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Looking for some direction force vs hydronic, slant vs CI

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HI! About to close on my first home and its an older house that is in good condition and well maintained but needs some updating for our taste. One of the things I wasn't thrilled with was the radiant heating, considered having it switched over to forced but after many co-workers and friends said how lucky I was. Did some pros cons reading and yes I hate dust and noisy furnaces so radiant sounds like what I'd be happier with...except the bulky CI baseboard heaters all over the house. So did more reading and slant style baseboards look much better. But are they as good as CI? and I'm not concerned with durability I don't plan on randomly kicking them ;). So can the slant ones drop in place without changing my boiler or major piping changes? Will slant provide the same warm feeling radiant is known for over forced air?

Thanks guys I'm really just looking for direction here. I have no intentions of doing this without a professional and I have budgeted money to replace the entire HVAC system so i'm OK with spending some money updating my current radiant system.

Comments

  • george_42
    george_42 Member Posts: 121
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    are you crazy, keep the cast iron
    SuperTechSTEVEusaPACanucker
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,572
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    What climate are you in? Do you need cooling? How extensive a remodel are you doing?
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 2,183
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    > @george_42 said:
    > are you crazy, keep the cast iron

    This. 100%. You will regret it if you get rid of the cast iron baseboards. Cast iron baseboards and radiators provide much more comfortable heating then fin tube baseboards. I'm glad to hear that you aren't considering forced air.
    STEVEusaPA
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,880
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    Find a local contractor that KNOWS hydronics and have him go thru the entire system. Then get back to us.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,505
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    I have a customer moving soon, probably selling her house to a flipper. Has all original 50's baseray cast iron baseboard. I told her if the guy is gutting the house, I'll come over and demo and take all the radiation before they even start.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
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    When you are saying radiant, do you mean cast iron baseboard or cast iron radiators? By your description, it is not "radiant" as that term is used to describe invisible in-floor radiant heat which has no visible radiation.

    Show us some pictures of the units your are referring to and the boiler as well.

    Forced air heat would be dead last on my list!

    My list would be as follows in order from most desirable to least.

    1. Radiant slab or low temp radiant floor heat. (1A) With separate ductwork for A/C and air exchanger, minimal ductwork.

    2. Cast Iron radiators/generous cast iron baseboard. With option 1A.

    3. Panel radiators...basically the modern version of #2. With option 1A.

    4. Fin-tube convectors (1950s lighter weight answer for cast iron). Witg option 1A.

    5. Fin-tube baseboard (often referred to as Slant-fin heat). With option 1A.

    6. Forced air. No need for option 1A as extensive ductwork needs to be in place. Be sure to have a supply in every room and a return in every room ideally.
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,924
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    Really depends what you want. CI is certainly going to be more comfortable than baseboard IMO, but considerably uglier at the same time. And BB is already hideous. Personally I would never consider either one but I like contemporary looks so that's the drawback. Panel radiators might be a consideration, they're not nearly as ugly or clunky but still visible and limit furniture placement the same as the others would.

    If it were my long term home, and I were willing to spend the money to have an ideal system, I would absolutely install forced air throughout the house for central AC with the option to heat also. In conjunction with the forced air, the heating side would be all 100% low temp radiant- whether underfloor, ceiling, wall, overpour, whatever it takes to make it work. Completely invisible and silent, and if done properly, more comfortable than the CI rads to boot. This is a very expensive route compared to the others, but IMO you get what you pay for and it's worth every penny.
  • Steve3730
    Steve3730 Member Posts: 6
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    Thanks for the quick feedback. I don't have access to the house yet we close in 2 weeks. Here are some pictures I have from the inspection and appraisal reports.

    Also it has central air ran in the attic and vents in the ceilings






    Work we are looking to do is
    -before move- in paint and pull up carpet see hardwood floor condition and either refinish or laydown new.
    -Soon after move in-refinish or replace kitchen cabinets and countertops

    -Down the road- add half bath to main floor
    -Down the road- make basement live-able space.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,646
    edited February 2020
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    Those are cast iron baseboards.

    Do you just not care for the look of them?
    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • Steve3730
    Steve3730 Member Posts: 6
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    Yes mostly the look and some concern about having to keep furniture away. But I really don't know if that will be an issue until I move in
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,880
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    WHO did the inspection. Home inspector or HVAC Contractor?
  • Steve3730
    Steve3730 Member Posts: 6
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    Home inspector
  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 646
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    You have to worry less about furniture placement with the cast than you will with copper fin tube because of the thermal mass of the cast iron. Though you don't want to cover too much up. you'll figure it out. I might suggest swapping out the piece in the bath room with a panel radiator maybe under the towel rod. This will avoid the "splash" issues and resulting rust.
    Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker
  • Steve3730
    Steve3730 Member Posts: 6
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    Thanks we will eventually remodel that bathroom. So maybe at that point I'll update to the style you suggested.

    So you guys have me leaning towards keeping the CI but there is one spot were i believe a full size radiator sits that really will mess with look of our kitchen when we redo it. Hard to see in the picture below but under the kitchen sink instead of cabinet there is mesh vent for the radiator. Can this be swapped for a kickerspace heater/ toe kick?

    Thanks again guys for the help. I will be calling professionals to look more closely after i get in the house. I just wanted to get some idea and direction with what I know


  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,880
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    Before the purchase get a contractor in to inspect the boiler and associated piping.
    Home Inspectors are clueless!
    SuperTechSolid_Fuel_Man
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,880
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    I would also get a roofer and plumber!
  • Steve3730
    Steve3730 Member Posts: 6
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    Too late for all that now. I had the home inspector and a structural engineer come out to look at it. A couple friends that are plumbers and electricians looked over the inspection for me.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,880
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    It’s never too late. Your purchasing you have the right to inspect anything you want.

    I wish you the best. Good luck.