Tip & How-To about Heating & Cooling
If you have a steam heating system you know how great the heating is from that type of system. You also know that there are not many people left that have a quality knowledge of what it takes to trouble shoot these systems.
One of the most common problems is getting the air out of the radiators effectively so that the steam can replace the air and make heat for your home. This steam flow needs to be properly controlled. If too much steam flows through it is wasted and efficiency drops. If not enough steam is supplied then the radiator will not heat to it’s fullest capacity.
If you have a one pipe system then you will have a vent on the side of the radiator near the top. The job of this vent is to release the air out of the radiator till it is full of steam. Once the heat from the steam hits this valve it will then close until it cools enough to allow more steam in the radiator again. If this valve does not do this properly then you will either loose steam out of the vent, and make a mess from the condensation or you will not get the air out of the radiator and you will not get enough heat. These valves also can be sized to allow more of less air out depending on the size of the radiator and the distance from the boiler.
If you have a two pipe steam system then you will have a trap on the return pipe of the radiator. This trap is on the side opposite of the valve. The top of the trap is screwed tightly on and can be removed with a pipe wrench. It is advisable to use two wrenches so that you do not break the piping when turning on the top of the trap. Inside the trap you will find a disc that has a thermostat in it. This disc snaps open and shut as the stem heats it up and it cools down. These discs are specific to each brand and size of trap. For proper operation of the trap you will need to match the replacement to the specific make and model of your trap.
Most of the time when you have a heating problem with one of you radiators, the trap or venting will be the problem. Very seldom does a pipe become clogged or there is some other problem that causes you not to have heat in one radiator.
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