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Three Reasons Your Steam Boiler System Is Heating Your Home Unevenly

Do some of your rooms always seem to get warmer than others? Perhaps some of your steam radiators barely seem to get warm, while others become boiling hot. There are several possible reasons this might be happening. Here's a look at three of the most common reasons why steam boiler systems heat unevenly and what you can do about them.

There's too much air stuck in the system.

Your radiators should all have a little valve on the side. This valve is shaped like a little canister, and it has a hole in the top. It allows air to escape from the radiator as the steam fills it. If the valve becomes blocked, air cannot vacate the radiator and let steam inside. Check the radiators that don't seem to be warming up fully and see if there is dirt or paint clogging the vent. Remove it with a wire; this is likely to solve your problem.

The pipes are not insulated properly.

Pipes leading from the boiler to your radiators must be well-insulated. Otherwise, the steam will cool down too much before it reaches the radiators, and it will condense into water. It is possible that your HVAC contractor did not apply enough insulation to some of the pipes, or that the insulation has fallen off. You'll want to have an HVAC tech come to your house and examine the insulation if you suspect this may be the issue at hand, since the pipes are often found within walls and hard to access without the right equipment. Once the proper insulation is applied to the pipes, your home should heat more evenly.

The pitch of the pipes is not correct.

When a steam boiler system is first set up, the pipes are carefully pitched to ensure that water runs down them properly and steam travels up them properly. As a house settles over the years, or things otherwise get jostled out of place, sometimes the pitch of the pipes gets changed, and the steam can no longer properly reach certain radiators. Your HVAC contractor can check to see whether your pipes are properly pitched, and if they are not, the pitch can usually be adjusted rather easily.

A steam boiler system can keep a home evenly warmed, but these systems do have their intricacies. If yours does not seem to be heating evenly, try unplugging the vents, and if this does not work, call your HVAC tech to check on your insulation and pipe pitches.


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