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Maintaining Steam Heating Systems

Safety Valve
Steam Pressure Gauge
Water Level Gauge
Helpful Hint for Cleaning


Periodically check the safety valve, steam pressure gauge, and water level gauge. Be sure to regularly inspect your burner and thermostat. Maintenance you can perform includes:

Safety Valve

Located on top of the boiler, the safety valve allows steam to escape if the pressure in the boiler exceeds safe levels. Test the valve every month during the heating season by depressing the handle (stand clear of valve pipe). If steam doesn't come out, have the valve replaced.

Steam Pressure Gauge

Check that the pressure of the steam in the boiler as shown on the gauge is within normal bounds. Normal bounds typically means 2 to 10 pounds per square inch (psi). If not, shut off the boiler at once and call for service.

Water Level Gauge

Once a month, open the valves at each end of the sight glass in the gauge. The water level should be in the middle of the glass. (Be sure to close the valves after checking). If water is not visible, immediately shut off the boiler and let it cool. Then, add water by opening the fill valve on the water inlet pipe, unless your system has an automatic water fill valve. In that case, call for service.

Helpful Hint for Cleaning

To remove the sight glass for cleaning or replacement, shut off the valves and undo the collar nuts at each end of the glass. Install new gaskets when you reassemble the unit.

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