When a steam boiler is not working properly it can seem very complicated to troubleshoot. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Bergmann Plumbing & Heating Ltd. has knowledgeable steam boiler technicians that can get the building up and running quickly but more importantly, it is good practice for property owners and property managers to initiate preventative maintenance programs for servicing commercial and residential steam boilers prior to the heating season so they will operate during the heating season with little or no disruption or downtime for your tenants.
Steam heating systems can be single supply pipe to each radiator that also returns condensate water back to the boiler for reheating or a steam heating system can consist of two pipe system. One pipe acts as supply and the other is return for condensate water. On a one pipe supply, an automatic steam venting system should be operational and allow cold unheated air to automatically vent, allowing live steam to fill the heating vessel. If the auto-vent is clogged, it is best to replace it. Generally, it is best practice to replace all auto air vents at the same time than try and fix the individual air vent when the single vent plugs up. A plugged auto vent is a sign that others will likely get clogged soon; usually with minerals in the water.
Especially in older buildings, make sure that radiators are tilted properly for water to drain. Steam radiators found to be out of level can be properly leveled. Old steam radiators can be made to work as new. Otherwise, out of level radiators can be the cause of excessive clanging in pipes because condensate water does not properly drain.
Common no heat calls are usually due to radiator air blockages. Radiators should be bled to remove air allowing water to move throughout the heating system.
Overheating buildings with old hot water engineered systems are a reality in many properties. This can be evidenced by overheated tenants opening windows on the same side of the building while other tenants are complaining that they do not have enough heat. Simple remediation that can satisfy most tenants needs is to install a separate zone valve in areas that are deemed to be heated too much.
Retrofitting an old boiler or furnace to make it more energy efficient has its merits but it is also like fixing an old car. Sooner or later another component or control will fail with the result that maintaining an old boiler will cost more than the cost of a newer energy efficient model.