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to keep steam or convert

liamnyc99
liamnyc99 Member Posts: 8
Hi I'm considering removing my steam heating system and installing a hydronic combi type system. My question to the community is would it be wise to do so. I'm in the midst of a home renovation witch is going to involve moving some of my steam radiators and re pluming just about the entire system. all the walls are open, new floor joist and sub floor so access doesn't get any better then now. This has got me thinking maybe I should seize the opportunity and change systems. I plan on selling the home in a few years and feel i would get a good return on the coast and the added living space to the finished basement would be a plus. but my current boiler is about 11 years old and works fine. what would you do? the house is 1200sq ft built 1910 let me know if more info is needed. Thank you for any input
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Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,026
    Keep the steam.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,405
    All things being equal you should keep the steam. You mentioned that you are moving radiators. That means repiping. How much faith do you have in your contractor. Improper steam piping can have seriously negative results. Lack of heat, banging spitting air vents etc.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    You're not going to get any return when you sell the house.

    Some may feel hot water increases curb appeal, but it's not going to change the value of the house.

    As others have said, if anyone is modifying piping, make sure they know what they're doing and DO NOT take their word for it. Steam systems work fantastic when done right, and terrible, or even not at all when done wrong.

    Feel free to post the plans on here before the work is done. It may save yourself from a nightmare.
    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
    RomanGK_26986764589New England SteamWorks
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,424
    It depends, do you like the radiators? How much work is involved in relocating them? What type of emitters would you use on the new system? How much do you want the space in basement? You're asking this question of some of the best steam guys in the country and I love them, but they're first and foremost steam guys and would consider it sacrilege to toss a 107 year old steam system regardless.of any other factors.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092

    It depends, do you like the radiators? How much work is involved in relocating them? What type of emitters would you use on the new system? How much do you want the space in basement? You're asking this question of some of the best steam guys in the country and I love them, but they're first and foremost steam guys and would consider it sacrilege to toss a 107 year old steam system regardless.of any other factors.

    You're old and you don't see us tossing you to the side, do you?
    Yet?

    :D
    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
    Grallert
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,026
    ChrisJ said:

    It depends, do you like the radiators? How much work is involved in relocating them? What type of emitters would you use on the new system? How much do you want the space in basement? You're asking this question of some of the best steam guys in the country and I love them, but they're first and foremost steam guys and would consider it sacrilege to toss a 107 year old steam system regardless.of any other factors.

    You're old and you don't see us tossing you to the side, do you?
    Yet?

    :D
    :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,558
    A lot of things have changed in the last 100+ years on the Heating Front. A few questions you need to ask and get answers to before making a informed decision:

    How has the heat Load / Loss changed to the building over the last century?
    What size boiler and EDR of the radiators that are currently there?
    Keeping the same #'s will give a dramatically oversized "System" so there are going to be changes through out the building envelope. Example: The 4' long radiator in a given room designed for little if any insulation, leaking windows & doors could possibly be replace with a 1 or 2' radiator
    So now what resize the entire "System"?
    Y E S

    Every room need to be recalculated, supply and return lines resized.

    Please get someone that can do all the calculations on both heat load / loss and radiator output at given °f temperatures. 140°f water thru 215°f steam!
    Then decide what to do.





    Now


    What about A/C?
  • Wardo
    Wardo Member Posts: 8
    Steam boils at 212F at atmospheric pressure. What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system? Does it go into your house or up the flue? The answers to these questions might help you decide.

    1. Calculate heat loss
    2. Size new steam boiler & alternate unit
    3. Price out installation of both ( Y intercept)
    4. Calculate/estimate fuel & maintenance cost per year ( M slope)

    The lines cross at the time when you recoup the extra ROI over the less costly system (Excel is your friend)
    Only you can decide if you can wait that long

    And then there is the opportunity to install properly sized ductwork for central AC…
    SeanBeans
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    edited August 2017
    Wardo said:

    Steam boils at 212F at atmospheric pressure. What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system? Does it go into your house or up the flue? The answers to these questions might help you decide.

    1. Calculate heat loss
    2. Size new steam boiler & alternate unit
    3. Price out installation of both ( Y intercept)
    4. Calculate/estimate fuel & maintenance cost per year ( M slope)

    The lines cross at the time when you recoup the extra ROI over the less costly system (Excel is your friend)
    Only you can decide if you can wait that long

    And then there is the opportunity to install properly sized ductwork for central AC…

    Wow.

    Two guys so far trying to get them to install forced hot air systems. @Steamhead do my eyes deceive me?


    What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system?



    All the heat? You mean the entire 8-10 gallons of water stored in an insulated boiler? I don't know, what happens to all of the heat stored in the many, many gallons of water in a hot water system, plus the water in the boiler.

    We can discuss all of the energy wasted in forced air systems if you wish, I've seen the disasters many guys install and call duct work and they're far from sealed and usually not very well insulated, if at all. Then we've got the electric to run the blower, the noise, the constant temperature swings.

    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
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,026
    edited August 2017
    ChrisJ said:

    Wow.

    Two guys so far trying to get them to install forced hot air systems. @Steamhead do my eyes deceive me?

    Nope. Unfortunately, scorched-air pushers are all over the place, even here.
    ChrisJ said:



    What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system?



    All the heat? You mean the entire 8-10 gallons of water stored in an insulated boiler? I don't know, what happens to all of the heat stored in the many, many gallons of water in a hot water system, plus the water in the boiler.

    We can discuss all of the energy wasted in forced air systems if you wish, I've seen the disasters many guys install and call duct work and they're far from sealed and usually not very well insulated, if at all. Then we've got the electric to run the blower, the noise, the constant temperature swings.

    Yet another set of details they choose to ignore.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,756
    If the walls are open you can do what you want. Big negative for most single home steam systems is that resident is supposed to visit boiler regularly. As much as I love steam, and nice looking radiators, steam is only for specialists.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,026
    jumper said:

    Big negative for most single home steam systems is that resident is supposed to visit boiler regularly.

    That holds true for any system, especially one that involves combustion.

    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    Steamhead said:

    jumper said:

    Big negative for most single home steam systems is that resident is supposed to visit boiler regularly.

    That holds true for any system, especially one that involves combustion.

    I've found practically every forced air system I've been near works terrible.

    They're noisy, imbalanced and suck a ton of outside air into the structure.

    And the reason isn't because forced air systems aren't good. It's because you need a specialist to design and install them. Just like steam and hot water.

    Any schmuck can come along and work on it and yeah, they will limp along. But they won't work very good, just like a botched steam system.


    It doesn't matter what you have, be it forced air, geothermal, hot water, radiant or steam. All of them need to be designed, installed and maintained properly.

    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
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • Robert O'Brien
    Robert O'Brien Member Posts: 3,424
    > @Steamhead said:
    > It depends, do you like the radiators? How much work is involved in relocating them? What type of emitters would you use on the new system? How much do you want the space in basement? You're asking this question of some of the best steam guys in the country and I love them, but they're first and foremost steam guys and would consider it sacrilege to toss a 107 year old steam system regardless.of any other factors.
    >
    > You're old and you don't see us tossing you to the side, do you?
    > Yet?
    >
    > :D
    >
    > :D :D :D :D :D :D :D :D

    I knew this was coming, and proves my point. This blind slavish devotion to steam is ridiculous. It may be best to stay with the steam system or it may not. I can't tell from here and no one can. Every situation is unique.
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    Bob Bona_4
  • liamnyc99
    liamnyc99 Member Posts: 8
    edited August 2017
    lots of grate info. thank you guys for all the fast replies.
    sorry but forced air is not an option. 2x4 balloon constitution no room plus i'm not a fan.
    I think i'll be keeping the steam. It's going to be to much work and money to install a completely new system. If i was staying in the house for 10-20 yrs i would do it but i plan on moving in 4-5 yrs.

    The performance of the steam system has been grate. but i have some concerns. I'm not going to post them now because I dont have all the info you would need to help me answer the questions. I'm going to do some more home work, take some photos and draw up what i have and what i would like to do first.

    thank you for the help very impressed with this forum

    liam


    ChrisJRomanGK_26986764589
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092

    > @Steamhead said:

    > It depends, do you like the radiators? How much work is involved in relocating them? What type of emitters would you use on the new system? How much do you want the space in basement? You're asking this question of some of the best steam guys in the country and I love them, but they're first and foremost steam guys and would consider it sacrilege to toss a 107 year old steam system regardless.of any other factors.

    >

    > You're old and you don't see us tossing you to the side, do you?

    > Yet?

    >

    > :D

    >

    > :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D



    I knew this was coming, and proves my point. This blind slavish devotion to steam is ridiculous. It may be best to stay with the steam system or it may not. I can't tell from here and no one can. Every situation is unique.

    No,
    It proves we have a devotion to busting your chops every chance we get.

    :p
    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
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    liamnyc99 said:

    lots of grate info. thank you guys for all the fast replies.
    sorry but forced air is not an option. 2x4 balloon constitution no room plus i'm not a fan.
    I think i'll be keeping the steam. It's going to be to much work and money to install a completely new system. If i was staying in the house for 10-20 yrs i would do it but i plan on moving in 4-5 yrs.

    The performance of the steam system has been grate. but i have some concerns. I'm not going to post them now because I dont have all the info you would need to help me answer the questions. I'm going to do some more home work, take some photos and draw up what i have and what i would like to do first.

    thank you for the help very impressed with this forum

    liam


    Please feel free to post your concerns.
    You never know, we may be able to give a general idea without information.

    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
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,109
    I'm not afraid to take the unpopular approach. My vote is hot water.

    In my opinion, any system, steam, hot water, or warm air will run like crap (or not at all) if installed improperly.

    Hot water to me is the most forgiving. Warm air and steam....not so much.

    Warm air is probably the least forgiving. The ductwork is usually undersized.

    If you have ever been in a building with warm air that was done correctly you would see it can work well.

    The decision is a payback issue. If the owner stays there for a period of time and installs hot water it will be worth it. It's a lot cheaper to make 140 or 150 deg hot water to heat a house (with properly sized radiation) than it is to boil water at 212 deg.

    you can't replace what is lost up the flue from running a higher temperature (steam) boiler.

    That being said I do like steam and if he is selling the house in a few years than the best decision may be to stay with steam.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,937
    For me it would depend on the emitters I had already. My house has steam only rads so I would never change the steam system. If I was doing a complete gut remodel (all at once) and I had rads that would work with hot water, I would probably consider changing to hot water.

    Also I never worry about return on my investment, as far as I am concerned you never really get your money back on a house especially if you finance it.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,026
    ChrisJ said:

    > @Steamhead said:

    > It depends, do you like the radiators? How much work is involved in relocating them? What type of emitters would you use on the new system? How much do you want the space in basement? You're asking this question of some of the best steam guys in the country and I love them, but they're first and foremost steam guys and would consider it sacrilege to toss a 107 year old steam system regardless.of any other factors.

    >

    > You're old and you don't see us tossing you to the side, do you?

    > Yet?

    >

    > :D

    >

    > :D:D:D:D:D:D:D:D



    I knew this was coming, and proves my point. This blind slavish devotion to steam is ridiculous. It may be best to stay with the steam system or it may not. I can't tell from here and no one can. Every situation is unique.

    No,
    It proves we have a devotion to busting your chops every chance we get.

    :p
    Bob, ya know we love ya, but sometimes we can't resist a good punch line..... B)

    In all seriousness, if I was "slavishly" devoted to steam, I would have ripped out the hot-water system in my own house years ago. Obviously I haven't done that- but if the house had had scorched-air, like my parents' house did, THAT would have been one of the first things to go. Some things just aren't worth putting up with, like drafts and dust, germs etc being blown around the house.

    What I don't like is when someone rips out a steam system just because it's steam. That makes absolutely no sense. There is no comfort advantage to doing so, and if there is a small difference in efficiency (which would probably disappear once vacuum retrofits go mainstream in contractor-ready packages), when you take into account the increased maintenance and shorter mod-con boiler life expectancy, the payback would take so long as to not be worth the effort.

    Now, back to business.......... @liamnyc99 , there are plenty of Steam Men in your area who can make sure your system is modified correctly. Try the Find a Contractor page of this site.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    ChrisJ
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,558
    ChrisJ said:

    Wardo said:

    Steam boils at 212F at atmospheric pressure. What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system? Does it go into your house or up the flue? The answers to these questions might help you decide.

    1. Calculate heat loss
    2. Size new steam boiler & alternate unit
    3. Price out installation of both ( Y intercept)
    4. Calculate/estimate fuel & maintenance cost per year ( M slope)

    The lines cross at the time when you recoup the extra ROI over the less costly system (Excel is your friend)
    Only you can decide if you can wait that long

    And then there is the opportunity to install properly sized ductwork for central AC…

    Wow.

    Two guys so far trying to get them to install forced hot air systems. @Steamhead do my eyes deceive me?


    What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system?



    All the heat? You mean the entire 8-10 gallons of water stored in an insulated boiler? I don't know, what happens to all of the heat stored in the many, many gallons of water in a hot water system, plus the water in the boiler.

    We can discuss all of the energy wasted in forced air systems if you wish, I've seen the disasters many guys install and call duct work and they're far from sealed and usually not very well insulated, if at all. Then we've got the electric to run the blower, the noise, the constant temperature swings.

    Chris you have me wrong. I'm not trying to tell the OP in any way what to do, just stating facts. A remodel of a 100+ year structure needs to be done correctly. Many questions need to be asked, data collected and an Informed decision made. I think you'll agree the 100 year old radiator in a given room sized for when there was no insulation and a good chance as Dan said keeping a window open in today's world is "Over-sized"

    Steam is great. I've lived in many houses with it and worked with it in Manhattan quite a bit.

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    pecmsg said:

    ChrisJ said:

    Wardo said:

    Steam boils at 212F at atmospheric pressure. What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system? Does it go into your house or up the flue? The answers to these questions might help you decide.

    1. Calculate heat loss
    2. Size new steam boiler & alternate unit
    3. Price out installation of both ( Y intercept)
    4. Calculate/estimate fuel & maintenance cost per year ( M slope)

    The lines cross at the time when you recoup the extra ROI over the less costly system (Excel is your friend)
    Only you can decide if you can wait that long

    And then there is the opportunity to install properly sized ductwork for central AC…

    Wow.

    Two guys so far trying to get them to install forced hot air systems. @Steamhead do my eyes deceive me?


    What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system?



    All the heat? You mean the entire 8-10 gallons of water stored in an insulated boiler? I don't know, what happens to all of the heat stored in the many, many gallons of water in a hot water system, plus the water in the boiler.

    We can discuss all of the energy wasted in forced air systems if you wish, I've seen the disasters many guys install and call duct work and they're far from sealed and usually not very well insulated, if at all. Then we've got the electric to run the blower, the noise, the constant temperature swings.

    Chris you have me wrong. I'm not trying to tell the OP in any way what to do, just stating facts. A remodel of a 100+ year structure needs to be done correctly. Many questions need to be asked, data collected and an Informed decision made. I think you'll agree the 100 year old radiator in a given room sized for when there was no insulation and a good chance as Dan said keeping a window open in today's world is "Over-sized"

    Steam is great. I've lived in many houses with it and worked with it in Manhattan quite a bit.

    No no, I didn't have you all wrong.
    I just thought the suggestion of forced air was wrong. :)

    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
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 2,558
    ChrisJ said:

    pecmsg said:

    ChrisJ said:

    Wardo said:

    Steam boils at 212F at atmospheric pressure. What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system? Does it go into your house or up the flue? The answers to these questions might help you decide.

    1. Calculate heat loss
    2. Size new steam boiler & alternate unit
    3. Price out installation of both ( Y intercept)
    4. Calculate/estimate fuel & maintenance cost per year ( M slope)

    The lines cross at the time when you recoup the extra ROI over the less costly system (Excel is your friend)
    Only you can decide if you can wait that long

    And then there is the opportunity to install properly sized ductwork for central AC…

    Wow.

    Two guys so far trying to get them to install forced hot air systems. @Steamhead do my eyes deceive me?


    What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system?



    All the heat? You mean the entire 8-10 gallons of water stored in an insulated boiler? I don't know, what happens to all of the heat stored in the many, many gallons of water in a hot water system, plus the water in the boiler.

    We can discuss all of the energy wasted in forced air systems if you wish, I've seen the disasters many guys install and call duct work and they're far from sealed and usually not very well insulated, if at all. Then we've got the electric to run the blower, the noise, the constant temperature swings.

    Chris you have me wrong. I'm not trying to tell the OP in any way what to do, just stating facts. A remodel of a 100+ year structure needs to be done correctly. Many questions need to be asked, data collected and an Informed decision made. I think you'll agree the 100 year old radiator in a given room sized for when there was no insulation and a good chance as Dan said keeping a window open in today's world is "Over-sized"

    Steam is great. I've lived in many houses with it and worked with it in Manhattan quite a bit.

    No no, I didn't have you all wrong.
    I just thought the suggestion of forced air was wrong. :)

    That still brings up the question of A/C?

    How the hell is a homeowner supposed to be able to figure $%i! this out?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    edited August 2017
    pecmsg said:

    ChrisJ said:

    pecmsg said:

    ChrisJ said:

    Wardo said:

    Steam boils at 212F at atmospheric pressure. What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system? Does it go into your house or up the flue? The answers to these questions might help you decide.

    1. Calculate heat loss
    2. Size new steam boiler & alternate unit
    3. Price out installation of both ( Y intercept)
    4. Calculate/estimate fuel & maintenance cost per year ( M slope)

    The lines cross at the time when you recoup the extra ROI over the less costly system (Excel is your friend)
    Only you can decide if you can wait that long

    And then there is the opportunity to install properly sized ductwork for central AC…

    Wow.

    Two guys so far trying to get them to install forced hot air systems. @Steamhead do my eyes deceive me?


    What happens to all the heat below 212F in a steam system?



    All the heat? You mean the entire 8-10 gallons of water stored in an insulated boiler? I don't know, what happens to all of the heat stored in the many, many gallons of water in a hot water system, plus the water in the boiler.

    We can discuss all of the energy wasted in forced air systems if you wish, I've seen the disasters many guys install and call duct work and they're far from sealed and usually not very well insulated, if at all. Then we've got the electric to run the blower, the noise, the constant temperature swings.

    Chris you have me wrong. I'm not trying to tell the OP in any way what to do, just stating facts. A remodel of a 100+ year structure needs to be done correctly. Many questions need to be asked, data collected and an Informed decision made. I think you'll agree the 100 year old radiator in a given room sized for when there was no insulation and a good chance as Dan said keeping a window open in today's world is "Over-sized"

    Steam is great. I've lived in many houses with it and worked with it in Manhattan quite a bit.

    No no, I didn't have you all wrong.
    I just thought the suggestion of forced air was wrong. :)

    That still brings up the question of A/C?

    How the hell is a homeowner supposed to be able to figure $%i! this out?
    I installed A\C in my house this summer, sadly, an attic system. But all of the diffusers and returns are in the ceiling, the best place for cooling.

    For heat, I have steam.

    Best of both worlds.

    There's also always the option of mini splits for A\C.
    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
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • liamnyc99
    liamnyc99 Member Posts: 8
    I plan on installing a 4 zone mini split unit for A/C ill keep you guys posted thanks again
  • gschallert
    gschallert Member Posts: 170
    liamnyc99 said:

    Hi I'm considering removing my steam heating system and installing a hydronic combi type system. My question to the community is would it be wise to do so. I'm in the midst of a home renovation witch is going to involve moving some of my steam radiators and re pluming just about the entire system. all the walls are open, new floor joist and sub floor so access doesn't get any better then now.

    You're correct that the current renovation is the perfect opportunity to upgrade the heating system. You mentioned that the home will be for sale in the next few years so it is wise to consider the market value of an upgraded modern heating system as it appeals to home buyers. Personally I've lived in homes with every type of heating, including steam. While the comfort level is nice, I didn't like the high maintenance and the fact that so few steam professionals were available in the area. My fav heating is hot water baseboard and I'm actually a little jealous of my in-laws new modcon combi.

    Unless the home had historical registry value, in your position I would likely rip the steam out and replace with hot water keeping some of the rads if possible and if they worked aesthetically in the remodel or within the heat loss analysis.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,745
    If it were mine to do I'd go for keeping the steam and miniplits for the A/C.

    However, that's me.

    A couple of other comments, though. @gschallert mentioned that they were unhappy with the maintenance requirement of steam. With all due respect, the maintenance requirement for steam is not significantly greater than hot water, and considerably less than for forced air. However, there is an illusion operating here, as both forced air and hot water are more forgiving -- in terms of appearing to keep working and heating -- than steam. All three types of systems work very well indeed, when they are properly maintained. None of them work well, nor cheaply, when they are not -- but steam will inform you when maintenance is being neglected, and the other two won't (I've seen some really horrible forced air systems...).

    He also mentioned a possible consideration on historical registry. I believe the OP mentioned that the place had been pretty well opened up already. This has eliminated any possibility for historical registry, so that is a gone goose and not a factor.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    RomanGK_26986764589
  • liamnyc99
    liamnyc99 Member Posts: 8
    yeah no historical registry. unfortunately the radiators aren't detailed or high end for the time ether but thats ok.

    this is a little off topic but seems to be recurring, what major maintenance does steam require that other systems don't?

    I have lived here for 25 yrs and other then replacing what i believe was the original boiler 11 yrs ago i have not had to do a thing to my heating system at all.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    > @liamnyc99 said:
    > yeah no historical registry. unfortunately the radiators aren't detailed or high end for the time ether but thats ok.
    >
    > this is a little off topic but seems to be recurring, what major maintenance does steam require that other systems don't?
    >
    > I have lived here for 25 yrs and other then replacing what i believe was the original boiler 11 yrs ago i have not had to do a thing to my heating system at all.

    No idea. I add water once a month and rinse the boiler out every year or two.

    To be it's a lot easier then bleeding a hot water system after working on it. I used to help a friend with his hw heat and I hated bleeding it.

    I still disagree with any modifications adding value to the house.
    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,937
    I'm scratching my head about all this maintenance as well.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Dave0176
    Dave0176 Member Posts: 1,172
    I'm keeping away from this thread ;) lol
    DL Mechanical LLC Heating, Cooling and Plumbing 732-266-5386
    NJ Master HVACR Lic# 4630
    Specializing in Steam Heating, Serving the residents of New Jersey
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/dl-mechanical-llc

    https://m.facebook.com/DL-Mechanical-LLC-315309995326627/?ref=content_filter

    I cannot force people to spend money, I can only suggest how to spend it wisely.......
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    Dave0176 said:

    I'm keeping away from this thread ;) lol

    Oh no you don't!
    You comment!!!
    DO IT!!! :)
    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
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,937
    Dave0176 said:

    I'm keeping away from this thread ;) lol


    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • gschallert
    gschallert Member Posts: 170

    A couple of other comments, though. @gschallert mentioned that they were unhappy with the maintenance requirement of steam. With all due respect, the maintenance requirement for steam is not significantly greater than hot water, and considerably less than for forced air.

    What I said was "I didn't like the high maintenance" - meaning that it required too much of my attention when running as steam is much much less forgiving than hot water. Constantly checking water level/quality and dealing with spitting vents, leaking valves and shimming the rads as house settled screwing up pitch etc. Refinishing the emitters was a nightmare too whereas baseboard covers weigh nothing and can go outside to be refinished every 5-10 years so much easier and cheaper. As a homeowner I prefer low maintenance installs in general and hot water baseboard has been the most low maintenance heating system I've ever had other than electric baseboard.
  • gschallert
    gschallert Member Posts: 170
    liamnyc99 said:

    yeah no historical registry. unfortunately the radiators aren't detailed or high end for the time ether but thats ok.

    In that case I'd definitely ditch 'em. ;-)

  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    edited August 2017

    A couple of other comments, though. @gschallert mentioned that they were unhappy with the maintenance requirement of steam. With all due respect, the maintenance requirement for steam is not significantly greater than hot water, and considerably less than for forced air.

    What I said was "I didn't like the high maintenance" - meaning that it required too much of my attention when running as steam is much much less forgiving than hot water. Constantly checking water level/quality and dealing with spitting vents, leaking valves and shimming the rads as house settled screwing up pitch etc. Refinishing the emitters was a nightmare too whereas baseboard covers weigh nothing and can go outside to be refinished every 5-10 years so much easier and cheaper. As a homeowner I prefer low maintenance installs in general and hot water baseboard has been the most low maintenance heating system I've ever had other than electric baseboard.
    Yes,
    And what all of us are saying is what do you mean high maintenance?

    I add water once a month. Checking water quality?

    I haven't shimmed a single radiator and some of mine are pitched in the wrong direction, nothing cares. Again, proper pressure matters.

    In a properly functioning system vents won't spit nor will they even need to be looked at for a very long time. Decades. I've got a feeling mine may go centuries as steam never even gets to them.

    Leaking valves, this also happens on hot water systems, more so in fact due to higher pressures. You believe 80-100 year old hot water systems don't need attention?

    It sounds like your complaints were more about really old equipment than about the type of system. Had you installed all new valves, vents and a properly sized steam boiler all of your problems would've gone away aside from paint.


    None of this changes the bottom line that the op is concerned about as well. Tearing out the entire system and installing a hot water system WILL NOT increase his or her resale value. To say differently is flat out wrong. It may make the home more appealing to some, but the value will be the same.

    All opinions on system types aside, this is a very important factor, perhaps the most important if we're going to give good advice.


    I suppose that means, do whatever is easiest and cheapest.
    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
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Sorry Mr. Jensen :) but in a lot of cases buyers look at basement space, and one huge turnoff and obstacle can be low hanging, often asbestos wrapped steam piping. In my area, folks try to maximize thier living spaces. A finished, *useable* lower level, or the potential for one, ups the homes value.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,092
    edited August 2017
    Bob Bona said:

    Sorry Mr. Jensen :) but in a lot of cases buyers look at basement space, and one huge turnoff and obstacle can be low hanging, often asbestos wrapped steam piping. In my area, folks try to maximize thier living spaces. A finished, *useable* lower level, or the potential for one, ups the homes value.

    A finished basement is different.
    I'll agree, that would add to resale value.

    But a different heating system alone will not.

    Throwing "asbestos wrapped" in there is a moot point as it could be the same for HW. That's totally separate from the type of system.
    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
  • Bob Bona_4
    Bob Bona_4 Member Posts: 2,083
    Asbestos and steam is pretty much a given. Hw, not as much so.
  • liamnyc99
    liamnyc99 Member Posts: 8
    I'm keeping the steam
    The hole house was filled and covered with asbestos, so nothing new there. but the pipes are not wrapped. the basement is heated (not very well but we will be fixing that) and was finished before.

    I would like to move the main supply line from the middle of the basement to the side wall along with the boilers. to free up some room and get rid of the bulkhead. All of the radiator lines go up the side wall so i think i would be simplifying the system if anything. but more on this latter when i can take photos and measurements.
    Thanks
    Liam