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2 pipe steam to H20 conversion

RAD
RAD Member Posts: 17
I have a 2 pipe steam system conversion on my plate and I am not a steamhead. All of the headers and returns are accessible in the basement, as well as the risers and returns. I have a rm x rm heatloss completed, and have sized all of the rads for EDR. I am qualified to make all of the rad conversions with new TRV's and tapping the rads for vents. (Though Dan's article about using the rads as the compression tank for the system is quite interesting)
I have checked flow rates against existing radiation and actual heat loss and the 3/4" supplies and 1/2" returns are adequate for the rad piping. All of the near boiler piping and supplies/returns/headers are being demo'd. I have great concerns about corrosion, sludge, etc. in a steam system, but the other heating considerations for the new parts of the building (low mass radiant, and BB) will be best served by H20.
I would like some insight on the steam to water conversion woes, and perhaps some solutions. I will share whatever figures I have with regard to sizing.
Thank You

Comments

  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,832
    There was a time

    when I wasn't a steamhead either. That changed.

    That's probably a Vapor system. Vapor was the Cadillac of heating in its day and is still one of the best systems out there.

    From the way you wrote this, I get the idea you're working on an addition to the existing home. My favorite solution for this would be a separate HW boiler to run the new zones (and an indirect too) and leave the steamer in place. Then if one boiler quits, the other will keep going. I have such a system running in a very big house with a big addition and it works great!

    Thermostatic radiator valves work great on steam. There's nothing to prevent this. If this is an orifice system, you can use orifice disks in the TRVs' unions.

    For a discussion of the many pitfalls you may encounter when trying to convert a steam system to water, go here:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/newsletter.cfm?Id=22

    I'd leave the steam as it is, with the addition of TRVs and any maintenance it may need. This is much less risky, less intrusive and less expensive than trying to convert it.



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  • RAD
    RAD Member Posts: 17
    already there

    I read that article. We are dealing with thin tube rads, all of the basement piping will be demo'd, and two systems are not an option with space requirements of the mech. rm.
    The leak issue has not been adressed, as the boiler is not operational. I will be broaching that subject next. It is likely that this system will be converted, and the clients are not short on budget.
  • Christian Egli
    Christian Egli Member Posts: 277
    A steaming idea

    I know I am just trying to change your mind, but how about doing the addition with steam?

    It seams your home owner is not looking for the cheapest up front installation cost. With this in mind, why not seriously consider refurbishing the steam system with all its benefits. After all, hydronic systems are just make-believe steam.

    Does it show I have an agenda? May bee, but in all seriousness, I have tasted steam heat and you can't easily beat it for comfort.

    Good luck with your project, and I am glad we aren't talking about a forced air conversion.
  • Dale
    Dale Member Posts: 1,317
    Steam to water

    Quite a few here and most of the customers love the fuel savings with a condensing gas boiler and the direct vent as the old chimney is often shot. As to leaks, an air test even with temp caps will tell you if there's any major leaks, if you have walls that can not risk any leaks PAP to individual rads is a good idea. The other common problem is the kitchen where the remodel needs a kickspace heater and the zone won't deliver since it's small pipe on old large steam pipe. A smallest pump for that is to MHO worth the $ up front.
  • Greg_16
    Greg_16 Member Posts: 2
    2 dist. 1 building

    I have an older building in NYC with both one pipe and two pipe systems according to whwich floor you are on. The boiler end however has one pipe. There are complaints of under and over heating. Is that mix a contributing factor and can anyone suggest a solution. Thanks a mil.
  • RAD
    RAD Member Posts: 17
    we're off track

    I see that the steamheads are not shy about suggesting steam. This job will go two ways. Either the system will be converted to H20 with the existing rads, or it will be scrapped and replaced with a combo of panel rads and low mass floor. I want to know if these rads, returns, and supplies are going to be a problem with corrosion, sludge, etc. A pressure test is a viable option, and will be done before a wrench is turned. There have been 5 contractors there already, that have done nothing but frustrate the clients with the "uh, I dont think we can do that" approach. I am a can-do guy, and know this is a viable option, so some suggestions and warnings of pitfalls would be appreciated so we may all LEARN.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,832
    No we're not

    You asked, we answered. That's why we're here. There are many among us who don't automatically convert or tear out every steam system we see. We've taken the time to learn how to fix them and make them run efficiently. Some of us have even built steam systems from scratch. This way, we can offer our clients another option, one that many others say they "can't-do". Yes, I'm a Steamhead, and proud of it.

    But since you mentioned it, why are you ripping out all the piping in the basement? Is it already leaking? If so, you probably have weak spots throughout that system which won't take the much higher pressure you need with hot water, and you'll have a nightmare with all the call-backs you'll get.

    If it ain't broke.......

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This discussion has been closed.