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HELP ADVICE NEEDED: Cracked Rads. Stay With Hot Water or Convert to Forced Air

solmansolman Member Posts: 9
Please HELP! Need to make decision this week....

100 year old house. Our Boiler died while away during the winter and house/pipes froze. Rads cracked
and HVAC Contractor said rads will need to be replaced. Could someone suggest best options:

1. Convert to forced air
2. New boiler and recycled rads from junk yards
3. New boiler and all new rads.
4. Not sure what Steam means... sorry

Are there different alternatives to types of modern "new" rads. Which brands are considered better. Contractor is quoting A grand per rad which sounds HUGE $$$$$

Comments

  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 14,836
    I'd pick your number 2, since I assume (from the cracked radiators) that this is/was hot water. Recycled radiators are less expensive than new ones and can be cleaned up and painted and, if pressure checked, will work just as well as new ones. You can probably use PEX for replacing the piping, and threading that into the chases and locations where the busted piping was isn't that hard (although it does sometimes take a little ingenuity).

    Converting to forced air might be very difficult -- and expensive -- as places would have to be found to run the ductwork. In an existing house, this can get very interesting, to put it mildly. The only reason I would even think of it is if you also wanted to add air conditioning -- but it will be at least as expensive as repairing the hot water, and will necessitate some major interior carpentry and finishing work.

    Steam? Great stuff. But, had you had it, the radiators wouldn't have frozen, and to put it in now -- much as I love steam -- would be every bit as hard as putting the hot water back together.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • gennadygennady Member Posts: 804
    Did you check piping? It might be busted as well. In any case, do not install forced air system.
    Gennady Tsakh



    Absolute Mechanical Co. Inc.

    www.AbsoluteMechanicalCoInc.com
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Where are you located? You've received good advice above -- we may know someone who can help.
  • solmansolman Member Posts: 9
    Thanks Gennady.

    Thanks Jamie. As nice as the Buderis modern panel rads are not sure if that looks right in a 100 year old house.

    Regarding the recycled rads. When I go to the junkyards to pick some up , is there any way to know if they're cracked or not . Is it obvious or a rolling the dice.
  • solmansolman Member Posts: 9
    SWEI I'm in St.Catharines Ontario...

    Thanks!
    LouisFournier
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Pretty sure we have at least one member here from Toronto, but I can't think of a name at the moment.

    Start with a visual inspection. Consider taking a small compressor and some fittings with you and testing them on site, or pay a low, low price. http://ocsind.com/ would be another option, for new replacements.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 14,836
    I'm not sufficiently familiar with your area to suggest a place -- but I would imagine if you were nice to the folks (there must be someone somewhere on that end of the lake!) they would let you test the radiators. One does want to check, but a quick visual inspection should help you avoid the real losers...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.
    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • AMservicesAMservices Member Posts: 577
    Warm air will make your house dryer then it already is in the winter. Also the process of installing duct work to every room can be very invasive.
    The only benefit you would get is the option for central air conditioning if you choose ductwork.
    Stick with radiators and find the right contractor that can provide a heat loss.
    If you want AC, go ductless
  • solmansolman Member Posts: 9
    AM thanks well said. In fact I despise AC. I'm a Tropical Sun worshipper!

    Jamie thanks great idea.

    SWEI would you mean Jim Addison by any chance?
  • solmansolman Member Posts: 9
    Guys you're great. Based on the feedback no way am I going ducts!

    Always loved hot water rads. Also Jamie appreciate you steering me to recycled used rads.
  • CanuckerCanucker Member Posts: 656
    solman said:

    Guys you're great. Based on the feedback no way am I going ducts!

    Always loved hot water rads. Also Jamie appreciate you steering me to recycled used rads.

    Kijiji is your friend when looking for used rads. Lots of people"upgrading" to forced air. May have to get a big trailer and go on a road trip to get them but they're around.(Toronto especially) My biggest issue is finding replacement fittings with a left hand thread, if you can't salvage the originals.
    You can have it good, fast or cheap. Pick two
  • solmansolman Member Posts: 9
    Latest... Just talked to a local installer and told him what I was up to with the hunt for used rads and his exact words " If it's used rads I charge by the hour. I don't know how long the fittings may be etc." no quote for the job.

    Seems like gouging to me.
  • Firecontrol933Firecontrol933 Member Posts: 73
    Doesn't sound like gouging to me, sounds like someone that has dealt with used rads before and knows that some go easy and some can take half a day.
    SWEIRich_49
  • solmansolman Member Posts: 9
    Ok. Hopefully the final cost doesn't exceed a modern brand new Buderis Panel rad.
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    If you can pressure test them, clean and paint them, and make sure they couple to a modern valve & tailpiece, you will minimize your risk. I'd go ahead and buy the valves as well.
  • ChrisJChrisJ Member Posts: 11,477
    edited May 2016
    solman said:

    AM thanks well said. In fact I despise AC. I'm a Tropical Sun worshipper!

    Jamie thanks great idea.

    SWEI would you mean Jim Addison by any chance?

    I'm sorry, based on this we cannot ever be friends. I worship the cold.

    That said, run away from forced hot air, run!
    Have the hot water system fixed and don't cut corners. I'd personally go with good, used cast iron radiators but maybe that's not your thing. Some like the look of modern panel radiators.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • solmansolman Member Posts: 9
    ChrisJ said:

    solman said:

    AM thanks well said. In fact I despise AC. I'm a Tropical Sun worshipper!

    Jamie thanks great idea.

    SWEI would you mean Jim Addison by any chance?

    I'm sorry, based on this we cannot ever be friends. I worship the cold.

    That said, run away from forced hot air, run!
    Have the hot water system fixed and don't cut corners. I'd personally go with good, used cast iron radiators but maybe that's not your thing. Some like the look of modern panel radiators.
    Lol!

    Chris J thanks. Actually I have no problem with the look of old. It just feels normal...
  • jumperjumper Member Posts: 1,564
    Pipes are probably shot. I'd go for steel panels. Not worth expense to replace cast iron radiators. In some rooms you may want to mount the panels at ceiling height on an interior wall.

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