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Steam Boilers

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I am pretty confident that my 20+ yr old gas - steam boiler is on the way out and will need replacement. I need to determine how big the replacement boiler should be, since I am relatively certain the exsisting one is undersized. I state this because my first floor stays cold and my second floor gets roasting. Additionally I would like to know if there is a particular brand name of boiler that you'd recommend?? I live in RHode Island and, as you know, we have weather that is basically the same as Long Island.any help would be greatly appreciated.

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  • Thomas DiPippo
    Thomas DiPippo Member Posts: 2
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    Steam Boiler replacement

    I am pretty confident that my 20+ yr old gas - steam boiler is on the way out and will need replacement. I need to determine how big the replacement boiler should be, since I am relatively certain the exsisting one is undersized. I state this because my first floor stays cold and my second floor gets roasting. Additionally I would like to know if there is a particular brand name of boiler that you'd recommend?? I live in RHode Island and, as you know, we have weather that is basically the same as Long Island.any help would be greatly appreciated.
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
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    Steam Boilers

    are properly sized based on the amount of interconnected radiation (measured in "square feet" also known as "EDR" for equivalent direct radiation).

    Check out the bookstore on this site for the book "EDR" as a good place to start your homework. "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" and it's companion book are welcome additions to any bookshelf. They are to mine.

    What I am offering here is the most general synopsis, not approaching anything like a final word.

    You want the boiler sized for at least the connected radiation plus a factor for piping/pick-up. The I=B=R rating covers this (de-rates the boiler by a percentage (28% I think) to cover that unknow. There are others far more knowlegeable on this site than I, so take a seat..

    Secondly, I would submit that because one floor heats and the other one does not, does not necessarily mean that the boiler is undersized. Could be less radiation relative to the heat loss, incorrect piping, plugged vents, any number of things.

    If a steam boiler is undersized it often shows up by shutting off on low water before the house is warm or if automatic make-up is used, flooding in an effort to keep up. These among other symptoms not the least of which is a house colder than you would like.

    I have lived in RI and know the weather to be not unlike LI, except that we got LI weather as a hand-me-down. Used weather! Ugh.. :)
  • Sal_3
    Sal_3 Member Posts: 18
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    All my plumbers that i had get an estimate all told me the same thing Weil Mclane or Burnham boilers. I went with the WM
  • Bob W._3
    Bob W._3 Member Posts: 561
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    Tom, I highly recommend The Lost Art of Steam Heating. For starters, however, simply click on Hot Tech Topics on the upper left menu. There are articles of Dan's there which apply. One is called A Steam Heating Primer. The next is on Boiler Sizing. Finally, there is one called Replacing Your Old Steam Boiler? Read these. It will give you a good start. Then come back and ask questions from the steam experts. This is what I did. They will help you.
  • oil-2-4-6-gas
    oil-2-4-6-gas Member Posts: 641
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    .

    from the soumds of your statement the 2nd floor gets hot but the 1st floor is cold --sounds like a system issue not boiler size --does the furthest and highest radiator get hot? if it does then certainly the first floor should get hot get a steam pro-to check your system survey your actual --radiation and you will be surprised your boiler is most likely oversized
  • Boilerpro_3
    Boilerpro_3 Member Posts: 1,231
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    overheated 2nd floors

    are usually caused by insulating the attic. When you insulate the attic, you reduce the heat loss from the 2nd floor but not the first. However, the radiators on the 2nd floor didn't get any smaller, so the the 2nd floor overheats. A little system balancing can usually fix that problem.

    Boilerpro
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