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Removing steam radiator - will it unbalance system?

wannaknow Member Posts: 1
I own a condo in a 1920s 2-family near Boston; each unit has its own boiler and piping. The system is one-pipesteam cast iron radiators. Each room has a radiator, even our small entryway which is open to the living room has a 5-rib radiator which I think is an overkill for a 50-sf space. I would like to permanently remove the radiator in the entryway so that I can build a coat closet.

This radiator happens to be the furthest from the boiler, and right above where the main pipe turns back towards the boiler. The question is: would removing a radiator unbalance the steam system? What can be done to tune the system if it gets unbalanced?


  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Is the boiler already over-sized? What is the EDR rating on the boiler plate? Also, what is the total EDR of all the radiators in your apartment? What is the EDR of the one you want to remove? If we have this info, we can determine if removing that radiator will exerbate an already over-sized boiler, causing it to short cycle more than it might already does. When are you planning to do this work? You probably should have shut that radiator off during this past winter and noted how it affected the boiler operation. You can rebalance the remaining radiators by adjusting/changing the vents on them but if your boiler is going to be way over-sized, that has its own set of issues like short cycling and maybe a need to have a Pro with a combustion analyzer try to down fire the boiler a bit. It's all do-able though.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
    I agree with Fred about the boiler is probably oversized and this is just another straw.
    But I would consider the comfort of the house. That rad was put there for a reason, maybe you have a better sealing front door than the original door and will not have as much of a draft into the living room. Often a small heat source like this is not noticed when it is on, but is missed when gone.

    I would somehow try to build around and over the radiator for coats.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,700
    edited July 2015

    Can you post a picture of this radiator?
    If it's fairly small I doubt it will matter much one way or another. If it's a big 30-40sqft EDR, then it could cause pressure issues that would be better avoided.

    Can you also post pictures of your boiler as well as the piping around it?

    What main venting do you have? What venting do you have on all of the radiators and does the house heat evenly? Are any rooms overheating? Overheating rooms means increased heatloss in those spaces and that's never good.

    I'm willing to bet you can remove the radiator as you want and make 10 other improvements that will outweigh any negative removing the radiator will make.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Lance
    Lance Member Posts: 270
    Try it and see if it works, if it doesn't, then put it back or look for an alternate solution. Most of the time you may never notice the difference. It is to your monetary advantage to see that the boiler matches the radiation and even better after the radiation matches the heat loss of the building. Biggest problem I see with very old one pipe systems are changes due to age that re-slope the pipes and radiators or controls fail. Not to mention the unprofessional remodeler building changes. This change however seems it may be worth it based on my interpretation of your story.
    Good luck,
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    Agree, it's removable....