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Steam Experts in the Mid Hudson Valley

Hi all,

I purchased an 80+ year old house in Pleasant Valley, NY (very close to Poughkeepsie) that had an extensive amount of renovation done to it by the previous owner (we think the "flip this house" approach).

Although many of the updates had good intentions, the original one pipe steam heat system was modified in several rooms to accommodate the renovations - and from what I can tell, was not done properly.  Several of the original large radiators were removed (one of which we found buried in overgrown grass next to the garage).  The removed radiators were replaced with small baseboard units - specifically Burnham "Base-Ray" units of various lengths (generally 2' or 3' units).

When we first moved in, we ran the steam system "as-is" and had fairly good results, although some rooms would get very hot, and some would stay extremely cold.  The Base-Ray units would BARELY heat up, unless the boiler cycled very often, which would kill our oil consumption.  So, we started to just supplement the Base-Ray rooms with portable electric heat, which adds cost and wastes energy - or, we just didn't use those rooms.

After starting to learn about steam heat through this site and one of Dan's books I started investigating the piping and the Base-Ray units.  As it turns out, the manufacturer does not recommend using these units at all with a one pipe steam system, which is what we have.  I've also found that most of these new units were plumbed with copper tubing, which I know is incorrect.

Further to that, one of the largest original radiators in the upstairs hallway was not removed, but the pipe that feeds it was cut-off to allow for a connection to one of the Base-Rays.  So, we have absolutely no heat in the upstairs hallway, which is a huge deal.  Makes no sense why someone would do that, but it's what we're stuck with.  I have started to work on adding piping to this back in, but I only have so much time and knowledge, and certainly lack the proper tools to do it right.

Way bigger than the radiator/plumbing issues, I've now got a boiler with a hole inside caused by corrosion.  When we ran the boiler last winter (second year of ownership for us), I started to notice corrosion on the bottom corner of the unit around a valve and some bolts.  During the warm season, the rust has spread, caused me to take some action to find out the source of the leak.  The rust was so bad that I actually had to drill out a bolt to open the swing door on the front of the unit.

Upon removing the top cover and vacuuming out the soot and debris I noticed major rust build up on one chamber where the pins extend out at the top.  Then, I found a pretty sizable hole and a couple of pins that basically just crumbled off when I touched them with a wire brush.  I'm sure this explains why the efficiency of the boiler started to decline at the end of last winter - and, started taking in a lot more water.

I have come to learn that the corrosion is likely caused by high chloride in my water supply, which I am now taking steps to correct.

I'm assuming the worst with the boiler situation, but looking for any advice on what steps to take for repair BEFORE replacement.  Obviously if I need to have significant work done on the boiler, I would also like to fix the radiator issues at the same time to get heat where it isn't currently.

What I need is someone in my area who really knows these systems and can work with me to get it up and running ASAP.  Anyone out there that can do this type of work in the Mid-Hudson Valley, NY (Dutchess County)?

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