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Old 01-17-2009, 01:32 PM   #1
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steam heat problems


Info: old house, one pipe steam heat, no main vents .

Problems: radiators hissing, build up of water in radiator vents, ,house heating unevenly.

Would not just having the Main Vents be the fix for everything? if not, what else could be the problems.

Thanks Alan
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Old 01-17-2009, 02:52 PM   #2
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steam heat problems


Go to www.heatinghelp.com. Do not pass Go, do not collect $200. Buy Dan's books, start reading. I've upgraded my single pipe steam system per his directions over the last 16 months. Now we have quiet, wonderful heat.

Good luck!
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:31 PM   #3
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steam heat problems


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Originally Posted by alanliz View Post
Info: old house, one pipe steam heat, no main vents .

Problems: radiators hissing, build up of water in radiator vents, ,house heating unevenly.

Would not just having the Main Vents be the fix for everything? if not, what else could be the problems.

Thanks Alan
Make sure the steam pressure is turned down low. You probly have a small gray pressuretrol there are 2 settings the scale on the front (set to .5) and another dial on the inside set as low as it will go. There are may additional things but lets see what this was set at 1st.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:40 PM   #4
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Check to see if each rad,has a vent screw, if so open slightly until water comes out. Be careful the water is hot it can burn. After you vent several times and all the air has escaped it should heat evenly.
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Old 01-17-2009, 04:43 PM   #5
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Check to see if each rad,has a vent screw, if so open slightly until water comes out. Be careful the water is hot it can burn. After you vent several times and all the air has escaped it should heat evenly.
This is a stean system. You are speaking of hot water.

Steam not stean
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Old 01-17-2009, 08:08 PM   #6
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steam heat problems


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Originally Posted by rshort314 View Post
Check to see if each rad,has a vent screw, if so open slightly until water comes out. Be careful the water is hot it can burn. After you vent several times and all the air has escaped it should heat evenly.
Single pipe doesn't have vent screws, just vents.

OP: yes, you need main vents for single pipe to work best. There are lots of DIY things you can do to make your system run better. Change your rad vents, insulate your supply pipes, make sure all your supply valves are all the way open, etc.

Go to www.heatinghelp.com - really. You have LOTS to learn.
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Last edited by Leah Frances; 01-17-2009 at 08:37 PM.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:27 AM   #7
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steam heat problems


Also for a lot of steam info see this link
www.comfort-calc.net Click on tech menu and view all topics under the steam heading. I would suggest you start at the FAQ topic in the steam section.
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Old 01-18-2009, 07:47 AM   #8
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steam heat problems


check the level of the radiator should be tilted towards the supply valve 1/4" minimum off the floor.........condensate will run better back down the riser away from the vent end.
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Old 01-18-2009, 08:10 AM   #9
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steam heat problems


Are the air vents in each radiator working properly?

The vent is supposed to be open most of the time. When the heating system starts up, steam won't come up into the radiator unless it can push any air out (through the vent). Once the radiator fills up with uncondensed steam (which won't happen until the radiator is good and hot) the steam will try to escape through the vent and the vent should now close itself. When the furnace cycles off and the steam condenses, suction should re-open the vent to let air back in.

By the way, if someone jarred or twisted the vent (valve) so it doesn't point up, it won't work properly.

"Horizontal" feed pipes going up to radiators in a one pipe system are supposed to be tilted slightly up towards each radiator. Settling of the house can cause tilting the other way and water from condensed steam collects and prevents steam from reaching that radiator. Banging noises at that radiator are usually the symptom. In some cases jacking up the radiator a half inch or maybe one inch and setting it on blocks will fix this problem.

Really old systems can have piping clogged with scaly rust. If this is the case you would have to replace the pipes. Some homeowners faced with this problem decommission the system, remove the radiators, and string new baseboard forced hot water pipes horizontally from room to room through the walls and down to a new furnace.

Last edited by AllanJ; 01-18-2009 at 08:27 AM.
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