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Pressuretrol problem for two-pipe steam boiler

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Posted by Greg on January 11, 2004 at 14:32:58:

Hi folks -

A little history: I've got what I believe to be a gas fired two-pipe steam system. Although I cannot find any traps, there is a 2.5" main pipe and a 1.5" return. There are five radiators for my one floor unit, covering approximately 800 square feet. I live in the Northeast, so it gets cold, but my heating bill for December was over $150, so obviously I have a problem (the house has relatively new windows and insulation). After reading this forum and elsewhere, I suspected that the boiler was firing needlessly even after getting steam to the radiators. Indeed, the pressuretrol was set to 15 psi, and installed at a 30 degree angle, both of which seem quite wrong. I balanced it, and set the maximum psi to 2, with a subtractive differential of 1.5 (so off at 2, back on at .5).

However, when running the boiler for an extended time, I cannot get any pressure to develop in the pressuretrol; it stays at 0, so the boiler continues to fire. What should I check next? I think I should replace all of the vents (5 radiator and 3 main) as they are old and may be non-functional. (Some have paint covering them.) Should I also replace the coil under the pressuretrol as well? The boiler unit is only 5 years old, but I suspect it has been barely serviced in that time, as this is my first winter in the place.

Any suggestions? Thanks for this forum; it's been quite helpful so far!

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