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STEAM BOILER HELP!!!!

KBE
KBE Member Posts: 15
Just bought a one family house; steam boiler and one zone for the whole house; thermostat is on 1st floor living room; 1st floor other rooms get a chance to heat up because thermostat shuts down the system once livingroom reaches the set temp. Second floor takes longer as the steam has to travel all the up but shuts down before it gets a chance. i changed the steam vent on all the radiators in the house and put "D" vent. it gives the radiator a chance to heat up but shuts down before the whole house can heat up.

what would you suggest can i do to solve the problem?
1. put my thermostat in 2nd floor so boiler wont shut down until 2nd floor heats up? but this way 1st floor will be excessively hot; wouldn't it?
2. change the steam vent for 1st floor livingroom (where the thermostat is) to the smallest steam vent which is #4?
3. what does the little twisting knob right on top of steam vent do? how can i use that to adjust the time it takes for radiator to heat up?

EXPERT SUGGESTION ONLY PLEASE! REALLY TRYING TO SOLVE THE PROBLEM.

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Comments

  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 683
    What are the size and length's of your steam mains?

    What vents do you have on your steam mains?

    What vents do you have on your first floor radiators?

    What type of thermostat do you have? Is it set to steam or 1cph?
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,125
    Go ahead experts!
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    SeanBeansDan Foley
  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 683
    If you can't identify the vents send pictures.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,321
    Without a lot more details I can only guess!
  • dopey27177
    dopey27177 Member Posts: 748
    In the locations where the thermostats are use the smallest vent valves you can purchase on the radiators. Gorton # c

    on the second floor if this does rectify the problem install gorton D vent at the farthest radiator from the boiler and Gorton C vents on the others.

    If you have a vent valve at the end of the steam main install a Gorton d vent. it has the same capacity as the #1 vent but much cheaper.

    Jake

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 3,125
    In the locations where the thermostats are use the smallest vent valves you can purchase on the radiators. Gorton # c


    You might have meant Gorton #4, Jake?
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,368
    Check cycle per hour setting on thermostat. And please don't yell. We have all had long, hard days. Professional and amateur experts alike.
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    @dopey27177 I use the #D for all of radiators right now. If i use #D vents, what does the twisting knob on of them really do? if I tighten them to 95% in first floor and open them 100% in second floor, do you think that would work? @STEAM DOCTOR
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,271
    Moving the thermostat will do no good. Decrease the venting rate in the FF living room and increase the second floor and main venting as @dopey27177 said.

    Make small changes and try it for a few days. It will take some time and a little tinkering to fix it.
    STEAM DOCTORMark N
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,368
    Please follow @EBEBRATT-Ed advice. Assuming that you have maid o mist vents. Turning the thing on top won't help at all
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,368
    Could be wet steam issue. Could be undersized boiler.
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    @STEAM DOCTOR @EBEBRATT-Ed just to clarify are you saying I should get #4 for 1st floor and open it all the way and #6 or D for 2nd floor?
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,824
    edited January 2020
    All venting and balancing starts on the mains. You need to get the mains vented properly then you can balance the radiators.

    So what is the main venting in the basement like?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    STEAM DOCTORNew England SteamWorksJUGHNE
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,368
    > @KBE said:
    > @STEAM DOCTOR @EBEBRATT-Ed just to clarify are you saying I should get #4 for 1st floor and open it all the way and #6 or D for 2nd floor?

    Not at all. You might want to purchase "We got steam heat". Lots of info. Radiator location makes little difference. Radiator size is much more of a factor. That assumes that mains are properly vented.
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,368
    There may be other factors at play. Wet steam gets wetter the further it travels. Second floor radiators are more likely to be negatively affected by wet steam then first floor radiators
  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 683
    KBE, you say you have D vents on your radiators, but you keep asking about turning the knob on the top. Gorton D vents are fixed vents and MoM have a D sized orfice that should be screwed tight, these vents are not adjustable. If you are referring the the floor valve, that should always be left fully open. If it is partially closed it will not allow the radiator the drain and you will likely have a water hammer.

    In any case a D should only be used on a radiator farthest from the boiler that is hard to heat.

    I would replace your radiator vents with Ventrite #1's, set the 1st floor to 3 and the 2nd flood to 8. See how it balances and then adjust each room for comfort.

    Since you are new to steam purchase the Lost Art of Steam Heating from this website and educate yourself on how the systems work so you don't get hoodwinked by a contractor that doesn't know what they are talking about.

    I know you are looking for professional opinions only but I would say this site is made up of probably 80 percent home owners who live with steam everyday. My experience is with a 10K sq ft, 7 unit building that in the last 20 years I have manged to reduce a heating imbalance of 15 degrees to 1 degree, reduce the operating pressure from 16oz to 2oz eliminate pipe banging and cut my fuel bill in half, that is half of what is was 20 years ago not adjusted for inflation, based on the information I received on this site and from @New England SteamWorks . Don't count out the advice of people who live in the real world with steam. We love the pro's and need them but we also live with it every day and can tell if something isn't right if we have lived with a system long enough.
    New England SteamWorksKC_Jones
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    These are the steam valves I have on my radiators. My understanding was D let’s out air fast So the radiator gets hot faster. Now I’m having a hard time figuring out what can be done to heat up 2nd floor ? My bedrooms in 1st floor aswell doesn’t get an opportunity to heat up completely aswel and they have D steam valves aswell .
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @gfrbrookline , I completely agree with your comments. Every once and a while we get a poster who only wants Professional help and I get that. I hope those posters also understand that, when they do that, they eliminate a lot of good feedback. I mean most of the problems we see here are the result of installers who consider themselves "Professionals". The Pros on this site are probably the best in the country so it is OK with me if a poster finally reaches this site.
    Having said that, I have seen only one person (a Homeowner) advise this Poster about his Main venting. We all know (Homeowner or Pro) that you must vent the mains properly before ever thinking about balancing the radiators BUT I'm going to leave this Poster to his own devices. He can take @KC_Jones advice or he can leave it on the table.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    I think that is a "Plumber's Edge" brand vent from Home Depot. I believe it is a Chinese knock-off and only has a 90 day warranty. When trying to diagnose and fix a problem, try to use quality products and not add to your list of unknowns.
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    All, I uploaded pics and by now you should have an idea about my problem. I know homeowners have been dealing with this and probably found a solution best match for them. I welcome your solutions. What can you suggest to me about this problem? Change stream valve(if so then which #) or change thermostat location to a colder zone of the house?
  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 683
    @Fred thank you for your post, you have given me good advise over the years and I greatly appreciate your willingness to share your knowledge.

    I just watched the first episode on TOH on youtube and they mentioned that contractors were up in arms about contractors disclosing their secrets, it looks like the world has flipped for the better in this case.
    ethicalpaul
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @KBE The Vent-Rite #1 Adjustable vent is an excellent vent and you can buy one type and adjust it as needed for each room/radiator. The Hoffman 1A is also an excellent vent but it clicks as it opens and closes and some don't like that. Maid-O-Mist also makes a radiator vent that has interchangeable orifices to allow you to adjust as needed.
    As stated earlier, make sure the large vents, at the end of the Mains are there and working well before attempting to adjust/balance radiator venting.
    Where is your thermostat relative to the radiator in that room?
    Grallert
  • gfrbrookline
    gfrbrookline Member Posts: 683
    edited January 2020
    @KBE please answer the questions I asked about the size and length and we can help you solve your problems. With steam the solution almost always starts in the basement.
    Grallert
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,271
    I consider myself a professional, 46 years in the business. Do I know everything? NO.

    And I don't live with steam heat my house is hot water.

    Many of the homeowners on this site are more than qualified, especially on venting
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 524
    Wander around the cellar and take some pictures. Take some of the boiler from a position that covers the whole thing including the piping. Find the end of the mains and look for a vent, take a picture of that. I agree that Vent Rite #1s are good and easy to adjust. Basically you are trying to slow the heat down close to the thermostat give the rest of the radiators time to get some steam before the TT gets satisfied. The Vent Rites will help with that. Lots of good advice here so far but pictures will help us get the big picture.
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 482
    @EBEBRATT-Ed Yesterday you said, "Moving the thermostat will do no good." @KBE's original statement suggests moving the thermostat from the first floor to the second floor. I remember reading more than once in the discussions on this site that the thermostat should be in the coldest room and the venting of the house set to satisfy it on the coldest day of the year. I am curious as to why you say it won't make any difference.

    Yesterday I received a copy of Dan's "Lost Art Revisited..." and quickly looked through it for advice on thermostat placement and didn't find anything.

    It makes sense to me that satisfying the "hardest" room first, then tweaking the others to get a balance is a good sequence. I did that in my house and it worked out well.

    The reason it makes sense to me is that if you start with all temperatures equal in all rooms and turn off the heat, the coldest room will cool down faster than any other and be colder than the room with the thermostat when the thermostat calls for heat in the room. Then the coldest room may not get enough heat before the thermostat is satisfied in that room.

    Am I missing something with this concept?

    PS: I got rid of my wired Honeywell wired thermostat and installed a wireless, wifi Honeywell thermostat that I can control with my phone, if needed. A bit costly, but easy to move around anywhere in the house.
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    @Grallert Thanks; I will send pictures of the boiler down in cellar today once I'm back from work. How can I adjust the steam vents on the radiators in the same floor as TT so all the levels gets sufficient heat?
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    @SteamingatMohawk That was exactly my logic too. Did moving the TT to the coldest room in the house solved your issue? can you explain a little bit more about the wireless thermostat? You can walk around to any room in the house and that is the temperature the thermostat will read and work on heating that room up? links maybe? Would the new nest thermostat work in situations like that? I saw they come with temp sensors that can be placed in other rooms?

  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 524
    Well of course you can only adjust vent that are adjustable.You can buy nonadjustable vents and try your luck or get Vent Rite#1 vents and adjust as needed. It will take some back and forth and up and down and time but I would start by turning the vent/vents down in the room with the thermostat and keep checking the other rooms. They should warm up quicker. Open the vents you closed in the room with the thermostat but only gradually and if you're lucky you might catch that sweet spot before the other rooms over heat. It's that kind of deal. One of the good things about a non adjustable vent is when you nail it with the right size no one can come along and monkey with it throwing the whole thing off again. The idea is to cause the room with the thermostat to satisfy at the same time as the rest of the rooms. This is done by faster venting in the cooler rooms or slower venting in the warmer rooms or some combination of that.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,824
    KBE said:

    @SteamingatMohawk That was exactly my logic too. Did moving the TT to the coldest room in the house solved your issue? can you explain a little bit more about the wireless thermostat? You can walk around to any room in the house and that is the temperature the thermostat will read and work on heating that room up? links maybe? Would the new nest thermostat work in situations like that? I saw they come with temp sensors that can be placed in other rooms?

    Please keep one thing in mind, if the system isn't balanced, moving the thermostat isn't going to fix anything with that.

    For example if upstairs is 5 degrees cooler and you move the thermostat upstairs it will still be 5 degrees cooler, but at a higher level. So let's say 70 is your set point, first floor is 70 second floor is 65. If you move the thermostat upstairs and change nothing else, the second floor will be 70 and the first will be 75.

    The concept of keeping the thermostat in the coldest area is just to ensure the whole house gets heat. For me with balance there really isn't much of a cold or warm room, except for when I want it that way, but that is a separate discussion.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,943
    Before you change tstats you need to straighten the main venting out. Don't add more variables to the mix yet.

    What do you have for tstat now. Is the cycles per hour (CPH) adjustable?.......major issue....source of many problems like yours.

    You make the tstat room the coolest by installing slowest rad vent.
    Or you can turn the rad vent upside down to stop it from heating.......just for testing purposes. This will make the tstat run the system longer of course. But there are other devices that will shut the boiler off, you want to determine which is the controlling device.

    Please post the pictures, including the tstat.
    Grallert
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    @JUGHNE what you mean by main venting? where would it be located? are you referring to vent on top of the boiler and see where it vents out to or are you referring radiator vent?

    after reading bunch of helpful comments by everyone(thanks everyone) looks like balancing the boiler is going to ultimately solve my problem. how does one balance boiler?
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,271
    @KBE

    Main vents go at the far ends of the steam main(s) in the basement.

    keep in mind many older systems originally designed for coal had few if any main vents. This is because coal once started burned continuously and did not "cycle" like an oil and gas burner does and the radiator vents did the job.

    Radiator vents alone will not work with an oil or gas system
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 482
    @KBE said "That was exactly my logic too. Did moving the TT to the coldest room in the house solved your issue? can you explain a little bit more about the wireless thermostat?"

    Yes, moving the thermostat to the coldest room had to make it so the room is at the right temperature, but that is just the beginning. Once you have the coldest room being satisfied you probably have to tweak the other radiator vents, assuming the main venting is reasonably satisfactory (important point stated by @JUGHNE) to get it all to work out evenly.

    The wireless thermostat is a Honeywell THM5320R. It is battery powered and interacts wirelessly with the Equipment Interface Module (EIM), which is in the basement wired to the boiler control circuit. That way the thermostat can be located anywhere where the signals can get to the EIM. I did it because I didn't want to run wires and did want the ability to move it around as I needed without the hassle of running wiring.

    I also have a THM6000R7001 Internet Gateway. This is connected to a router in the house, so that I can monitor and control the system using an app on my cell phone.

    Overall, I am very pleased with the setup because if I am working on the system, I don't have to leave the basement to change the thermostat setting, etc. and if I am not at the house I can check the status of the system. It costs about $300, which is a lot more than the standard two wire round thermostat, but for my money it is worth every penny.

    @EBEBRATT-Ed I wondered why my system has two Gorton#1s for the mains. The house is 90 years old and perhaps had coal at one time, so your above comment is an eye opener as to why. In another discussion I am considering experimenting by changing them to Gorton#2s, but my system is pretty stable right now and I don't want to mess things up.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,943
    KBE, The low hanging fruit for your situation IMO is:

    Tstat CPH...keep simple tstat for now.....no setbacks.

    Upgrade steam MAIN supply pipe air vents (in basement).

    Slow steam RADIATOR air vents in tstat room.

    Show us your basement piping all around boiler.

    Show your pressure gauge reading when boiler is up to full steam.

    Show the pressure control with the cover off and where the inside white wheel ( or other internal adjustment) is set.

    Then play with rad air vents on other rooms.
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 482
    I fundamentally agree, but let's try an example just for kicks.

    Assume the tstat is in the warmest room in the house, not by vent valve setting, but by the environment in which it exists, like facing the sun, facing the prevailing winds, size/condition of windows, insulation effectiveness, what is on the other side of the walls, ceiling and floor (i.e., heated, unheated or exterior). Each room behaves somewhat differently depending on its environment.

    This is the extreme case, where the difference in the rooms can be significant. The heat will run long enough to satisfy the tstat demand, then shut off. The other rooms will gain heat while it is available, then start cooling down at a faster rate than the warmest room. Depending on how closely matched the vents are to each individual room's "behavior", they could cool off enough faster to be noticeable.

    My instinct, I'm far from being credible or a professional at this, is it seems it should be easier to take care of the coldest room first, then do the others.

    It is entirely possible that one could make a case that it doesn't matter which room has the tstat, because there is enough capability to satisfy all rooms simultaneously.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,059
    You're looking at a very basic problem, @SteamingatMohawk ! Perhaps more to the point, one to which there really isn't a good solution, outside of individual space controls. There are really two branches to it: first, if the heat delivered to the various spaces isn't itself fundamentally balanced, you are going to have colder spaces and warmer spaces. Sometimes, of course, this is exactly what's wanted -- some folks, for instance, like cooler bedrooms and warmer kitchens. Sometimes it's not. And that's when we start playing with venting rates (one pipe) or valve or orifice settings (two pipe), some but not all hot water or dampers (forced air).

    But... what if one of those spaces has large external influences which aren't under the control of the heating system? Big expanses of glass on a sunny day? An outside door which leaks like a sieve? Then you have an almost insoluble problem without local control.

    In the first case, it really doesn't matter where the thermostat is, so long as it isn't in an obviously silly place, like right over a radiator, or in the way of a draught from the attic stairs.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,518
    @SteamingatMohawk ,The thermostat location may be an issue when it is placed in direct sun but that would suggest all rooms are cold because of the registration of a higher temp than actually exists, or it may be impacted by being in the path of a draft but that too would suggest the entire house is warmer than desired because of the faulty placement of the thermostat. I think there a couple factors you may not be considering. those being, Radiators, for the most part were sized based on the heat loss of each room, larger rads where the heat loss is greater, smaller rads for rooms with lesser heat loss. For the most part, those rads are now even over-sized due to envelope improvements. The other factor to consider is the rad venting or the throttling of the supply valve, on a two pipe system. That alone provides a lot of flexibility on how rooms are managed. My opinion would be that thermostat placement is the less significant issue, unless really poorly placed, initially.
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 2,923
    There are a number of thermostats with wireless indoor sensors (like Honeywell), where the remote could be carried around & left in different rooms just to see how the system responds. The Honeywells can actually average 4-5 remotes & the onboard sensor. Something to think about.
  • KBE
    KBE Member Posts: 15
    edited January 2020


    got this thermostat right now in the house. cant send pictures until i get home. I'm going to reset them to fix the dates the temps are set for. I want it to hold one temp setting rather then fluctuating.

    So far sounds like if I have one of those remote sensors, it'll not turn the system off until the colder rooms heat up.