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Radiator "chimneys"?


I first should say I am ordering (today) the four-pack of steam books, but haven't got them yet.

The house I grew up in has a steam system unlike any I've found while doing research.  Or perhaps I don't know the right terms enough to research them properly.  The only radiators it has upstairs (4 of them) are in the bathrooms and laundry area; these are single-pipe as best as I can recall.  There are 6 radiators spaced around the perimeter of the cellar, other rooms are fed heat from these by means of ducts above these radiators to each of the rooms. Most of the cellar radiators heat two rooms above, either (1st and 2nd floors) or (2nd and 3rd floors).  These cellar radiators are mounted near the ceiling, and are a two pipe system with the return pipe located about 6" from the floor.  The other odd part is they have boxes constructed around them to seemingly induce a chimney effect to feed the heat through the ducts.   I am told that these boxes should extend to near the floor; at present they go from the cellar ceiling (7' high) to about 5' above the floor.

Does anyone know of a system like this, and have more detailed info as to how best construct replacements for these "chimney boxes"?

(It's a 3 story, approx. 25'x60' brick twin, about 100-110 yrs old.  Originally it was fed by a centrally located, neighborhood steam plant down the street.  Upon a fire destroying that plant in 1976 or so, a boiler was installed.)


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