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Single pipe steam: Second floor only heats when it's really cold out...

Roddy Member Posts: 63
Single pipe steam. Plenty of venting on mains, faster radiator vents on second floor. My system does well and heats both floors when it's 15-20 degrees and below. But in milder weather, I get almost no heat upstairs unless I temporarily move my stat up a degree or two. I almost wish my stat had a setting that would call for my boiler to cycle every 1 1/2 to 2 hours during this "in between" weather. I have it set at the lowest cycles/hour my stat allows: 1. While my upstairs radiators do have faster vents than downstairs, I have to admit they're a mish mash of types, which I didn't think should matter. Maybe I should vent my first floor even slower than my current set up. Not sure. Any thoughts?
I'm in Joliet, IL; Chicago suburbs.
Dale Rod.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,275
    About the only thing you can do easily is to slow down the first floor venting. Short heating runs in warmer weather are the hardest to balance.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    random12345Long Beach Ed
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    Yes what Jamie said. How big are your first floor vents? If they are big enough that the steam is all condensed by the first floor radiators until they are full, then no steam will go past them to the upstairs.

    steam is very lazy, just like water. It goes where it’s easiest to go so if you want to direct it, you have to direct it. Hoping doesn’t work 😉
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 912
    If the steam pipes are not insulated, doing so would help get steam to the second floor more quickly.

  • The Steam Whisperer
    The Steam Whisperer Member Posts: 1,215
    1 cycle per hour for steam is usually what we set the T-stat for. Big vents on mains, slow vents on radiators ( we use Ventrite adjustable and try to keep the adjustment under 6). Most radiator vent are too big for good balance.
    WE just installed a new boiler in Joliet last week
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
    RoddyLong Beach Ed