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Steam to Hot Water

Kenbo Member Posts: 1
I am converting a steam system to hot water, the radiators have supply in on top of one end $ return out bottom other end,returns have traps, supply has some kind of valve( looking down looks like face of a watch with lever horizonal to ground) Is supply in top OK? Can one take out guts of traps and leave body in? I know I need to install vents. Will valves work with water?


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    steam to hot water

    i suggest you perform a test on this system by pressurizing the piping and rads to find the potential leak spots before making the switch from steam to hot water. steam works on ounces of pressure, while hot water is 10-15 times that. the safest thing to do would be to install new piping and rads along with the new boikler. some radiators are for steam only, and do not have the flow through, or radiation capacity to function in a  hot water system.

    what's wrong with the steam as it now is?--nbc
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,728
    You must like to live dangerously

    because these systems can leak badly under the increased pressure. That sounds like a Vapor system which was designed to run on a few ounces pressure. With hot-water you'll have to run 12 pounds, minimum.

    Also, the radiators might not be big enough to heat the building on hot-water. And you might have to repipe all the returns if you find they're not big enough to handle the flow. And.... the list goes on and on. My company does not recommend or perform these conversions. Too many things can go wrong and attract lawyers.

    Why do you want to convert it, anyway? Fixing the existing system is much more cost-effective.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    vapor system revival

    now that you have heard of the dangers of changing a steam system over to hot water, how about telling us why you considered the change to begin with?

    as steamhead has pointed out, your system is most likely a "vapor system". those syetems, operating on a few ounces of pressure, were amongst the most economical, quiet and comfortable sources of heat ever designed, so why not simply correct any problems, and see how womderful they can be. for more information on how they work, get a copy of "the lost art of steam heating", available here. while you are waiting for it to arrive, do a search for vapor using the search button.

    even if your boiler is the problem, don't change  to hot water, unless all the pipes are easy to change along with the radiators.--nbc
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