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section of system not working - will pipes decay

elfie Member Posts: 266
have a section of a steam system (risers, rads) dont get heat (unclear why)

rest of system works and non working section not needed

is it healthy to ignore problem (ie. what will long term impact be on pipes that like have condensate buildup that is not draining);  will unused pipes begin to decay and eventually begin leaking should use of this section of system ever be needed again?



  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,924
    The best thing to do...

    will be to figure out why the part of your system which isn't heating isn't heating -- and, while you are at it, go through the entire system and make sure that it is also working properly.  Chances are that if one part isn't working at all, the rest of it probably isn't working as well as it should be.

    Then simply add a valve to the steam main to the now-working section of the system which you want to shut off, and a valve on the dry return (if it has one), both with drips on both sides of the valves to the wet return (again, if you have one -- if not, don't valve off the dry return; it's needed to take care of any stray water which gets into the shut off section.).

    Generally speaking the unused pipes will probably be alright, if they are valved off as I have described.  The one exception is that if the wet return is in contact with concrete, or has been subject to coal dust, it is possible that it will rust from the outside.  You should simply pay attention to it...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • elfie
    elfie Member Posts: 266
    non-working section

    the nonworking section is likely due to poor venting and/or water accumulation (ie. in main/condensate return pipes) that may be interfering with steam flow to the rads (which are stone cold at this point - except near the base of the pipes connecting to the rads which are slightly warm).

    and therefore, the lack of proper drainage means water/condensate is lingering in the main and condensate return pipes  - is this lingering water potentially corrosive to any exising valves and pipes, which over the long term would not be health to system

    yes, overall, it would be good to fix this section of system but sometimes building owners dont care enough to fix stuff.

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