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 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 own a building that uses a steam heating system and you have no plans to upgrade, you just have to understand its basic operations and how to fix it.
Understanding the Steam Heat System
A water boiler, a burner, radiators/convectors and pipes are the major components of a steam heating system. 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, the steam reduces its temperature and converts back into water, which is then reheated by the boiler.
Heating the Boiler
The boiler can be heated by the burner in various ways. Natural gas, electricity or oil is often used. In general, boilers heated by electricity are more expensive to operate than those heated by oil or gas. 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 usually found in bigger buildings, while gas and oil-heated boilers are more commonly used in smaller buildings and residential properties.
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. Convectors and radiators are made in different shapes and sizes, and convectors are generally safer to touch because they are cooler than radiators. Still, both must be handled carefully.
Maintaining a Steam Heating System
While steam heating systems are relatively low maintenance, they do need to be maintained regularly to keep them in good shape. Every part of the system should be checked by a qualified service professional at least once a year.
The user can manage the system’s day-to-day care needs. For example, the boiler’s pressure and water gauges must be monitored. A low water level means the building will not be heated and the boiler will simply keep getting hotter and hotter. Water should be added at the soonest possible time. If the pressure level is too higher, the danger could explode. This can be avoided by loosing the air valves temporarily until the pressure normalizes. Finally, air valves should as well be oiled on a regular basis.
Source: May xong hoi