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Time for new heating system, what to do?

Steam heat and high velocity AC? You are sitting pretty, my friend!
Another homeowner, here. I'll vouch for "We Got Steam Heat" being a great buy- talk about ROI. There is an incredible amount of FALSE "common knowledge" about steam heat floating about the general public AND EVEN WITH MANY HEATING PROFESSIONALS that you simply can't afford not to educate yourself. Sad but true. We moved into an old home with steam heat about a year and a half ago. While the system had been regularly serviced by pros, they missed plenty of simple, critical items that, once addressed (thanks, Steamhead) saved us $$$ on our gas bills and made it work like a dream. I urge you to read the book, if only to help identify the knuckleheads that will lead you to costly, unneccesary "solutions."
Some other points to consider:
*Yes, refinishing those rads and adding some shiny new vents goes a long way toward reversing what you se now as an eyesore. Powdercoating is a surprisingly affordable and very slick way to go. It's also not difficult to find exceptionally beautiful rads to swap for yours (if you feel they're too pedestrian in appearance) if you know where to look. Rather than an eyesore, they can be an attractive, functional foeature of your home.
*Think they're too big? Long story short, they may well be. In our case, we've been able to eliminate well over a third of the rads (by EDR, anyway) in our home thanks to modern insulation and because the originals were just too darned big to begin with.

Much, much more to consider. Don't ditch the steam!
Good luck,


  • JM_8
    JM_8 Member Posts: 1
    Time for new heating system, what to do?

    I am doing so remodeling to my 80 yr old home. I just had a spacepak high velocity a/c system put in. I currently have forced steam system with old cumbersome radiators, I would like to get rid of these eyesores but do not know what is the best sytem to go with, steam baseboard, water baseboard or hot forced air. Does anyone have any suggestions or links to web sites that may help?
  • Steamhead (in transit)
    Steamhead (in transit) Member Posts: 6,688
    Have the radiators stripped and repainted

    and have a new steam boiler installed. You'll be surprised how good the radiators look when they're done- watch the Wall for pics of some we encountered. Then tune up the system- proper air vents, etc.- and you'll have a durable, efficient system. This would be the most cost-effective way to go.

    The best residential steam boiler on the market now is the Burnham Mega-Steam.

    I wouldn't use forced-air for heat. The moving air makes you feel colder, and it can pressurize or depressurize rooms which would increase outside air infiltration. Also, the typical duct system loses about 20% of what goes into it. These factors waste much energy.


    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • mtfallsmikey
    mtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
    I'll drink to that!

    Scorched air heat...yuk!..If this is your first visit to the Wall, the guys at All Steamed Up really have it going on...listen to them! Also, with an 80 yr. old house, maybe insulation/window upgrades as well. Keeping the steam, rehabbing it,tuning it up is the way I would go.
  • John_173
    John_173 Member Posts: 63
    another homeowner here

    My house is about your vintage - a bit older, perhaps. The steam system is about the same age. Listen to the advice here on the Wall. Buy We Got Steam Heat or Lost Art of Steam Heat or both. Wander around in the Library here. Search the Wall for old postings. Go to boiler, control, etc. websites. Lots to learn. Fascinating.

    If you're lucky, you live within reasonable distance of a knowledgeable pro (check out the Find a Pro Feature up in the left corner of HeatingHelp).

    Watch out for contractors who want to sell you forced air or convert your steam to water.

    I hope you have more success than I'm having finding local competent contractors. Enjoy the steam!

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