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Uneven Steam Heat

paul_78 Member Posts: 1
Living in a 2nd floor condo (converted 3-family home) heated by an older gas-fired (converted from oil at some point) boiler. The boiler was inspected and appears to be functioning adequately. There appears to be two feed pipes coming out of the boiler.

In the unit itself, there are 7 radiators. All 7 will work IF I crank the heat, but when set at a normal temperature (e.g. 67 degrees), the front 3 radiators work consistently, but the other 4 heat up sporadically, if at all. There is typically a 10 degree differential between the living room in the front of the unit and the bathroom in the back.

The building was condo-ized about 4 years ago. The 2 radiators at the back of the unit (on the rear wall in the kitchen and bathroom) are much newer units than the rest, and I suspect they may have been added at the time of the conversion. If the system was designed for just 5 radiators (front 3 being fed by one pipe, the back 2 by another), could the addition of those 2 radiators have created a pressure imbalance that is causing this problem? If so, how can I solve this?

The radiator in the dining room (one of the back 4) does a lot of banging and some gurgling when it does come on. I have replaced the vents and checked/adjusted the pitch on all radiators. Any suggestions appreciated!


  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    A host of issues

    Main vents- do you have them and are they appropriately sized?

    Are the radiator vents adjustable and appropriately sized? If adjustable, the ones further away or which take longer to vent should be more open.

    Near-boiler piping- Does it conform to the manufacturer's recommendations? Enough of a rise out of the boiler? How much height from the water line to the lowest steam-carrying pipe? Should be at least 24-28 inches.

    Pipe pitch- any sags or pockets?

    Many things to look at but I would start here.

    Funny how Condominium documents affect heating systems. I always wondered about that :)
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
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