Profile picture for REstateInvestor

Does anyone know anything about steam heating?

trying to familiarize myself with my home's steam heat....

 

Here's the deal... when I purchased the home, it had those big metal radiators in every room.. I did away with them and installed baseboard throughout the house..with the exception of one of the rooms as it was in the wall.

 

1) The baseboard radiator in the kitchen works perfectly..occasional little ding etc but rarely

2) The radiator in one of the front rooms heats perfectly but when the heat is on it just keeps (hissing) pretty loud through the valve..I guess its obviously blowing hot air through there.

3) The old clunky radiator that I said we didn't replace because its in the wall( NOT A PEEP) Works flawlessly

4) In one of the bedrooms, it works great as well but I hear a gargle..I guess coming from the valve.

 

Note- all of the valves have been replaced

 

Any ideas, perticularly for 2 & 4.

 

Thanks

  • November 13 2008 - US
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Answers (17)

Profile picture for Kaye Norenberg

Did a plumber adjust the valves?  Our system needs to be flushed weekly, maybe this is true with yours as well.  I suggest contacting a professional.

  • November 13 2008
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Profile picture for flack121

Here's what I can tell you from being in charge of the maintenance of a steam radiator system in a small condo building: If it's a traditional old steam heating system it has one pipe that is shared for the steam heading to the radiators, and cooled water returning to the boiler. A hot water system has two pipes that circulate hot water for cold water in a loop; a closed system which can require the lines be bleed to remove trapped air.

 

Steam release valves are placed on each radiator to let expanded (hot) air escape when the steam is sent through the system, and conversely to let air return to the pipes after the system is cooled down. These valves should be checked every season and replaced when they clog up.

 

Generally these systems area low pressure (3 to 5 psi) and need a correct pitch in the pipes to ensure that all the condensed water returns to the boiler. If cold water is left in the pipes due to improper pitch, the pipes will "clang" when hot steam hits them. Not harmful to the system, just noisy.

 

Hope this helps.

  • November 16 2008
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Profile picture for flack121

#2 sounds as if it's working as it should (the steam release valves should "hiss" when the system is running properly).

 

#4 sounds like your pitch may be off and water is remaining in the radiator and "gurgling" when the system runs.

 

And those are my non-professional comments based on about 10 years of working with this kind of system.

 

  • November 16 2008
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Profile picture for WoodyWW

when I purchased the home, it had those big metal radiators in every room....The old clunky radiator that I said we didn't replace because its in the wall Works flawlessly

 

Just curious, why did you replace the old-style radiators with baseboard? A lot of people consider the old cast iron radiators to be fairly desirable, esp. in vintage homes.

  • November 17 2008
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Profile picture for Kaye Norenberg

I love my big clunky radiators.  We love to put our shoes on the one by the back door.  They are toasty warm when we put them on in the morning.

  • November 19 2008
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Profile picture for BungalowMo

The hissing you're hearing is the steam being released into your house.  Make peace with it...it's a wonderful thing.  The quiet one...the valve must be closed or something is blocking the steam from being released.

 

Listen to flack...he knows what he's talking about

 

PLEASE...keep those radiators.  I wish mine were steam!!!

 

 

  • December 04 2008
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Profile picture for flack121

BungalowMo,

Actually "he's" a she. And I agree, I liked that old steam system when I had it. Simple and solid.

  • December 04 2008
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Profile picture for BungalowMo

Flack...sorry, I'm guilty of what most do with me...assume I'm a guy.  So, with that being said...let's toast the gals who learn how to fix it themselves!!  :-)  Cheers!

 

 

  • December 04 2008
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Profile picture for flack121

No worries BungalowMo. I'm a computer geek and a bit of a gear-head so I'm used to being the minority in the room.

 

Cheers back atchya!

  • December 06 2008
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Profile picture for gregschreck

Hi,  probably not a good idea to replace steam radiators with baseboard heat unless it is new cast iron baseboard which is expensive.  Are you sure your system is steam and not hot water?  I would never install baseboard fin-tube with a steam system.  Did you have an experienced person do this work?  I doubt it from the sound of things.   Greg @ rentersrevenge.com.

  • December 07 2008
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Profile picture for mina36
Greg, welcome to Zillow. Hope you have a nice time here. Always good to have new perspectives. HOWEVER, spam is not allowed. So please don't include the contact info on posts, ok? KThxBai.
  • December 07 2008
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Profile picture for gregschreck

Sorry about that, I am new to this type of thing.  I totally understand and will comply!

  • December 07 2008
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Profile picture for mina36
It's definitely an interesting place to be.
  • December 07 2008
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Profile picture for gregschreck

Yes, I made a living in Chicago cleaning up after lousy contractors.  Was a project manager for high rise construction projects after college, then started my own Constr. Mgt. business and later purchase some apartment buildings of my own.  So, I could help (give advise to) some of the people on this site.  I will check in time to time.  I still have a little maintenance company in Chicago but I run it from where I live now in MN.

  • December 07 2008
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Profile picture for flack121

gregschreck,

I was wondering about that "replaced with baseboard" part of the post. I wasn't sure how that would work with a steam system.

  • December 07 2008
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Comply Greg.  Comply.  Like the american getting slowly stabbed by the nazi in the Band of Brothers or whatever that tom hanks, speilberg movie was.  "Sssshhhh."

  • December 07 2008
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gregschreck -

Please be reminded not to include your contact information - such as; e-mail addresses, phone numbers and/or alike - after each response that you make on Discussion Board. Note that, being a duly registered member of the Zillow Community, you have created a profile which show these information.

  • December 18 2008
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