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Steamhead Member Posts: 16,726
It is much, much simpler to repair a steam system than to convert it. There are too many pitfalls and the payback period is rather long. I know of at least one case where the conversion was so unsatisfactory the owner went back to steam.

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You might pressure-test those rads and find they don't leak, then fill the system with water and find leaks in the pipes. And the rads might not be big enough for the load with hot water.

You've come to the right place for info on old steam systems. Tell us more about the system you're working with!

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  • Steam Radiator redo

    I am working on a design to convert a steam system with column radiators to hot water. The radiators are about 70 years old (1930's). Is it appropriate to change the push nipples or if the radiator passes a pressure test (40 PSI)
    are chances that the radiator is okay? Out here on the left coast we don't do steam that much so any advice will be appreciated!
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    The usual rate....

    Of saved radiators during conversion (in MY estimation) is about 60, maye 70%. Like Steamhead said, the pipes are usually more of a problem.Steam properly piped and used in a home doesn't ever need to be over 1/2 lb. pressure, so pumping them up to 40psi is a good test.

    If your going to zone the water system, your more likely than not going to have to change the pipes too. If not, your biting off a big chunk, and the odds aren't so good.
    If your going to test any radiators, my advice is to remove them, change all the fittings that you will use in the conversion, then pressure test them. I've heard that god awful crack that is the death knell, while removing plugs and bushings. I've also cracked a couple while putting the plug in the steam vent hole. You've got to remember, these puppies have been taking that steam for a long time and things wear out and get brittle. Keep us informed. Pictures would be nice too. Good luck. Chris
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