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Repipe basement portion of 1 pipe system / steam experts in westchester co. NY

Debbie_6 Member Posts: 7
Hello. I live in a 1910 house with a 1 pipe steam heating system. We want to finish our basement, and are hampered by all the steam pipes hanging down from the ceiling, crossing the basement floor, winding in front of doors and windows, and converging back to the large boiler in the middle of the room.

We will dig out the basement floor to get enough headroom and I would prefer not to have to box all these pipes in. Is it possible to repipe the basement part of the system, or parts of it, and get the whole system rebalanced (We had 3 radiators replaced and recessed when we moved in, and the system has never worked so well since then), ideally I would replace the radiator with something smaller and move it from the center of the room.

My architect is hesitant to touch the system given that it is steam and pitch dependent. Any recommendations on steam experts in southern Westchester Co. NY would also be appreciated. Didn't find anyone in the search function.

Appreciate any thoughts, recommendations.


  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,078
    It may be possible

    but more than likely you will have to repipe the entire basement in order to accomplish what you want.. you will likely not be able to just do a 'little here and a little there'..if your willing to do what is necessary than you may get the result you desire, and it will be extensive and expensive.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    Piping layout needed

    If you can post a rough layout drawing of the supplies, and returns; we can give some more advice. Certainly, a dry return at a point after the last radiator can be dropped right to the floor, and then run back to the boiler.

    This may be a good reason to explore replacing the steam with hot water, as there is more flexibility in piping, which will be new in any case. As new radiators would be needed anyway, the flat panel radiators would be less intrusive, and the new gas boiler could hang on the wall.--nbc
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,832
    It is possible

    according to one of my Dead Men's Books, to run a steam main with little or no pitch, as long as every radiator connection is taken from the bottom of the main and pitching downward from the main to a drip at the bottom of the radiator riser. And with this setup, the radiator runouts (branch lines) don't need as much pitch as if they sloped back toward the main.

    I've yet to see this in practice, but can't think of any reason it wouldn't work.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,966
    Be careful

    I had a very similar situation this past summer. I am not sure how to link to previous posts but I had a post in the end of July where the contractor seriously messed up a beautiful steam system in order to gain some more headroom. If done wrong you will live with cold, noise and ridiculously high fuel bills for long time to come.
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,322
    Yes it can be done

    The issue always comes down to cost. Labor and iron pipe were much cheaper when steam systems went in new. The steam gives nice quick, quiet heat when done properly. The thing is a proper hot water system will also work well. Note the word proper and properly. I have worked that far south, it just takes time to coordinate.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
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