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Old metal Fin type Steam radiator !?

Hi All,

I have a 2-pipe steam residential system. The house is old and the 2 rads in question are in a sunporch. I am wondering what kind of radiators these are and whether best to replace? They seem to be some kind of metal fin-type radiator?? All of the other rads are your "normal" cast iron type. Do these conduct steam heat well? Is there some kind of maintenance that should be done on these?



  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,746
    Those things work just fine. The only maintenance they need is to vacuum out the fins from time to time -- they do collect dust.

    And of course, make sure the trap is working!

    You do still have the front panels for the enclosures?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • kacrejam
    kacrejam Member Posts: 28
    Jamie, Thanks for the advice. How do I make sure trap is working. Do i need to open up the trap?

    Yes, I do have the front panels for it. I had thought maybe to replace with new rads (and maybe get rid of the panels if nice new rads are bigger than the space) but sounds like I am ok.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,746
    Traps are easy. Get the system really running, so that the radiator is hot all the way across. Then feel -- or better, take the temperature of the outlet above the trap and below the trap. The pipe below the trap should be appreciably cooler (10 to 15 degrees is typical). If the radiator won't heat, or heats very slowly, the trap may be failed closed. If the pipe below the trap is as hot as the pipe above it, the trap is failed open.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,425
    They'll work- but since your other radiators are cast iron, they might not work as well. Where are you located?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • kacrejam
    kacrejam Member Posts: 28
    I am going to test the traps as you described. Thanks for the great info.

    I am in the southeast PA area near Villanova.

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,746
    Villanova isn't impossibly far from Baltimore. I you really have trouble, you might persuade @Steamhead to come that far...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,520
    Why are there vents on those Rads? Also, it may be an optical elusion or the way you took the picture but that second rad looks like it may be very slightly pitched back towards the supply side??
  • Steam
    Steam Member Posts: 45
    Fred is spot on. I've seen single pipe systems with those finned radiators. They work just fine.

    Pitch in second picture is off as Fred said.
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,325
    edited November 2016
    There also shouldn't be the need for vents as @Fred questioned. It may be a sign the traps have failed.
  • DrilonBuleshkaj
    DrilonBuleshkaj Member Posts: 0
    Does anyone have any technical specification of these type of radiators? I need it to find the heating capacity for this type of radiator for a study report!
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,355
    These units pack a lot of EDR into a small package, and when the airflow is unobstructed, they can heat up a room in a hurry. The trouble is, because they have less mass than a cast iron radiator, they don't hold heat very long. If the radiators that are controlling the thermostat are cast iron, you might notice that it gets a little chilly waiting for the heat to come back on. But before you consider replacing them, you'll want to take a look at availability and cost of cast iron radiators. It's hard to find good used ones, and new ones are expensive.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 311
    I think there are some tech type specs in the "museum" on the site. One thing I notice is that the convectors don't fit tightly in the recess - there is some open area at the ends. I wonder if originally there were slightly longer elements in the recess. One thing to be aware of is that the output is based on the height of the chase above the convector when you look up the EDR. What do the front panels look like?
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