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Steam system cleaning

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Matt Funk
Matt Funk Member Posts: 2
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I am a homeowner who just bought my parents' 1927 cottage tudor home in NJ. It has a one pipe steam radiator heating system with a relatively new (within the last 5 years) Utica boiler. The system heats OK, but it's not quite properly balanced. I have been reading Dan's books to figure out the proper care and feeding for my system, and will be changing out all my air vents just as soon as I find all of them... Not sure exactly what to get for where yet, but I may be on the verge of finding a pro that can help me navigate the work of art that is heating my house.

A few points of concern as I am reading and doing my homework. I just wanted some advice...

Aside from some ticking on the front-end of the cycle, and a few noisy vents, the system isn't too noisy. Mostly expansion and contraction noises at a couple of radiators. All of my radiators seem to heat completely, although we have some overheating upstairs mostly. (I made sure all my valves are cranked full open like I'm supposed to.)

I did get a little water hammer from time to time, but a few guys I had look at the system said I should change the boiler water. They recommended that every few weeks, I run the system, drain the boiler, refill it, run it again, and repeat until the rust and sludge was out. This pretty much eliminated my water hammer problem. However, in the book, Dan says fresh water is bad for the boiler and is a leading cause of premature boiler failures due to calcification and corrosion.

We also have an automatic water feed for the system. It does go on about once or twice a week to "top-off", but I suspect I am losing steam somewhere. Maybe from my vents? What should I look for?

Finally, all of my new-ish boiler piping is copper. I know the book says this is a bad thing. The installer seemed to get the equalizer and Hartford Loop right- albeit in copper.

I guess my question is: what should I do? I want to get it right, and am feeling a little overwhelmed as to where to start.

For the record, we just put in central air conditioning with two separate units and brand-new ducts, but kept the steam for our heat. So we're committed to doing it the way it should be.

Thanks
-Matt

Comments

  • Al Letellier_9
    Al Letellier_9 Member Posts: 929
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    steam system

    I would definitely be worth the time and money to have a pro come in and spend an hour with you going over your system. The education will be priceless, regardless of the cost. Reading is fundemental and good to do, but having an experienced hand guide you through it is the easiest way to have it sink in for good. You've done very well so far, take the extra step and get someone in there. I do this a lot in my area of Maine, and I just love the look on people's faces when the light goes on and all they've read comes to reality. It's a fun business !!!
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