Radiator in home not heating consistently

Old 12-08-03, 02:35 PM
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Question Radiator in home not heating consistently

I have an old home approximately 90 years old that is heated with steam through radiators on individual pipes from the boiler. The boiler itself is about 15 years old. I have one radiator that is at the back end of the 2nd floor that doesn't heat unless the temperature is set to 80 degrees. We have figured out that there is something clogging the pipe as we can trace the clog as it moves up and down the pipe. It get's stuck in the bends and we can bang on the pipe and it seems to dislodge and get moved by the steam. However, when the pressure is lower because the temperature at the thermostat is reached, the clog drops and blocks the pipe. Is ther any way to clear the clog without calling a heating technician? Thanks for all you help.
Old 12-08-03, 03:26 PM
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I am doubtful of the clog idea. It could be that the radiator needs to be elevated slightly. I see many times in older homes that the house or just the floor sag slightly and if the radiator drops even 1/2" from its installed height, a trap will form in the piping and no steam will reach the radiator onder normal conditions. Another thing to check is to look at the radiator vents if you have them and reduce the settings on the ones closer to the boiler. If you don't have adjustable ones, put adjustable ones on. If your system doesn't use vants on the radiators, try raising the radiator slightly when the heat is on and see if it gets hot. If it does, block it up a little with something that won't crush under the weight. Let us know what you try and whether it works and we can go on from there.

Old 12-10-03, 06:24 AM
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Thank you for your suggestion. None of the radiators have adjustable vents and we have just been reading that they are preferable. We are going to buy adjustable vents this weekend and install them on all the radiators. In addition we are going to check the level on all of them as well. We'll keep you posted and thanks again. This has been making us crazy.
Old 12-10-03, 05:39 PM
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The valve

Make sure the valve on the base of the radiator is fully opened.
tempoarily remove the vent and start the furnace...have a bucket to catch the water and spurting steam...when you have any steam (not air) kill the boiler and replace the vent,...immediatly start up the boiler to get it boiling again and see if the radiator gets hot. Look at the pressure gauge...it should not go over 1 and a half PSI and the boiler shut off and start up again at a half PSI. You'll typically be using the Dole 1A...replace all the vents. Look for a main vent to replace also....this is cheap preventive maintenance.

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