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Uneven Heating with Steam Boiler System

kane3262
kane3262 Member Posts: 2
I am a new home owner and am struggling to find a comfortable heating solution throughout my home. The home is a 100 year old 3 story house with central heat/air on the first floor and steam radiators for the 2nd and 3rd floors. I've never owned a steam boiler and radiators previously so I know very little about the setup.

The half of the house above the steam boiler gets good heat out of the radiators, but much less (or none at all) on the other side of the house. We exchanged valves on several of the radiators earlier in the winter when temps were more mild (roughly 20-40 degrees F). We've had a number of weeks in a row with 0-20 degree F days, and the cold side of the house often hardly heats at all. Instead of keeping it comfortably in the 70s on the cold side, it often is close to 58-62. With the thermostat set to 72 and a current temp reading of 68 - the warm side of the house is in the high 60s while the cold side of the house is in the high 50s.

I am happy to have an HVAC specialist come out if needed, but would like to try something myself if I can safely do so. I attached a few photos of the setup in case someone is able to at least give me a starting point for things to look into.




Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,932
    Are the radiators one pipe or two pipe? And are there any vents on the steam mains? Are there any dry returns (only on a two pipe system)?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • kane3262
    kane3262 Member Posts: 2
    All radiators are one pipe. Sorry, not great on my terminology but if the steam mains are the vents in the basement, then yes they are there. I saw at least 1, could look to see if there are more if that helps.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,704
    kane3262 said:

    All radiators are one pipe. Sorry, not great on my terminology but if the steam mains are the vents in the basement, then yes they are there. I saw at least 1, could look to see if there are more if that helps.

    For main venting it's not just if they are there, it's what is there and is it sized appropriately for the amount of mains you have.

    The balance starts with the main vents.

    So, find the main vents and verify there is one at the end of each main.
    If it is there what brand/model is it?
    How long are the mains?
    What is the diameter of the mains? We can identify the pipe size from the diameter, pipe sizing can be a bit odd.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,613
    Why is the water level so low? Does it dive low like that during the heating cycle? Or is it always at that level?
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • delcrossv
    delcrossv Member Posts: 685
    A picture of the near boiler piping would be a help as well.
    Trying to squeeze the best out of a Weil-McLain JB-5 running a 1912 1 pipe system.