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One-pipe steam with copper piping

I recently purchased a home with one-pipe steam heat. We have been noticing a lot of hammering sounds and also felt that the system was a bit inconsistent in keeping the temperature warm so we had someone out to perform some general maintence to get it in good running condition for the winter. The technician who came out found a very minor leak in the boiler and also found that whoever installed the system used copper piping in the basement. He indicated the the copper piping is likely the reason for the early breakdown of the boiler [it is only 10 years old]. He recommended replacing the entire system and converting to forced air citing that it would be way too expensive to fix or replace the steam system. I don't know enough about steam to know what the right thing to do is. But, I do know that I would much rather prefer to keep the steam system than to convert. Couldn't we just replace the pipes that are copper and keep the steam? Any recommendations? Thanks for any help.


  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469

    are you located? You may be lucky enough to have one of the steam pros here, close to you.
  • FrankieFTP
    FrankieFTP Member Posts: 3
    One-pipe steam with copper piping

    I am located just outside of Philadelphia [Conshohocken]. The house was built in 1905. It seems that the copper pipes were installed when the basement was refinished. I can't imagine that the original pipes in the walls are copper so it should just be the ones that are exposed. It feels like we could just have them switched out but not sure why this person would recommend against that.

    Thanks for any help!
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,049

    he is an idiot. Fix the systems basement pipes.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • FrankieFTP
    FrankieFTP Member Posts: 3
    I was hoping

    he was an idiot. Is there any situation we could have that would warrant ripping out the entire steam system? He indicated that to fix this problem we either need to replace the entire system [$20K+] or convert [for less].
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469

    only thing he told you that was correct, was the copper may have led to the boilers early demise. We can't discuss price, but you need to get a quote from a steam pro. You are in a situation, where you can have a system that would make the "dead men" proud. When done, the near-boiler piping will be right, and the mains will be properly pitched, and vented.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752

    I do work around Philly. I'd be happy to take a look at your system.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    WA Conversions:

    That Warm Air conversion system would be a thing of wonderous beauty. And I'm sure that the estimate given wouldn't include all the carpentry to hide all the mess.

    Re-pipe the boiler with a Steam Pro and live large with a proper system.

    Someone says. "You can't fix stupid".

    But Stupid is a state in the mind.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,901
    ecuacool LLC

    Joe does good work, go with him and forget the forced air.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
This discussion has been closed.