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Condesating Steam Pipe

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Old 04-26-2009, 07:20 PM   #1
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Condesating Steam Pipe

Hey guys,

I would assume this is a question for some plumbers or anyone with any knowledge about this. I have a customer who has old steam radiators in his home. There is a pipe running up from the basement thru the first floor to the second floor.

The pipe had a lot of condesation on it so bad the all the paint on the wall and ceiling is peeling extremely bad. The pipe is about 2-3 inches off the wall. I want to find a solution to the problem before I do any work.

The work he wants done is to fix the wall and ceiling. scrape, patch, sand and paint. then he wants me box in the pipe so it doesn't happen to the wall again.

I am worried about it still condesating and just dripping down onto the floor and ruing that and potentially rotting the subfloor. There is about a 3/8" radius around the pipe in the floor going to the basement. I am just looking for some solutions I guess to solve the condesating problem, which by the way was pretty bad in the winter because thats when I noticed it.

Thanks so much guys,

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Old 04-26-2009, 08:06 PM   #2
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Re: Condesating Steam Pipe

Are you sure it's not leaking steam?? I have a steam system and have never had condensate outside the pipes. I have had a little leaking here and there.


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Old 04-26-2009, 08:31 PM   #3
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Re: Condesating Steam Pipe

In order for water vapor to condense, the surface its condensing on must be cooler than the air temp. If this is a pipe that serves a radiant heat system, then its not going to have condensation on it.
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Old 04-26-2009, 10:16 PM   #4
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Re: Condesating Steam Pipe

So then we could have leaking steam turning to condensate or leaking condensate.

I've found that resi steam pipe leaks are generally minimal at 3-5 psi and in my climate a little steam out into the living space is usually welcome. Also found that steam leaks tend to seal themselves over time if they are not getting banged around.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:25 AM   #5
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Re: Condesating Steam Pipe

Call a "wet head"... Plumbers around here don't know jack about steam but they will take your money.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:57 AM   #6
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Re: Condesating Steam Pipe

its a heating question, not a plumbing one. internal steam pressure for a residential boiler is approx. .5 psi, yes a half-a- pound normal. the problem doesnt sound like moisture condensing of the pipe but rather on the wall. i'm assuming its an exterior wall that's colder in the winter, reguardless, i'd first check for slight leaks around any fitting and seal them. then the pipe should be insulated with a good fiberglass wrap with vapor barrier (overkill) to midigate the temp difference associated with moisture accumulation. the one could box it out.
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Old 04-27-2009, 07:29 PM   #7
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Re: Condesating Steam Pipe


have you gone upstairs yet


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