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  • #16
    Re: Steam Pipe Tap

    Originally posted by Flux View Post
    This is from Dan Holohan...

    "And this is also why you don't see main vents on many of jobs. They're installed improperly and get damaged on the first few cycles. That's a shame because main vents are the key to good one-pipe steam operation. If you're using good main vents near the ends of every main, steam will travel very quickly to every radiator in the building. Vent large radiators quickly and small radiators slowly no matter where they are in the building. Focus on the air content of the radiator rather than its location in the building. If your main vents are working, steam will arrive at each radiator at about the same time."

    http://www.masterplumbers.com/plumbv...asicSteam3.asp

    I've heard of Dan Holohan, and was actually thinking about buying his book awhile ago. I do have some weaknesses when it comes to steam, and don't know it as well as my father does. Most of the steam in my area is getting ripped out, but there are still many area's around here that have it.
    I have known Dan for years. Smart guy. If the piping is close to what the drawing is then the problem is a plugged up return. These systems were installed decades ago by guys that knew what they were doing. They worked perfectly for many years without anybody tinkering around, drilling holes in the pipes. When they stop working it is ALWAYS because something has changed. Usually that something is rust and crap in the pipes.
    sigpic

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    • #17
      Re: Steam Pipe Tap

      Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
      I have known Dan for years. Smart guy. If the piping is close to what the drawing is then the problem is a plugged up return. These systems were installed decades ago by guys that knew what they were doing. They worked perfectly for many years without anybody tinkering around, drilling holes in the pipes. When they stop working it is ALWAYS because something has changed. Usually that something is rust and crap in the pipes.
      I agree to disagree.

      As we found out through time, iron pipe was a terrible choice for returns, as copper was the better choice. I also agree that a number of things could be causing his system trouble, if he's even having trouble.

      Just because the radiator gets hot doesn't mean the entire system is working as the way it should.

      But just like Dan says, just because you come upon a steam system, don't automatically assume the installation or the size of the boiler is correct. If I walked into a house with a 1 pipe system, that doesn't have a main vent, in my eyes that's a mistake.

      If you know Dan extremely well, I'm sure if you pose this question to him, he would disagree with you.

      But I do hear what you're saying.

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      • #18
        Re: Steam Pipe Tap

        Overall, the system works pretty good. But I am trying to make it a little more efficient while not breaking the bank. For instance, I've insulated the mains, checked the pressuretrol settings, etc. The one thing that seems obviously missing is a main vent and for the price ($50/vent for a Gorton #2), it seems to make a lot of sense.

        Thanks for all your comments.

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        • #19
          Re: Steam Pipe Tap

          Originally posted by Flux View Post
          I agree to disagree.

          As we found out through time, iron pipe was a terrible choice for returns, as copper was the better choice. I also agree that a number of things could be causing his system trouble, if he's even having trouble.

          Just because the radiator gets hot doesn't mean the entire system is working as the way it should.

          But just like Dan says, just because you come upon a steam system, don't automatically assume the installation or the size of the boiler is correct. If I walked into a house with a 1 pipe system, that doesn't have a main vent, in my eyes that's a mistake.

          If you know Dan extremely well, I'm sure if you pose this question to him, he would disagree with you.

          But I do hear what you're saying.
          We still have a lot of steam systems in the area. I'd bet that less than half of them have a main vent on a one pipe. If the leader going back to the wet return is open the main vent serves no purpose. I agree a little about copper for returns but you have to remember that most of these systems were installed before copper was in widespread use and furthermore I think that 60 plus years is pretty good life for steel pipe anyway. As for boiler size I can almost guarantee that the boiler is oversized but, you need head room to make steam and you can always down fire the boiler.
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          • #20
            Re: Steam Pipe Tap

            I used to do a lot of steam heating for nyc and dan was the man for steam knowledge. My jobs actually made the front cover of p & m magazine and were talked about by dan in his article. Haven't done it for around 15 years si i'm not 100% positive but if ya ask me i'd take a pair of sledges and bust of the last elbow change it to a tee and use a union on the drip leg end of story

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            • #21
              Re: Steam Pipe Tap

              Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
              I have known Dan for years. Smart guy. If the piping is close to what the drawing is then the problem is a plugged up return. These systems were installed decades ago by guys that knew what they were doing. They worked perfectly for many years without anybody tinkering around, drilling holes in the pipes. When they stop working it is ALWAYS because something has changed. Usually that something is rust and crap in the pipes.
              i asked some one at work and they said they had to put a vent on the end of a 2 pipe system because the return is all plugged up and they did not want to change it at the time . the water would get back to the boiler but not fast enough to let the air out fast .

              James did you say if you have a 1 or 2 pipe system
              Charlie

              My seek the peek fundraiser page
              http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


              http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

              new work pictures 12/09
              http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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              • #22
                Re: Steam Pipe Tap

                Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                If the leader going back to the wet return is open the main vent serves no purpose.
                That's not correct...

                Main vents equalizes the system so the radiators can heat faster and more evenly. Having a vent in the main pushes out the air faster which means being more efficient and giving maximum comfort while balancing the entire system.

                The slower the system vents, the slower the system heats.

                You will also save on fuel by not building up pounds of pressure.

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                • #23
                  Re: Steam Pipe Tap

                  Originally posted by Flux View Post
                  That's not correct...

                  Main vents equalizes the system so the radiators can heat faster and more evenly. Having a vent in the main pushes out the air faster which means being more efficient and giving maximum comfort while balancing the entire system.

                  The slower the system vents, the slower the system heats.

                  You will also save on fuel by not building up pounds of pressure.
                  What I am saying is that there is no need for a main vent if the return leader is not plugged up because essentially the main is open back to the return. Steam will push just as fast vent or no vent.

                  Pressure is controlled by the pressuretrol.
                  sigpic

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                  • #24
                    Re: Steam Pipe Tap

                    Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
                    What I am saying is that there is no need for a main vent if the return leader is not plugged up because essentially the main is open back to the return. Steam will push just as fast vent or no vent.

                    Pressure is controlled by the pressuretrol.
                    this is what i was always told how to do it
                    Charlie

                    My seek the peek fundraiser page
                    http://observatory.mountwashington.o...nal&fr_id=1040


                    http://www.mountwashington.org/weather/conditions.php

                    new work pictures 12/09
                    http://public.fotki.com/hvachawk/

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                    • #25
                      Re: Steam Pipe Tap

                      You both were taught different installation philosophies than me.

                      I was taught one pipe systems (dry or wet return), Down-feed,up feed,counter flow, all need main steam vents. Plus when you look at the many piping diagrams available online for one pipe systems, main vents are specifically pointed out in these diagrams.

                      If they were not needed they would not be pointed out and included in piping diagrams. You will also notice that main vents are not present during 2 pipe systems for a reason, and that's because it's a close system.

                      Here in my area most all 1 pipe systems have main vents installed.

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                      • #26
                        Re: Steam Pipe Tap

                        Originally posted by plumberscrack View Post
                        A 40' horizontal main probably should have a vent but if it's worked fine for this long I don't know why you need to add one now. It might help with the banging but that may be a symptom of something else wrong.

                        I've do it but it's a huge PITA. It needs to be tapped on top of the pipe and that can be difficult with space restrictions but not impossible. I wouldn't tap anything smaller than a 2" main

                        I forget what size drill bit you'll need for a half inch tap. Probably want to start small and work your way up. 1/2" pipe taps can be found on Ebay for $10-15 dollars. It's cheap Chinese import but it'll work fine for a one time use. A couple squirts of oil when drilling and tapping. Go slow, keep it straight, you'll be fine.
                        I just bought one. A 45/64ths drill bit for a 1/2" NPT tap. I tried it and it worked well.

                        You could also drill a hole with a hole saw and weld on a thread-o-let.
                        Time flies like an arrow.

                        Fruit flies like a banana.

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