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increasing radiator size to balance house temperatures, its effect on fuel use.

I have an old one pipe steam heating system in a small house of about 1000 square feet. It was built in 1906 and added on to in the 1940's and 50's. Originally the boiler seems to have been coal fired, but was replaced by an oil fired one. Recently it has been switched to a natural gas boiler. The system seems fairly efficient and is relatively comfortable (all radiators seem to come to temperature around the same time) , but due to the layout of the house spaces, larger radiators in the living room (where the thermostat is) seem to shut down the heat before the outer rooms get as warm as it is. I'm wondering whether increasing radiator sizes in the deficient areas (basically three out of the total of seven total radiators and which I assume would cause these areas to warm more similarly to the living room) would significantly increase fuel usage. My thinking is that the living room would heat up the same way that it does now (its radiators are closest to the boiler) and the thermostat, being located there, would shut down the heat at about the same time as it now does. But, the steam would travel to the enlarged radiators in other parts of the house (as it now does to the smaller radiators) and that the increased mass of metal in the enlarged radiators would increase the available heat input to the these rooms, without significant additional fuel use. Am I missing something?


  • bml207
    bml207 Posts: 27
    Change Vents

    Maybe you should consider changing the air vents on the radiators in the room with the thermostat to a slower vent (or setting, if you're using adjustable vents). Seems like a much easier solution than swapping out radiators. This is how my system is set up and it seems to work very well. Of course, it is possible to go too far the other way and overheat the rest of the house....

    I am assuming that you have large main vents on the system so that steam gets to all the radiators at about the same time, if not, that's probably the first priority.
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