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home inspection coming up

I have a home inspection coming up this Saturday and the house was built in 1950 and I don't know what kind of maintenance was done on the steam furnace or if it works at all.  I will be having GEM as my plumber/heating contractor there should I hire someone specially for the steam furnace by itself?  I am located in mass I only saw one guy off this website and I've seen your posts Charlie, lenox to where I live is a two hour ride alone... would this be recommended to have one?  it's a HUD house so it's sold as is so going deeper in debt is at my own risk.  I am up for anything.


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    boiler inspection

    get the book here: "the lost art of steam heating", and it will get you up to speed as to how the systems work.

    as part of your inspection, look out for the following red flags [not necessarily terminal, but still objects of concern]:

    1.signs of water leakage on the floor around the boiler, and underneath the burner.

    2.signs of overheating around the burner.

    3.non-functioning LWCO-should cut off the fire when drained, if it is a float type.

    4.pressuretrol set too high above 1.5 psi.

    5.no main vents and no tappings in which to install them.

    6.copper piping above the boiler waterline, or a buried return, which may be leaking.

    7.waterline dirty, and sight-glass even dirtier.

    i am sure others can think of some other things to watch out for, including some things you should count on replacing even if they appear to work at the moment.--nbc
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,278

    should have the steam system looked at by someone who knows what they are doing -- in your area, I'd say Charlie Garrity is your man, if you can get him.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    missing rads/capped off pipes

    a few more:

      missing rads

      capped off pipes

      rotted flooring beneath rad feet and near rad valve

      notice whether it's 1-pipe steam or 2-pipe

      check under any rad enclosures (lift off the enclosure and inspect rads as above)

      missing rad vents

      rust water marks around vents
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • Home Inspection

    I agree with Jamie. One week is a bit short to learn about steam especially when I'm sure you have a lot of other things on your mind. Charlie is a good steam man though if he isn't available and time is short, try the "FInd a Professional" section at the top of this page, scroll down and look under "Massachusetts".

    If you're not that familiar with steam heating you might want to ask "Santa" to get you "We Got Steam Heat" which is available on this site. - Rod

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