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stick with recessed cast iron or tear out and go radiant?

Jason_29 Member Posts: 29
Purchased a house with cast iron recessed radiators on a diverter tee setup. Old oil boiler that hasn't run in 3 years. Buried oil tank.

With the Wall's help 6 years ago I sized a constant circ system with a mod con/trv/steel radiator setup that has been amazing in our current home, so I'm not afraid of "new" tech.

I need to keep the oil since there's no gas. I'm not afraid to staple up pex since all the floor joists are open. I thought either that or keep the rads, ditch the diverter tees and go with a manifold and thermostats for each room.

Will current oil boiler technology allow me to do a constant circ low temp setup?

Thanks (again) in advance,



  • Floors

    Somebody else will have to answer your technology questions, but what kind of floors and subfloors do you have? Hardwood over Doug Fir? Tile over plywood? Carpet over plywood?
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    if staple up

    Is your only option first step heat loss see if staple up,will cut it. Alan makes the point how much r value in flooring you have to push through. Your probably approaching SWT of rads.

    WM makes a nice oil boiler high efficiency 86.5 oil boiler.
  • Jason_29
    Jason_29 Member Posts: 29
    hardwood floors

    Floors are hardwood over tongue and groove subfloor circa 1961. Area rugs, no wall to wall. I will certainly do a heat loss and room by room calculation like I did for my current home.

    The big question is can I use oil to fuel a lower temperature constant circ setup like I have with my trv's and flat panel rads currently

    Thanks again,

  • bob eck
    bob eck Member Posts: 930
    New boiler

    Why don't you look into using a LP gas condensing boiler. If you own the LP tank you can shop for best cost on LP gas.

    Burnham makes the MPO-IQ oil boiler 87% AFUE you can do outdoor reset with this boiler.

    Use their Alliance IDWH for domestic hot water.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Being the cheapskate that I am:

    Being the cheapskate that I am, I would install a Taco "I" series 4-way valve on the boiler and have ODR run the water temperature through the radiators. If you have built-in "Sunrad" Radiators, those are nice and probably are way over-sized for your house.

    I always tried to give customers "choices". From the least expensive and work to the "Soup, Salad and the fine steak or lobster. Few took the full offering but took the lesser route. By the time you get done installing miles of spaghetti to heat the house, you could have made major improvements to your system with a cost/benefit ratio that is far higher with the 4-way than ripping out what you have.

    There are many ways to do what you want. Its like going into a chocolate store and wanting to buy a mixed box of chocolates. How to decide which ones you want and how much are you willing to spend.

    Before I stopped last year, I looked at a problem installation done a few years ago by a heating contractor from New Jersey. It was the most beautiful installation I have ever seen. State of the art, staple up and in-floor heat on two floors and the cellar. It DID NOT WORK!. And it couldn't be fixed. It didn't work in the cold weather for the original owner and the next owner, covered all the floors with wall to wall carpet. The kitchen and baths didn't have enough floor space to match the heat loss. The day I looked at it was extremely cold and the boiler was running with long burns and short off times. The person before me had sold him a new boiler two sizes smaller than the one that was there in a trade. I told him that a new boiler wasn't going to solve his problem, that even if I fixed the broken equipment, it still wouldn't work satisfactorily. And I didn't want to be responsible for spending his money and him blaming me for it not working. The kitchen had three exposed walls, lots of glass and a direct exposed roof. And when the wind blew out of the East, was the coldest room in the house. When the wind blew out of the NW, the front hall which was open to the second floor and roof, and on the same zone as the downstairs, was the coldest room.

    I did a few staple up floor jobs that were retrofits. I was never happy with the way they performed. I experimented with my own homes. I tried a lot of things like coal and wood stoves, added to my baseboard heat. With a coal stove, I maybe saved $10.00 on my oil bill, and spent $100.+ on coal. And had to listen to my wife complain about all the coal dust all over the house. Same with wood. And wood or coal wasn't cheap. There was never a payback.

    Where I used to work, it went from almost total electric to Hydro-Air. The HVAC guys sold the boilers, water heaters and duct work. It wasn't anything I could be proud of. And you never hear anyone complaining if it cost them more to run than their old system. What would they compare it to any way?

    Check out all your options and decide.
  • Jason_29
    Jason_29 Member Posts: 29
    edited January 2014
    Here's the radiator

    I think you're right about the radiant... lots of work maybe not a lot of payoff.

    LP is even more expensive than oil around here and I don't need a fireplace or range to run on gas.

    Reading about this valve, it seems that it mixes back water to protect the boiler. Can I then run constant circ through the system and have thermostats for each room? I really love that feature in my current system.

    Is there a diagram of this valve in a manifold/actuator system anywhere I can use as reference?

    Thanks again,