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How do I turn on the heat ???

We just moved into a 1936 home and have Radian/Steam heat....we have radiators in every room...the nights are getting colder and the kids and us all slept w/socks and turtle necks last night cause we didn't know how to turn the darn things on??

Do we have to go room to room?

Do something in the basement??

Please explain in laymens terms and w/pictures if possible....we're totally clueless about this heat source....thank you :-).


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    starting up the boiler

    possibly there could be a sticker on the boiler, showing what company has maintained it in the past. you should then call them and have them show you how to care for your system.

     if there is no sticker, use the above "find a professional" button to see if there is anyone local to your area.

    after you become familiar with its operation, you can get additional info here!--nbc
  • Unknown
    edited September 2009
    You need "the Book"!

    Hi -

       As NBC mentioned you really need to get a professional out to look at your heating system. He needs to give it a quick check and can explain how to operate it to you.

    You mentioned both steam and radiant  and from a heating standpoint as systems, they are a bit different. The professional can sort it out for you as to exactly what type of system you have. It sounds like you have a steam system. Steam systems are quite simple but since their system controls can vary a lot it's hard to give someone instruction without actually seeing it.

    If your heating system is a steam system,  I  would strongly suggest is that you get a copy of  the book  " We Got Steam Heat" by Dan Holohan.  It's available on this site.  It's written for the homeowner like yourself  who is new to steam heating. The book is easy reading , humorous and is easy to understand with lots of pictures and diagrams.  In an evening or two you'll understand  your steam

    system and how it works. Here's a link to it :


    This book was a great help to me when I first got involved with my steam system and I'm sure it will be to you also.

    - Rod
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