capped lines, ends of mains..... everything.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mike terry
    mike terry Member Posts: 33
    Thanks

    to all that have had some input.I have got up there and eyeballed the air eliminator i unscrewed a little device that at first looks like a coin operated air vent but its nothing but a hole.the water feeder has been flooding this thing very slowly over the course of the summer. When I first came on the job the system was cold and their was five pounds of static water pressure showing on the gauge, so I know that it flooded up to my air return trap. Should I take the ART apart? I plan to install a new water feeder this week to take care of the flooding.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Wait

    until the new feeder is in. Then see how it does, and service it if needed.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • mike terry
    mike terry Member Posts: 33
    steamhead

    those inboard and outboard check valves are now 7" above the middle of the glass. the water line rocks pretty bad when its steaming. I thought maybe that inboard check was sitting there flapping with the waterline rocking, but they only used one tap on the new boiler guess that would cause bounceing. this was a flooding call in the first place, I got there and the pressuretrol cut out at 10psig and in at 9. so the more I tinkered the better it ran .That vapor stat would be a plus. thewre is a vacuum breaker on the end convector on one of the two mains, do I need that? Theres a nice old compound gauge from the original boiler or is vacuum a bad thing if you are gas fired?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Those checks

    should be below the waterline. Note that some Dunhams were piped with the outboard check higher than the inboard one. Your best bet is to stick with the method you find on the job- just lower it.

    Vacuum is not good on gas or oil. You get vacuum long before all the air is out, then the air expands as vacuum forms and can block steam circulation. Might be a good idea to leave the vacuum check off the FT/AE and put a Gorton #2 on it, then that vacuum breaker can go. The old gauge can stay- the vacuum scale won't be used but it won't hurt anything.

    With a working Alternating Receiver, the water will be returned if the pressure rises too high. I'd leave the Receiver there even if you install a Vaporstat, since it can function if the pigtail gets plugged and blocks the connection to the Vaporstat.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • could you post some pictures

    i'd love to see the system..do you also have the return trap installed? if so, my dunham book says the checks should be 12'' below the water line..does the system work okay with the aircheck unscrewed from the air eliminator?if so you should be able to replace it with a gorton#2 as the check portion of the aircheck isn't needed anymore..
  • that check valve ''way up on top''

    you mentioned in one of the posts is probably the one from the dry return, faces the supply pipes..supply pressure would keep it closed..it would only open if the supply pipes fell under a vacumn like during a cold start up..the sudden vacumn would be broken by air from the dry return...if its the check valve i'm thinking of...
  • mike terry
    mike terry Member Posts: 33
    the checks are

    on the same level. there are 17 convectors in this building. they are abt 57" long by 10" deep abt 100 sq ' edr a piece when the steam leaves the boiler and its not air bound. the building just heats instantly now the weather here in northeast tenn is very mild right now. you just have to knock the chill off the building in the morning.But this thing seems to be installed to heat with the windows open. I really wonder whats at the ends of the mains. long scary small pipe chase complete with danger asbestos hazard. all near boiler piping insulation has been replaced.
  • mike terry
    mike terry Member Posts: 33
    I have some pictures

    if i can figure out how to get them on here .computer idiot I am.
  • me too, i cant seem

    to attach pictures worth diddly..all i ever get attached is frustration..some day i'll have to have a ten year old show me how.
  • mike terry
    mike terry Member Posts: 33
    Well

    Ive had fun stareing at this old system. Ive got a feeling that after the flooding has stopped,its going to heat fine. ONe funny thing that happened was that when i put this # 75 vent on the convector in the mens restroom.the local postman happen to be on the throne when I fired up the boiler one day. so this guy is in there hearing a serious rush of air out of the vent. I mean you can hear this thing on the other end of the building hissing. I came upstairs to see if hw the steam was moving. and notice the bathroom door is shut. and go in there and the vent is raising hell and i see the feet by the way i saw the mailtruck out front.anyway guess you had to be there.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Attaching Pics

    The pictures must be in .jpg file format for this to work.

    When you hit "reply", and the form comes up to type your text into, click "Attachments" on the lower left. You'll get another form. Click Browse, navigate to the folder where your pics are, select the one you want and click Add. You can add as many pics as you like to one posting. When finished, click OK and you'll go back to the form where you type your text.

    Also on this form will be a check box letting you select which pic you want displayed with the text. Select the one you want before you click Post.

    To Learn More About This Contractor, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Contractor"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
This discussion has been closed.