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Old NYC, oil fired, steam boiler to hydronic radiant floor system

Is it possible and/ or cost effective to convert an oil fired, steam boiler system to a hydronic radiant floor system in an older NYC condo building? If so, can it be done without alterations to the boiler/building infrastructure, but rather via renovations, manifold etc all done in the apartment unit?

I have received contradicting answers re: this from 2 contractors (1 Independent vs 1associated with Home Depot)..
Obviously, I'd like to hear "Sure, we can do it all in your unit without touching the building's boiler, no problem" from the independent specialist, but the other guys were saying you can't do steam boiler/ radiator to hydronic radiant floor heat..and it would require adjustments to the building's systems (i.e. outside of the apartment).

I'm sure somebody has come across this before.. Any ideas?

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,966
    It can be done... as I used to say to some of my associates, if you give me enough money I can design almost anything.

    Can it be done exclusively within your apartment without affecting other building systems? Possibly. You would need a steam to hot water heat exchanger -- pricey -- and even then it would depend on what steam pressure the building as a whole runs at. After that, you would need the necessary controls and pumps, not to mention putting in the radiant floor system. Further, you would need someone to do a full space heat loss and determine if a radiant floor would even have enough capacity to meet the load.

    I wouldn't try it, myself...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Radiantlover
  • gennady
    gennady Member Posts: 837
    I did something like that, build hot water system off the steam boiler, run supply and return lines from the basement to the 3rd floor through the existing shaft. Was pretty pricey.
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,917
    First of all, in NYC, you can disregard the heating contractor associated with Home Depot. I did installations for them for a short time. They don't pay. No contractor worth his salt would play that game.

    Yes. You can do what you're looking to do but it may not be practical. A qualified person would have to look at the whole apartment and come up with a plan using a heat exchanger of one kind or another, then the rest of the materials and associated labor....and then you might just see that electric mats are the way to go. But it's not out of the question.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
    Radiantlover
  • John Ruhnke
    John Ruhnke Member Posts: 882
    Yes of course it can be done. I have done many hydronic loops off of steam boilers. JohnNY is a very good contractor. He might be somebody to start with. Radiant Heating done right with a good set of controls is really comfortable. You will love it.
    I am the walking Deadman
    Hydronics Designer
    Hydronics is the most comfortable and energy efficient HVAC system.
    Radiantlover
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,966
    "can it be done without alterations to the boiler/building infrastructure, but rather via renovations, manifold etc all done in the apartment unit?"

    ... makes it a good bit more interesting, eh?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Radiantlover
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,349

    "can it be done without alterations to the boiler/building infrastructure, but rather via renovations, manifold etc all done in the apartment unit?"

    ... makes it a good bit more interesting, eh?

    I'd say, probably not unless you're in the top 1%.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    JohnNYRadiantlover