gas furnace / steam radiators uneven heat

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  #1  
Old 10-23-02, 08:59 PM
vv1500
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Unhappy gas furnace / steam radiators uneven heat

Hi, I was wondering if there is anything I can do to even out the heat in my house. I have a gas furnace with steam radiators. Some of the radiators get extremely hot and other just get warm. Is there something I need to do every year to prepare for the winter in order to even the system out? Basically all of the valves to the radiators are open. I would greatly appreciate any help on this. Thanks,

Vinny
 
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Old 10-23-02, 10:08 PM
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The 3 most common causes for uneven heat with steam radiators are, uninsulated steam pipes, improper tilt of either the radiators or pipes and dirty valves.

The difference between steam and water is 1 degree F. At 212 degrees its steam and at 211 the steam condenses back to water and drips back to the boiler. Uninsulated pipes will take more steam to heat the pipes to 212 to allow the steam to pass through them. The result is it takes more heat and longer for those radiators to get heat.

Improper tilt of either the radiators or pipes trap water in them, which is known as a steam trap. It results in the radiator taking longer to get heat.

Steam cannot occupy a space that is occupied by air. In other words, you have to let the air out of the pipes and radiators for the steam to enter them. The faster the air leaves, the faster you get heat. In most cases all you have to do is clean the valve. Take a pot and put a solution in the pot. 50% water and 50% vinegar. Unscrew the air vent valve on the radiators or pipes if applicable and put them in the pot with the solution. Boil the valves for 30 minutes. Rinse valves well because if you don't, when the heat comes on, you'll smell vinegar
 
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Old 10-23-02, 10:17 PM
vv1500
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Thanks so much for your timely and informative responce.

I'm almost 100% sure that there is no insulation at all on the pipes. How can I insulate them?
Vinny
 
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Old 10-24-02, 06:31 AM
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Your basement should be very warm in the winter. The problem with this is your masonry in the basement is a heat sink. As the name implies is something that drains heat from the house. A very conservative estimate on energy savings after you insulate the steam pipes is 15 to 30% and this is probably the minimum savings. Plus you'll heat the house a lot faster, 5 to 10 minutes. Another way of putting this is with the uninsulated steam pipes and the heat sink, you are more or less heating the great outdoors. All the snow around the perimeter of the house should be melted during the winter.

The insulation you put on your pipes must be steam rated, you cannot buy that at home improvement stores. The only ones that carry that type of insulation are heating and plumbing supply stores. Look in the yellow pages for one nearest you.

There are a variety of different kinds with different prices. It really doesn't matter which kind you put on the pipes in a basement. For crawl spaces you should use the most expensive kind which is compressed fiberglass. I like using the foam rubber type in basements and the foil tape insulation for elbows and "T" fittings. Both are relatively inexpensive and will do the job for you. These two must be steam rated, meaning to say they are capable to take temperatures above 212 degrees F.
 
 

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