Freddy wrote:What kind of steam pressure is needed for an old fashioned piston type steam engine?
A lot of pressure and or volume, pressure is easy but volume is tricky once the load starts to eat it up. It probably is impractical at a home. Member cokehead ran a thread on Sterling engines a while ago. That would seem more appropriate with a coal fired home but I doubt it would be cost effective, they are not cheap.
Personally, I think you are better off with running water, hydro is cheap and has the power needed at reasonable cost. Buy your next home on the river.