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Types of Home Heating Systems


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Steam Radiant
Cast Iron Radiator

Cast Iron Radiator

© Burnham 2006

Steam Radiant Heating System
Steam radiators are nostalgic and not often used today. They are characterized by cast iron upright radiators radiating heat with steam.

Steam systems come in two varieties, one-pipe and two-pipe systems. With one-pipe systems the water and steam travel in the same pipe but in opposite directions. In two-pipe systems steam flows in one pipe and water condensate returns in another set of pipes.


  • Heat is distributed with steam piping and radiator units

    Fuel Sources

  • Steam boiler may be fueled by natural gas, propane, oil or electricity


  • Efficient and warms spaces quickly
  • Radiant heat is comfortable
  • Old hot water system radiators can now be replaced with smaller convection units or vertical wall panel radiators


  • Radiators can be unsightly
  • Radiator locations may limit furniture placement and window coverings
  • Air conditioning requires a separate ductwork distribution and cooling system.
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