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We recently completed a gut renovation of our 1880s townhouse in Manhattan but left in place the existing steam heat system, with the exception of the new boiler we installed just before our contractor started the renovation. We were not confident that our contractor's plumbing subcontractor understood steam heat, so we did not have them touch the system. We are looking for a plumber who can reconnect our radiators (a couple likely need to be re-piped), install air vents, and test the system and are having difficulty locating a steam expert with the time to take on the job. Any recommendations would be much appreciated.


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    As you can imagine, wintertime is the busy season for the real experts as they deal with sudden system failures, and also fixing incorrect installations. I would be leary of anyone who is not busy at this time.
    While you are waiting your turn, post some pictures of your new boiler Installation for any advice available here.—NBC
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,841
    There are a few here who roam Manhattan, and if your lucky enough to get one of them there for a look see, be very prepared it might be more than just installing rads and vents. That's why pics now would be helpful.
    The boiler was pre renovation but do you have the sq. ft. of radiation and the EDR rating of the boiler?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,310
    I might add that, while you are waiting for an expert (try @JohnNY for one), you can reinstall air vents which were removed yourself, and a decent plumber -- even if they don't really understand steam -- should be able to reconnect the radiators (though I'd be a bit wary of any repiping...) so you can have heat, if not as good as it should be.

    And yes, pictures. There may be more to this story...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • freezingcold
    freezingcold Member Posts: 2
    Thank you for your replies. Our boiler and new steam piping was installed by a knowledgeable steam heat expert, so it should be just reconnecting the radiators and installing air vents, except for the couple of radiators that will need to be re-piped because the floor height changed. We'll keep looking for someone.

    Worst-case scenario, if we can't find someone before it turns really cold and we end up doing as Jamie Hall suggested and install the air vents ourselves and find someone to simply reconnect the radiators that can be reconnected, can we still turn on the steam heat if two radiators aren't connected? Is there a way to do it so we don't fill up that room with steam?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    After reconnecting the radiators/vents which have no height problems, close the inlet valves of the radiator locations waiting to be reinstalled, and see if they hold steam.
    Watch them carefully as the system comes up to pressure, which if properly installed, should only be a few ounces.—NBC