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Electric steam boilers?

HeatingHelp Administrator Posts: 653
This discussion was created from comments split from: Old house, old steam boiler & radiators, possible to electrify?.


  • solarsteam
    solarsteam Member Posts: 1
    I live in a 100+ year old, 2100 square foot house currently heated with 8 steam radiators. Original boiler was coal fired, converted to oil long ago, and converted to natural gas a decade ago. There are many electric boilers that provide hot water heating. Is there any residential electric boiler that runs hotter and can provide steam for radiators? I have a garage solar array that more than meets my current electric needs. The plan would be to put a second solar array on the house roof just for the electric boiler. In Massachusetts electric meters run backwards, so the electric grid would 'store' all my warm weather solar generation until winter, when the electric boiler would run. I do not want to stop using steam boilers. They generate amazingly comfortable heat.
    Mad Dog_2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,635
    It would have been MUCH better to start a new thread on this...

    Electric steam boilers do exist. Quite a number of manufacturers, in fact. As with any such project, you will want to do your arithmetic very thoroughly. It is possible, with a big enough array and counting on the "grid" to "store" electricity (it doesn't store it, of course) you might be economically ahead in the current regulatory and political environment. If you are thinking of this as a "green" solution, you will not be ahead, as that "stored" electricity which you use in the winter will be generated by natural gas -- at a third of the efficiency of a modern steam boiler. You will also be dependent on the grid keeping up in the winter, which it may or may not be able to do.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Mad Dog_2SlamDunk
  • Erin Holohan Haskell
    Erin Holohan Haskell Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 2,345
    @solarsteam, I've moved your discussion here so it doesn't get lost at the bottom of that older thread. Thanks.


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,833
    Yes there are electric steam boilers. I have seen them used in saunas in a YMCA. They didn't hold up too well due to the constant make up water...saunas don't return condensate but for steam heat they are probably ok
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
    I thought I remember seeing a small,  Argo Electric Steam boiler in a very old, caretakers  cottage on a  Famous, 500 acre Long Island Gold Coast Estate on Red Ground Road, Old Westbury..hint hint.The Old Monied Horsey set - about 30 or so  years ago.  It worked great.  Pretty Compact. No digital cameras back then.  Mad Dog. 
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,331
    Unlike other situations there's no penalty with double wall for electric heat. Canadian Chromalux would custom make me equipment in the seventies so raw water was not a problem. I could buy electricity reasonably from OntarioHydro but municipal distributors had funny ideas.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,600
    edited March 2023
    Efficiencies may not be there but you will get "clean" steam. No flue gases. No burner issues.