Steam systems vs. forced hot water systems


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Old 02-26-06, 04:37 PM
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Steam systems vs. forced hot water systems

I currently have a very old steam boiler that is gas fired. I think the boiler is 80 years old and it was originally fueled by coal. Due to its age and size it’s obviously not very efficient. I’m going to eventually install a new boiler but I was wondering how efficient can a new steam boiler be when installed on an 80 year old system compared to a new forced hot water system? Can a steam system be as efficient as a force hot water system can be? I’m asking because I can also just replace the steam system and go with a more modern forced hot water system. The expense though is high!

My other question is since I’ve insulated the entire house, installed new windows, and installed a digital thermostat that learns run and start times the radiator that is farthest away from the boiler doesn’t get much or hardly any steam anymore because the boiler doesn’t run long (cycle) enough now. Is there something I can do to fix this so that this radiator heats that room sufficiently? I have brand new adjustable air valves and the ones on that main closest to the boiler are turned down to 2 and the one furthest away is open all the way. This doesn’t seem to help though. I did look for a air vent at the end of the mains but there is none. This is a one pipe steam heating system.

One of the things I like about this new Thermostat is that is maintains the temperature in the house to within 2 degrees of what I set it at, which for a steam system is very good. Steam heat is a very comfortable heat it’s just that one radiator that is farthest away that isn’t getting heat.

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Old 02-26-06, 05:09 PM
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Hot water or steam

With all of the improvements to the envelope of the structure, if you replaced the steamer with another one without downsizing the radiaton, the boiler would probably be way oversized for the heat loss. The bad thing about steam is you have to size the boiler for the attached radiation, not necessarily the heat loss of the house. Before you go any farther, you need to do or have done a Manual J heat loss calculation. Once the calc is done, you will know what you have to do to match the radiation to the heat loss.
 
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Old 02-27-06, 05:54 PM
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OK that sounds good; I'll look into that more unless you can help direct me in the right direction. Today I learned that I can buy different sized air valves for the radiators that range from 1 (small) and 6 (large) and then the letter C as the largest air bleeding valve. The further the radiator is from the boiler the larger the size valve you need. I bought a C sized valve for the radiator that doesn't get enough steam to see if that will cure the problem. These valves are called Maid-O-Mist.
 
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Old 02-27-06, 06:19 PM
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The larger bleeder valves definitely did the trick for that radiator that didn't get enough steam. It's just as hot as any other radiator in the house now.
 
 

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