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2nd floor too hot, single pipe steam

Joe_25
Joe_25 Member Posts: 4
First winter in first experience with single pipe steam oil fired boiler. Always had caol/hot water. Bought Holohan's book with an open mind. When outside temp is below 20F (NE Pennsylvania) my upstairs rads run too hot. Already have the smallest vents I can find for the upstairs and the largest for down. The kids are shutting off their rads causing the boiler to short cycle when the pressure rises! No insulation on pipes, no main vents nor a place they ever appear to have been. The living room has the thermostat and the rad is the closest to boiler which in my est. should purge air fastest and get the best quality steam. Why is the living room taking too long to heat? Two story home 4 rads up and 3 down.

Comments

  • Mark Eatherton1
    Mark Eatherton1 Member Posts: 2,542
    Choke, choke...

    choke the hotest fastest heating radiators with non electric thermostatic radiator vent valves and see what happens. Comfort is a fickle thing...

    I also suspect your living room is on the end of a circuitous steam main and the vent on that radiator is not only having to get rid of its' own air,, but the main pipes air too...

    Air and steam cannot occupy the same closed space.

    ME
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    Maybe

    someone removed radiators from the first floor. Are there any capped-off tees on the steam mains? And are the mains properly vented?

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  • Joe_25
    Joe_25 Member Posts: 4
    Living room nearest boiler

    Have been thinging about the thermostatic valves. No local source found yet. Did find a source on the net.

    The living room rad is the one closest to the boiler with the shortest main pipe distance. I was not concerned about main vents at this point because I felt the longer it took the rads that are getting too hot to bleed air the better.
  • Joe_25
    Joe_25 Member Posts: 4
    Removed radiators

    I found two capped off tees on the mains under the kitchen and parlour with no signs of piping having existed through the floor (floorboards appear uncut). Was it common to have two rads in one room? Rooms are common size for this style home; about 11x14 foot roughly.

    Considered adding rads at these tees but this would heat the 2 downstairs rooms without the thermostat rather than the living room with stat. Tees are near the beams so running them horizontal a foot or so to living room floor seems unlikely. Would have to go up then through wall to Living room. Extra rads would add decorating problems for the Mrs. as well. LOL

    Considered this knucklehead idea of adding an electic base board, in living room only, that would run when boiler runs during cold weather to bring up temp faster. Adds cost to heating bills and again seems redundant and knuckleheaded.

    Thanks and sorry for beinf longwinded.
  • Earthfire
    Earthfire Member Posts: 543
    local supply

    where in Ne Pa. are you. There are a couple of local supply sources in the area. If not on the shelf they will bring them in fairly expediantly. email me for contact ph.#
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    Adding radiators there

    would definitely help. With the radiators missing, the remaining downstairs ones have extra work to do. So the heat flows out of the living room toward the other, colder rooms. This causes the thermostat to stay on longer than it otherwise would.

    To see just how much heat each room in the house needs, I'd do a heat-loss calculation on each room and compare it to the radiation. I'll bet the results show those downstairs rooms are under-radiated, but the upstairs rooms are not.

    If the house has had insulation, storm windows etc. added over the years, some of the existing radiators may now be much bigger than needed. You could use thermostatic radiator vents to limit them, or change to smaller radiators to save space.

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  • Joe_25
    Joe_25 Member Posts: 4
    heat-loss calculation

    I was pondering that issue today after I read other posts this morning. Good place to start; I'll have to try my hand/mind at a calculation. Even adding a steam baseboard may not be intrusive on the decorating ideas.

    Thanks for the heads up
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,723
    Try

    the "free heat loss calcs" page of this site. It will link to Slant/Fin, where you can get a free copy of their easy-to-use program. Then order Dan's book "E.D.R" which is a compilation of radiator rating charts, so you can tell what capacity your existing rads are.

    The Slant/Fin program gives its results in BTU per hour, whereas most radiators are rated in Square Feet of "Equivalent Direct Radiation" (EDR). In a steam system, one square foot will emit 240 BTU per hour if the room is at 70 degrees and the steam at one pound. So, divide BTU per hour by 240 to get Square Feet, or multiply Square Feet by 240 to get BTU per hour.

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