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1 pipe steam system to radiant

1pipe
1pipe Member Posts: 10
I want to convert a small section of a 1 pipe heating system 1500 sq ft to a radiant system using 1 steam outlet and a flat plate heat exchange.  I am sure it would work fine with a 2 pipe heating system but am not sure if it will work with a  1 pipe system.  I want to go in the bottom of the heat exchanger with the steam and put a typical radiator air vent at the top of the exchange. I would then build my small radiant system using that as my heat source.  The building is a 12 story apartment building and this project is on the 8th floor.  the unit is  4000 sq ft.and I just want to convert about 1500 sq ft to radiant for architectural reasons. Any input for or against would be appreciated.  I posted this under radiant but did not get much of a reply



Tom Friel

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    architectural reasons or...?

    maybe their desire to have a radiant floor comes from some discomfort of the steam system. many of these old buildings have badly maintained steam systems, running at over high pressure, with noisy vents, and bad control systems. maybe restoring the system to its original specs would take care of things.--nbc
  • 1pipe
    1pipe Member Posts: 10
    1 pipe

    Thanks for your reply

    No it has a modern boiler and the system works fine.  They want to installl floor to ceiling windows where the radiators sit.  I has concrete floors so and concrete I beams construction so rerouteing a 1 pipe steam system would be close to imposable.  Do you have any experience with flat plate exchangers with regard to steam?



    Tom
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,726
    edited January 2010
    Won't work

    the passages in the flat-plate are much too small for steam and condensate to keep out of each other's way. Don't do it.



    A shell-and-tube HX is the only type I know of that can handle steam. I'd bet you wouldn't have any place to put such a unit.



    And unless you use a mixing setup, the water in the radiant tubing will be much too hot.



    Why not swing the radiator valves around and put the rads to the side of the windows?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • 1pipe
    1pipe Member Posts: 10
    edited January 2010
    1 pipe

    Thanks for your feed back. Steamhead



    The radiators sit in a bay windows and they want to run all three down to the floor. So the bay would be all glass, plus they do not like the looks of the radiators.

      I have the same concern with the small passages of the flat plate.  The flat plate is made for a 2 pipe steam application.  The manufacturer "GEA" was not sure either whether or not it would work and suggested I get it touch with you  Steamhead, on this site. I did not know how to do that so I am glad you read my post.  As far as mixing the water I think a standard Taco mixing valve would work fine.  My other idea would be to just build my own heat exchange by running 3/4" copper around and around one of the radiators in area where I would not need to move it,   I know that sounds kind of hokey but would solve the condensation problem.  I just don't know how much heat I would get out of it.  I'm thinking I need about 35000BTUs for the 1500 sq ft.



    Tom Friel
  • DavidK_2
    DavidK_2 Member Posts: 129
    I'm no expert,

    and have no experience, so feel free dis my suggestion.



    How about if you set up the heat exchanger as a pseudo two pipe system.

    Take the steam from the single pipe. Feed it to the top of the exchanger,

    Drain the exchanger through a trap, and then put the condensate back into the single pipe. It seems like this could work, but I might be missing something obvious. . .
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,726
    How

    would you vent the air? 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • DavidK_2
    DavidK_2 Member Posts: 129
    edited January 2010
    Pesky air

    I guess I'd try to vent it out the heat exchanger. But it could be a plate exchanger is just not the right type to use. Probably better to use something designed for the job. Sounds like they exist, but are hard to place - I assume this is because they have to be big to handle steam, condensate, and the required heat transfer. I knew there would be something obvious I was missing - thanks for pointing it out :)



    The apartment owners might just have to realize that heat does not come out of nowhere. If they don't like radiators (with the boiler in the basement), or large heat exchangers, maybe they have to figure out how to put in a local heat source - ha. In 4000 ft^^2 there must be space somewhere. . .
  • 1pipe
    1pipe Member Posts: 10
    1 pipe

    Space is not a unsolvable problem but fuel and venting are.  Not enough gas to the unit and no place to vent it.  Electric would not be cost efficient to operate since the build handles the central heat.  I wounder whether I could use a air vent and a steam trap set up



    Tom Friel
  • DavidK_2
    DavidK_2 Member Posts: 129
    It might be the apartment owners

    are facing a logistic impossibility. If you can't move the steam pipes, and they want nothing in front of the windows, (and you can not install a local heat source) then you/they have to find the heat from another source. It is not likely other pipes in the unit are sized big enough to provide 35k btu (but maybe they are). Maybe they would be willing to accept a bench in front of one (or more) of the bay windows? The heat has to come from someplace. As you probably know, in a single pipe system the heat available is basically determined by the pipe size - if you are looking to remove three radiators, you have to look for a pipe left over that has the required capacity. Good luck.



    Again, I'm not a pro . . . There maybe options out there that I do not know about. Maybe somebody here does.
This discussion has been closed.