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Topic: Steam radiator insulation question

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Subject: Steam radiator insulation question
Date Posted: 9/10/2014 3:49 PM ET
Member Since: 1/17/2007
Posts: 12,922
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Anybody know beaucoup info about steam radiators, insulation, fire hazards, stuff like that? A friend asked me about ways to LESSEN the output of an on/off cast-iron steam radiator -- to keep more of the heat IN rather than helping it radiate out. Lots of internet research later, the overall best solution seems to be throwing a cotton or wool blanket over the thing, since in this case looks are not an issue. I'm wondering if this is really safe -- and that's the question. Can a wool or cotton blanket catch fire from resting against a cast-iron radiator at standard high temps? Yes we know about fiberglas and Mylar and yadda yadda, she's just curious about using what's laying around without actually dying from it. Anybody?

Subject: Iron Steam Radiators
Date Posted: 11/12/2014 12:14 AM ET
Member Since: 10/8/2011
Posts: 1
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 I used to live in a third floor walk up in Rochester, NY (1979) that had steam heat, and yes, the radiator was messed up and wouldn't shut off winter or summer. I finally wrapped it with glass fiber house insulation which helped immensly. As for throwing a blanket over it, I do not think that it would cause a fire, as cotton/wool will not combust until the temperature reaches about 450 degrees F (and needs an open flame). It does take a lot of heat for wool to catch fire, as wool does not sustain a flame easily. Also, off the boiler, there is a manifold (splitter) for zone control to each room. If the valves are not too corroded, you could partially shut the valve to that room so that the temperature would be at a more comfortable level. Another thought - put a box fan hanging close to the ceiling in the doorway pushing air OUT of that room. Heat collects close to the ceiling, and if you can exhaust the heat into other part of the house, that will help too. Failing that, open a window - wasteful, but effective. I do that here in the "Heart of Dixie" in my bedroom at night. Fresh air at any temperature always helps me sleep better for some reason. And it does get cold here in the winter, tonight it is supposed to get close to 25 degrees. I wish you luck in your problem.

Last Edited on: 11/12/14 12:19 AM ET - Total times edited: 1