Advantages of a vapor steam-heating system include:

1. Air cannot enter-the system as it is closed. Thus, a moderate vacuum is created by the condensation producing steam at lower temperatures.

2. An even, quiet circulation of steam is provided with no air binding or noisy water hammer.

3. Room temperatures can be closely and automatically regulated by thermostatic controls.

4. Radiator air valves are not required.

Disadvantages of a vapor steam-heating system include:

1. Comparatively large pipe sizes are necessary.

2. Only low steam pressure is possible.

3. The condensate must return to the boiler by gravity.

The condensate must return to the boiler by gravity in this type of heating system and may back up in the vertical return pipe when there is excess steam pressure in the boiler.

As a result, an air eliminator must be installed well above the level of the water in the boiler, yet low enough for it to close before the return water is of sufficiently high level to enter the return main. Close control of the boiler pressure is required in this type of system.

A return-trap heating system closely resembles the vapor system except that the return trap provides a positive return of condensate to the boiler. This type can be used in all but the largest buildings if the equivalent direct radiation (EDR) capacity is not greater than the return-trap capacity.

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