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Seeking steam heat expert in Lewiston/Auburn Maine area


Does anyone know of a steam heat professional in the Lewiston/Auburn area of Maine?

Ideally, I'd like to find someone who is passionate about steam heat. But realistically, I'd be happy finding someone who's fluent in steam and doesn't consider it antiquated and undesirable.

Thank you... S.


  • vaporvacvaporvac Member Posts: 1,512
    See this post...

    What's going on up there in Lewiston? You're the second person in about two weeks to ask this same question. Too bad I'm not a pro as I'd love to see someone else's system while I'm up visiting my Dad in a couple of weeks.

    Check out the recommendation in this thread:
    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
  • silverfishsilverfish Member Posts: 6
    you'd be welcome...

    Thank you.

    I don't know what's going on up here! I've been snooping around other old houses, contacting owners with houses like mine (and, yes, plumbing supply stores), but "everyone" seems to be on forced hot water, or wishes me to be.

    The person I had when I bought this place passed away, a young man who set the bar high with his exuberance about steam.

    At any rate, feel free to contact me. I love to show off the system and would welcome an interested party.

  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    The Maine Hot Water Mafia

    Hi- I have also had run ins with what I call “The Maine Hot Water Mafia” when I initially tried to get my 1 pipe steam system fixed.  “We can’t fix your steam system, it’s too old!” , “ It’s obsolete!”,  “It’s an antique!, You need to modernize!”  Most of them are really good guys, it's just that they don't really understand steam heating.

    Luckily for me I found this website and Dan’s great steam books. If you don't have them already I'd highly recommend them to you.  They are written so the homeowner new to steam can understand them. A few evenings of reading will put your knowledge of steam heating light years ahead. The books quickly pay for themselves many times over!


    You can get them in the Shop section of this website at the top of this page.

    Start  with “We Got Steam Heat!” as it’s a good introduction to steam and steam terminology.

    and continue with “The Lost Art of Steam Heating”

    They are also available as a package deal   

    I see VaporVac has posted the thread with Ken Viger’s address.   I’ve referred several people to him and they were very happy with his work. You didn’t mention whether you were on oil or gas fuel. If gas is available, you may want to consider switching over to NG gas if you’re now on oil. Most times it’s just a matter of switching  out the burners. The cost savings with using gas is quite substantial.

    You might also want to take a look at Gerry Gill’s website.

    Gerry Gill is a expert Cleveland steampro and has a lot of good information on his website on steam heating. Pay particular attention to what he says about venting especially on venting your steam mains.  Increasing my main venting really improved the operation of my system. As there is so much hot water done in Maine, getting parts for a steam system can be a hassle as most heating places don’t stock them. Most steam items like radiator and main vents can be got at Pex Supply  on the internet.

    - Rod

  • silverfishsilverfish Member Posts: 6
    steam 'n' gas

    Thanks, Rod,

    Multiple kudos for Ken is a good thing, and I hope it'll cap my research and allow me to move out of this indecisive sandpit I find myself in.

    You ask about gas: This all started when I began scouting oil-to-gas conversion, before I got sidetracked by the disparity of opinion on steam. Found this website, got the books and am ready to move forward again. I received a couple of quotes for Peerless steam boilers (oil), with gas burners installed--- This rather surprised me: If it's a new unit I'm getting, why not go with a dedicated gas boiler? Why the burner exchange?

    You've referred people to Ken: I assume you've also used him for your 1-pipe system?

  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    Wet Based vs Dry Based

    Hi- Typical oil fired steam boilers are "wet based" with a forced draft oil burner.  “Wet based” meaning that the boiler water surrounds the burner flame. Typical gas atmospheric boilers are “dry based” in that the boiler is positioned above the gas flame, similar to a pot of water on a gas stove.. An atmospheric burner is also similar to a gas stove in that it uses natural draft rather than forced draft (blower).

    Wet based boilers with a gas power burner (forced draft) - Due to the price of oil steadily climbing a large number of wet based boilers with oil burners are being switched over to power gas burners. A lot of the pros on this website consider that using a wet based boiler with a gas power burner (forced draft) is the best setup for getting maximum fuel economy and are installing this setup as a replacement boiler.   In a thread a bit farther down the page JStar has posted pictures of a very nicely done Smith G-8 wet based with a Carlin gas power burner.

    I have a Peerless ETC and would change it in an instant if gas was available.

    I haven’t used Ken’s services as I haven’t had a need for them as yet as most of the work necessary I do myself and on the burner I have a local guy that is very good with them (doesn’t know steam at all) When it gets time for a replacement boiler or if we ever get gas service then I will be contacting Ken. As I’ve mentioned I’ve referred other people to him and they have been very satisfied with his work. 

    - Rod
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