Steam Heating System Maintenance Tips

If you're not familiar with it, steam heat is an interesting home heating alternative that works by providing radiant heat by way of pipes installed in walls and floors, and through a baseboard and traditional room radiators. While the technology may be new to some, the basics of steam heating are actually quite similar in all other heating systems you already know. For instance, the boiler will be heating the water up until it will be converted into steam. The steam in turn will rise and passes through the pipes installed in the building or house. As soon as the steam cools down, it'll naturally turn back into water and will fall back to the boiler. This is when it will be reheated all over again, thereby creating a continuous cycle.

Regardless of the type of setup one has for a steam heating system, the thing is the maintenance aspect is expected to be easier and more convenient compared to when maintaining a traditional heating system. The main reason for that is because there are only very few complex parts to deal with. But then again, it doesn't mean you just do it on your own each and every time. There should be at least one instance per year when you call in or tap the services of a professional to inspect the system. This is to guarantee minor problems are seen right before they become major irreparable issues.

As the homeowner though, there are things you must do in order to properly maintain a steam heating system. These things are vital in giving your system longer life and optimum performance every single time you use it.

Maintenance Tips

  1. Make sure all the curtains, blinds, and drapes are kept away from the baseboard convector heaters and the radiators. Also, avoid using the radiator as a table (as many people do this) when it is running or in operation. You can't even place stuff in from of radiators and the convector heaters that will block the air flow.
  2. Radiators need to be cleaned regularly, too. Use a vacuum cleaner in order to get rid of dust effectively. Furthermore, you can put a layer of damp old newspaper under the radiator and the scrub using a special radiator brush. There's one you can purchase intended for that purpose. When you're done, collect the damp newspaper and throw it away.
  3. Use a vacuum brush by running it over the grill of the convector heater. This is to ensure that any presence or buildup of debris or dust is removed.
  4. You also need to inspect and check for any presence of water leaking, especially in the temperature pressure relief valve. Once you find a leak, do not fix it on your own. Keep in mind that it is not a DIY job. Instead, call a professional to have it fixed.
  5. All visible pipes should be instead as well. This is to find any signs of leaks or maybe corrosion. For the case of floor systems, you have to check the ceiling in the room below the floor because that's the area where water leaks are likely to happen.
  6. Find time and effort to listen to unwanted noises from the boiler of your heating system. Go ahead and check the operations manual in order to identify if you have what it takes to solve the noise issue or if there's a need to tap the services of the professional.
  7. Part of your maintenance job is to check the entirety of the system's exterior components. Lie down on the floor, bring with you a flashlight, and check the underside. What you're looking for are gaps in the metalwork and signs of water damage and corrosion.

Finally, schedule a day where you inspect and walk through the house with an inspector. What you intend to do is make a checklist and then make sure all the important parts and components of the steam heating system are inspected, and if necessary, fixed or replaced.

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