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Pressure Drop

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Posted by Denny on September 22, 2005 at 06:14:45:

Ok - so we are nearing the end of converting our steam system to hot water. Last night we did a pressure check of the system and we are getting a slight drop in pressure (maybe 1 pound in 5 minutes). We have checked every radiator to make sure the new valves or bleeders aren't leaking. We found a few packing nuts on some valves that needed to be tightened and those leaks were hissing loud enough to find them easily. But - we are still getting a drop in pressure. My heating guy is doing this job on the side, has been in the business 16 years but does mostly new installations and repairs - he has done a few retrofits like my house but has not seen this problem of a drop in pressure. Now there is one thing about my system that is puzzling me and was wondering if any of you had any input. My system is two pipe. Coming off the boiler return near the boiler itself are two pipes coming off a main return pipe. They run side by side and go up into an outside wall of the house right next to the chimney. One pipe has a valve on it that was in the open position. The thing that is puzzling is that there are no radiators on any of the 3 floors along that wall. I have traced the piping for all the radiators and there is no way these pipes are coming from any raditor. There is no supply going up with them - they are just return pipes. My house was built in the 20's and I have no idea if this was done for a reason or if these pipes served some purpose for the system. I had questioned my heating guy at the start of the project about them and at first he thought he would eliminate them from the system but then decided not to in case they were there for a reason. I am curious if these pipes are somehow causing the pressure drop. Also - there is no evidence on any of the floors that these pipes once went to a radiator that might have been removed at some point in time. My heating guy is coming saturday to fill the system with water and test the boiler. He is nervous about it since he obviously doesnt want water leaking somewhere but I told him we have no choice. I am also nervous with the fact that the pipes are going up into an uninsulated outside wall and worry that they might freeze in the winter. I will appreciate any thoughts you guys may have.

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