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Help in Queens NYC

i need help with my radiators and steam system, from both an evaluation and maintenance perspective. Does anyone have a recommendations for a quality and honest tech? I live in Queens, NYC.



Thanks

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    Find a pro

    Use the find a contractor button at the top, but don't use the zip code feature, but instead search by state.

    In the meantime, describe any symptoms you may have, and show ups some pictures of the boiler, and radiators.--NBC
  • ALIGA
    ALIGA Member Posts: 194
    HBS

    give Aaron a call at HBS in Kew Gardens, where ru located?
  • ALIGA
    ALIGA Member Posts: 194
    edited March 2013
    HBS

    sorry delete, double post.
  • RazerWolf
    RazerWolf Member Posts: 4
    Details

    Weil mcclean heater from early 1980s - pictures to follow



    1. No matter how many times I drain the heater, rust seems to constantly be an issue. Is this a big deal or not?



    2. The radiator in my living room on the first floor cracked and was leaking so I had to shut off the steam coming into it. It's about 4' in length, can provide pics tonight. Where would I go about looking for a replacement?



    3. I'm remodeling quite a few rooms in my house and wanted to know if I could replace my radiators with something smaller. So far all of my research points to "No", but wanted to double check. Case in point: trying to see if I can replace/remove the 16" wide by 30" high radiator in my master bath.



    4. Since the living room heater was turned off, heating in the house is now uneven, with me attempting to control the heating ratio between the first and second floors by adjusting the valve on the first floor's other radiator (which is not far from the thermostat). This obviously seems like a suboptimal way of controlling heat. How is a steam heating system tuned so that hear distribution is acceptable for the whole house?



    5. I'm thinking about putting heated tiles for my kitchen floors. Will this have any interaction with the heating system?



    6. My radiators make a lot of hissing noises. I was told I need to replace the valves on each one. Is this true and if so, where can I procure them? I think Home Depot has then but not sure.



    Obviously much more of this will make send with pictures, which should follow sometime tonight. Thanks
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    system problems

    where is the radiator leaking?

    don't worry about the rusty water, we all have that constant reminder as to the age of our systems! most of it is coming from pipes which are easily changed if need be.

    if this is a 1-pipe system, the inlet valves must never be turned off, except for repair.

    if the vents are hissing, then you need more main  [not rad] venting. in addition, the pressure may be too high. a good low-pressure gauge [0-3 psi gaugestore.com] will enable you to have greater control over the system.

    the heated floor may be warmed by a hot-water loop from the boiler.

    generally, the radiators were sized properly to provide just the right amount of heat for each room, with some exceptions. if you have the system properly balanced with generous main [not rad] venting, steam will arrive simulaneously at every radiator, providing even heat.

    what sort of thermostat have you, and is it set right for steam heat?

    i would suggest you buy the steam books from the store here, so you can do your own diagnostics, and repairs. it will give details on the hot water loop for the floor, and of course, we are all here to help with advice. don't let anyone convince you otherwise, but steam heating can be

    even

    quiet

    economical--nbc
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    Some rust is normal

    Rust in old systems is common, is the water just rusty or is it full of rust particles?



    radiators are sized the square feet of surface area they have, when the house was built radiators were sized to fit the heat loss of the room they were in. If you add a lot of insulation along with your remodeling you would then not need as many square feet of surface area to heat a given space. You could select smaller radiators for these spaces but you want to do it in a balanced manner so you can heat evenly. Usede radiators are available in large metropolitan areas but you can't just buy one and hook it up because the valves and radiators have a spud betwwen them so if you change the radiator you have to change the valve and the spud that threads into the radiator 9spuds and valves are sold as a set).



    You can put a radiant floor in and use the steam boiler as a source for the hot water that heats the floor. It takes a knowledgeable person to do this so it works right. Make sure whoever you hire to do the work knows steam.



    If your air vents on the radiators are hissing a lot it usually means the steam pressure may be too high and the main steam vents are too small. Steam systems operate best below 2PSI, if it's higher, turn it down.



    As others have said you need to find a steam pro to go over your system and make suggestions. Once we see some pictures perhaps we can offer specific advice for your system.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • RazerWolf
    RazerWolf Member Posts: 4
    Books

    I'll post the details ASAP. In the meantime, what books would you recommend from the following?



    We Got Steam Heat!

    The Lost Art of Steam Heating

    Greening Steam
  • Charlie from wmass
    Charlie from wmass Member Posts: 4,216
    recommended books

    as listed and in that order.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/charles-garrity-plumbing-and-heating
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    books

    get them all, as each has different priorities, then read them in charlies order.--nbc
  • RazerWolf
    RazerWolf Member Posts: 4
    As a regular homeowner, would you say it's worth the investment?

    As a regular homeowner, would you say it's worth the investment? I'm pretty sure the answer's yes looking at contractor rates...
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,306
    They will save you A LOT of $$

    Reading and understanding those books will put you in a position to tell if a contractor knows what he is talking about and will give you the knowledge to do a lot of the maintenance yourself.



    I would skip the We got Steam Heat and go with the other two, they are well written and easy to understand.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    is knowledge worth the cost?

    as a rule, knowledge is cheap, and ignorance or misinformation is costly.--nbc
  • moneypitfeeder
    moneypitfeeder Member Posts: 248
    As a homeowner too

    I also recommend Lost Art  and Greening Steam, I find them to be easy to read, and very helpful. They can arm you with the knowledge to talk to a professional, and enable you to interpret if they are the person for the job, or if you should keep looking. They let you focus your complaints on your system, because if there is an issue (you first need to know that isn't how it was supposed to work) and then convey that to your pro. He or she cannot fix, what they don't know is broke. Some people put up with noises, and cold spots and all sorts of things because they just assume that it's because its steam. With both of these books under your belt, you will have a better understanding. I also wanted to add, they are a fun read, and not overly "technical" these books are written to a level, that make them almost coffee table books, they are that easy to follow. Very much not intimidating.
    steam newbie
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