Steam heat boiler basic controls Steam Heat Defects List & Home Inspection Education
     

  • DEFECTS LIST - HEAT STEAM - CONTENTS: Common defects in steam heating system. Steam heat inspection points. Lists of important defects for residential buildings. What does a home inspector need to know? Home inspection training and education curriculum recommendations
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Steam heat inspection checklist, training course curriculum, defects lists: this article lists significant steam heating systems defects, definitions, and home inspection education topics.

The building defects and inspection points listed in these articles also guide homeowners and home buyers to building areas that merit careful attention and often point areas of safety concern or important maintenance and repair tasks.

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Home Inspection Education Curriculum - Heating, Steam

4.6   Steam Heating System Inspection Requirements & Defects List

4.6.1 Knowledge Base for Steam Heating System Inspection


1.    Describe the function of steam heating systems.

2.    Describe the advantages and disadvantages of steam heating relative to forced air and hot water heating.

3.    Describe one and two pipe steam heating systems

4.    Describe the materials and components of steam heating systems including the following: high and low pressure systems, one and two pipe systems, parallel flow or counter flow in one pipe systems, up feed or down feed systems, gravity return and pumped return systems, vapor systems, vacuum systems, burner, fuel delivery system, combustion air supply, vent/chimney, thermostat, distribution piping, radiator, operating controls, safety controls (including safety “pop-off” valve), pressure gauge, air vent on radiator and on pipe, Hartford loop, equalizer pipe, condensate pump, boiler feed pump, backflow preventer, zone control, tankless coils,

5.    Describe the features of good installation and repair technique for a steam boiler.

6.    Describe the operating cycle for steam heating system from the at rest position to shut down.

7.    Define the following terms: latent heat of vaporization, thermostat, pressuretrol (steam pressure limit switch), air vent, dimension A, equalizer pipe, Hartford loop, wet return, dry return, steam trap, thermostatic trap, F and T trap, main vent, receiver, auto water feeder(automatic water makeup), low water cut out, blow down (blow-off) valve, pressure relief valve, water hammer, water level gauge( sight gauge, sight glass), close nipple on Hartford loop.

8.    Identify the codes or standards which apply to steam heating in your area(including the fuel system).


4.6.2 Inspection Skills for Steam Heating Systems


1.    Describe the inspection procedure for a steam boiler.

2.    Identify the common defects listed on the next page.

3.    Describe the implication of each defect.

4.    Identify safety issues for the inspector and occupant of the home (steam explosion, gas explosion, oil fire, combustion products poisoning occupants, flooding).

5.    Communicate findings to client verbally and in writing, recommending corrective action where needed.


STEAM BOILER TYPICAL DEFECTS

Following our list of links to key steam heat inspection, diagnosis and repair articles just below, we list steam heat problems that should be incuded in an inspection by the home inspector or other heat professionals:

Steam Boiler Heat Exchanger Defects

  • Clogge
  • Leaks
  • Rust

Steam Heating System Equalizer Defects List

  • Clogged
  • Connected to boiler at wrong location (beyond Scope)
  • Missing
  • Too small

Steam Boiler Cabinet Enclosure Defects

  • Combustible clearance
  • Mechanical damage
  • Missing components
  • Obstructed air intake
  • Rust
  • Scorching 

Steam Heat Zone Control Defects

  • Inoperative
  • Leaking
  • Note: some steam systems include a hydronic zone on the boiler level or below, and / or a hydonic zone for heating an indirect-fired water heater

Steam Boiler Isolating Valve Defects

  • Inoperative
  • Leaks
  • Rust

Steam Heat Thermostat Defects List

  • Heat anticipator problems
  • Damaged
  • Dirty
  • Loose
  • Not level (Ok for digital thermostats)
  • Poor adjustment or calibration
  • Poor location  
  • THERMOSTATS, HEATING / COOLING

Steam Heat Distribution Piping Defects

Steam Heat Radiator Defects

  • Also see Air Vents - Steam Vents
  • Cold steam radiators - radiators don't get hot
  • Slow steam radiators - radiator too slow to get hot
  • Too hot - radiator too hot
  • Missing radiators
  • Leaky radiators
  • Obstructed radiators
  • Radiator control valve stuck open / closed
  • Damaged: splits, rust, cracks
  • Poor location
  • Improper slope
  • Clogged
  • Low spots
  • RADIATORS
  • RADIATOR VALVES & HEAT CONTROLS

 Steam Radiator Air Vents Steam Vent Defects List

Steam Trap Defects

  • Damaged steam trap
  • Steam trap leaks
  • Steam trap missing
  • Steam trap stuck open or closed
  • STEAM TRAPS

Steam Boiler Water Feeder & Low Water Cut Off LWCO Defects

Steam Boiler Sight Glass / Water Gauge Level Defects List

Steam Heat Condensate Return Pumps & Boiler Feed Pump Defects List

Steam Boiler Pressure Control - Pressure-Trol Defects List

Steam Heat General Operating Problems Defects List

  • Boiler generates too little heat
  • Water level fluctuates during operation
  • Water level not visible

Steam Heating System Hartford Loop Defects List

  • Clogged
  • Lacking a close nipple 
  • Missing
  • Too Small
  • Too Low
  • Leaking
  • Wrong pitch
  • Details are at HARTFORD LOOP

These curriculae and building defect lists are based on smilar curriculum documents first prepared by Joe Scaduto, an ASHI member who prepared course material for Northeastern University's Building Inspection Certificate program in 1988, subsequently by DF, InspectApedia's editor, for New York University ca 1988 and later, with others, recommended to ASHI, the American Society of Home Inspectors.

ASHI did not adopt this material though currently that association as well as others offer extensive HOME INSPECTOR EDUCATION material.

The curriculum and lists of defects are informed by additional analysis of the process of home inspection that was developed beginning Calgary, AB for Canadian and U.S. home inspector education and certification examinations in 1997. Other early contributors to home inspection education in the U.S. and Canada include Dr. Jess Aronstein, Alan Carson, Mike Casey, Mark Cramer, John Cox, Dwight Barnett, Douglas Hansen, Rick Heyl, Larry Hoytt, Bill Merrill, Kevin O'Malley, Dennis Robitalille, Keith Peddie, Pat Porzio, Roger Robinson.

Use the Search Box at the top or bottom of these pages to find in-depth information about building, energy savings, and indoor environment inspection, diagnosis and repair at this website.

Watch out: these inspection lists do not list all possible defects for the systems discussed, and not all home or building inspectors will examine all of the items listed here.

 

Continue reading at STEAM HEATING SYSTEMS or select a topic from the More Reading links shown below.

This article series, beginning at BUILDING DEFECTS LISTS, provides lists of common building defects and basic defect knowledge that also outline recommended curriculum content for home inspector education.

Suggested citation for this web page

DEFECTS LIST - HEAT STEAM at InspectApedia.com - online encyclopedia of building & environmental inspection, testing, diagnosis, repair, & problem prevention advice.

More Reading

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