1 Pipe Steam System PROBLEM. Please help.

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  #1  
Old 02-17-18, 06:35 PM
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1 Pipe Steam System PROBLEM. Please help.

Hey! I just bought a new home and i have a 1 pipe steam system. I am a total newbie about radiators as my main profession is medical. HAHA. I am trying to keep my family warm in New Yorks super cold winter...

Can any of you guy please help me?

2 issues.

1) My main issues is when all my first floor radiators are heated, i have 2 bedrooms and a bathroom upstairs and only 1 bedroom heats up. The bathroom and other bedroom does NOT heat up. I would have to crank up the heat to over what i set it at, for a longer heating cycle, in order to heat up the bathroom and last bedroom. Can you please advise?

I had a thought that its because the previous owner had an extension added to the home with 3 new radiators ( Radsun recessed types ), and the piping was probably not calculated into the BTU of the boiler?????????? Just a guess...

2) Other issue is i changed all the vents on my first floor to hoffman specialty 40 and when it heats up, they keep hissing... Is the vent broke or am i doing something wrong? I installed them all correctly. 7 of them. They all keep hissing nonstop. Arent they supposed to stop hissing after the radiator is fully heated? They dont until i turn the heat off..

Is my pressure set wrong???

Please give any advise,

Thank you for your time.

David.
 
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  #2  
Old 02-17-18, 06:43 PM
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I'm not the boiler specialist in this forum.

Those are fixed vents. Sometimes it's a good idea to have adjustable ones. With the adjustable ones... the downstairs radiators are set to vent slower so that the upstairs ones get steam too. This way the system heats evenly. From what I've read... the system steam pressure should be around 1/2psi.

You could have an undersized boiler but the radiator venting is very important to system balancing.

There are some good boiler guys here and they'll be by.
 
  #3  
Old 02-17-18, 07:00 PM
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TY PJ MAX! Ill wait for them!
 
  #4  
Old 02-18-18, 04:51 AM
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I will try to help with your heating problem. If 3 radiators have been added for the new addition, the boiler may now be too small to supply heating to your home without some modifications. So let me ask a few questions to get more information about your system; 1) Can you post pictures of the boiler and it's piping including the area where the new radiators were added to the old system? 2) what size piping did they use to connect the new to the old and what size pipe did they use at the new radiators? 3) Do all the radiators both old and new have only 1 pipe connected to them? 4) When the boiler is working is the water line always visible in the sight tube? Does the water line ever go above or below the sight tube? 5) Do the radiators with the hissing vents get hot all the way to the end or does the end not get hot? 6) What is the maximum steam pressure when the boiler is working or when it shuts off? 7) If you turn the thermostat way up, will the boiler run constantly without running out of water? 8) Is the system fairly quiet when the boiler is running, no banging of pipes etc.? The sizes of the piping in both the old and especially the new is critical There may be a fix but I need a lot more information since I am not there. hope this helps
 
  #5  
Old 02-18-18, 09:29 AM
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T,
I know this is a lot of info and questions to process so I don't want to add to the confusion right now so I just have a couple of thoughts.

First, to answer your vent question, they are not suppose to constantly hiss. Just until the air is gone and then they close so the steam can heat the rads.

As the steam cools it creates condensate and returns back to the boiler.

As PJ mentioned venting is the key to balancing a steam system. I prefer vari valve vents. They are adjustable. Enough of that for now.

If you turn up your stat do all the rads eventually heat. If so, I would suspect your boiler can handle the load but just needs balancing.

It sounds like the room where your stat is, is getting satisfied and turning the boiler off early before all the rads heat.

To test this a little more close the rad in the room with the stat and see if that helps.

Your cutoff pressure should be no more than 2 PSi. Your settings depend of what you have for a pressurtrol (additive or subtractive).

As steamboy pointed out pics would be very helpful along with more info.

This may be a lot of info to digest but steam can be a little complicated to set up properly and evenly heat your home.

Hope this helps a little.
 

Last edited by spott; 02-18-18 at 10:35 AM.
  #6  
Old 02-18-18, 09:43 AM
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A little info on picture posting.... How-to-insert-pictures
 
  #7  
Old 02-18-18, 01:19 PM
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Ok guys, here's some pics of my boiler and connections...

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Last edited by PJmax; 02-18-18 at 01:37 PM. Reason: reoriented pictures
  #8  
Old 02-18-18, 01:24 PM
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i have 4 x regular style cast iron radiators on my first floor all with hoffman #40.

I have 3 x Sunrad Style recessed radiators on the extension of my house.

And I have 3 x regular style case iron upstairs also all 3 with #C Mist o Maid.

The issues is that only 1 of the 3 upstairs radiators heat up before the system shuts off...

I have no idea where my mains are or if i even have them. I bought this house with a finished basement, drywalled.....

Shhould i use VARIVALVES on all 7 of the first floor radiators and slow them down so the steam can go faster upsstairs???
 
  #9  
Old 02-18-18, 01:27 PM
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Guys, can you please look at my pics and tell me if there are any issues with the pressure and PSI? or how to adjust?

ALSO!

I bought a gallon of RECTORSEAL to clean on my boiler... Where do i add fluid into the boiler?!/?
 
  #10  
Old 02-18-18, 03:00 PM
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T,
Lets start by saying your near boiler piping looks good. The header is high enough for the mains to deliver dry steam which is what you want. I would insulate those pipes, at least the supply's to keep the steam from condensing before it reaches the the rads.

The minute the steam leaves the boiler and hits the pipes which are in a cooler climate it starts to cool and condense. You want the steam to reach the rads before it turns to conensate.

Your pressuretrol looks good . It looks like it's set to come on at .5 PSI and shut off at 2 PSI which is what you want.

You have an automatic water feeder which unfortunately was not piped with a bypass line. If that fails and you must fill the boiler , you cannot do it. A bypass should be installed in case of such a failure.

I like adjustable vents because they are the only way to balance the system.

There are a couple schools of thought of this.

1) The further from the boiler, the more open the vent.
2) The larger the rad the more open the vent.

I generally go by the the further the rad but if you have any real large rads you want them open to vent more quickly, unless it's in the room with the stat. Once you put the vents in it's just a matter of playing with them until everything heats properly.

If you have main line vents they would be in the basement at the ends of the main lines and their purpose is to vent the air quickly so the steam can get to the rads instead of letting your rad vents do all the work.

The quicker the air is gone the faster the steam will get to the rads.

As far as your boiler treatment goes, I really have no comment because I don't really care for chemicals in boilers.

If you have dirty water in your boiler causing surging or syphoning there is a procedure called skimming which you can find out about on youtube by searching skimming a steam boiler. Much easier to watch than try to explain here. Then if you have questions you can ask here.

One final thing you didn't answer and that is if your stat is actually shutting off before all your rads heat or if they are not heating for another reason.

All in all your installation, at least the near boiler piping, which is very important looks good.

Hope this helps a little.
 
  #11  
Old 02-18-18, 04:37 PM
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SCott, WOW! You answered so many questions! Thank you for explaining! Few questions..

1) These looks like 2 inch pipes. What kind of insulation do i buy? Just wrap all the pipes coming out of the boiler?

2) Since my upstairs heats last, would it be safe to say that i continues using the large venting maid o mist vents upstairs and change all the first floor ones to VARIVALVES and then shut it to eh lowest setting?

3) SHould i ues one of those VENSTAR connectors to pull the thermostat upstairs? SENSI Wifi thermostaat ok?
 
  #12  
Old 02-18-18, 04:47 PM
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scottt, is a bypass doable DYI? or should i cll a pro?
 
  #13  
Old 02-18-18, 05:18 PM
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There is fiberglass insulation for your pipes. You should do all the supply pipes at least. Returns do not matter since it's only condensate anyway. They make special fittings for the elbows but I wouldn't worry about those. You can leave them bare.

You can keep the larger opening valves upstairs as long as they work properly and put adjustables downstairs.

If you move tour stat upstairs you will most likely overheat the first floor and end up sweating.

They make thermostatic radiator valves to control each rad to make it like it's own zone if you wanted to get that involved. You could put them on the 1st floor if you wanted to put a stat upstairs.

To put in the bypass you have to be able to solder copper pipe or use propress fittings. That's for the pros. Expensive tool.

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Danfoss-T...-Valves-789000

There are different brands you can look at.

Sample of pipe covering. I would get at least 1" thick

https://expressinsulation.com/
 
  #14  
Old 02-18-18, 05:42 PM
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Fiberglass innsulTION? I guess those cheap thin foam ones with the sticky insides arent good enough? I already put some of those on.

I looked at the thermostatic valves. So for example if i installed these valves on all the ones downstairs and closed them so they heat slower, the steam should therefore redirect and go upstairs first??????

Is that the right thought process?

What is ur thoughts on VARIVALVES? Varivalve 925005-00?
 

Last edited by Tumbz; 02-18-18 at 06:19 PM. Reason: adding
  #15  
Old 02-18-18, 06:20 PM
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The thermostatic valves are like thermostats. They operate on there own . You set them for a certain temp and when the room gets that temp they close and don't allow steam to the rad by not letting the air bleed out until it feels the need to call again.

Once you put them in if the regular stat calls but that room is warm enough the rad will not heat until the temp in that room drops.

The thermostatic valves , although automatic still need the main stat to operate boiler,. They will just stop overheating of rooms by setting each rad to it's own temp.

You remove the air vent and replace with those. Simple procedure. Nothing to drain.

The vari valves are manual valve you adjust for proper air release to heat everything evenly.

The foam insulation is for hot water, not steam,. Not enough insulation value, probably melt over time.
 
  #16  
Old 02-18-18, 06:44 PM
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OK, I just bought 7 x Varivalve 925005-00... ill get it in a few days. il update. im gonna change all hoffman 40s to vari vavles and then adjust the them as needed and see if my upstairs heats up.

THANKS YOU SO MUCH . YOu answered all of my questions!!!
 
  #17  
Old 02-18-18, 06:50 PM
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OK, let us know, good luck.
 
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Old 02-18-18, 07:10 PM
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hey scott! Just wondering. when i get my flush, where do i pour it in from?!?
 
  #19  
Old 02-18-18, 07:19 PM
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It doesn't look like any opening was provided. Where is your relief.

You can remove that and add fittings if you must to pour it in.
 
  #20  
Old 02-19-18, 07:03 AM
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LOL. so i have no way of putting this stuff in ! LOL I cant skim this boiler also?

Do i need to flush this once in a while? I usually just let the water out until the sight glass is empty, then refill to correct level. Am is how to do it? I have a auto feeder also..
 
  #21  
Old 02-19-18, 07:57 AM
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Your boiler should have been skimmed when installed and unless your water gets really dirty and starts to surge if you just do what you're doing, drain a little out maybe once a month that should do it.

Are you saying you don't have a relief valve, because looking at the pics I didn't see one. Figured it might come out of the back.

I could see by your piping, unless you have a back tapping somewhere they made no provisions to skim the boiler.

The idea of skimming is to remove the oils from the castings that sit on top of the water that hamper the steam.

The skimming removes the oil from the top. If you just drain the water from the bottom as the water drains out the oils just stick to the sides of the boiler and return when you refill.

Just a vicious cycle accomplishing nothing.

Post #13 about your auto feeder.
 
  #22  
Old 02-19-18, 09:16 AM
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How about these? I usually drain the water from the red circle tab.. Then i press the button on the auto feeder to manually put water back in till the right level on sight glass.

is that right? Is there a skim possibility heree?
 
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  #23  
Old 02-19-18, 10:07 AM
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You have a pipe coming off your boiler attached to the relief valve with a yellow handle ball valve and capped pipe.

Although a larger line is preferable if you remove that cap you can skim from there.

This is why you want a manual feed line going to your boiler. You would manually feed in water from the bottom and let it come out of the top pipe following the skimming procedure.

My guess is that is why that pipe with the valve is there.

I probably shouldn't mention this because I don't like boiler treatments BUT if you really want to use your stuff you can unwind your relief valve and install a nipple and even a fitting that will enlarge the opening for pouring into the boiler.

It looks like 3/4" pipe. You can use a 3/4" x 6 or what length you want and the put a 3/4 x 1 or 1 1/4 coupling on that for an easier pour into the boiler and then replace the relief valve when done.

Or you could just use a funnel into the 3/4 nipple.

I just noticed you have 2 pipes with valves coming off the back. I can't tell if they are the same height. If they are you can use the pipe with the elbow for skimming instead of removing the cap on the other pipe.
 
  #24  
Old 02-19-18, 10:51 AM
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SCOTT , LOOK what i realized!

Is this a SKIMMER!? If so, how do i do it? Just turn off boiler , cool down, and open? This is the highest of all 3 openings.

The middle one is the OTHER angled spout with the YELLOW lever. Whats this for?

ANd the Red Circular one is on the LOWEST level... This is what i use to drain water...

Also, Theres a button on the auto feeder that lets me MANUALLY feed water in. does that count as a manual feed?
 
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  #25  
Old 02-19-18, 11:42 AM
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As I said in my last post you can skim from either one as long as they are above the water line of the boiler.

If the relief valve pipe is high and you can get the cap off you can use that one to skim.

The problem with the manual button is you will have to keep it depressed and you cannot control the rate of flow to the boiler.

To skim the boiler you feed water in at the same rate you drain water out.

You fill the boiler until it starts draining slowly and then you feed in at the same rate. This is all done at a very slow flow rate and with the boiler on and the water kept below steam temps.

So you must monitor and control the flow in and the same going out and make sure the water temp is hot but not allowed to make steam, so the boiler must be turned off and on periodically.

You do this procedure until have a good flow of clean boiler water. This can take hours some times. There are no shortcuts.

If you can do all 3 things with your feed button then you're good to go.
 
  #26  
Old 02-19-18, 01:32 PM
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thanks for ALLLL UR ADVISE Helps me understand my heating system and boiler much better !!!! THANK YOU SPOTTT!
 
  #27  
Old 02-20-18, 06:27 AM
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Read the stickies at the top of the thread, there is a lot of helpful info there thanks to NJT and others.
Sid
 
  #28  
Old 02-20-18, 01:30 PM
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Hey SPOTT! I got my VarivaVLES and installed 5 so far. all the ones that heat up the first on the first floor, i installed 5 x and closed them all. These vavles are magic... Right away my upstairs gets heat.... I have C type Mist O Maid vavles which lets out alot of air 3 x upstiars..... .......I cant beleive the difference this made... I have 2 more vavles coming in the mail . IM gonna put verivavles on all 7 on the first floor....

Thank you so much for helping me .... My issue is fixed and i learned alot about my boiler in a single thread! THANKS SPOTT AND PJMaxX, you were RIGHT!

 
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  #29  
Old 02-20-18, 02:13 PM
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T,
Glad things worked out. Thanks for the update.
 
  #30  
Old 02-24-18, 03:11 PM
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HEY GUYS! I replaced all my first floor to varivavles. In my last post, i said my issue was fixed but actually it still isnt... I thought it was because i turned my heating cycle on longer so my upstairs bedroom got warm. During a regular cycle, it still stays cold.

I turned all my varivalves on my first floor to OFF. The vari valves are great. Cant even hear them.... Silent... All 7 first floor radiators.


My 3 upstairs stays cold. I have 3 x Mist O maids #C upstairs. Its supposed to vent very vast... I hear steam on all 3 when the heating cycles goes on and they all work and heat up when the cycle is extended, but why is it that even when i close ALL 7 of my first floor radiators, th steam still doesnt reach upstairs?!?

Pressuretrol cut in is about 0.5 and cut out is about 2,

COuld it be my main vents!? My problem is that I dont know wherre they are! I finished my basement and being this is the first time buying a home, i knew nothing about heating systems...

I have 2 main lines coming out of my boiler as you can see in the pics and i followed one to the end of the the room and i think i see a STRAIGHT VENT... Only 1.

I Bought a BIG MOUTH Straight vent to replace that one...

Where is the mains usuALLY LOCATED?
 
  #31  
Old 02-24-18, 05:36 PM
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the main vents should be located at the ends of the main lines in the basement. They have larger venting capacity than you rad vents.

The quicker you get rid of the air the faster the steam will get to the rads.

The size of the vent depends on your pipe size and length of run.

They make a Gorton #1 or for Gorton #2 which is like 3 times the price but has a very large venting capacity.

Did you try removing the vent from the rad that isn't heating which would eliminate venting restriction and see if it heats. Maybe the vent isn't large enough.

Can you post pics of your main lines. You have 2 mains coming off your header so you need 2 main line vents on the ends of each main.

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Gorton-G1...alve-3522000-p

https://www.google.com/search?q=gort...HR4UAs0QsxgIKg

Home
 
  #32  
Old 02-26-18, 03:22 AM
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Before I make any recommendations I will wait and see if the others can fix your heating problem with just the adjustable vents. Most 1 pipe steam systems were not designed to be used with a thermostatically controlled burner, they were made for coal firing only.
 
  #33  
Old 02-27-18, 01:05 PM
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Guys, I just got home from a Vacay. I also just received my BARNES AND JONES BIG MOUTH VENT! I just bought 1 for now because i only found 1 of my mains... I have to look for the other one.

Im going to cutt through my dry wall for the first one i found and post pics before i do the install.

I also hope the vent is 3/4 inch because thats the size big mouth vent i bought. Its kinda far from the opening , so i couldnt get close enough to see..

Ill post pics soon!

THANKS GUYS
 
  #34  
Old 02-27-18, 02:04 PM
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Steamboy. I would love to also hear your suggestions! SPOTT been helping me and he has already taught me alot about my heating system. LOL. I am a total newbie.

So far, i changed all 7 of my first floor rad vents to vari valves and they are all closed. They all get hot at the same time when the cycle turns on.

I changed all 3 of my upstairs rad vents to mist o maids # C. They vent quickly. These also get hot BUT ONLY WHEN i turn the heat all the way UP! They stay warm or cold when my cycle is normal........So my vents and radiators all work.

Issue is still the whole first floor gets hot, upstairs is still cool when the cycles turns off since the thermostat is satisfied...

Pressuretrol cutt in is about 0.5. Cutt out is about 2.

Its weird. After messing with my pressuretrol, sometimes the thermostat would turn on and say "HEATING" BUTTT the fire wont START! I have to go downstairs and touch the pressuretrol to make it kick on...

This is a new issue for me. Never happened until i messed with the pressuretrol. I just adjusted it again and i will see if it short cycles again.

I will update as soon as i cutt open my dry wall to take picture of the first MAIN vent...

Also, you guys will never guess how i found this main vent.

Since my contractor finished my whole basement and covered everything, i dont know where anything is. I found this vent by walking around my first floor and since its solid wood, i can feel the HOTNESS....

I have 2 other HOT SPOTS i know of on the first floor and that is where i plan to see if theres a main vent UNDER...

Is this a good idea?
 

Last edited by Tumbz; 02-27-18 at 02:07 PM. Reason: adding more
  #35  
Old 02-27-18, 03:44 PM
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After you change the main line vents and adjust the individual radiator vents, the hottest radiators vents almost closed and the 2nd floor vents wide open, If the 2nd floor rads still do not get hot try to add double (2) vents to a cold radiator. This is what I have done; add a short nipple , then a tee and install the 2 varivents in the tee. Open both vents wide open and see if that will allow the radiator to get hot. You can use any combination of nipples and fittings to mount the 2 vents. If you still can't get heat I would invest in " Danfoss style radiator thermostatic valves for all rooms except one of the cold rooms and move the boilers thermostat into that cold room . The heat would stay on until the cold room became hot and the other rooms temperature would be controlled by the thermostatic Danfoss valves. This way you would be guaranteed that every radiator got warm and all rooms would be thermostatically controlled. For this to work the thermostat must be in one of the coldest rooms. I would exhaust all other ideas since adding these valves would not be cheap. I have done this on jobs so I know it works.
 
  #36  
Old 02-27-18, 04:05 PM
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Sounds like a plan. Have to start somewhere.

If your pressuretrol starts to stick check your pig tail (curly pipe that it's attached to).

They get gummed up and must be removed and cleaned or changed periodically. When that happens they cannot drain so the PT acts like it still has pressure and will not close to make the circuit.



Good luck.
 
  #37  
Old 02-28-18, 03:10 AM
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If you continue to have problems with the operating pressure control a replacement may be needed. Honeywell makes a good control model # (L408J-1017), that has a range of 0 to 4 PSIG, that is easy to adjust, and can be purchased almost anywhere boiler controls are sold. And as Spott said, make sure you remove and clean out the pigtail pipe and all the pipe between the control and the boiler
 
  #38  
Old 03-11-18, 06:44 AM
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Guys, im back. Sorry i was busy last week.

So i cutt out the hole for the 1st main vent i found. HERE ARE PICTURES.

1) IS THIS a MAIN VENT? I dont want to end up breaking something

2) I have pipe wrenches but it seems super old and tight, i quickly tried to remove, but it wont budge. Any suggestions? Spray with wd40? I can probably twist harder and use 2 wrenches, but i ill need to make the hole bigger.

Also, because i cant take off the old main vent, i hope that the new one i bought will fit. Its a 3/4 inch. I still have time to return to amazon if it doesnt.

Im sitting here right now with my sweater on because the heating cycles didnt turn on yet.

WHen it turns on, my whole first floor heats up in less than 10 minutes. But my issues persists. My upstairs is cold when my first floor is satisfied...

Im so frustrated. I might need to look into the DANFOSS
 
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  #39  
Old 03-11-18, 07:47 AM
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T,
That is a main line vent.

If the vent won't move try taking the nipple out below the vent and the remove when on the ground or just replace the nipple and vent.

They can be stubborn. You can put an extension on your pipe wrench for more leverage or hit the pipe wrench with a small sledge hammer to loosen.

2 wrenches are always better if you can get in there but that main should take the strain of just one wrench.

It looks like you have 2 mains coming off the header going in different directions. Do you have 2 vents.
 

Last edited by spott; 03-11-18 at 08:52 AM.
  #40  
Old 03-11-18, 08:10 AM
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Ok. Im gonna open it then... I hope i dont mess up. It seems super tight and old...
 
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