Omnia Mechanical Group

571 Timpson Place Bronx, NY 10455

Phone: 212-534-2500

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Steam vs. Hydronic Heating: How Each Works with New York City Radiators

Radiators have been a fixture in New York City apartments, condos, co-ops, and brownstones for over a century. While most were equipped with steam radiators, hydronic heating became more mainstream after the advent of electricity. Which one is best for your property? Learn the pros and cons of steam vs. hydronic heating in this post and why hydronic heating lagged behind steam initially. We’ll also discuss considerations for converting from steam to hydronic heating.

Steam vs. Hydronic Heating: What’s the Difference?

The basics of the two heating types

Steam heat uses water raised above the boiling point as a source of warmth. When water reaches its boiling point of 212 degrees Fahrenheit, it undergoes a phase change and transitions from liquid to gas (evaporation). After the steam cools, it passes through a reverse phase change, becoming liquid again. The condensate (slightly cooled steam) is returned to the boiler to be reheated.

Hydronic heating, on the other hand, uses hot water as a heat source. The water never quite reaches the boiling point, so it doesn’t ever turn into steam. Hydronic heating systems use water that’s about 180 to 200 degrees Fahrenheit.

Which Is Better: Steam or Hydronic Heating?

Pros and cons of each

Steam heat came before hydronic heating because it relies on physics, rather than mechanical systems powered by electricity, to send steam to radiators in the system. Although some buildings today may assist the natural rise of steam with pumps for more even heat and faster distribution, early steam heat systems around the turn of the 20th century didn’t necessarily need this. Instead, boilers were set to create massive amounts of steam – more heat than most residences needed, but they wanted to leave windows open for better ventilation during the Spanish flu pandemic.

Hydronic systems don’t have the benefit of rising steam to move the heat source into various radiators. So, hydronic heating systems require more pumps to operate, as well as these parts, usually:

  • Backflow preventer or check valve so water doesn’t remigrate to the boiler
  • Water pressure regulator
  • Temperature-pressure relief valve to stay within limits
  • Expansion tank due to expansion and contraction of water
  • Air bleeders because the system isn’t perfectly sealed

This can make hydronic systems somewhat more complex to maintain, as there are more moving pieces. And if a key circulator pump fails, an entire area of a multi-unit residence could be without heat.

There are benefits to using hydronic heat, however:

  • Because the water isn’t heated to as high a degree as with a steam system, the boiler doesn’t have to run as hot with hydronic heating, which can save money.
  • You can use hydronic heat in other ways – for example, in baseboard heaters and radiant floor heating.
  • It’s easier to control the flow of heat with hydronic heating, so you wind up with more even heating throughout a property than with steam heat, where you can have cold spots.
  • You can create zoned heating with hydronic heating more easily with steam, making some areas cooler and some areas warmer, depending on their use.
  • Boilers heating water for hydronic systems still need regular maintenance, but they tend not to be as fussy as steam boilers, which require blowdown and more precise water treatment to stay clean.

Call Calray Boilers to Update or Maintain Your Heating System

New York City’s boiler experts

Are you thinking about converting from steam to hydronic heating in your building? Or, you may have a switch on the far horizon and want to get a few more years out of your existing boiler. Calray Boilers can help. Call us at 212-722-5506 today to schedule a consultation or a maintenance check.


Our Privacy Policy

Omnia Mechanical Group(the “Company”) strives to ensure the highest standards for property listings and customer information privacy. Please review the following statement to learn about our company practices and policies. Please be aware that our Privacy Policy is subject to change at any time.

1. Purpose.

This Privacy Policy (“the Policy”) provides information on how the Company uses your personal information. By agreeing to the Policy, you agree to our collection and use of your personal information as described in the Policy. This Privacy Policy is effective for all new users of Sanitaryplumbing.com.

2. Personal Information.

You can browse some areas of omniagroup.nyc (“the Website”) without being a registered user. However, certain activities do require registration. (You consent to the transfer and storage of your information by registering with omniagroup.nyc).

3. Use of Information.

Our primary purpose in collecting personal information is to provide you with a safe and user-friendly experience. For example, the Company may use your personal information to:

  • Improve our services and the Website’s content and layout;
  • Provide the services and necessary customer support you request;
  • Resolve disputes, collect fees, and troubleshoot problems;
  • Track and record customer satisfaction with our services;
  • Protect the Company against error and fraud;
  • Inform you of special promotions and announcements;
  • Enforce our agreements, terms, conditions, and policies; and
  • As otherwise described to you at the time of collection.

We may occasionally ask you to complete optional surveys. These surveys are used to improve and customize your experience with Sanitaryplumbing.com.

The Company always provides you the ability to opt-out of further communication such as promotions and surveys; see the Opt-Out section below.

The Company does not share any of your personal information with outside organizations, companies, individuals, etc. The only exception to this standard is if such a disclosure is reasonably necessary to respond to any and all legal processes.

4. Links to Other Sites.

The Website may have links to other websites that may collect personally identifiable information about you. The Company is not responsible for the privacy practices of the content of those linked websites.

5. Safety & Security Precautions.

The Website has strict security measures in place to protect you and your information from fraud. Once your information is provided to Omnia Mechanical Group, we strive to ensure the confidentiality of your identity and information.

6. Opt-Out.

The Company provides you with the opportunity to opt-out of receiving promotional and other non-essential, marketing-related communications from Omnia Mechanical Group. If you would like to opt-out of these select communications, please see any of the Company’s email communications and follow the directions indicated.

7. Account Protection.

Your password ensures the security of your account. When choosing a password, the Company suggests using various characters. It is highly recommended that you do not disclose your Sanitaryplumbing.com password to anyone. (If you do disclose your password or your personal information with others, you are responsible for all actions taken in the name of your account.) If the security of your password is compromised for any reason, please contact the Company immediately.

8. Accuracy of Information

The Company does not guarantee the accuracy of information for any and all of its properties on the Website, and is not responsible for any errors or misrepresentations (made by Renters, the Client, or otherwise).

9. Cookies

The Company may place a small cookie on your computer’s hard drive. This allows us to personalize your use on the Website. In order to maximize the functionality and usability of the Website, you must set your browser’s preferences to allow both permanent and temporary cookies.

10. Changing Your Personal Information.

Should your personal information change, please immediately update your information on the Website. This will ensure the accuracy of our records. The Company does retain personal information from closed accounts in order to comply with law and collect and disburse any fees owed.

11. Third Parties

This Privacy Policy addresses only the use of information we collect from you. Since omniagroup.nyc does not control the privacy policies of third parties, you are subject to the privacy policies of those third parties. It is advisable that you consult with the management of third parties before you disclose your personal information to others.

12. General

We may amend this Privacy Policy at any time by posting the amended terms on the Website. All amended terms are immediately effective after they are initially posted on the Website.

13. Privacy Policy Questions & Concerns

Questions and/or concerns regarding the Policy should be emailed to the following email address: info@omniagroup.nyc.