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  • steam heating

    i'm curious, again.

    why did the industry move away from steam heating for residential heating.

    is it because of the dangers involved?

    Vince

  • #2
    Re: steam heating

    i would say steam heat was harder to use and size .it is still the best heat you could use but people dont want to hear the steam coming out of the air vents
    Charlie

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    • #3
      Re: steam heating

      Because of cost and cost alone. Expensive to install. Also expensive to operate. The early hydronic circulators were large and prone to leakage not to mention having pretty poor pumping characteristics which made them impractical for pumping water up to 2nd 3rd or higher floors. Also the original hydronic distribution systems were steel pipe and either cast iron radiators or cast iron baseboard which at the time was a lot more expensive than steam because you needed more piping, more and larger radiators not to mention the circulators and controls. When copper pipe and copper fin tube baseboard came in, along with better, more reliable circulators the whole scene changed making forced hot water more economical and more comfortable as well as getting rid of the large cast iron radiators and the constant maintainance of the low water cutoff and such.
      sigpic

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      • #4
        Re: steam heating

        Originally posted by NHMaster3015 View Post
        Because of cost and cost alone. Expensive to install. Also expensive to operate. The early hydronic circulators were large and prone to leakage not to mention having pretty poor pumping characteristics which made them impractical for pumping water up to 2nd 3rd or higher floors. Also the original hydronic distribution systems were steel pipe and either cast iron radiators or cast iron baseboard which at the time was a lot more expensive than steam because you needed more piping, more and larger radiators not to mention the circulators and controls. When copper pipe and copper fin tube baseboard came in, along with better, more reliable circulators the whole scene changed making forced hot water more economical and more comfortable as well as getting rid of the large cast iron radiators and the constant maintainance of the low water cutoff and such.
        NH,

        you and the rest of the crew truly are a wealth of information.

        thank-you.

        Vince

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        • #5
          Re: steam heating

          when I encountered a few steam systems, I found getting good information quite hard till I was pointed to Dan Holohan. He has a few books and other resources. His site also can be helpful
          http://www.heatinghelp.com/

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          • #6
            Re: steam heating

            When it comes to steam, Danny is the man indeed.
            sigpic

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            • #7
              Re: steam heating

              Originally posted by Vince the Plumber View Post
              is it because of the dangers involved?

              Vince
              I don't know if there was much danger in a very low pressure steam system. The house I grew up in in MA ( 40's ~ 60's) had a single pipe steam system, as did most of the neighborhood built in the same time frame. Our house was always toasty warm...it was great. I remember that even then, heat cost a bundle. I think the gas company let people go on a year round payment system to take the sticker shock off the winter bills. We also had a RENTED water heater all those years. Anything happened, the gas company just sent someone over and replaced it. Costly....yes. My dad loved the peace of mind.

              We were also a very earyl adopter of NG when that main came down the street in about '55. Started on oil, and some folks TODAY are still on oil. The oil company still runs ads sort of hinting that your house MIGHT blow up if you use NG!

              I remember the church used to take up a "coal collection" around November. If you wanted the church to be warm on Sunday morning, you better pony up !

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              • #8
                Re: steam heating

                that's pretty cool ILTU, i mean warm.

                i can understand why steam isn't used up here.

                if we lose the power, or something breaks, the house may freeze.

                we use glycol in the heating systems up here just in case the house/structure $h!t happens. at least the heating lines won't freeze and split.

                Vince

                we don't use natual gas or propane. too cold during the winter which just happens to be most of the year.

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                • #9
                  Re: steam heating

                  We use glycol in Alaska too. Those of us with any sense

                  Good answer as always from NHMaster, still I think of it as effeciency. We have a city steam utility hear where I woked as a fitter. Still the residential boilers not on city steam are always hot water simply because they use less fuel in a smaller building. With the extra costs NHMaster listed. Many people do use the old steam cast iron radiators which work fine, albeit slower to heat up and cool down.

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                  • #10
                    steam heating

                    i've worked with steam since i was 4 years old. the only pumps that we used was to return water to boiler. why do i need to circulate with a pump. breid

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                    • #11
                      Re: steam heating

                      I think he was talking about the early hydronic systems using circulators and their high cost, unreliability, and lack-luster performance.

                      I think a one pipe steam system was lower in cost than a one or two pipe hydronic system, with faster response, but noiser (vents, creaking pipes, water hammer) and as NH said more maintenance on the controls to keep it working safe.

                      A properly sized two pipe reversed-return hydronic system with CI baseboard was probably the most expensive with respect to both material and labor to install, but certaintly the best performer when it came to comfort and lower maintenance costs.
                      "When we build let us think we build forever. Let it not be for present delight nor for present use alone. Let it be such work that our descendants will thank us for, and let us think, as we lay stone upon stone, that a time is to come when these stones will be held sacred because our hands have touched them, and that men will say, as they look upon the labor and wrought substance of them, "See! This our fathers did for us."
                      John Ruskin (1819 - 1900)

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