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helpless handyman 12-05-2006 09:12 PM

Need some serious advise on heating system
Hi, and thanks to all, I am in need of some advise on a heating system. I have a house I just purchashed, did major renovation and had to change the pipes on the steam heat due to change in floor plans. The pipes were redone by a friend using black pipe of course. The problem is that it is making banging noise, water in the system. I am hearing steam traps, I am hearing pipes not pitched correctly, and so on. I am fed up with this, and feel like putting my reciprocation saw blades to use. I was wondering what would it cost to convert to hot water baseboard heat, new boiler, new radiators, new pipes again, and so on? The house is 1600sq feet. All help is welcome, and please all jokes to the side, this has been a nightmare for me. Thanks, I just don't know if I could afford it right now, but something needs to be done, and its 38 degrees here today.:furious:

helpless handyman 12-06-2006 07:35 AM

To all heating contractors, can I get some inputs???? 13 views and no reponses...

redline 12-06-2006 10:34 AM

How much of the old system did you modify?

helpless handyman 12-06-2006 10:52 AM

Redline, I am in the whole right now. I should of gone with my ideas in the beginning, but I kept asking people for suggestions and I got the goods and the bads from hot water heat. I have a few friends at work that have baseboard heat, they say the heat is not enougth. First heat elements get the most heat, as the water goes by it cools off and last room gets the less heat. As far as how much I have modify , I had the entire black pipes redone in the house due to change of floor plans, I also got rid of the bulky radiators and replaced them with heat elements. I am in the whole of $2,000.00 plus the labor was another $1,000.00. I will lose $3,000.00 but I am at the point that I do not want this steam heat to hunt me in the long run. The furnace is not new, and I do not know how long it would last. The guy I got to do the pipes is comming this eve, he says its the return line , that it needs to pitch more towards the boiler. Yesterday I was so upset I was about to put my new metal blades to work on the piping system, but I couldn't afford to have my water pipes freeze. Right now I have the heat elements shut off, they are two cast iron radiators that are okay. I have a feeling that its due to the unproper pitching of the pipes. I am going to install would floors whenever I get the chance, and I don't want in the future the steam heat to ruin them. If I decide this is the time right now, before I close up the wall which I will need to run the lines upstairs. My question can I get a heating contractor to do the boiler, and I will do the soldering of the radiators, and how much will it cost roughly, since I would have to run new copper piping 3/4. Thanks Redline and I am sorry for the long post.

redline 12-06-2006 11:00 AM

What part of the country are you in? Do you get cold winters?

How much of a slope do you have on the return line to the boiler?

helpless handyman 12-06-2006 11:10 AM

I am in NY area, the return pipes have a small pitch going back to the boiler, how much exactly I won't know until tonight when I go to the house. Also all I know he used a leveler when he was doing the piping. Thanks Redline. I just don't know if I should just stop the steam heat, and go with water heat, or should I repair this since I already have $3,000.00 invested.
1) How can I check how much of a pitch the return pipe has with a leveler?

2) How much pitch should it have?

#CARRIERMAN 12-06-2006 11:13 AM

Hi helplesshandyman

I am still reccomending the use of a bucket steam trap. Place it at the tail end of your return line just before the boiler. I believe the post is still up there that has the website I got you. Also make sure the returns off of the baseboards are sloped down. And yes I am back

Good luck

redline 12-06-2006 11:13 AM

Did the old system work before you modified it?

Do all the radiators (elements) bang?

If only one or two bang can you turn the individual ones off and see if the system will operate?

helpless handyman 12-06-2006 11:16 AM

I just got to say this, my day has been so misserable yesterday and today, but Carrierman you made my day and u know what I am talking about!:thumbup: Nice to see your response!!!!

helpless handyman 12-06-2006 11:21 AM

Okay, getting back. I did that last night I shut off the heat elements and left the two radiators valves on so if at night the thermostat would call for heat, she will fire up and not burst my vwater pipes. I have one of thoses 7 day thermostat and I think thats going to come off, for the simple reason I am also noticing that the heat starts up, but the the boiler shuts off after maybe 10-15 min. The heat never reaches the thermostat setting. I know this is something different but just had to throw it out there as well. What a mess I am in.. As far as did it work before, I just purchashed the house in the summer, inspector fired up the boilder found gas leak on the gas valve and boiler was locked down by Fire Dept. It was repaired, gas vavle igniter was replaced. Thanks guys

helpless handyman 12-06-2006 11:28 AM

Okay Carrierman, how much am I looking at to spend, also why did the Plumbing Store tell me that these are used for high pressure systems yesterday. My system is 5 psi...

#CARRIERMAN 12-06-2006 11:36 AM

Hi helplesshandyman

It is sounding like to me that your system is water logged. What pressure are you running the boiler at?.


helpless handyman 12-06-2006 11:53 AM

Carrierman, I believe there is a little metal box on the side of the boiler and it's at 0.5 which I beleive is the lowest setting. I just got a call from the guy that installed the pipes and he says he's going to lower the water return pipe tonight. He says there should be water there, but it seems there is steam since the pipe is so hot. Keep helping me guys, I know I will get this with your help..

redline 12-06-2006 12:23 PM


Originally Posted by helpless handyman (Post 26060)
. I did that last night I shut off the heat elements

What are you consider the heat element?

Is this the radiator?

or something else?

does it have a vent on each one?

redline 12-06-2006 12:29 PM

The return line needs to slope towards the boiler if it does not then the pressure will build up and shut down the system (if the safety is working)

On a one line steam system the boiler brings the water to steam. The steam rises to the radiators (vents on each radiator lets out air in th e radiator). Whne the steam cools down the the water returns to the boiler to be reheated. Each radiator needs to have a slight slope towards the main line for the "cooled" water to flow back to the boiler. If the lines do not slope towards the boiler then the water and steam get trapped in the same pipe and will bang.
The steam is trying to rise and the "cooled" water is trapping the steam.

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