Steam Radiator venting water


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Old 03-02-08, 07:15 PM
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Steam Radiator venting water

We recently had our 50+ year old boiler replaced with a new oil fired Peerless boiler. Since we heat mainly with wood we don't fire up the boiler that frequently.
Whe we do fire it up the BACK radiator (the furthest from the boiler) heats up then starts spitting water.

This is a single pipe system. The Main pipe coming out of the boiler goes into a tee. One half of the tee feeds several radiators and has a short return attached to the main running from this tee about 3 feet from the boiler.
The other side of the tee has a 2" main line which has several radiators tapped off of it.then this main line continues for about 20 feet where it has a tee to supply the BACK radiator then goes on for about 3 more feet to another tee which has a 1" return back to the Hartford loop.

More details:
When firing up the boiler I noticed that the return to BACK radiator gets VERY hot where it connects to the Hartfor Loop while the Main going to the BACK radiator is barly warm. I find that the return is hot all the way back where it connects to the 2" main.

While this is happening the water in the fill level just about disappears. If I turn the burner off all the water returns in a few minutes.

When this 1st started happening I had at least 2 gallons of water come out of the back raditior. I do not have auto fill, and always start the boiler with the fill line showing in the fill level glass. Now after this happed the 1st time we (installer and I) thought that there was a blockage in the return. Well it was fairly rusty so replaced I replaced 1" return with new pipe. Come to find out there was not blockage but it was frozen. THe 2" main is tilted away from the boiler and the 1 " return is tilted towards the boiler. This is the same way it has been for 50 years.

I have since had another plumber and oil man take a look. Everything is leveled properly to them, the did replace the on/off valve to the back radiatior thinking that the old one was acting like a check valve. No luck there.

I suspect that steam is pushing its way into the return. any ideas would be great!

Thanks for reading the long story

Pictures at http://mysite.verizon.net/vze82wcz/index.html

Bob in Rutland

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Old 03-03-08, 04:21 PM
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-----bump----

I'm steam stupid, so I can't help... anyone else?

You said:
Everything is leveled properly
When you say "leveled properly", you mean that the pipes have the proper pitch back to the boiler, right ? I don't _think_ you actually want them "Level" ?
 
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Old 03-03-08, 06:00 PM
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The main 2" line leaving the boiler is tilted down towards the radiator connection. The 1" return tilts towards the boiler.
 
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Old 03-03-08, 06:10 PM
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besides improper piping I bet the boiler is surging.
 
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Old 03-04-08, 04:02 PM
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Was surgeing a lot. Installer flushed out system added a new "additive". Does not surge as much but all water disappears from the water level glass.

Comments on "besides improper piping" would be appreciated

THanks
 
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Old 03-04-08, 05:44 PM
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if the water is leaving the site glass or bouncing badly it's either A. a real dirty boiler
B. the guy that added chemical got carried away
water bounce can also happen in new boilers from the oil residue left on the inside of the cast iron section
there are chemicals you can add
but here's a tip 1 cup off tide detergent
usually a new boiler if it has cast iron section should tell you in the book from the manufacture how to skim the boiler. either way drain the boiler refill WHILE COLD add the tide through the pressure relief opening " remove the valve" turn boiler on till water gets hot or just starts to make steam drain again refill slowly through the PRV ....
water is coming out where it's not supposed to because it's leaving the boiler and flooding the system instead of steam leaving the boiler
Quote from another site
Dirt or oil on the surface of the water can aggravate this, of course, which is why it's so important for installers to clean and skim steam boilers. If the steam can't break free of the surface because there's a layer of scum floating there, the water will contain even more steam. It will become lighter and fall even further when the burner shuts off. Modern steam boilers are really sensitive to dirt in or on the water. Suggest to your contractor customers that they quote the charge for a good system cleaning as an extra, and tell them to explain the importance of all of this to their customer. Most folks will go for it once they understand the potential for problems if they don't. And the contractors stands a better chance of getting the order (and staying out of trouble afterwards!).
 
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Old 03-04-08, 07:21 PM
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The water should not bounce more than 1/4 to 1/2". It is not good the water disappears from the glass. Skimming will take care of this.
You never send steam into the branch of a tee except in the header. The hartford loop has too long of a nipple in it. No pipe insulation.
 
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Old 03-05-08, 04:41 PM
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The main 2" line leaving the boiler is tilted down towards the radiator connection.
Tilted AWAY from the boiler ? Is this the right way ? I dunno... I thought you want the return AND the supply toward the boiler ? Steam stupid here so I really don't know, but that's what I thought...
 
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Old 03-08-08, 12:24 PM
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What size was the OLD boiler. How much water did IT hold? Who sized the new boiler and how?

I suspect a surge condition too, but for different reasons.

1) I suspect that the volume of water in the OLD boiler was probably much more than with the new boiler, thus you are running out of water as it is making steam. There probably is not enough volume of water to keep it at proper operating level. If the water level disappears from the sight glass, the boiler stops on LWCO, waits for the return condensate, the water level rises again, then the boiler operates for a while, then the cycle repeats, this may be the reason. I know you did NOT state specifically that this was happening, but it MAY be happening without you noticing. I have seen plenty of steam boilers surge awaiting the return of the condensate.


The return condensate from the 3rd leg (copper line) MAY have a problem getting back into the boiler too!

2) I really DO NOT LIKE the way the 3 returns come in, especially the copper on the 'back room' return being the one furthest away from the loop. This COULD be a problem if you have alot of return from the other 2 lines preventing the condensate from coming back on that 3rd leg. Also keeping in mind that it is a much smaller vessel than the pipe, it COULD be a problem.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

Get some specs first on the boiler you just replaced. BTU value, steam output rating, water volume, and also the specs on the new one. Some boilerinstallerengineerwannabe may have made a boo boo.

A simple modification like moving the copper return to the front of the vertical pipe of the loop by itself, away from the other tee, may solve SOME of the problem. I strongly suspect that the condensate from this 3rd leg is struggling to make it back into the boiler. You would have a little plumbing to do, but not beyond the skills of a good handyman DIY'er. At least you would be ruling out the possibility of that being the problem if it still does the same thing.

IF the boiler has been improperly sized by a company and that is the reason you are having this problem, I guess they would have to change the boiler to a boiler with a larger reserve or make some other modifications.

Keep us 'posted'. Good luck.
 
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Old 03-08-08, 12:48 PM
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Boilers always hold enough water for their ratings. The only reason a steam boiler runs out of water is due to surging-water going up the supply, or slow returns. If the boiler is rated for a certain sq ft of steam it will hold that plus more water volume. Being these are dry returns I do not feel slow returns are the issue. Which brings us back to surging.
If sizing may be suspect you could size the steam boiler your self. Measure all the radiation height from floor to the top of the radiator, count the number of sections that make up the length and detemine if it is a tube or column type radiator.
use this link for a drawing of the tube and column type radiators. The boiler will be sized to the sq ft of radiation with out adding anything else. Again insulate those mians!

http://s246.photobucket.com/albums/g...peRadiator.jpg
Get the information and we can help you check the boiler size.
 
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Old 03-08-08, 05:43 PM
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I would like to thank everyone for their thoughtful replies.

Just to clear one thing up. The copper tube is not a return it is the water feed for the boiler. The return is from the back radiator, the one that vents water comes into the 1" next to the copper.

This is a peerless boiler, the local rep took all the measurements of the radiators to check against the size of the boiler. He did not say there was a problem with the boiler size.

The peerless rep believes that new boiler makes steam faster than the old, creating a vacuum that sucks up water from the return. He has recommended that I place a #31 Vent on the return near where it is connected to the 2" Main. (see picture) I am going to try this once he tells me exactly where the vent should go. The installer took another look an thinks a vent should go at the very end of the 2" Main where the 2" tee feeds the 1" return.

Once I put the vent in we then will see if all the surging and hopefully the venting water stops.

Thanks again for all the suggestions. I really appreciate it.

Bob
 
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Old 03-09-08, 07:11 AM
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It looked like the arrow was pointing to the copper in one of those photos so I thought that was the return. I noticed on another picture that I can see the valve farther down the copper for feeding water, so I stand corrected.

I still don't think that the return on the 'back' radiator should be how it is. It seems too high and MAYBE the return condensate is not getting back easily enough. Have your tech check that out too.

What is that thingy on the top of the vertical return from the 'back' radiator? Is that a siphon breaker or something? Photos are difficult to see everything on. Can't be a bleeder.
 
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Old 05-21-08, 06:01 PM
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Smile Fixed!!!

Sorry for this late post put the problem of water coming out of one of my steam radiators has been solved!

Getting nowhere with the installer I called the boiler manufacture Peerless and was put in touch with the local rep.

He was very helpful and promised a solution.

I arranged for the rep and the installer to come to my house and see the problem first hand. It took a week but the Peerless rep provided instructions to the installer to fix the problem.

It was decided that return from the main that heats the front of the house (going out to the left of the boiler) was pushing water from the boiler into the return of the radiator the was spurting water.

It took the installer most of a day to re-plumb the Hartford loop.

I would suggest anyone getting a new boiler take a picture of the existing plumbing since this would have helped.

Thanks for all your suggestions.
 
 

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