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Zoning Steam System

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know they can charge a lot for tearing out the steam system. For you, it would be a big waste of money. TRVs, outdoor reset and proper system tuning are the answer.

Where are you located?

"Steamhead"

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Comments

  • Gilbert Hightower
    Gilbert Hightower Member Posts: 1
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    Zoning a Steam Boiler

    Hello experts,
    I just bought a 6-unit apartment building with a 1-year old oil-steam boiler and cast iron radiators. I want to zone it so that each unit has a thermostat. One contractor said he can do it for about $500 a unit. He said he could just run circulators from new baseboard in the units and pipe it into the side of the boiler. Another contractor suggested new water boilers for each unit as one option (too expensive for me right now), or putting in a heat exchanger and using the steam boiler. He says 6 zones would be too much to pipe right into the boiler and I need a heat exchanger. Who should I believe? Contractor 2's proposal is about 10x Contractor 1. Something must be wrong...my red flag is up.
  • MT_3
    MT_3 Member Posts: 3
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    Steam Zone Valves

    Why not try Danfoss non-electric valves and operators? If it is a two-pipe steam system, Danfoss also has a 24v head for use with steam applications if you want to use a conventional thermostat. As close as you'll get to true zoning. They also have a set-up for one pipe steam applications.
  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
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    I have to agree....

    Re-piping everything seems to be an awful lot of work especially on a one-year old boiler. Why not build on what you have. Let's assume that the near-boiler piping meets the manufacturer's specifications and that the system as it is runs like it should (lowest pressure, good venting, insulated piping, all those good things).

    Then go to TRV's for zoning, mindful of whether you are one-pipe or two-pipe steam.

    Top it off with a Tekmar 269 for global control.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"



    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Rich Kontny_4
    Rich Kontny_4 Member Posts: 73
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    Zoning

    Might want to go to the Danfoss website in order to educate yourself a little about their products. Then get some quotes on installing them. The gentlemen above are giving you great advice that will save you money both upfront and with energy usage.

    Rich K.
  • jalcoplumb_7
    jalcoplumb_7 Member Posts: 62
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    What are you trying to do?

    Please tell us your goal for this project. To make the tenants comfortable or to give you control over your heating cost.

    Not sure what contractor 1 is up to. Red flag goes up on him. He is saying that he is going to pipe all six units to the water side of the steam boiler? Or is he converting the steam boiler to a hot water boiler and installing baseboard?

    The big question is what shape the system is in and how big is the boiler based on the heat-loss of the building? I see a lot of multi family buildings with systems so screwed up that you could be opening a can of worms.

    Just because the boiler is new doesn't mean it was sized properly when installed, or that it was piped in properly.

    Get a couple of more proposals.

    Post some pictures we might be able to help steer you in the right direction.

    Putting in a thermostat for each unit might not be a good idea. Who is paying for the fuel? Do you really want the tenants to have control over your fuel bill?

    Putting thermostatic radiator valves (TRV’s) in can help regulate the room temperature. I like to team the TRV’s up with a heat timer type control when used in a multi family building. If you want to stick with steam this might be a good way to go. This is not a cheap proposition.

    It might be cheaper in the long run to put in a separate unit for each apartment and let the tenant pay for the fuel.

    To many variables on your end and not enough information to give you any better an answer.
This discussion has been closed.