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Steam? Hot Water? Force Hot Air?

Hi. I currently have a steam boiler that broke and needs replaced ASAP. Would it be better to keep the steam, convert to hot water OR run forced hot air through my AC ducts. Advice ASAP would be greatly appreciated!! Thanks!!!


  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    difficult to marry up

    something new with something old and something not "Give".

    which means there was likely a cause . it might be money in the bank to have a steam fitter come by and physically eyeball it for a while .

    he being on the site would be able to give you a considerably clearer picture to what is what with it.
  • Stay with Steam.

    Converting to hot water has many problems:

    1) Leaking radiators and fittings because hot water runs at a higher pressure,

    2) If you have a 1-pipe steam system, you have to install a return to the boiler from each radiator.

    3) Radiators for steam are often undersized for hot water.

    Converting to forced air?  Yuk!  Do you really want the noise and the discomfort of blowing hot air throughout your house?

    Stay with steam.  Click on "Find A Contractor" above to locate someone.  If there's no one in your area, tell us where you are and we'll see if we can find one for you.  The most important thing is to size the boiler properly and finding the right person to do the job.  We can help you with that.

    Often wrong, never in doubt.
  • JStar
    JStar Member Posts: 2,752

    As far as I'm concerned, there is no other option. Steam is the most efficient, comfortable heat. Avoid hot air at any cost...and it will cost you a lot in the long run.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,111
    To which I might add

    that the boiler broke -- a rather broad term, by the way -- but it is more than likely that the rest of the system is just fine, or at most needs some tweaking to perform the way it ought to perform.

    Stay with the steam.  Replacing a boiler isn't that hard.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • broken_furnace
    broken_furnace Member Posts: 13
    yep its broken

    Thank you for all of your responses. Yes, the boiler broke. It is pretty old... serial # on it dates back to the 60's... there is a leak in one of the cast iron parts inside.. I was told it is unfixable and needs replaced. I have had a few estimates done. One wants to convert to hot water, but I am hesitant to do that, as I don't have the $$ to cover potential problems with what that could bring, so I was hoping to get some feedback on what they could be. I do have central air in the house, so ductwork is there for forced hot air, but I'm not sure I am prepared to get rid of the radiators, as I love the character that they bring to the house.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,844
    Three simple words:

    Keep The Steam!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • VA_Bear
    VA_Bear Member Posts: 50
    Keep the steam...

    unless you live in an area like mine, where the morning might call for heat and the afternoon calls for cooling. The thermal mass of a boiler loses all it's advantages under these conditions.
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    if the last thing you remember...

    is Steam Heads words i am inclined to think you will be happy.
  • broken_furnace
    broken_furnace Member Posts: 13
    In going with keeping the steam

    I have one contractor who would use a bryant boiler and one who would install a utica. Would you suggest one or the other?
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,844
    The Bryant is a re-branded Dunkirk

    if the Utica is a PEG-series boiler, it is a better choice. But it MUST be piped into the system correctly, otherwise it will not run well.

    Like this.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • Eastman
    Eastman Member Posts: 927
    ...preparing the black spot...
This discussion has been closed.