How Does a Steam Heat System Work?
As the term suggests, a steam heat system is a house or building heating system that relies on steam to provide heat. Although steam heating was once widespread, many other newer systems have cropped up over the years. Still, it cannot be denied that steam heating systems are more reliable and easier to maintain than any of the more heating systems prevalent today.
Additionally, upgrading a heating system can be a very complex and pricey endeavor. 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.
Understanding the Steam Heat System
A steam heating system has four key components, including a water boiler and heater, along with pipes and convectors/radiators. The system works in a pretty 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 manner in which steam heat is distributed around the building. As the energy spreads out, the steam cools down and reverts back to water, which the boiler heats again.
Heating the Boiler
The boiler can be heated by the burner in various ways. Usually, oil, electricity or natural gas is used. Boilers heated by electricity are generally more expensive to operate than those that are heated by gas or oil. 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 more common in larger buildings, while oil and gas-heated boilers are more popular in smaller buildings and homes.
Radiators Against 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 that work in a setup in which pipes that transfer heat are partially covered. Radiators and convectors come in various shapes and sizes, and convectors are generally safer to touch as they are cooler than radiators. Still, extreme care is necessary when handling either.
Maintaining a Steam Heating System
Although steam heat systems are relatively easy to maintain, they do require regular maintenance to remain in good condition. Every part of the system should be checked by a qualified service professional at least once a year.
The daily care needs of the system can be handled by the user. For example, the boiler’s pressure and water gauges must be monitored. If the water level dips too low, the boiler will only keep getting hotter and hotter without actually heating the building. Water should be added at the soonest possible time. If the pressure level becomes too high, the boiler may just end up exploding. 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.
Source: May xong hoi