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keep steam?

plantain Member Posts: 7
edited November 2014 in Strictly Steam
My daughter has an old chevron oil steam one pipe burner/boiler in a one story salt box type house... in chilly Massachusetts .

The radiators upstairs have squared metal covers over a copper/aluminum fin type almost baseboard design convector which actually has capped connector for two pipe connection.

My question is can I use a peerless wbv -03 hot water boiler as long as the correct vents are used and there are no leaks? *(this part of my question has been answered in the general discussion section - I am advised to keep steam to avoid leaks and go with modern burner/boiler/ hot water storage tank set up .)

The house is tiny and has 5 of these pseudo radiators and one old cast iron in the bathroom with unfinished basement so pipes are right there.

The fin type convectors don't look too bad as far as getting the caps off the other end but they are only about 3 feet long .

They are using the quartz type fireplace heaters as supplemental heat and have blown cellulose insulation in attic floor

what is the HOT set up to replace such a system ?

how efficient is oil fired steam using an updated burner/boiler ( also used for hot water) ...should I change to twopipe system?




  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    I'd stick with the steam, and get a nice new small boiler. A good modern small steam boiler should run around 85% efficiency, assuming two things: the man or woman who services it for you adjusts it properly, and the steam system is brought up to speed.

    The biggest problem usually with older steam systems is adequate venting and pipe pitch -- particularly for those convectors.

    The biggest problem with switching to hot water -- which I don't recommend -- other than the likelihood of leaks and the headache of new piping and all that is that the convectors and radiators don't put out anything like as much heat as they do with steam (about 2/3rds), and if you are trying to get the highest efficiency "mod-con" hot water heat, they don't even approach that -- so it is very likely that you would have to replace all the radiation, too. Would you get the money back on the higher efficiency (average of say 90% to be generous versus 85% for the steam)? No...

    They will come closer to adequate heat with steam. Will they stay warm? The only way to check that is to do -- or have done -- a heat loss assessment for the house, and compare that to the output available from the convectors and radiators.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • vaporvac
    vaporvac Member Posts: 1,520
    In addition to everything that Jamie said, I might add that the burnham megasteam 3-pass oil steamer is rated at 86% efficiency and has a lifetime warranty against rotting out (or something). Anyway, it's a very good boiler if you're looking for longevity and efficiency with oil. I have gas or I would have installed it in my own house.
    There is nothing like steam heat.
    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