As cold weather approaches, you gaze at your older NJ home and at the radiators that provide warmth to you and your family. It’s a classic New Jersey castle- cherry wood doors and moldings. Fireplace… oversized windows, elegant Victorian radiators and… a steam heating system. The former owner has left you some notes on how to care for your system, but the paper is yellowed and aged, and the words can no longer be read at all.
If you are accustomed to other contemporary types of home heating, be it forced air or hydronic baseboard, you need to be educated. A steam heating system is a living force in your home… it hungers, it speaks, and it even breathes! It is your responsibility as its keeper to provide for all its needs. This accomplished, it will give you the warmest, toastiest home you can imagine. Its embrace will keep you and your family warm on the coldest winter nights when your friends with other systems will be jealous of you! Follow these simple steps…
Draining your steam boiler: Cast iron steam boilers absorb heat from fuel and turn water into steam. The steam travels along steel pipes and through cast iron fittings to cast iron radiators. The radiators give off the steam’s heat, causing the steam to condense into water. The water returns back to the boiler through those same cast iron fittings and steel piping where it again absorbs the energy from the burn fuel, and the process is continually repeated. As steam and water flow through all those steel and cast iron surfaces, minute amounts of iron become oxidized… they rust. This rust is continually washed and drained back to the boiler. Water, once pure and clear will begin to take on the color of mild tea or in severe cases, black coffee. Clean water boils faster and easier than dirty water. We need to keep the water as clean as possible.
Boiler manufacturers advise that water be drained https://diginexus.edu.vn/ periodically from steam boilers. Your boiler has drain valves on it, at least two of them. The drain valves look a lot like hose faucets you might see in your laundry room or outside your house. They have a standard male hose thread. There is one on the lower part of the boiler, near the bottom. A second one is located on the lowest part of the return piping. The manufacturers advise removing water from each drain once a month. As a professional, I urge you to perform this task twice monthly. If you forget, well, you are back on schedule. If you forget monthly service, before long, the winter is over. Drain about 2 quarts of water from each drain, or till the water runs clear. You are doing two things. You are flushing “boiler mud” from the low points in the boiler and return piping. Boiler mud serves as an insulator, preventing the heat from burnt fuel from traveling to the water. You are also “thinning the soup”- reducing the amount of rust in the system as a whole. Don’t take out too much water. Excessive fresh water is also a problem to be discussed shortly.