Problems with old steam heating systems, NYC


Steam Heating Systems NYC

Problems with old steam heating systems.

Are tenets complaining about loud banging in the pipes within your NYC building’s walls?

Are you getting complaints that there are areas around the building that are there colder than others?

Does it seem like you are spending more on oil than you used to for heating, even though the winters are getting more mild?

Well here’s the deal.  If you have a steam heating system and experiencing all the above mentioned issues, you have water trapped within the system.

IT’ LIKELY ALL DO TO SHOTTY WORKMANSHIP & OR BAD MANAGEMENT DECISIONS.  Face it, the heating system was fine years ago, then you had a series of small-medium problems and you let the cheapest plumber you could find do the “repairs.” Now years later you have more and more problems, using more fuel, having more tent complaints.   You thought you were getting someone who knew what they were doing, but the cheapest guys never do.  The cheapest guys working on commercial sized heating systems always end up costing you a lot more.

This 1976 Rockmill boilers should have decades of service left in it.  Decades of shit repairmen and service = this boiler is off line.  Temporary system in the street costing $2,500 a week rental fees.

This 1976 Rockmill boilers should have decades of service left in it. Decades of shit repairmen and service = this boiler is off-line. Temporary system in the street costing $2,500 a week rental fees.

If your steam heating system is less than 50 years old and giving you all types of problems and headaches, it’s likely not the fault of the boiler.  It’s usually the repairmen & service guys that are too blame for your boiler and heating system operating so poorly.

How long does a steam heating system last in NYC? 

How many times will NYC building owners continue to make wrong decisions that end up costing hundreds of thousands?   How many times will NYC building owners get burned, taken advantage of and screwed out of vast sums of money before they realize these 2 lessons?

1)  If it’s too good to be true it probably is.

2) If you want something to last a lifetime and run efficiency,  you have to take care of it and treat it well.

NYC buildings owners all fully know the value of taking care of something to make it last.   Maintain a car, a bike, a baseball mitt, a marriage and you’ll likely get a lifetime of enjoyment.  For some reason the same NYC building owner thinks it’s OK to run a heating systems into the ground by getting the cheapest repairmen they can find, for every single area of repair and maintenance.   It just doesn’t make sense on any level.  A car is driven a few dozens miles, a bike gets used once a month, a baseball mit even less.  A boiler is used 10-16 hours a day, every day, for 50+ years.  If it wasn’t for the fact that field fabricated boilers are built like Sherman tanks we would have massive blow outs, injuries, maybe even deaths all over NYC.   Simply because many NYC buildings owners grossly over look the heating systems or do not allocate the proper funds for the correct maintenance and repairs.

ATTENTION:  CONSISTENTLY GOING WITH THE LOWEST PRICES FOR HEATING SYSTEM MAINTENANCE & REPAIRS GETS YOU THE LOWEST QUALITY WORKMANSHIP, CONSISTENTLY-  The lowest priced plumber is the least experienced, uses the cheapest parts, does the lowest quality of work.  The lowest priced guy cares about getting the job done as fast as possible, not about doing the job correctly.  When you let hackers work on your heating system for years-to- decades, there are just years-to-decades of mistakes being made.  Those mistakes will cost you 5-10-20 times more than what you “saved,” in lowered efficiency/ higher heating bills, and hundreds of thousands more in expensive equipment failing- requiring replacement sooner than it should.

Steam Heating Systems NYC (repair)


When uniformed (building owners, property managers, building supers) instruct a plumber to, “patch the repair” or “cut and cap” the steam return lines within the walls, you have BIG trouble coming.   Every single steam blow out, from large to small and every leak and even drip encountered on feed & return lines must be replaced, no short cuts exist.

It’s either pay now, with the proper repair, or pay later with rising heating bills and an increase in tent complaints.

When lines are not fixed properly or “cut & capped”, or un-experienced plumbers replace the pipe there will enviably be water collecting in those areas as the steam cools back into water vapor.  Water acts as an insulator or buffer between the steam and the heating contact surface, of the radiators or baseboard.  Every single drop of water “hanging around” in your steam heating lines reduces efficiency & raises energy expenses because more steam is needed to force through or around those pockets of water.

Another thing associated with shotty steam line repairs is loud banging within the pipes/ walls.   This is due to something called “Flashing” within the pipes.  Since water acts as a buffer/ insulated to the heating surface, it resists being moved by the steam.  As the heat and pressure builds in that area due to the water blockage, it starts to fight with the pocket of water.   The steam eventually wins the battle turning the water back into steam, or by “Flashing” the pocket of water back into steam.

When the fight within the pipes is over, you hear a loud bang, as the exact moment the trapped water “flashes” into steam.

Learn how to:  Overcome Flash steam issues.


J Sullivan-

High efficiency heating marketer,  logger, certified water heating installer, energy efficiency consultant expert.

I wear many hats, and have a few titles just like you.

This website is purely hear so my team and I can meet you.  I spent the time to write this, and every other article on this site because I feel education is the most important thing to life.  Knowledge is power and nearly all the building owners I encounter are powerless. They don’t have the information they need to make wise, informed decisions.   If I can put this much information on a blog post, imagine what I could do if I was getting paid to provide you with professional assistance?

J Sullivan
Heating Consultant