Steam one pipe air vents.....good vs bad?


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Old 01-20-23, 10:14 AM
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Steam one pipe air vents.....good vs bad?

Hello all,
This is my second year running a steam gas fired one pipe system. Everything works fine now. One thing i've noticed is that air vents fail. My main vent failed and the one in my livingroom also failed. The livingroom radiator is connected at the end of the main line. I am guessing that's where all the waters are from the condensate. What i did is i added nipple as far away from water as possible. I did that in my main line as well as the radiator in my living room. By doing that, i am 100% sure it cured the problem in my main line. As far as the radiator in my living room, time will tell. But here's the question: as you can see from my picture, i have two main line vent openings. I had two main line air vents. Gorton #1s. Now it's just one. With two gortons, i didn't notice any improvement with how fast steam heated my living room. What i did notice is that one of the vents, the one i removed, was always blowing out air after every cycle. While the other one does not. The one in the picture. The one in the picture works just fine. I also noticed that with two installed, my boiler cycles every 5-7 minutes. With just one air vent installed, the one in the picture, my boiler cycles every 10-15 minutes. So is there something wrong with the other air vent? What your experience. Thanks.

Main Line




 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-21-23 at 04:42 PM. Reason: added pics
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Old 01-22-23, 07:25 AM
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If a radiator air valve sticks shut, an air valve in the main line under the floor will not help that radiator warm up.
 
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Old 01-21-23, 03:50 PM
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I do not understand your picture, it is too dark in the middle. Try retaking the picture after plussing the exposure compensation (a camera menu entry) a few notches. And again by increasing the ISO (another menu entry).

Does each radiator have its own air valve? Shortly after the boiler kicks on, the radiator's air valve should start blowing out air. Then a few minutes later the air should stop but the radiator should still be getting steam (you may hear a soft hiss during this time). After the boiler kicks off and the radiator cools down tits air valve should suck air back in.

Some moisture coming out the air valve is not ruled out but the valve should stop blowing a moment after any moisture should appear.

Do you find that air valves wear out after fewer than two winters?
 
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Old 01-21-23, 04:44 PM
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C is a stub from the main line and E is no longer in use ?
A and D are plugs.

That would mean you have stub tee'd off the main line with a vent.
That is not correct.

You need all condensate to go back down to the boiler.
 
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Old 01-21-23, 05:52 PM
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Ok here. A is the main line. Arrow pointing down is a pipe ( or return?) going straight down to the ground. B is just a pipe attached to the main line and going up to another radiator.
 
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Old 01-21-23, 06:05 PM
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"Shortly after the boiler kicks on, the radiator's air valve should start blowing out air."
Yes that's what happened.

"Then a few minutes later the air should stop but the radiator should still be getting steam (you may hear a soft hiss during this time)."
Yes, steam pushes out air then the air vent closes.

"After the boiler kicks off and the radiator cools down tits air valve should suck air back in."
Ok so here is the problem with one of the Gorton #1s. Once the boiler stops firing, and cool down a bit and air gets back in the main line, then the boiler starts firing again. Now the boiler starts firing, with two gortons attached, one of the gortons does not push out air. The one in the picture. But the one in the picture works well. The other gorton pushes out air. The other gorton also closes. Here's the thing, if i cover the hole in the other gorton, air still will not get pushed out of the gorton in the picture above. But the gorton in the picture works well. So is that a fault of the other gorton? But the other gorton works ok. Just not as efficient as the one in the picture. Hope i explained it well here.Thanks.
 
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Old 01-21-23, 06:11 PM
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"Do you find that air valves wear out after fewer than two winters?"
I couldn't say. This is my second winter. Other air vents still work. Just the air vents at the end of the main line that are giving me some headaches. The living room radiator is at the end of the main line and that's where the thermostat is located.
 
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Old 01-21-23, 10:03 PM
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NH,
The proper place for a main line vent is after the last rad supply and 12" from the end of the main and on a 6" high nipple if possible or as high as you can get, with an alternative 12" back from the last elbow on the return line before it drops to the floor and the same 6" in hight.

Is it possible to take pics of your piping while not standing so close. Tough to understand your piping in that pic. Looks like it's going up the wall. The new pipe that looks like it had 2 vents, 1 of which is now plugged could have been done better.

Proper steam piping is critical unlike forced hot water which uses a pump for circulation, steam is gravity so must be properly done or all kinds of havoc can result.

Two things cause your boiler to cycle on a steam system. The t-stat and your pressuretrol which should be set at no more than 2 lbs. pressure.

Hope this helps a little.
 
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Old 01-22-23, 06:06 PM
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So here's a diagram of the main line and radiators at the end of the line. See where the 1st floor living room pipe is at the end? If i don't have good main venting, or main venting stops working, i will get short cycling because the 1st floor living room never gets heat up. Thermostat is always calling for heat. So atleast for me, main venting is very important.
 
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Old 01-22-23, 06:09 PM
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"The new pipe that looks like it had 2 vents, 1 of which is now plugged could have been done better."
Yes, it has two holes. The other one has a 3/4 plug. I use the plugged hole to test future main vents. LOL.
 
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Old 01-22-23, 06:12 PM
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My question has to do with the other gorton. Not the one in the picture. It seems to me the other gorton lets air in immediately after the boiler stops firing. Whole the gorton in the picture stays closed longer? Because the gorton in the picture performs better. 2x better.
 
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Old 01-22-23, 07:08 PM
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NH,
First off the MAIN LINE VENT is very important. It's meant to release the lions share or the air so the steam can get to the rads quicker. The problem with your system I believe is the piping design. The short cycling that is going on is due to your PRESSURETROL SETTINGS I suspect. You said the room where the stat is never gets warm which is telling me the stat is always calling so that is not your problem.

It sounds like your boiler is reaching the high limit on your Pressuretrol and then due to the improper settings it's coming back on and continuing this short cycling until the stat finally gets satisfied.

A suggestion would be to Google Steam pipe diagrams and THE LOST ART OF STEAM by DAN HOLLAHAN. The guru of steam heat, if you are interested in learning about your system.
 
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Old 01-22-23, 07:18 PM
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"You said the room where the stat is never gets warm which is telling me the stat is always calling so that is not your problem."

Yes because of air getting stuck in there due to faulty main line vent which is why i added nipple and elbow. The living room can never heat up. At least that's my experience during this second season. It's working great now.
 
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Old 01-22-23, 07:20 PM
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You think i should call up Gorton company to find out exactly why this is happen? Will the company know?
 
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Old 01-22-23, 07:45 PM
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That would be up to you but I doubt you would get any satisfaction when you should them how your system is piped. They make different brand vents although Gorton is a name brand. They also make larger ones to release the air faster It looks like you found piping diagrams. Every part of it is important, from the Near Boiler Piping to the pitch of the pipes to everything up to the rads.

Something you can try is to take the vent off the cold rad and start your boiler. With no vent that rad should heat right up. This is just a test. Turn boiler off before putting vent back in. Pics of your boiler and piping would be helpful and also your control settings. Just adjusting those Press. settings could make a big difference.
I like HOFFMAN vents.
 
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Old 01-23-23, 02:19 PM
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Steam heating works on differences in pressure.
High pressure goes to low pressure always.
High pressure is at the boiler and low pressure is at the radiator and main light vents.
Are you getting steam from the open elbow when your boiler is steaming. I hope so.
Other reasons.
Thermostat cycles per hour parameter.
Incorrect pressure control settings. Many systems that used to operate at 2 psi are now operating in ounces of pressure. Your control is probably in psi, more common. Some controls are subtractive differentials and others are added differentials, determine what yours is. The system pressure side shuts the boiler off at a higher pressure and the differential turns the boiler back on at the lower setting.
Bad venting.
Boiler surging.
Un-insulated main steam pipes. While this may not be a complete list it gives you some ideas.
Boiler undersized for application.
While this may be an incomplete list these may be most common issues.
 
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Old 01-23-23, 05:26 PM
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"Pics of your boiler and piping would be helpful and also your control settings."
I promise i will do that. I think the near boiler piping is done correctly which is why it is fast and no surging. Just very smooth operation. One thing i noticed is that the header has a noticeable pitch back down to the equalizer.
 
 

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