Steam radiators


Old 11-13-19, 07:31 AM
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Steam radiators

We're renting an older home with old fashioned steam radiators. Steam heat is new to us. The house is 4 bedrooms and we would like to turn off the radiators in two of them. My understanding is that it's OK to do this since the radiators don't contain water and there is no chance of the pipes freezing. Is that correct?
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Old 11-13-19, 11:33 AM
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Since steam rads are individually fed and carry no water and as long as the rad valves work they can be closed without any danger to the system. Keep in mind that rad valves should either be fully open or fully closed and not just throttled down when in use.

If the boiler is sized right for your system, by closing off rads you may experience some boiler short cycling just for your info.

Hope this helps a little.
Old 11-13-19, 12:04 PM
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Why do you want to turn off the radiators in those two rooms. Really not going to save you any money on heating if that's your thought
Old 11-13-19, 02:15 PM
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The house has but one zone. If I am not wasting energy by heating two unused rooms how am I not saving money?

Doesn't it make sense that a smaller area would heat faster and the thermostat would shut off the burner earlier? Wouldn't a smaller heated area maintain temperature longer making the time between firings longer?
Old 11-13-19, 04:52 PM
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The only problem that I see would be if the rad valves leak and allow a small amount of steam to enter the rads and condense. This condensate may at some point cause some steam hammer in those radiators. At that point you could open the valve fully to drain the excess condensate and then re-close the valves. There is a lot of different recommendations reguarding closing rad valves. It is usually not recommended but if you want to try it, do it.
Old 11-13-19, 08:15 PM
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Yes..... turning off the steam off to the radiator will turn off the radiator. You said old house...... old house = no insulation. Make sure there is no plumbing in the walls in the rooms you want to shut off.
Old 11-14-19, 02:07 PM
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What determines the time between burner firings is how well the home holds the heat which is determined mainly by the amount of insulation and how good the windows and doors are. Basically how energy efficient the home is, not the size of the area heated.

If you heat those 2 rooms but leave the windows open how do you think that will work even though you shut off the other 2 rooms. If you shut off those 2 rads you should shut the doors to the rooms also because heat goes to cold and make sure you don't shut a rad off in the room with the stat.
Old 11-17-19, 07:40 PM
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The best way to save money on a steam system is making sure the radiator and main line vents are in good working order or traps are in good working order. Turn steam pressure down and verify steam mains have 1-1/2" of pipe insulation on them.
Old 11-19-19, 02:14 PM
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Put blankets over the radiators, including down their backs, in the rooms you are not using. But have the radiator air valve, if any, sticking out.

The radiators will continue to work normally but will stop "consuming" steam sooner. The temperature will build up under the blankets and the time when steam remains uncondensed in these radiators preventing more steam from entering is much sooner compared with radiators elsewhere in the house.

There is no fire hazard because the maximum temperature is about 212 degrees F. Actually a tad higher because the pressure within the system results in the boiling point of the water being said tad higher.

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