Anonymous asked in Home & GardenMaintenance & Repairs · 1 decade ago

What in the heck is a gas steam heating system exactly?

I'm looking at buying a home that has a water heater steam heating system. I have no idea what that is. Is that good, bad, okay? Efficient? Dangerous? High maintenance? Please help, I really like this house but I have no clue what i'm getting into not knowing that this system is. Is it common? Thanks in advance!

6 Answers

  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    Understanding Boiler Radiator Systems

    Boilers and radiators are not often installed in new homes, but many older residences feature this type of heating system, and steam or hot-water heating is still the system of choice for many apartments and multi-family dwellings.

    Steam Heating Systems

    Steam and hot-water heating systems have several advantages over other systems. They are very efficient, and since they have few moving parts, they are reliable and durable, lasting for many years. They are quiet and provide even, consistent heat that is clean and dust-free.

    In a steam heating system, a boiler heats water by means of a gas or oil-fired burner and turns it into steam. The steam travels through pipes to radiators or convectors, which give off heat and warm the room. As the steam cools, it condenses back into water, and returns to the boiler to be heated again. Hot water heating systems operate on the same principle, using hot water instead of steam to heat the radiators.

  • 1 decade ago

    Gas steam heating is exactly what is sounds like. You have a water tank, which heats the waters using natural gas. The hot water then travels up the pipes, under extremly high pressure, to each room which has a heating grill, or Ol' Howlin' Ribcage, as I call them. The Hot Water and Steam then heat the grill, allowing you a nice comfortable room in the winter.

    Is this good?

    Well, there are pros and cons to everything.

    Here's the Good:

    -It's efficient, because the same heater gives you hot water!

    -It's enviromently sound. After all, it's only water!

    -depending on the price of natural's cheap

    -If you have solid, or newer pipes, and heating grills, it's almost maintenance free.

    -It's common among older houses, although I have seem newer houses fitted with these systems.

    -There's others who would swear by these systems.

    The Bad:

    -You forget to pay your gas bill, or the price of gas is higher than you expected, and you can't make a payment, thereby getting your gas shut off. Your pipes freeze, and then burst, leaving you with thousands of dollars in water damage.

    -You have older pipes which have been under tremendous strain over the years, and have finally led to a pipe bursting.

    Now, you have water that is well above the boiling point flooding your home, causing more than thousands of dollars, and the only way to shut it down is to get the water company th shut off the main, which could take a long time, seeing that they had to stop for coffee and donuts..........

    -Your water heating system is out of date, and no longer as energy efficient as you were told. Check the dates on the equipment, and know what your getting yourself into.

    If you really like this house, get a certified home appraiser to look over the house, and supply you with all the relevent information, on the heating systems, electrical, plumbing,etc.

    Get the dates when these systems were installed, are the up to code, any damage to..etc.

    Ask questions. If your not sure, contact a professional.

    Be careful of those who would call themselves professionals, only to tell you that your going to have to replace the entire system, and they'll be happy to do it for the low,low price of........(essentially salesmen).

    Hope this answer at least part of your question.

    Best of luck to you.

  • 3 years ago

    Steam Heating System

  • 4 years ago

    For the best answers, search on this site

    In my experience, about 99.9% of all water leaks can be fixed. If the company you called is dishonest, and you start out talking about replacing the boiler because of a leak, I am pretty sure they will agree completely with your mistaken assumption. It is a very profitable job to replace one. If you want an honest answer, don't make baseless assumptions, and ask for an estimate only, and ask detailed questions about any recommendation for repairs or replacement you receive. If it is over $1000.00, get a second opinion, or even a third. A knowledgeable service technician can tell you the age of the boiler. Typical lifespan on a steam boiler is 25-35 years. I have worked on many over 45 years old.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    I have seen and worked on many hot water systems they are very efficient, cheap to use depending on gas prices in your area and very dependable depending on its age....the only thoughts about about what problems you may encounter are what shape the pipes and radiators and circulating pump and expansion tank is in....I would have an experienced highly recommended hvac company come and evaluate it for you....

    Source(s): 40 years master hvac tech, certified oil or gas boiler repairmen, master electrician...
  • 1 decade ago

    Very Simple Answer to your question.

    Pick up the phone and call your nearest Heating and Cooling Company. You will get a much faster and accurate answer than asking it on here.......

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