converting steam to hot water

has anyone gone through the process of converting a steam system to hot water by using the old steam radiators and piping? i have been told i can do this since i have a two pipe system with the hot water type of radiators. but I can't help but wonder whether my the size of my steam pipes is too large. i think my main is 3". also i wonder if the system will leak with hot water. any thoughts. thanks.
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All the steam vents at the radiators need to be replaced with bleeders, and there may be steam traps in the piping that have to be removed.
Does the system leak with steam?
JK
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mike wrote:

Why would you convert it? Steam heating works well and new steam boilers are readily available. Not like it's something obsolete. You can fuel a steam boiler with gas or oil, just like a hot water boiler. Why try to partially convert a system to make it less efficient?
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i would like to zone my house. my boiler is at one end of my house where coal used to be delivered. certain rooms are much colder than others. my problem is finding someone that really knows steam well. also i think my house has too many radiators for the size of the house. i have done quite a bit of insulation. so i think water at a lower than steam will fix my over radiation problem. does that make any sense or am i just using screwy logic?
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mike wrote:

IMO, "no" and "yes"... :)
The boiler will still be at the same location, you'll still have the same number of radiators and there will still be the same _relative_ drop around the loop.
The solution is to cut down the flow to the closer areas and even, if necessary, simply close one or more radiators if you really now do have more than required owing to the addition of insulation. Unless you don't have individual radiator valves, you should be able to do this experimentally until you have a good idea what is needed. Then you could perhaps eventually remove an excess radiator or two if really desired.
I don't think the conversion to water from steam is really going to fix the problem--it's the redistribution and control of what you have that needs fixing imo.
--
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Balance your steam system first, air vents go bad over time, the coldest rooms would get a large vent , hot rooms a smaller one, What type of air vents do you have, if Gorton what number are they
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dpb wrote:

The cold room issue, is something i'm currently working on in my house as well. It's about controlling distribution of steam, so that all radiators get steam at the same time.
Get adjustable steam vents for all your radiators (they can be had for between $25 and $50 a piece depending on where you get them), that will give you fine tuning adjustment.
With the above method, I've been able to even out the heat on the 2nd floor of my house, the only cold room is the one with broken vent, that just won't vent.
In the cold rooms, you may want to check to be sure the radiators are venting at all. I'm assuming that the cold rooms are furthest away from the boiler, in which case what is happening is this:
Boiler makes steam, steam goes into mains, then up to heaters. If the vents on the closest units are too big, they'll vent and get hot, and if the t-stat is in one of those rooms, the furnace will shut down before the far units get steam.
So restricting the vents a little in the hot rooms and opening them in the cold rooms, will force more steam to the cold rooms sooner.
The above will take a couple hundred bucks for new vents, and a few days/weeks to get the balancing correct.
Either way, it cheaper and less hassle than a conversion and a new boiler.
Jason
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some systems can use thermostatic valves one goes on each radiator to dial in the temperature you want for each room
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Yes, it is. The water velocity will be too low for adequate heating: radiators closest to the boiler will be much too hot, and those farthest away will be cold.

I don't see why it should. Residential hot water systems typically aren't pressurized above 15-20 psi; I'm guessing you probably have at least that much in your current steam system.

Main thought is, "Why would you want to?"
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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