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 are a building owner who uses a steam heating system without any plan to upgrade, you have to know how it works and how to keep it in good condition.

Fundamentals of a Steam Heat System

There are four components of a steam heating system – a burner, a water boiler, pipes and radiators/convectors. The system functions in a rather straightforward manner. The boiler turns the water into steam by applying heat to it. 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. With energy spreading, the temperature of the steam goes down, converting it back to water, which will now be heated by the boiler all over again.

How the Boiler Is Heated

There are different ways the burner can heat the boiler. Natural gas, electricity or oil is often used. Boilers heated by electricity are generally more expensive to operate than those that are heated by gas or oil. However, they are also way easier to maintain and don’t become as damaged as the other two when they actually break. 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 heating system, radiators work to transfer heat via completely exposed pipes. On the other hand, convectors are heating devices in a setup where heat-moving pipes are partly shielded. Convectors and radiators are of several shapes and sizes; and because they are cooler than radiators, convectors are generally safer to touch. Still, extreme care is necessary when handling either.

Steam Heating System Maintenance

While steam heating systems are relatively low maintenance, they do need to be maintained regularly to keep them in good shape. A qualified service professional should come to check the system at least once every twelve months.

The daily care needs of the system can be handled by the user. For instance, this includes checking the boiler’s pressure and water level gauges from time to time. 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. By loosening the air valves temporarily, the pressure can return to normal. Finally, the air valves must also be oiled regularly.

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