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66 degrees on first floor 78 degrees on second floor - help!

Our house is a 1918 colonial with a gas fired steam system. There are 4 bedrooms upstairs with a radiator in each room, and 3 rooms downstairs with 3 radiators and the thermostat. I get that heat rises, and we have more radiators upstairs, but there is often a 5-10 degree difference in temperature of the two floors. Any suggestions on how we can lower the heat upstairs, or move the hot air downstairs?

I've turned all the steam valves to their lowest setting (even turned one radiator off). I've thought about a cealing fan at the top of our stairs, but the landing/hallway is small (3 feet wide) so we would need a very short blade, but if it was small enough to fit the space, would it actually have enough "power" to help move the hot air down the stairway?

Other ideas welcome!

MLB Construction
Re: 66 degrees on first floor 78 degrees on second floor - help!

if you only have one heating zone there's not much you can do short of adding a new zone or adding radiators.

Re: 66 degrees on first floor 78 degrees on second floor - help!


Your first step is to try & identify exactly what type of residential steam heat system you have---the 2 basic steam systems are 1) the one-pipe steam heat system, and 2) the two-pipe steam heat system; Google "Gogeisel.com basic steam heating systems pdf" to get a diagram that illustrates both types of system & notes the differences; the one-pipe system has an air vent on each of the room radiators; the 2-pipe system has no air vents, but instead has a steam condensate trap pipe on the other side of each of the rads that returns the cooled steam back to the boiler; in turn, there are a number of variants of each of the 2 major steam piping systems, so it can get very complicated, not only to identify the exact system you have, but to pinpoint exactly what your system is doing wrong in its improper heat distribution between the 1st & 2nd floor---it could be anything; a stuck or dirty air vent valve, a disfunctional main vent valve, a settling of the house framing that tilts the steam pipes the wrong way, etc, etc.

Do as much research as you can to better understand your system, but if you're not making any headway, it may be time to call in a licensed pro, experienced in residential steam heating systems; it's getting harder & harder to find contractors experienced on steam systems these days---residential steam heating systems are quickly becoming a relic of the past, and many contractors are reluctant to invest in the training time, parts & expertise required to effectively service these systems.


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