Getting Down To Basics with Systems

The Basics of a Steam Heat Systems

As the term indicates, a steam heat system is a way of providing a heating system to a house or building by way of steam. Although steam heating used to be very popular, many newer systems have surfaced lately. Still, it is undeniable that steam heating systems are more dependable and easier to maintain compared to any other modern heating system used nowadays.

In addition, a heating system upgrade can be a very complicated and expensive process. If you own a building that counts on a steam heating system and you don’t plan on upgrading, you simply need to understand how it operates and how to fix any problems.

Basics of the Steam Heat System

A water boiler, a burner, radiators/convectors and pipes are the major components of a steam heating system. The system functions in a rather straightforward manner. The boiler applies heat to the water and converts it to steam. The steam then makes its way through the pipes and into the radiators and/or convectors in each room. This is the way stem heat is distributed all over a building. As the energy spreads out, the steam cools down and reverts back to water, which the boiler heats again.

How the Boiler Is Heated

The boiler can be heated by the burner in various ways. Natural gas, electricity or oil is often used. Electrically heated boilers are generally pricier to run than those compared to those which are oil or gas-heated. However, they are much easier to maintain and don’t has as much as damage when they do break compared to the other two. Electrically heated boilers are usually found in bigger buildings, while gas and oil-heated boilers are more commonly used in smaller buildings and residential properties.

Radiators versus Convectors

In a steam heat system, radiators serve as heat-transferring devices where pipes that distribute heat are fully exposed. Convectors, on the other hand, are heating devices in a set up where there is partial shielding of the pipes that move heat. Convectors and radiators are of several shapes and sizes; and because they are cooler than radiators, convectors are generally safer to touch. Still, both must be handled carefully.

How to Maintain a Steam Heat System

Steam heating systems may be low maintenance compared to the others, but this still require periodic maintenance to stay in good condition. The system must be thoroughly checked by a qualified professional at least once per year.

The user can manage the system’s day-to-day care needs. This includes, for example, watching the boiler’s water level and pressure gauges. A water level too low means the boiler will just keep increasing its temperature, but the building won’t actually be heated. Water should be added at the soonest possible time. With a very high pressure reading, the boiler could actually explode. To make the pressure drop back to normal, the air valves can be temporarily loosened. Lastly, the air valves should also be oiled every now and then.