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Heating dilemma: Recessed radiator vs cast iron baseboard
I'm in a jam. I just bought a 1930's tudor 2000 sf in Long Island, NY with oil powered steam heat and recessed cast iron radiators. The home has single pane windows which I don't want to upgrade due to cost and loss of aesthetics.
My dilemma is that I let my contractor convince me to change the system to an HVAC to get forced air heating and cooling. However, before the project began (and unfortunately after the old pipes and radiators were removed and probably sold) I started to see the planned invasiveness of HVAC in this old home (vents cut in the original floors, duct work taking over the basement, 2 furnace unts and 2 condensors, vents cut through plaster walls, no vents in the cement floor sunroom etc.) it didn't look like a solid plan.
I can live without cooling but absolutely need heat (and lots of it being from Florida originally). Since the old radiators are out, it will cost me a pretty penny to restore. But my thought was to now consider options like gas powered hot water heating, baseboard heating etc.
The old radiators were recessed so basically in the wall so not really an eyesore. it didn't bother me. What I can't figure out is whether cast iron baseboard heating by hot water would be better than hot water recessed cast iron radiators. I assume hot water is better than steam (so no need to go back to steam heating). The radiator space is already there and recessed in the wall so it seems that it would be easiest to put back radiators assuming radiators are cheaper than cast iron baseboards. However, does cast iron baseboard result in much more warmth? (I assume it does because it covers more surface area that 1-2 radiators recessed in the wall).
Any advice would be appreciated. Right now I have no heating so I'm anxious to get this resolved considering both cost and what's will provide the best warmth.
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