Steam Help!

Old 11-06-06, 09:49 PM
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Steam Help!

I have a two story colonial. 70+ years old. I replaced the steam boiler two years ago and it works very well at times. However, some of the radiators don't heat up at times and it changes from time to time which ones. Last year, an upstairs room was always the warmest in the house: This year that room doesn't heat up (thus far). What would cause this? Where should I start here? Any help is greatly appreciated

Old 11-07-06, 12:02 PM
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Usual for steam heat

That's a common condition. Steam heat is notorious for its lack of consistency with various loads. The differences you have noted are probably related to the outside temperature which then affects the boiler's duty cycle.

I have a 6000 sf home that is heated entirely by a 76 year old steam boiler (with condensate return piping). When it is only mildly cold (like now) the rooms furthest from the boiler get almost no heat while the rest of the house is okay. When it is very cold outside (like January), the farthest rooms become saunas. Only thing I can do is open and close the individual radiators depending on the conditions.

You'll see: Later this winter that upstairs room of yours will get toasty.

Steam heat is more efficient than hot water because the temperature differential between the heat source and the rooms is greater. But the downside of the older systems is this well-known temperature variation. Bottom line is that nothing is really wrong with your system --- it just works that way.

Old 11-07-06, 04:27 PM
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latent heat

The real magic behind steam heat isn't so much temperature, as the latent heat carried by the steam that is released when it condenses.


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