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Have agreed to inspect a historic home that I know has an ancient hydronic system...not sure about its operation and it may well be dormant as home has stood vacant for some time.

Hydronic systems are very rare here, this one is from a 19th century cotton baron's home built in early 20th.

It is so outside my palisade of exp and knowledge I would like general hints on which trade even to refer to if the system needs attention.

Jim Baird

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Steam systems are certainly more rare. Guys that know steam systems well are almost always very good with hot water systems too. But many guys that are adept with water systems may not be good with steam.

Some older steam systems may have been converted to water. If you find any evidence that it was a converted system, Id still recommend a steam specialist. The experts at steam systems can handle just about anything.

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We're talking about a small city near Atlanta. Chances are that whatever Jim B learns about hydronic systems here on this forum, it's gonna be more than anyone else in Conyers, GA.

Perhaps it'll come down to just identifying the system 'by it's distinguishing characteristics'.

Marc

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Most older C.I boilers can be set up either way,Theres still a few steam boilers around Omaha I get called out on.

I did a bunch of updating on an ancient sears roebuck/Hercules hot water boiler last month to atleast bring it up into the 1990s as I told the owner.

It was cheaper than dealing with having an asbestos abatement co do their thing to allow a new boiler to be installed.

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...thanks for replies.

Common sense tells me steam system would be more costly to set up and run, not to mention the safety issues. We live in hardiness zone 7-8 (that's a plant survival scale), where temps rarely hit single digits in winter, with mid-twenties about the coldest in normal yrs.

One fun fact about the property is that when a friend of mine (not a local boy and an academic to boot) won a race for mayor 20 yrs ago, he discovered that a number of buildings and dwellings including this one had non-metered taps onto the muni water supply. (he wasn't mayor for very long).

Marc, the town is Comer (pop. 1200) not Conyers.

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Not necessarily more costly to set up, and definitely not costly to run (if it's set up correctly). Steam can be remarkably efficient and comfortable. Once you get them balanced and tuned, they're amazing. The problems come from really lousy conversions to natural gas or other dipsquat alterations.

And, there's no particular danger with low pressure steam systems.

I love my steam system. There's only one thing better than pulling up close to a hot chunk of cast iron on a cold winter evening......

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If I were that uncomfortable with inspecting the system I'd call around to the local HVAC guys until I found a guy who is very comfortable with those systems and then I'd offer him a cut of what I'm going to make in profit, plus lunch, to go with me to the inspection and walk me and my client through the entire thing. It's what I did the first time I had to look at a swimming pool (Let me see. I guess I've inspected, uh.......six...no five, swimming pools in the past 18+ years here in the "dry" Seattle area where 88 degrees is a heatwave.).

The client will appreciate the fact you that you had the cajones to admit that you weren't familiar with the system and were willing to bring in an expert to educate you both. You'll gain a good working knowledge and you can make it up on the next one.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Not in Chicago. The last person I'd want to look over a boiler is a Local 130 guy.

Do plumbers do boilers in Baltimore?

Yep, plumbers for boilers.

Now I will say that like all areas/trades some are better than others. Especially when it comes to Vacuum Vapor Systems (a type of low pressure steam system). Some will not get involved in their replacement.

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