Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Volunteer trying to understand and maintain 1890 steam system, Museum House

NealJ Member Posts: 43
Hi Everyone: I’m working with the Oswego County Historical Society on house maintenance (1890 Victorian). Besides rotted windows needing restoration, by biggest concern is the heating system. The boiler is only about 10 years old or so, but the rest of the system is original. Mostly a two pipe system, with a couple of radiators connected via one pipe. No steam traps or other steam controls other than the thermostat. There are a couple of radiators that do not get any steam (vents removed), a couple of leaking radiators (horizontal, ceiling mount in the basement) and deteriorating piping. I’m looking for any steam experts in Central NY that may be available to consult, or if local enough, do a lot of work. I already have asbestos abatement planned for next summer.


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,529

    You can check 'find a contractor" on this site but as I recall steam contractor in your area are in short supply
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    I’ll suggest this.  You’d be surprised how much can be done remotely with pictures through this forum.

    I say post some pictures of what you have and any specific questions you have and let’s see how we can help.  I came to this forum and through reading and asking questions was able to properly install my own boiler.

    Pictures should include the boiler and associated piping, wide shots showing all at once helps a lot, and several different angles.

    Also a typical radiator installation, sounds like a two pipe air vent system, but the pics will say for sure.

    I’m on the board for our local historical society so I can appreciate the challenges you face.  Link to ours if you’re curious.

    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
    Yes, pictures please.

    I am also on a museum board for our 1912 building. Which is old for our location.

    The name of Oswego has popped up in some of my ancestor records from the late 1800's. The got off the boat from France and ended up there for some time before heading west to homestead in Nebraska. I have always wondered the significance of that location.
  • veteransteamhvac
    veteransteamhvac Member Posts: 73
    Please post some photos of the horizontal ceiling convectors in the basement. Are they under grates into the upper floor? Are they about 8-10" tall but span 10+ sections and supported by large pipes hung from the joists?

    I have been working on something like this in an 1890s house that is also a hybrid system (2 pipe and 1 pipe radiators). I have been somewhat successful at sealing leaks in the convector without dropping the enormous things. One major issue with the system here has been the lack of main venting, perhaps this is why you have cold radiators?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,310
    Pictures! Of both the big ceiling radiators, but also of a sample or two of the others -- both ends and piping and any vents.

    You have plenty of remote help here.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • NealJ
    NealJ Member Posts: 43
    Photos have now been added to separate posts for each set of specific problems. Thanks everyone!
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,061
    The 8-9 PSI may be causing some leaks in the rads.
    They may go away or slow down if only 2 PSI or so is applied.