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What is a good alternative for replacing a one-pipe steam heating system??

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ChrisF
ChrisF Member Posts: 46
Although I am uncertain at the moment, I wanted to get ideas, if in the future I do decide to convert. Currently I have a one-pipe steam heating system in the house, and although I am getting heat, everything is not right with it. Firstly, the boiler is oversized...it is only about 7 years old, but the previous homeowner went too big with it, so I am experiencing over-firing, and noise on some convector radiators. Most of the issues I have with it, are because there are so many variables in steam heat...with venting, radiator pitch, skimming, etc...there's just so many things to deal with. I grew up in a house that had hydronic heating, and it was never an issue...ever. Secondly, I've been at my house for over two years, and have not been able to find a skilled technician who has the right experience and knowledge in steam. Unfortunately, every technician that has checked my system has minimal knowledge in steam. I live in Connecticut, and there only seems to be one steam expert on this site, in my area, but he's usually busy and unavailable. I have a family, and I don't want to spend my extra time trying to figure out issues with my heating system. Other than selling the house, or replacing the boiler with a properly sized one, I am wondering what other, simpler options there are for heating, and replacing what I currently have? Not sure what is even an option. I do have ductwork for central air from the attic...would a heat pump be a good option? I apologize to all the fans and supporters of steam heat if I'm coming off as a hater.
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Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,853
    edited December 2020
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    Finding ANY qualified tech weather for Steam, Hydronics, Heat Pumps is getting harder and harder.

    There more then 1 steam guy in Ct but yes there busy because there good.

    Get thru this winter and let him repair your system properly. If it involves a new boiler so be it.
    ethicalpaulChrisF
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    You could convert to hot water, but I think that'd be a mistake. It would require a new boiler, the installation of new pipes to every radiator, leak-checking and repairing each existing pipe and radiator (not a small thing-- the system will go from 2psi to lots more psi) and additionally, the radiation in each room may no longer be appropriately sized for water instead of steam.

    You'll be told that a new hot water boiler is going to be 9x% efficient compared to your steam boiler at 8x% but the difference will not be real or noticeable and the high efficiency hot water boiler will require a lot of maintenance and won't last nearly as long, destroying any operating savings that may exist.

    From where you stand today, steam seems like such a pain with many variables. But I would offer that is because the pains and variables of a replacement system aren't in your life yet. Steam has 3 moving parts: the flue damper, the gas valve, and the pressuretrol. You can't find that simplicity and reliability anywhere else in the hvac world.

    Good luck in your choice
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    ChrisFCanucker
  • ChrisF
    ChrisF Member Posts: 46
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    @ethicalpaul @pecmsg Thank you! I appreciate the responses.
    ethicalpaul
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    The guys I know of -- and there are more -- who work in Connecticut are Charles Garrity @Charlie from wmass and @dobro23 . Charles is from Massachusetts and Dobro (sorry, I don't know his name) is in Danbury.

    Yes they are both busy. The good people are...

    By far the least expensive and most satisfactory way to resolve your situation has three steps. First, learn about steam heat. It isn't complicated (it's the simplest of the options) and there is a lot a reasonably handy homeowner can do -- venting, radiator pitch, and skimming, for instance -- also making sure pressures are right. There are two books on steam heat available from the store on this site: We Got Steam Heat, which is homeowner's guide, and The Lost Art of Steam Heat, which is a little more oriented to the professional -- but a lot of homeowners use it. Second, having done what you can do get your system in good shape, find a professional -- such as one of those two men -- to come and evaluate the system you have and finish putting it right. Then, sometime down the road, replace the old boiler when it has done its time.

    Now. On replacement. Unless you are down at the shore, a heat pump -- even if the ductwork is arranged for heat rather than cooling (unlikely) -- isn't going to be enough. It can get a bit chilly in Connecticut, and so will you if the heat pump is your only source of heat. So you will need either fuel burning forced air back up, a hot water heating system -- or steam.

    It is highly unlikely that your existing air conditioning duct work and registers are usable for comfortable and economical forced air heat. So you have a new furnace to install, and new at least some new duct work.

    Forced hot water is an option, but it would mean a new boiler, plus all new radiation and new piping throughout the house. Probably the most expensive possible option.

    So... I'd get in tough with one of those two folks (use the PM feature of this site), learn what you can about your present system and see if there is anything you feel up to working on, and have patience.

    Your comment on not having an issue with hot water heat... my I mildly point out that the main house I care for has had steam heat now for exactly 90 years (it was installed in 1930) and there the only thing that has ever needed replacement is one wet return pipe and a new boiler. Totally comfortable, totally trouble free.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisF
  • acwagner
    acwagner Member Posts: 505
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    I'll add that a good portion of the members on this site were like you: new home with steam, no prior experience, all kinds of problems with it, no qualified/trustworthy contractor to help, wishing it was gone.

    Generally, with some basic knowledge and some effort on your part, you can get the system working the way you want with little money spent or major disruption to your life. That's not always the case, but I'd recommend that path before changing out the heating system.

    There are a few of ways to deal with an oversized boiler that don't involve replacing it or changing out the heating system.

    If you're determined to replace the system, then, in my opinion, the heating technology is less important than making sure it's designed and sized for the home conditions and installed properly. And then maintained.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

    ChrisF
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    You sound like me 10 years ago.  I was going to convert to forced hot water for no other reason than I thought steam was old and inefficient.

    Fast forward to now and tweaking the system is actually a hobby!  I've insulated all my pipes, upgraded the main venting and properly vented the radiators.  It has made a world of difference in efficiency and performance.

    You'll be looking at a VERY large bill to convert to any other form of heat.  I'd recommend sticking with it and having a pro fine tune your system.  Once properly operating you shouldn't even know it's there!  

    If you are in the eastern half of CT I'd also recommend New England Steamworks.  They do super work and are experts in steam.  They do my yearly maintenance and tune up.

    You may have to wait a while, but it will be worth it.
    ChrisF
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    Ah! Good to know, @AdmiralYoda . I didn't know that Ryan @New England SteamWorks came down into eastern Connecticut. That's three. All excellent people.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    @Jamie Hall I can't say for sure as I live in central MA, but they are based out of Providence.  If they travel to the north shore of MA, I'm sure they will go to portions (or all) of CT.
  • New England SteamWorks
    New England SteamWorks Member Posts: 1,505
    edited December 2020
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    Just Windham & New London counties in CT @Jamie Hall and @AdmiralYoda. We have to draw a line somewhere...
    New England SteamWorks
    Service, Installation, & Restoration of Steam Heating Systems
    newenglandsteamworks.com
    dobro23
  • ChrisF
    ChrisF Member Posts: 46
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    Thank you @AdmiralYoda and @Jamie Hall
    @New England SteamWorks doesn't cover my location, unfortunately...I'm close to Hartford.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    ChrisF said:

    Thank you @AdmiralYoda and @Jamie Hall
    @New England SteamWorks doesn't cover my location, unfortunately...I'm close to Hartford.

    @Charlie from wmass does. He's just up the road in Springfield. I'm biased -- he takes loving care of Cedric and is, in my humble opinion, excellent. Also, no surprise, very busy.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    ChrisF
  • SteamingatMohawk
    SteamingatMohawk Member Posts: 1,004
    edited December 2020
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    I've gotten commendable free advice from @Charlie from wmass in the last two years. Now, I live near Albany, NY and practically begged him to come to my house. He said it's too far out of his territory as he travels north and south of Springfield.

    If you are near Hartford (I lived in Windsor twice), he should be able to fit you in sooner or later.

    My steam system is in a 1920s 2 family converted to a 4 unit rental I have owned since 1988. Between what I have learned on HH and advice from Charlie, my system is running well.

    If your house is a somewhat typical single family, any work (except for correcting totally incompetent modifications to the original system) isn't all that expensive and there is plenty of technical information available, along with moral support from the folks on HH.

    If your AC can be reasonably adapted to heating as well, I highly recommend a heat pump with gas backup. My primary residence was built in 1988 and has worked almost flawlessly since (one AC compressor capacitor and a couple of fan motors). I messed up installing a setback thermostat, but that's not the system's fault.

    I've talked to guys selling mini-splits and their answers to "What do you do when the temperature is -15F?" were,

    A) wait till it warms up outside and
    B) keep your original system as a backup.

    A) is absolutely ridiculous and not possible for a rental. Probably was a tongue in cheek answer.

    B) doesn't get rid of the existing system which is the purpose in the first place.

    After 32 years of living in the house the one thing I do wish I had a good solution for is some kind of zoning, since the house is a colonial and the lone thermostat is in the dining room. Other than that, it's a nearly perfect solution. Our zoning is the flappers in the floor registers and leaving unused bedroom doors closed depending on the time of year. Two retired adults, no kids or grands with us.

    I recently communicated with Arzel about zoning and my single stage furnace can be used as long as the zones carry at least 1/3 of the capacity. That's an oversimplified statement, but somewhat understandable, at least to me.


    ChrisF
  • MaxMercy
    MaxMercy Member Posts: 508
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    Sidestepping the original topic a bit but I think it's germane enough to ask this question on this thread: does the presence of a steam heating system devalue the property a bit? In other words, are some buyers scared off by seeing a steam heat system? If so, is this something that may someday affect an oil fired hydronic system as opposed to a new whiz bang mod/con or - or even farther in the future, a heat pump system???



  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    I'm not a real estate agent -- but I would say that for some buyers, it may. For other buyers it would be an asset worth paying more for.

    As to where this is going in the future -- Your guess is as good as mine. It depends almost entirely on how the politics of carbon reduction efforts plays out, and that's about as predictable as a roulette wheel at this point.

    It is possible that some sort of approach will be found which allows fuel fired heating in the existing built environment to remain. It is also possible that it won't (see the article that @ChicagoCooperator posted on the Wall) -- which will pretty well tank the value of almost any built structure with fuel fired heating.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    MaxMercy
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
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    I have heat pumps for the central
    air systems d 1 pipe steam.  Like you mine was oversized snd needed a lot of work to operate correctly.  I actually got it to work ok with an oversized boiler using a 2 stage gas Valve but finally put in a used boiler.  

    If you have one AC system, the ductwork is likely optimized for cooling ( most air goes upstairs).  In my house I need 1.5-2tons downstairs and 2.5 upstairs.  From 40-60f outdoors I need 10-25k downstairs and none upstairs.  My 2 ton downstairs won’t keep up.l below about 35-40f.  The steam boiler takes over from there.  If I replaced my air handlers with furnaces, I’d need 70k downstairs and just 40k upstairs.  

    My actual strategy would probably be to install hydronic coils in both units and a 150k mod con boiler for that and DHW.   Right now DHW is off the steam boiler.  


    Have you started wjth the basics?   Lower pressure setting, maximize main vents.  Slow the radiator vents. Make sure radiators are pitched correctly.  

    Those 3 things fixed 95% of my issues.  But took time to sort it out.  My near boiler piping was wrk g but it was an older HB Smith with a huge steam chest so didn’t matter.     
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,703
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    and post pictures,
    we love pictures
    known to beat dead horses
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
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    I love how heat pumps are the “future”.  Would love to see how you can economically get 90,000 btu to heat a 3600sqft brick Victorian with heat pumps.   Spend $20k on better storm windows and spray foam the attic and you might get to 70kbtu... maybe.  Keeping in mind you need 55k downstairs and 15k upstairs in winter and probably 15/25 in summer.    Would need a pair of air to water units or very expensive geothermal water to water system I would think.  
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    Don't get me going.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    The end of the use of fossil fuels has been predicted relentlessly since I could first say the words "fossil fuel". Only the reasons for what must be its certain demise seem to change.

    If they outlaw my steam operation I guess I will have to face that. Common sense is telling me though we have quite a list of bigger things to worry about. In the mean time I admit that I find it really hard to get excited about anything involving lots more moving parts and complexity(read that expense) to heat our homes.

    The one thing I do know that is not sustainable is the trend we have been on for some time now of ever rising equipment costs (even after adjustment for inflation) to accomplish the same tasks - home heating being one of them.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
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    Regarding that real estate question on steam scaring away potential buyers...

    I'd say that buyers willing to purchase an older home "generally" understand that older homes come with older home quirks.  That's often what makes these homes unique.

    So no, I don't think steam would de-value a property or scare away potential buyers.  Perhaps a 100 year old boiler might, but not steam itself.

    The buyers that want modern heating systems also want all the other modern things, something older homes don't usually provide unless they've been completely gutted and rebuilt.
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    Around me there are a lot of large homes with 2 pipe steam systems and a surprising % still without central air. Each year though these homes get closer to being sold to total rehab speculators. Each year new buyers get less interested in doing anything themselves or even contracting anything - they want everything done already and yes "modern" no matter how cheaply done.

    During such commercial rehabs the steam system is removed. They are definitely not considered a positive today.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    @PMJ 's comment above is, lamentably, correct, at least in some markets. As I said above, it depends very much on what the buyer is looking for. In the type of market of which he is speaking, the buyer doesn't want the house. What he or she wants is a piece of land on which to throw up (read whatever you want into that) a house with which to impress the friends and neighbours. If the frame is good, so much the better -- but they are all too happy to bring in the bulldozers and start over. It's usually slightly cheaper, too. Sensitive restoration is well beyond the ability of most builders today -- and not what many people are interested in anyway.

    However, if you manage to find the right buyer (a good real estate agent can be a big help) they will pay a premium for an older, sensitively cared for, house.

    So it goes either way.

    It is well, however, to keep in mind @motoguy128 's comment above, too. If one is looking at the real estate one is living in as nothing more nor less than a slightly difficult to sell investment, then one would do well to pay very close attention to politics and what it may do to energy markets -- or even straight out regulation. It is entirely possible, given some of the proposals which have been floated, that any property which can't be heated by heat pumps or new build 100 % solar will become essentially worthless, except for the land it sits on.

    If, on the other hand, it is property which you and your family have lived on and farmed for the last seven generations or more (as is the case with Cedric's home or a couple of the other properties we care for), one would do well to cast one's mind back and figure out how it was managed in 1850, and think about how to do that again.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • dabrakeman
    dabrakeman Member Posts: 552
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    I think alot of it depends upon the nature of the property itself. Steam systems present in homes that can be considered by buyers or general public to have distinct historic qualities may be more inclined to retain their steam systems from both a buyers desirability perspective as well as perhaps even a legislative standpoint. More so than maybe an "outdated apartment complex". The look and feel of standing radiation systems in such homes is part of what makes them special. Same as woodwork, uninsulated stain glass windows, wavy original glass, fireplaces and the lot.
    WMno57
  • deyrup
    deyrup Member Posts: 62
    edited December 2020
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    I have a co-worker that lives in NJ who ripped out his oil/water radiators and replaced everything with heat pumps. He is paying $500-800/month in electricity during the winter months; 3-5kwh/month at $.17/kwh. This system was installed this year and is already broken.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,853
    edited December 2020
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    PMJ said:

    Around me there are a lot of large homes with 2 pipe steam systems and a surprising % still without central air. Each year though these homes get closer to being sold to total rehab speculators. Each year new buyers get less interested in doing anything themselves or even contracting anything - they want everything done already and yes "modern" no matter how cheaply done.

    During such commercial rehabs the steam system is removed. They are definitely not considered a positive today.

    Made me think of this song. 1965 / 66
    https://youtu.be/n-sQSp5jbSQ
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    deyrup said:

    I have a co-worker that lives in NJ who ripped out his oil/water radiators and replaced everything with heat pumps. He is paying $900-1200/month in electricity during the winter months; 3-5kwh/month. This system was installed this year and is already broken.

    Off the charts nuts. The maintenance $$ of all those moving parts will be intolerable.

    My entire season gas bill in Cleveland Ohio is $1000 and next to zero maintenance. 1000 edr system and house with no insulation kept at 70F. You couldn't pay me to part with this. I'll be here unless they outlaw natural gas and shut me off.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    I think alot of it depends upon the nature of the property itself. Steam systems present in homes that can be considered by buyers or general public to have distinct historic qualities may be more inclined to retain their steam systems from both a buyers desirability perspective as well as perhaps even a legislative standpoint. More so than maybe an "outdated apartment complex". The look and feel of standing radiation systems in such homes is part of what makes them special. Same as woodwork, uninsulated stain glass windows, wavy original glass, fireplaces and the lot.

    What you say here is true. I was one of those folks when I bought my place 30 years ago.

    There are still some people looking at it this way, just fewer and fewer of them. Few figure they will be any one place very long anyway and that really cuts down on preservation related kinds of investment.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 629
    edited December 2020
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    I'm closer to to central MA in the burbs where there are lots of blue collar people and plenty of old houses.  I wouldn't be surprised if at least 50% of the houses older than 1930 still had steam...and there are tons of them.  Thankfully the knock it down and start over trend hasn't reached us....yet.

    Closer to Boston I see this all the time, especially in affluent communities.  Someone will buy an older 1,200sqft cape on 0.1 acres for $950,000 just to tear it down and build a 5,000sqft McMansion for another $750,000.

    These people have money to burn and don't care.  They just want to live where they want to and want the highest quality everything, not even knowing true quality really is.  Just cut the checks and then go car shopping.
  • deyrup
    deyrup Member Posts: 62
    edited December 2020
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    @AdmiralYoda My neighbor did that, and then got divorced and had to sell his house. My other favorite in the area is people spending 100k+ on a couple hundred sq ft addition on a .1 acre lot
  • SteamCoffee
    SteamCoffee Member Posts: 123
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    Some great advice and the price was right....take it.

    The guys I know of -- and there are more -- who work in Connecticut are Charles Garrity @Charlie from wmass and @dobro23 . Charles is from Massachusetts and Dobro (sorry, I don't know his name) is in Danbury.

    Yes they are both busy. The good people are...

    By far the least expensive and most satisfactory way to resolve your situation has three steps. First, learn about steam heat. It isn't complicated (it's the simplest of the options) and there is a lot a reasonably handy homeowner can do -- venting, radiator pitch, and skimming, for instance -- also making sure pressures are right. There are two books on steam heat available from the store on this site: We Got Steam Heat, which is homeowner's guide, and The Lost Art of Steam Heat, which is a little more oriented to the professional -- but a lot of homeowners use it. Second, having done what you can do get your system in good shape, find a professional -- such as one of those two men -- to come and evaluate the system you have and finish putting it right. Then, sometime down the road, replace the old boiler when it has done its time.

    Now. On replacement. Unless you are down at the shore, a heat pump -- even if the ductwork is arranged for heat rather than cooling (unlikely) -- isn't going to be enough. It can get a bit chilly in Connecticut, and so will you if the heat pump is your only source of heat. So you will need either fuel burning forced air back up, a hot water heating system -- or steam.

    It is highly unlikely that your existing air conditioning duct work and registers are usable for comfortable and economical forced air heat. So you have a new furnace to install, and new at least some new duct work.

    Forced hot water is an option, but it would mean a new boiler, plus all new radiation and new piping throughout the house. Probably the most expensive possible option.

    So... I'd get in tough with one of those two folks (use the PM feature of this site), learn what you can about your present system and see if there is anything you feel up to working on, and have patience.

    Your comment on not having an issue with hot water heat... my I mildly point out that the main house I care for has had steam heat now for exactly 90 years (it was installed in 1930) and there the only thing that has ever needed replacement is one wet return pipe and a new boiler. Totally comfortable, totally trouble free.

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,842
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    PMJ said:

    deyrup said:

    I have a co-worker that lives in NJ who ripped out his oil/water radiators and replaced everything with heat pumps. He is paying $900-1200/month in electricity during the winter months; 3-5kwh/month. This system was installed this year and is already broken.

    Off the charts nuts. The maintenance $$ of all those moving parts will be intolerable.
    Like the old saying goes- A fool and his money are soon parted.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • motoguy128
    motoguy128 Member Posts: 393
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    If fossil fuel use becomes an actual regulated situation, A somewhat practical solution is to add heat pumps to a steam system and operate them when economical and based on capacity. That’s how I’m doing it now. But the economical point because of cheap gas and high electricity in my area at least is about 45-50F.
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    If fossil fuel use becomes an actual regulated situation, A somewhat practical solution is to add heat pumps to a steam system and operate them when economical and based on capacity. That’s how I’m doing it now. But the economical point because of cheap gas and high electricity in my area at least is about 45-50F.

    Well let's hope not. Leave it to the government to take something quite simple, make it really complicated, and then stick middle America with the bill. Two different heating system to maintain? I'd much rather not.

    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
    edited December 2020
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    PMJ said:

    If fossil fuel use becomes an actual regulated situation, A somewhat practical solution is to add heat pumps to a steam system and operate them when economical and based on capacity. That’s how I’m doing it now. But the economical point because of cheap gas and high electricity in my area at least is about 45-50F.

    Well let's hope not. Leave it to the government to take something quite simple, make it really complicated, and then stick middle America with the bill. Two different heating system to maintain? I'd much rather not.

    You and me both. And I have absolutely no clue as to implement such a thing in any of the places I care for. There are no heat pumps which can generate steam that I can find...

    Which is why I floated the idea of a heat pump using water as the "refrigerant". Still would use a lot of electricity (someone suggested it would take around a 100 hp compressor to replace Cedric...)
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • clammy
    clammy Member Posts: 3,111
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    Just because fossil fuels may be going and everybody thinks heat pumps will be the only heat being offered ,what about electric boilers always cheaper to powered a pump then a blower motor and compressor ? I think the other upside is w a water based system there’s not much space lost to duct work and better yet nothing outside and easy zoning that works plus it’s still wet . As for house flippers and renovation home owners they seem to always be doomed in the end when it comes to the cause and effect of there renovation dreams . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,313
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    The problem with electric boilers, @clammy -- which are available -- is the sheer power which is required. Again, to use poor Cedric as a victim, it would take 100 kilowatts. 420 amps on a 240 volt single phase circuit.

    Right... and where am I going to get that? Where are 10,000,000 people in New York City going to get that?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • PMJ
    PMJ Member Posts: 1,265
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    Gee @Jamie Hall . Those darn fossil fuels. They pack in so much power so inexpensively. They've just got to go. No smart people could possibly ever come up with any ways to extract the energy they contain any more cleanly we do now could they. Apparently Government "engineers" have determined we have already reached the end of that rainbow and must stop all trying. Hmmm.

    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • SteamCoffee
    SteamCoffee Member Posts: 123
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    San Francisco has BANNED natural gas for heating and hot water for new builds starting in 2021. The same people who can’t keep the electricity on without any particular stress are at it again. Goofy utopian logic.....the bane of America
  • vtfarmer
    vtfarmer Member Posts: 101
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    @Jamie Hall It's a long story but I saw an implementation of this installed in the home of the inventor in CT many years ago: https://patents.google.com/patent/US4050445

    Close to what you're describing but not quite - more of an amplifier of solar energy that could conceivably work as you describe if the primary fluid (water in a partial vacuum) is condensed in you existing radiators. Part of the point of this invention is to use the heat pump amplification of lower intensity solar output to heat water (the secondary fluid) in an insulated storage tank and not radiate into the space directly, so you lose that.

    I guess you could replace the solar collectors with an air to water heat pump.

    The actual installation I saw used industrial components (big roots blower type vacuum pump with a 5 or 7.5 hp Baldor motor on it, commercial pumps for condensate, big PLC and relay panel for controls). I have no idea if this ever made it into a form one would conceivably mass produce or install in a normal home.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
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    No one is going to take away our gas, folks, don't sweat it.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el