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Cdav Member Posts: 15
My Weil Mclain steam boiler (had since 1988) started leaking from the bottom yesterday and I was told I needed a new boiler. I'm now thinking of converting to an all in one hot water wall mount system that also replaces the hot water heater. 1) does such a system exist? 2) Can the steam radiators be reused? 3) Is hot water more efficient than steam? Is it worth it to convert assuming I'll be in the house for about another 10 years? 4) What companies carry an all in one system.



  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    I wouldn't reccomend it!

    I'm a fellow home owner that considered this a couple of years ago, before finding this forum. Of course, when I got the estimates I figured I could live in my house until I was 100 and never recoup the cost. Besides that aspect ,not all systems are candidates without adding return piping and even then, if you have a two-pipe system there is no way to tell if you low pressure steam can withstand the greater pressure of HW.  Think about leaking pipes behind walls! Plus, the heat value may not be the same unless you have very large radiators.

    Even without these considerations, a well-regulated steam system is a thing of simple beauty and you never have to worry about the pipes freezing! Check into the wet-based power burner steam models (Slantfin Intrepid, Smith G8 and now Columbia) These boiler give very high efficiencies (82-86% depending on gas or oil) and they just changed a lot of the ratings for mod/cons down to 90%. These numbers don't reflect the total efficiencies to be gained by different burner firing, etc.

    I kept the steam and am happy I did...and I have a very big house to heat so I was looking for ever penny of savings.

    I might suggest posting this in the steam section and perhaps give a bit more info on your current system, such as: gas or oil, 1 or 2 pipe, edr of radiators, current boiler size and brand, etc. There are many experts who specialize in steam that can advise much better than I can. You could  also, look up my past posts on the subject going back a couple of years.

    Lastly, I might add that the mod/cons call for anexpertise in their installation that is not all that common yet. Without that I feel you'd just be buying a headache.

    Good luck.
    Two-pipe Trane vaporvacuum system; 1466 edr
    Twinned, staged Slantfin TR50s piped into 4" header with Riello G400 burners; 240K lead, 200K lag Btus. Controlled by Taco Relay and Honeywell RTH6580WF
  • Cdav
    Cdav Member Posts: 15

    Thanks Vaporvac...and my space is about 1400 sqft. I will post in the steam section. With the conversion they are changing all pipes, giving me one unit that is wall mounted and covers both heating and hot water so I would be getting rid of a boiler and a water heater...at a cost of $4K more than just swapping out the current boiler for a burnham boiler.
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 998
    Steam conversion

    We performed another steam to hydronnic conversion of a large luxury apartment building, this September. We kept all the original piping except for two returns in the basement. We even kept the steam traps but removed the seats. We did flush the system and installed a bag filter to trap small rust particles. We only had one return leak. The first months savings were so ridiculous that the building management company questioned the gas bill! The tenants are more comfortable with the lower temperature of the radiators.

    Steam boiler efficiencies are rated at 0 PSI. Cast iron radiation is perfect for a mod-con installation. Be aware that originally cast iron radiation was calculated to heat with the windows open! Remember influenza? So you have more than sufficient radiator surface with the lower temperature heating.
  • Cdav
    Cdav Member Posts: 15
    This is good to now

    Henry, this is interesting. I posted this in the Steam section and got all negative responses to the conversion. You can see the responses there under the caption To Convert or Not. Thanks for your post.
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