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Dead Men Tales: Old Buildings, New Steam

HeatingHelpHeatingHelp Posts: 364
edited January 18 in THE MAIN WALL

Old Buildings, New Steam

In the 1980s, New York City’s Department of Housing Preservation and Development renovated hundreds of old buildings and installed brand new one-pipe steam systems. In this episode, Dan Holohan shares why steam was the solution and how he taught their contractors to install steam systems from scratch.

Listen and subscribe here.


  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 8,123
    Love it!!
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,162
    Can't make this stuff up.
    Retired and loving it.
  • GCPlumberGCPlumber Member Posts: 1
    A couple of years ago or so there was an incident in NYC (the Bronx, I think) where two children died when a leaky or defective steam valve caused a problem that killed the kids. I've always hoped to read some comments or explanations about this incident. Since I work on the steam systems in public schools, I thought I should be aware of things that could kill children.
    Apparently this doesn't happen too frequently, but twice is enough. Does anyone know anything about how this happened?
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,162
    The air vent came off the radiators and the room filled with steam.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Long Beach EdLong Beach Ed Member Posts: 702
    ...I always assumed in that case the pressure was probably higher than it had to be also, and while NYC requires a lock out pressurtrol, I suspect it was set higher than two pounds or the pigtail clogged. We've seen ten/fifteen pounds of steam blowing out a broken off vent and it isn't pretty.
  • Stuart RogersStuart Rogers Member Posts: 42 Tenants were complaining of out-of-control heat that day. Sounds like pressure was way too high.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,162
    Tenants will often turn the air vent upside-down to stop the air from venting and slow the steam. If more than one person is doing this and not telling the other, it's very easy for the vent to fall off, especially if the steam pressure is too high.
    Retired and loving it.
  • echosairechosair Member Posts: 7
    I appreciate that. There's a lot of good point to glean from. Thanks
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