There is yet another gravity system of steam heating that is sometimes used in large buildings where economy in the use of pipe is desired; this is the overhead or drop system shown in Fig. 9. It is not a common method of piping and is given here only because of its occasional use. In the arrangement of the drop system, the supply pipe for the radiators rises from the boiler to the highest point of the system and the branch pipes for the radiators are taken off from the descending pipe. Its action is the same as that of a single-pipe system but the advantage gained by the arrangement is that the steam in the main supply pipes travels in the same direction as the returning water of condensation; the cause of surging in long risers is thus eliminated.

The two-pipe systems of steam heating are more certain in action than the single-pipe methods because there is nothing to interfere with the progress of the steam on its way to the radiators. In long branch pipes of the single-pipe system, the returning water is frequently caught by the advancing steam and carried to the end of the pipe, when slugging and surging is the result.