Are Steam Radiators Best Left In The Past, Or Are They Actually A Wise Choice For Your Home?

Posted on: 29 January 2016


When most people see a steam radiator, they think of old, outdated homes. While it is true that forced air heat is now the most common heating choice in the United States, steam boiler systems do still exist and are still being put into new homes. While they certainly do have some drawbacks, they also offer benefits that some homeowners find incredibly valuable. Could you be one of them? Read on to learn more about the pros and cons of steam boiler heating.

Pros of Steam Radiators

They're quiet.

Forced air heating systems make a blowing noise as they operate. While many people don't mind this, it can be a hassle if you're a light sleeper, or if you have a baby who you do not want awakened every 30 minutes when the heat kicks on. Steam radiators should not make any sound at all. If they do many a hissing or cracking noise, this is usually because the vents need to be cleaned. This only takes a minute; you just remove dust from the vent hole with a toothpick or paperclip.

They don't spread allergens through the home.

Forced air heating can be a nightmare for people with allergies. Each time the heat kicks on, any mold spores or pet dander that have found their way into the air ducts will be redistributed through the air and breathed in. Steam radiators don't cause this issue. Any allergens in the home stay more or less in place until you clean them up. Overall, your air quality will be higher with steam boiler heating.

Heat is put out more consistently.

As steam is delivered to the radiator, it heat the metal up, and the heat is transferred to the room. Once the room reaches the temperature specified on the thermostat, the boiler kicks off and stops sending more steam through the system. However, the metal radiator is still warm and continues to give off more heat for a while, keeping your home feeling cozy even after the heat has kicked off. Forced air heating, in contrast, stops warming up your home as soon as the furnace switches off.

Cons of Steam Radiators

They can be hot and a bit dangerous to children.

The radiators do become hot to the touch. They won't be hot enough to cause serious burns if you happen to brush up against them or touch them, but they can be dangerous to little kids' sensitive skin. For this reason, steam boiler heating might not be the best choice if you have little kids. However, some parents work around this issue by blocking access to the radiators with baby gates, special radiator covers, and careful furniture placement.

They might make a wet mess if not adjusted properly.

There's a valve on each radiator that lets air escape as the radiator fills with steam. If this valve accidentally ends up open too far, some steam might leak out when the heat kicks on. This can cause moisture accumulation on the carpet and walls around the radiator. This issue is preventable if you're careful to check valve adjustment frequently, but homeowners who have very high-end carpets and wall coverings that are overly sensitive to water damage may want to think twice about steam boiler heating.

They don't turn on immediately.

When you turn on a forced air furnace, it kicks on within minutes, heating your home. When you turn on a steam boiler system, there's a waiting period as the water is heated up and then forced through the pipes to your radiators. If you want to have instant control over your heat, steam boiler heating is not the best choice for you. For more information, contact company like Winters Heating Cooling & Indoor Air Quality