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Zoning and Controlling Steam Heat

Howdy, I've read Mr. Holohan's books on steam and they have been fantastic.  I can't say that I have fully digested them, not by a long shot, but at least I have a rudimentary idea what my steam system is now.  So now that my fog of ignorance has started to clear, albeit minimally, my wife and I would like to attempt the ambitious task of either zoning (if possible) or using a mechanized controller for our steam heat system.

Our system uses a single pipe, so there is no return.  Is this an advantage or disadvantage, or neither?  Can steam be zoned?  Failing that, are there motorized valves reliable?  The article I read here online made me feel as though I should be cautious, but the article seemed to be talking about a two pipe steam system, so I dont know if the concerns would be the same for me.  Finally, by any chance has anyone developed a wireless valve control?  In other words, a valve that could be controlled by a home automation system.  This would be an amazing product.... I'd buy a bunch as would most all of my neighborhood.

Anyway, thanks for your time.  If you need more information, please let me know,



  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Sounds like your steam is not co-operating with you

      The steam goes where it wants and that is not necesarily where you want it to be.  So that we might help you more, can you post a few pictures of your boiler, the pipes from the boiler to the ceiling, the pipes in the ceiling and a couple radiators?   
  • moneypitfeeder
    moneypitfeeder Member Posts: 246
    what's the real problem?

    Do you have rooms that overheat, and some that underheat? Has there been insulation added since the system was installed? Are the current rads too big for the space that is there with the new insulation? Or are you trying to block off rooms that are currently unused? Vastly different as to the approach taken. A lot of times it seems just by using a faster vent on a slow to heat rad and a slow vent on a rad that heats too quickly can help to even out the heat.
    steam newbie
  • Greg Maxwell
    Greg Maxwell Member Posts: 212
    Steam Zoning

    Can zoning be done? Possibly. Can it be done correctly? Possibly. You need the help of a VERY good steam guy. Zoning vith motorized valves often leads to less comfort than you have if not done correctly.

    You may possibly be going the route of thermostatic vent valves. It doesnt give you true zoning, but it will give you greater comfort than you have. Again, get a GOOD steam guy. Thats key.

    Good luck. 
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