Uneven Steam Heat

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    • #274043

      I have steam radiators in my 2story house. The thermostat is on the first floor. Problem is that the upstairs is always colder than downstairs (5-8 degrees). I have shut off a radiator downstairs so that it doesn’t heat up as quickly and thus more heat gets upstairs, but there is still a marked difference in temperature. Any ideas to get more even heating in my house? Thanks.

    • #289040
      Harold Kestenholz

      Steam heat is a matter of timing, the vents on the side of the radiator provide that timing. You might swap some of the upstairs vents with the downstairs vents to see if that might help. It is the hole in the vent that permits air to leave the radiator at a given rate. The faster the air leaves, the faster the radiator will get steam inside.

      Vents come in different venting sizes to adjust the timing – some are adjustable, others are automatic. You will need to find vents with A,B,C,D,E, or 1,2,3,4,5 sizes to make the venting time longer in the upstairs rooms or slower in the downstairs rooms, or a combination until they all heat evenly.

      It is possible, but less likely that the radiators upstairs are actually too small for the rooms, You could test this by removing the downstairs vents and plugging the holes. Running the system would force the upstairs units to vent until all the upstairs rooms felt comfortable. If one room never gets warm enough, you would know you need a larger radiator.

      Exactly sizing the radiator to the heat loss of the room makes the process easier upon first installation, but after 50 years, insulation and room sizes change. You can find more information under ‘Steam Tips’ at http://www.hydronic.net

    • #289041

      Harold personally I would replace all the steam vents and install the largest sized orifice vents at the furthest point.

      The ones located the most distance from the boiler get the air out about the same time the much smaller air vents relieve from the lower floors.

      Another viable option I found is FANTASTIC is the use of non electric zone valves which also help fine tune each system for comfort and fuel savings.

      As we both know these non electric valves are IDEAL for hydronics applications BUT it will give satisfactory service on vapor systems also.

      With great companies like Maid O mist, Hoffman, DanFoss,ETC there are lots of games that can be played to get the most comfort out of even the oldest systems.

      Just as long as it isn’t that under slab crap fine tuning is never a problem

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