Pictured above is a recently extracted “Return Pipe” from a home in Cleveland Heights. It could very well be a Return Pipe from a similar steam heating system in Shaker Heights, University Heights, Moreland Hills or Pepper Pike.
Return Pipes, or Return Lines as they are sometimes called, are one of the Achilles’ Heel’s of a steam heating system. The steam returns to the steam boiler by way of condensate water. This is the primary method of replenishing a boiler’s water. It completes the heating cycle in atypical steam heating systems.
The return lines can become the final resting place of contaminants in the water and from the heating system piping itself. While often a slow process, this can become a serious problem over time. It can even lead to the demise of the boiler itself.
Once the pipe rots from the inside out, it may not reveal itself right away. This, too, can be a long process because quite often these return lines have been covered in asbestos insulation. This fiber-based insulation absorbs the water initially, then the water evaporates from the asbestos insulation like a sea sponge exposed on a rocky beach in the Caribbean. But then the problem worsens. The hole becomes bigger and the deterioration accelerates. Depending on the pathway of the return lines around the perimeter of a basement, the water on the floor may not be instantly noticeable. But at some point the problem intensifies and the water pools significantly and needs to be addressed immediately.
The asbestos needs to be professionally remediated and then Verne and Ellsworth Hann’s team of expert pipe fitters can come in and restore the return piping to a reliable configuration.
If you own a home with a steam heating system, then you have return lines. It is essential to have all aspects of your heating system cleaned and checked by a professional well acquainted with steam boilers in older homes. Verne and Ellsworth Hann is the preeminent steam heating service company for residential boilers in Northeast Ohio.
If you have steam a heating system in Cleveland Heights, Shaker Heights, University Heights, Moreland Hills, Pepper Pike of even in Lakewood, Verne and Ellsworth Hann’s phone number should be in your Rolodex (or, more likely, on your smart phone). Save the number: 216-932-9755.
Have someone who has worked on steam boilers for generations be your go to company. Don’t use someone whose primary resource is a video on the internet.
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