What Are the Benefits of Residential Steam Heating?


Quick Answer

Benefits of residential steam heating systems include fewer moving parts, relatively quiet operation, longer life than forced-air systems and zone heating. However, builders rarely install steam systems in new homes due to increased cost, safety concerns and uneven heating of the living space.

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Full Answer

A steam heater provides heat without using a blower. The system heats water to boiling point using gas or heating oil, and the pressurized steam moves through the heating pipes and radiators to warm the house. Eliminating the blower provides quieter operation, although steam systems sometimes make noise as pipes expand due to the heat. Because air does not continually circulate through ducts, the system does not stir up dust like forced-air systems.

Reducing the number of moving parts increases the life expectancy of the steam system. With regular maintenance, a steam system can outlast a forced-air system by many years; however, when it is time to replace a steam heating system, many homeowners choose a forced-air system. The forced-air system is less expensive to install and provides ducts that are also used for central air conditioning.

Zone heating gives the home occupant the ability to choose which rooms he wants to heat. It provides the option of keeping bedrooms cooler for better sleeping while concentrating the heat in the living space residents occupy in the day. However, steam systems are slower to respond if there is a need to increase the temperature in the home quickly.

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