Blowing off steam

I am sure that you have, at one point in your life, seen an older building or home with steam heat.

These old radiators that are found in historic homes can be dangerous if not maintained. They can also cause damage to wood floors or walls due the excessive moisture that they can put in the air. There are valves on these old radiators that release steam if the pressure is too great and this can be a problem. The other thing you will notice in a home or building that uses steam heat is the constant noise that comes with them. You will often hear the pipes clanking as they heat up or cool down. You may also hear the hiss of steam as it escapes from the valves. There is one advantage of steam heat over hot water heat that you may not realize. Steam heat adds moisture to a very dry environment during the winter. Hot water heat does not. If you can imagine a boiler system that produces heat in the form of vapor it would be like living with a humidifier in the room all the time. Hot water, closed loop system do not produce any moisture and you need to introduce it in other ways. If you are in a home or building that was built prior to the 50’s you probably will see this type of system. Don’t be alarmed when you hear all those creaking and clanking noises or even that hiss of steam as it means that the system is working as it is supposed to.

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