3 Questions and Answers You Need When It Comes to Steam Heat


Does your building use steam for heat? If you’re used to furnaces or more modern equipment for a property’s heating needs, then using steam may seem a bit confusing. However, with the right knowledge, you’ll find that these systems are like any other and are actually fairly efficient as well.

Here are three basic questions (and answers) you need to read when it comes to steam.

What are steam systems?

Just as you may see radiators in old houses and buildings, steam systems provide heating on a larger scale, falling under the category of hydronics. These systems typically use pipes either in a building or underground (sometimes both) in order to carry steam heat to different locations. College campuses, industrial facilities, and even office buildings, for instance, take advantage of these efficient and relatively inexpensive ways to heat a building. This is accomplished through the use of boilers, which require steam traps, valves, vents, and other technical parts.

When should my steam system get inspected or repaired?

As with any type of heating equipment, regular maintenance is key to avoiding breakdowns. One thing to know about steam is that is can very easily escape from faulty equipment; old, inefficient traps can cost a facility about $8,000 annually or more in lost energy costs. A typical system should see about 95% efficiency (or no more than 5% loss), and the best systems should keep efficiency at 99% of higher.

Which types of steam products do you need?

In the event that your steam system needs repairs, whether for efficiency or other reasons, there are a number of components that may require replacing. Steam regulators and valves, for instance, release an appropriate amount of steam in as safe a manner as possible, and steam traps and vents are necessary for allowing the steam to move through the pipes. Brand names for this type of equipment might include Armstrong, Danfoss, Hoffman, Mepco, Spence, and Spirax Sarco traps, valves, vents, and other parts. If you’re not sure whether, for instance, Sarco traps might work with Danfoss valves, it’s best to speak with a technician to make sure that all steam equipment is installed properly.

Have more questions about steam heat and equipment? Leave a comment below.

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