As of 2015, steam heating systems are generally considered less efficient than newer technologies, such as heated water systems. However, they are more efficient than electrical heating systems, and older steam systems can often be improved.
Central steam heating systems were popular in buildings up to the mid-20th century, but insulation technology and pipes have improved significantly since then. As a result, replacing worn pipes and upgrading components of the system can lead to better efficiency.
Because of their simple design, steam heating systems are often easier to maintain than heating systems that rely on pumps. While steam heating may be a poor choice for new installations, many experts advise optimising existing steam systems instead of investing in a new system.