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.

steam to hot water

hvacdmia2
hvacdmia2 Member Posts: 12
Seriously considering converting a residential two pipe steam system to hot water. Knowing that leaking pipes can be a problem because of added pressure, piping looks to be in good shape though. I am a little concerned about lower output of radiators, because of lower water temp. Do the traps have to be removed or can you just remove the guts and drill out seat treads to say 5/8". Also supply comes in at the top of radiator and return is on opposite end at the bottom. Will water just go across the down and down other end leaving a large portion of radiator not heating.

Comments

  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,490
    Please read

    this Steam to Water article.

    It pays to wander off the Wall
    Retired and loving it.
  • Mad Dog
    Mad Dog Member Posts: 2,595
    It will be much more economical and efficient to

    restore that 2 pipe system. More gratifying as well. Stay with the steam pal, we'll walk you thru it. Mad Dog

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,725
    That's probably an old Vapor system

    which was the Cadillac of heating in its day, and is still one of the best out there. You can still get trap parts, vents etc. Also modern steam boilers approach the efficiency of hot-water ones.

    There are too many pitfalls to seriously consider converting it. Fixing it will be easier and much more cost-effective.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Bryan_5
    Bryan_5 Member Posts: 270
    SAVE THE STEAM

    I almost converted my 2pipe vapor system to water. The only reason was because my heating guy didnt know much about steam. He said that was the only way to get rid of the noise and cut the fuel bill. I read Dan's books and with the help of the pros on this site got my system running as good as it probably ever has. And it only cost a couple hundred dollars for my pile of Gorton #2's. By the way cut my fuel bill by at least a 1/3 this year. Stick with the steam if at all possible. You cant go wrong IMHO.
    Bryan
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,917
    Stay with the Steam!

    These fantastic pros helped me and my contractor (who didn't know the first thing about vapour steam when he started) renovate a wonderful old vapour steam system on my 'cottage' -- it's been working great for a year, heating twice the space on less than half again as much oil. Bought a bunch of nice big vents... all the traps still worked (well, heck, they were only 90 years old)... one leaky radiator...

    Stay with the steam, mon, and be happy!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,725
    Glad to hear it, Bryan & Jamie

    That'll be like money in the bank from now on!

    Steam Heat Rules!

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • hvacdmia2
    hvacdmia2 Member Posts: 12
    Steam to Water article

    I have read that article several times. Also have read Primary-Secondary Pumping, The Lost Art of Steam Heating, A Pockful of Steam Problems, Pumping Away, (after putting the pump on the return for 30 years and vowing to never change I now will change where I put the pump). Some of the best, most informative books I have ever read! The main reason I want to convert to hot water is to save the owner on their heating cost by using 90% efficient boilers. Existing boiler is leaking and has to be replaced so exploring all the options available.
  • Bryan_5
    Bryan_5 Member Posts: 270


    Well I have you to thank. I will let you know at the end of the heating season what my exact savings are. Taking your advice was probably the smartest thing I have done since we bought our house.
    Bryan
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,725
    There is some debate

    on whether a 90%+ boiler is actually that efficient when the water temperature is above condensing range (140 degrees or so). You'll almost certainly be running above that temp if you convert that system. Typically a steam radiator emits 240 BTU per square foot EDR, but a hot-water one only emits 150 BTU when the boiler temp is at 180 degrees, so you'll have to raise the water temperature to compensate. So there's a real good chance the savings you expect may not materialize.

    It really is better not to convert this system. BTW, did you notice who made the system's components? And how about posting some pics? We love this stuff!

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • hvacdmia2
    hvacdmia2 Member Posts: 12


    Didn’t really pay much attention as to who made the system components. Traps are old, boiler is steel, tubes are leaking, could retube but boiler is fairly old. Original piping design looks ok. Large house, 8000 sq. ft., 3 story, plus full basement. 15 pneumatic zone valves controlled by 7 thermostats. Some radiation not heating proper, not sure of the cause, and boilers leaking to much to run long enough to tell what’s going on. Will be going back in a few days will try to get some pictures and more info on traps. 500,000 in radiation existing boiler is 700,000. Lots of piping. Still concerned about the top supply and bottom return piping of the radiators. Will the hot water just go across the top, down the opposite side and leave a large portion of the radiator not heating.
  • BillW@honeywell
    BillW@honeywell Member Posts: 1,099
    I agree with the steam guru's...

    and I just want to reassure you that pneumatic controls are alive & well, if you need repack/rebuild or repair kits for valves just let me know... Stats, too, oil removal stuff, water removal stuff, refrigerated air dryers, just drop me an email & I'll be happy to get you any info you need & get you hooked up with a distributor who can sell the pneumatics to you. A steam system with pneumatic controls...I love it!
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,725
    Flow pattern in radiators

    would be across the top, then down thru all sections at the same speed, across the bottom and out the return. That, at least, wouldn't be a problem.

    But you'd have to be careful with those zone valves. The seals in them might be worn- able to take a couple pounds of steam, but 18-25 pounds of hot water might make them leak. Sure you can get parts for them, but why invite trouble?

    One more reason to stay with steam. Can't wait to see your pics!

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
This discussion has been closed.