|MLA Citation:||Bloomfield, Louis A. "Question 687"|
How Everything Works 17 Jan 2018. 17 Jan 2018 <http://howeverythingworks.org/print1.php?QNum=687>.
However, there are a few potential problems with this system. If there is air trapped in the pipes, the steam will have trouble reaching the radiators. Even though steam is lighter than air, it will diffuse slowly through the trapped air. That's why each steam radiator has a small bleeder valve. When the steam pressure exceeds atmospheric pressure, it should push the air in the pipes out the bleeder valves of the radiators. You ought to be able to hear the air leaving and the valves may continue to sputter a bit even when the pipes and radiators are essentially full of steam. I suspect that the bleeder valves on your upstairs radiators aren't functioning well so that steam isn't reaching them.