Steam Heat

In the beginning… -there was steam!

At least for us anyway. That’s how we got our start, putting in steam heating systems. During the 1930’s steam heat was all the rage in Rhode Island and everybody who could afford it wanted it.

That kept us pretty busy, but then came World War II and the world changed. After the war millions of returning veterans wanted new housing for their families and suburbs with tract houses began sprouting like weeds. Low cost and speed of construction were the hallmarks of those homes, and steam heat just couldn’t compete on cost or ease of installation. It was the end of an era.

Here we are almost 90 years later and there’s still tens of thousands of steam heating systems around us. That’s a real testament to the quality of steam systems in general and the workmanship of the time in particular. Those systems are largely bulletproof and because it’s almost never cost effective to remove them, they’re going to be with us for a long time to come.

But what of the men who worked on them, installed them, and serviced them? They did go away. And an art was lost. Steam is the simplest form of central heating, but even it has it’s rules and idiosyncrasies. And when the old guys retired and went away steam began to feel neglected. And just like anybody else, when steam feels neglected it bangs, hisses, or refuses to cooperate(heat).  And of course it makes sure you spend every last one of your hard earned dollars to feed it.

Starting to think that steam heat is no good, or just plain inefficient compared to today’s standards? Nothing could be further from the truth. Steam is every bit as efficient as an average hot water system, providing it hasn’t been altered or neglected.

But all too often it has been both neglected and altered without consideration of the system’s requirements. And that’s when the problems start. Nobody’s fault really. Who is left, after all, to care about things that went in 90+ years ago and haven’t been installed since? Life is about the future. Steam is dead…

At Landry & Martin the art of steam was never lost. It has been continuously handed down through 4 generations and is alive and well. No matter how bad you think your steam system is, at it’s heart it is very simple and just wants a little TLC to show you what it can do. 

Call us for a free analysis of your steam system and together we’ll figure out how to get your steam system running in tip top condition. For another 90 years. Only steam can do that!


Steam Heat