I live in a 4 floor- 8 apartment coop building (two aparments per floor,
with a front and rear one-pipe steam heating lines) that is experiencing
the following heating problems:
2 ground floor apartments are uncomfortably cold throughout the winter
while the upper three floors are fine or too hot. There is one
thermostat in the building one the second floor set at 72. If we raise
the temperature to heat the lower floor, the upper floors overheat, so
we are looking for solution that keeps the temperature at 72.
to solve their overheating problems, both second floor apartments have
removed one of their radiators. one the third floor, one of the
apartments gets too hot sometimes, so they do not want to do anything
permanent, like remove a radiator. I have suggested an adjustable
radiator valve (such as the vari-valve from heat-timer.com). Any
good/bad experiences - shouldn't this work?
I have also suggested smaller size valves for any other apartments that
overheating on the upper floors to reduce the amount of heat being
released (as opposed to them opening windows). The ground floor
apartments already have largest opening Gorton D size valves. The
theory I have applied in making this suggestion, and would like someone
with heating expertise to confirm or deny, is that if there is less heat
being released on top floors, the boiler will continue to heat the
building longer than it did before in order to get to the temperature
cut off of 72 (and thus making the ground floor warmer).
You did say ONE PIPE STEAM, did you not? In that case ignore Eds
answers, they are for hot water systems!
It sounds to me like you have a venting problem. If you are getting
enough steam to the top floor apartments, then the radiator air vents
will need changed in the cold apartments. Hoffman makes an adjustable
radiator steam vent. By changing the oriface size in the vent, more or
less air is let out of the radiator, allowing more or less steam into
the radiator. That is how you control the heat from a one-pipe-steam
radiator. That is, unless you prefer the "open window" method :-).
DO NOT try to controll the heat with the hand valve! That will make
the system bang like someone with a jackhammer is inside the pipes!
The hand valve must be WIDE OPEN for any heating. This is because on
ONE PIPE steam, the steam goes into the radiator through the same valve
and pipe that carries the condensate away. If there is not room for
them to pass easily, the system will bang and hammer enough to wake the
dead! The banging can also damage the pipes. The pipes from the steam
main MUST go uphill all the way to the radiators. Any dips in the
pipes will cause NO heat or banging. If you want thermostatic control
in each apartment, there are thermostatically controlled valves
available for the air vents from DANFOS. They are installed between
the air vent and the radiator. They are fluid filled - non electric;
so there is no wiring. Any heating company familiar with steam should
be able to get them.
I forgot to mention that the smallest valve on one pipe steam radiators
should be 1-1/4 inch. Putting too small a valve on will cause
problems, In addition to banging, you will get water squirting out of
the air vents! this is because the velovity of the steam entering the
radiator is high enough that it will push condensate (Water) back into
the radiator and leave it squirting out the air vent. The air vent on
a one pipe system is thermostatically operated. If it is below 212
degrees, it will open to allow air out, If water is present, that will
be allowed out also,
Yes, it will help. No matter what you do, the thermostat is going to
control the boiler itself. When it is satisfied, the circulator will stop
no matter what the other rooms are. If not, it will continue to circulate
hot water. Restricting heat to the now too hot rooms will help with balance
Balancing eight apartments is going to be difficult at best. It is also
probably using a lot more heat than needed because some it being wasted with
open windows while others are trying to get warmer. Is the group willing to
consider a large overhaul of the system? It may have been costly when the
building was built, but today it is possible to zone each of the apartments.
You need some review by a competent heating specialist that can evaluate the
piping to see if it is easily zoned.
Thanks for the reply. I don't think a large overhaul is on the horizon
- I am not sure what zoning means or entails (I can guess each apartment
will be able to set its own temperature via a zone 1-8 on a thermostat?)
. The main obstacle would probably be cost any estimates on that?
Building is pre 1900's.
Zoning requires that each apartment (or zone) would have a set of pipes to
its radiators. It would have its own thermostat. When that apartment needs
heat, the thermostat turns on a circulating pump that sends the how water
just to that zone.
Given the size and age of the building, the cost would be very high, in all
probability. Easily in the thousands of $$.
Thee may be some cheaper methods to get better balance. Even putting an
insulating blanket over a radiator in the over heated spaces would help. It
would block the heat from getting into the room and let it pass back to the
boiler. Restricting vales or turning off certain radiators helps also.
Well Nick of course you and your "humidification wates energy " posts
now show your stupidity as releasing steam from the boiler is the dumest
thing you can do for boiler efficiency. Your boiler then needs makup
water at winters cold incomming temps which your boiler must now raise
Gee I treat my boiler water with nasty chemicals , so do many, and you
want that crap to breath ! Maybe this explains your thought process,
you are poisoned. Building owners strive to keep systems from Not
leaking steam from defective vents, it is the simplest way to keep up
Alan if you are a tennant why worry. If you are the owner or manager
you need to balance the system from top to bottom, time consuming, but
as an owner it will save alot of money from not overheating areas.
First get your self a good IR thermometer like Rayteck not
Radioshack, Rayteck reads the same tenp trigger to trigger, Radio Shack
can vary 3 degrees on the same site. And 2 thermometers at least for
each apartment that can be calibrated to one master by sliding the bulb,
cheap Taylors. Mount them in the same location and same hight in each
apt and record every room at same time walking through the building.
This will show your imbalance.
If it is an apt you don`t want tennants to be able to control the
vents so Gortons are good. Gortons come in many grades of venting, maybe
5. 2-3-4-5-C-D. You realy need the same design everywhere as in all
Gorton or cross refrence the venting #. Cheap chinese are junk and don`t
close evenly even though they cross refrence. D should only be used in
difficult to heat areas as a last resort. Basicly it means taking a hot
area and throttle it down to a smaller size and a cold area go larger.
Since you have Ds in cold areas get smaller upstairs, What is upstairs
now. Dole, Gorton ? Buy a range of 3- 4 -5 -C and start to lower the
upstairs till the heat is more even. Also the main and return boiler
feeds could have bad vents. Is the area hard to heat nearby or at the
end, main venting will do this. It is a trial and error process.
Removing radiators is a last resort that should have not been done yet
as it imbalances everything. Also when you lower upstairs heat you will
force more to the first floor through the Ds. You may end up removing
the Ds also. It can take weeks of everyday checking and changing vents,
be sure to keep a log of every apt and every change and temp
differential noted as to where you started and results so you are not
guessing. I just did my 16 unit it started with 10 degree differential
now it is 2. With steam it never will be perfect and will vary from when
it is -10 to 50f on eveness. A pro would charge alot for this as it is
extremely time consuming and detailed work. What vents are in the
building now? You need a list before you realy start to know what you
need to replace. There are adjustable Dole 1-10, but the resident usualy
cranks them then opens a window.
Old vents can be soaked in vinegar it usualy frees them up. Anything
stronger like CLR can eat the plating.
Actually. some of what I sad can apply. Zoning can be done on steam with
thermostats and aquastats, just not as easily depending on the piping.
Most likely it is not piped individually.
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