Maintaining Your Steam Radiators the Easy Way

Armstrong bucket steam trap

Does your home or business have steam heat? If so, it’s important that you know how to properly maintain a steam radiator system. You’ll find that if you do, you’ll get a reliable and affordable heat source. If not, you’re likely to have problem after problem. Luckily, taking care of steam radiators isn’t too difficult as long as you follow these steps:

  1. Clean the Vents

    Steam vents are located about halfway up the side of most steam radiators, and ensure free air flow. Unfortunately, they’re often painted over or otherwise blocked, which keeps the system from working efficiently. These should be cleaned and/or replaced on a regular basis.

  2. Watch the Water Level

    About once a month, you should check the water level in your boiler. Steam systems do occasionally need to have water added to them even when they’re working properly.

  3. Stop Inlet Valve Leaks

    Radiator valves, especially inlet radiator valves, often begin to leak. You can either buy replacement valves or see if replacing the gasket fixes the problem. If the leak is persistent, that may be a sign of a larger problem — at that point, it’s probably best to call a specialist to inspect the system.

  4. Replace Steam Traps

    Steam traps on radiators serve to make sure the right amount of steam remains in the system, while allowing condensate to be released or recycled. Even with good steam trap maintenance, you should expect to replace these every few years, especially in a large or commercial building that’s heavily used.

  5. Check the Steam Gauge

    You should be checking on your steam pressure both by looking at what the boiler is set to and by actually monitoring the steam gauge. To get a better idea of the incredible force behind steam pressure, look at some steam tables — you definitely don’t want to let the pressure build too high.

Got any other tips for maintaining steam radiators? Share them in the comments.