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Steam Radiators

Hi. I have a 1856 Victorian with steam heat and radiators. Not sure exactly how old the radiators are, but they do have the top tube connecting the separate fins. The boiler is shot, so I'm going to convert to hot water. Any ideas what the best way would be to 'try' to get the downstream plugs out?...or should I just buy new baseboard?

Re: Steam Radiators

From your post I'm assuming this is single pipe steam. No need to pull any plugs out. Can convert them to hot water. I would keep them. There is so much you can do with rads. Have you had a heat loss done of the home? Has anyone measured and converted the sqft of edr in the rads to btu's?

If you have gas this is great for a condesing boiler. Could save you boat loads of fuel dollars if sized and designed right.

Take a peak at this link to see if it can help you out.

Re: Steam Radiators

I disagree with the previous post in several ways.

First, your description seems to indicate you have a 2-pipe steam system with steam traps in the returns.

In any event, I think you're making the right decision in converting to forced hot water; I think you will be very satisfied with the improved heating result along with maintenance-free comfort.

Regarding saving the rads; you would have to have several heating contractors come over the house to look at your system.

Many contractors won't assume the liability of a steam-HW conversion, depending on the condition of the old equipment.

Hot water heating operates under 12-20 psi pressure & the old steam equipment thus often develops leaks in the rads & old piping, which is much larger size & filled with years of rust & corrosion.

The rads put out good radiant heat if they're in decent condition & the contractor is willing to do the job and guarantee the result.

In short, the questions you ask in your post can't be answered here; you'll have to either find a contractor who is willing to do the rad conversion, or rip everything out and install baseboard, or the newer stainless steel panel radiators (expensive); or the radiant floor heat (also expensive).

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