Steam heating is vastly similar to regular water-based heating in most of its aspects, though it concentrates on running steam through the pipes, as opposed to simply boiling water. Even though both systems provide a consistent stream of heat and are relatively easy to maintain, there are some differences which should be noted by anyone planning on installing such a system in their home. Overall, steam heating systems seem to enjoy more popularity than their water counterparts, due to the slightly lower costs and maintenance needs they come with.
A steam heating system has several advantages over other types of heating, the primary one being its ease of use and installation - the system doesn't use many mechanic moving parts or electronic equipment, and thus requires very little maintenance compared to some other types of heating (such as an electric heating system). Additionally, boiling water to the point of vaporizing it means that you have crystal clear steam running through your pipes, which subsequently makes the steam heating system a very environment-friendly solution that's also good for your health.
When you have a steam heating system in your home, there are some maintenance procedures which should be performed frequently to ensure a smooth operation without any risks. The main thing to check is the safety valve, which should be in a perfect condition at all times, and may require some small amounts of re-adjustment from time to time, to ensure that it's operating efficiently. Apart from the central boiler itself, you also need to check the radiators to ensure they aren't leaking, as this can severely degrade the performance of the system as a whole and even lead to potential breakdowns and floods. Steam escaping from the pipes can be very hazardous to one's health, so the utmost care should be taken to prevent this from occurring.
However, when it comes to comparing steam heating to other types of heating systems, it holds one pretty noticeable disadvantage which puts off many people who're considering using this type of heating in their homes - it's not as efficient as most other systems. It takes a bit of time for the steam to start running through the pipes, and the heating it provides can be a few grades below what you can get from some other modern-day systems that are becoming more and more popular, like electric heating. On the other hand, it can be very easy on your pocket, as it doesn't have the traditionally high costs attached to it that other systems to, and it's therefore seen as a more attractive option by consumers who're looking to get the most out of their heating budget.
On a final note, steam heating systems need frequent replacement - more so than other types of heating, and this is one of the reasons why some see them as more expensive (when in reality they aren't). Even though some choose to keep running with the same system for prolonged periods of time, this often degrades its efficiency.