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Adding steam heat in the basement

alextauber Member Posts: 11
Hi everyone. I have steam heat in my house. It’s a one pipe system. My basement gets cold in the winter because there’s no radiators down there. I was thinking of adding a wall hung radiator. I already have a connection that’s not being used. My question is do I need to add another pipe for the water to return?

On another note is it worth it to expose the pipe behind the wall on the return side to provide some heat from there?



  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    How is the system piped now-parallel flow, or counterflow?
    What will be the height of the new radiator, in comparison to the boiler waterline?
    Would the radiator you wish to use be the same sort as in the rest of the house?—NBC
  • alextauber
    alextauber Member Posts: 11
    Not sure what you mean by parallel or counter. It would be above the waterline. The problem is the basement is low And I’m afraid the water will get trapped in it. It will be cast iron like the others in the house. Maybe I can put a manual drain valve in it?
  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,424
    If you install it on the wall below the steam main it will need to have a drip into the wet return. A manual drain valve would not be acceptable. If you can mount it on the ceiling about the steam main, it wouldn’t need to have a drip into the wet return (assuming everything is pitched properly).
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,276
    But to add to @Danny Scully 's comment - adding a drip isn't a big hassle. You can even do it in copper... just bring it back around to the boiler and hook it in below the water line there (keep it below the water line all the way until it turns up to the radiator -- right on the floor is fine.)
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • kjl520
    kjl520 Member Posts: 10
    Personally I would put in cast iron baseboard and circulate the hot water in the steam boiler through and back using standard NRF-22. There would be no pressure in the line. Just put in valves and drains so it can be purged with water from the water heater or something. I've done it many times and works great.
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    This is a one pipe system. If you can mount the wall radiator on the ceiling, above the main, pitch it slightly so that the condensate can run back into the main. It doesn't matter if it's parallel or counter flow. Once the water gets back to the main, it will flow in whatever direction the main is pitched. Also, I wouldn't add a hot water loop unless you have no viable steam option.