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Steam heat radiator problem

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Posted by Bob M. on November 10, 2005 at 13:57:47:

I have a problem with my single pipe steam heat radiators.

I just bought my house. It has a brand new boiler, inspected upon my closing and appears to be working fine. When the weather turned cold and I started using the heating and everything was fine for about two weeks then water hammer problems started happening when I started the heating cycle. After some internet reading, I replaced some air vents on some of the radiators and made and installed some shims to make sure that the radiators were properly pitched back toward the pipe so the water condensate was returning to the boiler properly. This cured about 75% of my hammering/pounding problems.

Now I have one small radiator (in a 1st floor bathroom), at the end of a run that initially was not heating up by the time the heating cycle was over (the rest of the house reached the thermostat-set temperature and this one would sometimes just get warm - room temperature or other times, stay stone-cold). I was sometimes hearing boiling, gushing water either inside of this radiator or nearby in the supply pipe. I bought a new air vent for this radiator (fixed, non-adjustable) designed to be used at the end of a run, with a bigger than average hole in it (Gorton Type D). When I then initiated the heating cycle, alot of rushing, whooshing air came out of this new vent at the radiator in question. Then water started gushing out of this vent hole, first cool water then progressively hotter and hotter water. Alot of water came streaming out, about a quart or maybe a bit more, I'd estimate. This radiator never heated up. It got a little warmer than room temp by the end of the heating cycle. When everything cooled, I put back the old air vent back on and now it doesn't heat up but at least it's not gushing water.

The pipes coming from the boiler to this radiator seem pitched properly (using my level). The only thing I can guess is that the supply pipes need insulating as the run is long and water might be condensing before it gets to the radiator. But my basement, where the boiler is located, is pretty warm usually. I'm kinda stuck about what to do next.

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