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CI Baseboard Recommendations

bdubya
bdubya Member Posts: 16
Adding about 45 linear feet of CI baseboard in 465 sq ft room. I've looked at Burnham, WM and now looking at OCS Industries. The Burnham and WM seem more modern looking with nicer looking end caps and I've seen them around for years. However, although OCS looks to have been around for many years, I've never heard of their CI baseboard radiators until my search began.

Anybody have experience buying & installing OCS CI baseboard and have pictures of finished product along the walls? They seem like nice people to deal with. I just don't know their track record for quality CI baseboard and cannot find any installed pics searching the web - which seems odd. Thanks in advance!

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,654
    Burnham Baseray & Weil Mclain have been around for years and are good products. The sections are assembled with special tools so be aware of that.

    Read the install manuals. They usually want the wall behind the baseboard to be heavily insulated.

    I don't know anything about ocs

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,271
    OCS looks about the same as Burnham and WM. But where do you get it? When there is a problem in 20 years and you need to replace a section, where will you get it then? I would stick with what I know has been available for over 75 years. But that's just me.
    Edward Young
    Retired HVAC Contractor from So. Jersey.
    Services first oil burner at age 16
    P/T trainer for EH-CC.org

  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 892
    That's a lot of baseboard for a room that size! Are you trying to run low temps? Or is the room made of glass?
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    That's a lot of baseboard for a room that size! Are you trying to run low temps? Or is the room made of glass?

    If you knew my neighbors, you'd think we lived in a glass house. We sized the needs for heating as about 18,000 - 20,000 btu/hr in ASHRAE climate zone 4. Is this not a correct estimate? The room has 3 exterior walls totaling 51 linear feet x 8' H, with a total of 35 sq ft of window area, one 36" w exterior door and a 36 x 24 wood burning fireplace (terrible heat loss & if we weren't planning to move in 5 years we'd change it to a sealed NG burner).

    The insulation is not good, we are on a five year plan to move and until then, we want to be comfortable and not tear out the walls either. We are remodeling the living room space having to do drywall anyway so planning to add 1" r-board to the interior of exterior walls to provide a thermal break and help the CI baseboards throw out the heat, seal/caulk up any seems that leak air to help keep the heat in and have old carpeting removed to add hardwood flooring as the carpeting has been causing allergy issues with the wife.

    I added the CI radiator BTU output calculation worksheet I created to help me in looking at the various lengths of CI baseboard. The upright radiator calcs were from tallying up the old part of the house.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,654
    edited August 22
    OCS looks like the same as the other two.

    agree with @Hot_water_fan 45 feet is a lot in that size room
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    OCS looks like the same as the other two.

    agree with @Hot_water_fan 45 feet is a lot in that size room

    I appreciate the advice. If I could ask you the same question as Hot_Water_Fan, what would your suggestion be? I'm an old dog but am eager to learn new tricks! 118 year old home with a lot of heat loss through stack effect. Additional info is 82% efficient CI Slant-Fin SE 140,000 BTU input with this room zoned on its own circulator and Honeywell wifi t-stat. Has Hydrolevel 3200 Plus with ODR (that I am nervous having). Can only reset hot water to boiler's minimum anyway but the Hydrolevel takes it down to 115F -w which makes me nervous. Neither zone has mixing valves nor automated system or boiler bypass - although I've posted about adding a bypass recently to learn if it's much needed and discover how expensive a plan it would be. I'm not considering a re-pipe at the boiler at this stage so KISS as much as possible is what I am hoping to accomplish in this remodel - without passing on a huge problem to next owners. Thanks again!
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    OCS looks like the same as the other two.

    agree with @Hot_water_fan 45 feet is a lot in that size room

    I went back to my post about mixing valves and you actually responded to it as well so thank you. Your suggestion was good and expensive but I'm not ruling it out. Just want to make sure it's needed after this coming winter I'll know after getting CI baseboards installed. Just need to get through this remodel before cold weather gets here or I'll be building my dog house.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 892
    It's not the end of the world to oversize, it'll just mean the average water temperature (over an hour say) can be lower for that room. It'll be more expensive but enable higher efficiency down the line. This is an existing room correct? How much fuel did you use last year and what's your nearest city? We can estimate your entire home's heat loss, which can provide a ceiling of sorts for what this room might need.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 6,655
    If you oversize the CI baseboard by a significant amount you probably want a bypass on that zone so that you can mix down the temp supplied to the zone. It can be a fixed bypass with a valve you can adjust rather than a thermostatic valve but if the baseboard is over sized and you heat up that mass and it continued to emit heat near its full output for say 20 minutes past when the call ends you will end up overshooting. You want to match the larger amount of baseboard to the load by reducing the temp, especially if it is something slow to respond like cast iron.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,036
    I believe the OCS rads and baseboard are mfg in China.
    There is a huge price difference.
    I have used the rads. Seem ok.
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    It's not the end of the world to oversize, it'll just mean the average water temperature (over an hour say) can be lower for that room. It'll be more expensive but enable higher efficiency down the line. This is an existing room correct? How much fuel did you use last year and what's your nearest city? We can estimate your entire home's heat loss, which can provide a ceiling of sorts for what this room might need.

    Yes, existing room that had old fin tubes removed. St. Louis area. Not sure if it matters but this room faces the North on its longest side.

    2022 Nov - May we used 846 Therms total - not counting NG water heater use
    2021 Nov - May we used 783 Therms total - not counting NG water heater use

    Would be interested in how the heat loss calculation works - if you have time to share. I appreciate your time either way - thank you!
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16
    kcopp said:

    I believe the OCS rads and baseboard are mfg in China.
    There is a huge price difference.
    I have used the rads. Seem ok.

    Yes, OCS admitted such when I asked. However, do we know if Burnham and WM are not made in China too? Not many foundries left in the U.S. but I for one would definitely pay the extra for made in the U.S.A. if it's available. If all are made in China then it's fair game - unless one is superior in some way to the other.
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 486
    What type and how many feet of finned  element were removed?

    Bburd
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16
    bburd said:

    What type and how many feet of finned  element were removed?

    Copper with aluminum fins. Approx 28 linear feet. We have CI in rest of house and in order to get any decent heat out of the fin tubes, we had to fire the boiler to 180F on non-degree days and even then we couldn't get hot water through every length - regardless of air removal.
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 486
    Fin tube and cast iron radiation should  not be mixed on the same thermostat zone. The cast iron holds the heat much longer and continues radiating after the heating cycle ends, but the fin tube cools off very quickly. Conversely, at the start of the heating cycle the cast iron takes longer to warm up. The result is unbalanced heating.

    Output per foot of element is about the same, 600 BTU for standard size. I doubt that you need more than the original 28 feet if you switch to cast iron, especially since you plan to add insulation to the walls. However, a heat loss calculation should be done. It would be best to do it for adjacent rooms as well to see what the balance is between installed radiation and the load, assuming all of these spaces are on the same thermostat zone.

    It’s common for radiation in older homes to be significantly oversized. If it is, the same proportion of oversizing should be maintained throughout the zone.

    Bburd
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16
    bburd said:

    Fin tube and cast iron radiation should  not be mixed on the same thermostat zone. The cast iron holds the heat much longer and continues radiating after the heating cycle ends, but the fin tube cools off very quickly. Conversely, at the start of the heating cycle the cast iron takes longer to warm up. The result is unbalanced heating.

    Output per foot of element is about the same, 600 BTU for standard size. I doubt that you need more than the original 28 feet if you switch to cast iron, especially since you plan to add insulation to the walls. However, a heat loss calculation should be done. It would be best to do it for adjacent rooms as well to see what the balance is between installed radiation and the load, assuming all of these spaces are on the same thermostat zone.

    It’s common for radiation in older homes to be significantly oversized. If it is, the same proportion of oversizing should be maintained throughout the zone.

    Two separate zones, two separate circulators and t-stats. I agree with heat loss calcs and I believe @Hot_Water_Fan is assisting with the information I provided him above.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 892
    2022 Nov - May we used 846 Therms total - not counting NG water heater use
    2021 Nov - May we used 783 Therms total - not counting NG water heater use

    Would be interested in how the heat loss calculation works - if you have time to share. I appreciate your time either way - thank you!
    Any time! This article sums it up: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/article/replacing-a-furnace-or-boiler

    At first glance, it looks like your entire heat load comes in under 40,000 btu based on fuel usage, but the article method will be more precise. That may or may not make sense for your situation, depending on the size of the rest of the house. 
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    2022 Nov - May we used 846 Therms total - not counting NG water heater use
    2021 Nov - May we used 783 Therms total - not counting NG water heater use

    Would be interested in how the heat loss calculation works - if you have time to share. I appreciate your time either way - thank you!
    Any time! This article sums it up: https://www.greenbuildingadvisor.com/article/replacing-a-furnace-or-boiler

    At first glance, it looks like your entire heat load comes in under 40,000 btu based on fuel usage, but the article method will be more precise. That may or may not make sense for your situation, depending on the size of the rest of the house. 
    Thanks for the article reference Hot_water_fan. I did read that article earlier in the year and tried to follow the directions and had myself turned somewhere along the way and the numbers seemed ridiculous. Tried a couple of times and gave up. Also, I am just trying to figure for this room and how does the whole house load equate to this room's load - unless I am adjusting for the % of sq ft this house is in relation to the whole. Anyways, if you have a typical example of how much CI baseboard it takes in a room this size I am all ears. It's not like I can hold you to it - it's your experience of typical CI baseboard linear feet needed per sq ft of room in a typical insulated home with perhaps above average heat loss that I'd be interested in hearing. This room, 450 sq ft, the whole house is 2500 sq ft total.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 892
    @bdubya ha if anything, the article is too long. It’s annual therms x 100,000 x boiler efficiency / (Heating degree days for the same time period x 24). Next, you multiply that by design day HDD, which is probably 65 HDD_65 for you. It won’t give you results for one room, but if 20% of the house is >50% of the heat loss, I’d be a little skeptical. But it’s not the end of the world to oversize, just more expensive. 
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,654
    @bdubya
    I would download the Slant Fin App online and do a heat loss of the whole house. Pick a water temp that will allow the existing baseboard that will not be removed to match the heat loss in those rooms. Once you do this use the same water temp for this room you are replacing the fin tube with cast iron in. Once you do that you will know how many feet of new CI baseboard to install, and you will have 1 balanced water temp. Use a 20 deg TD on the baseboard. Use the average water temp to calculate the baseboard, for instance: if you find you need 160-degree water to match the heat loss then your boiler supply temp would be 170 max and 150 return at max load. Baseboard average temp would be 160=170 in and 150 out.

    once you know the heat loss for the room you divide that heat loss by 10,000 that will give you the gpm you need for that room. Once you know the gpm you can pick the pipe size. 1/2" will do 15,000 btu. 3/4" will do 45000 btu, 1" will do 80,000 btu
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    @bdubya ha if anything, the article is too long. It’s annual therms x 100,000 x boiler efficiency / (Heating degree days for the same time period x 24). Next, you multiply that by design day HDD, which is probably 65 HDD_65 for you. It won’t give you results for one room, but if 20% of the house is >50% of the heat loss, I’d be a little skeptical. But it’s not the end of the world to oversize, just more expensive. 

    Awesome but can you double check my math please? My Excel formula gave me the following and it seems like it is a low number:




    You took a very long explanation and made it simple and I sincerely appreciate that. Now I'll see if I understood your instructions correctly. Drum roll please........
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    @bdubya
    I would download the Slant Fin App online and do a heat loss of the whole house. Pick a water temp that will allow the existing baseboard that will not be removed to match the heat loss in those rooms. Once you do this use the same water temp for this room you are replacing the fin tube with cast iron in. Once you do that you will know how many feet of new CI baseboard to install, and you will have 1 balanced water temp. Use a 20 deg TD on the baseboard. Use the average water temp to calculate the baseboard, for instance: if you find you need 160-degree water to match the heat loss then your boiler supply temp would be 170 max and 150 return at max load. Baseboard average temp would be 160=170 in and 150 out.

    once you know the heat loss for the room you divide that heat loss by 10,000 that will give you the gpm you need for that room. Once you know the gpm you can pick the pipe size. 1/2" will do 15,000 btu. 3/4" will do 45000 btu, 1" will do 80,000 btu

    I've been trying to download their app and something is wrong with their website. I keep getting a 403 Forbidden page. Their iphone app is useless because it just crashes after spending an hour filling in the data - only for the data to be lost and having to start over.

    One thing that confuses me though - if using @Hot_water_fan method (not really his method) I get 25,769 BTU/hr of heat loss which I'm assuming that you believe is not accurate because it doesn't take actual dimensions, exterior facing walls and windows & doors into consideration? However, it uses the actual therms I used during a year, wouldn't that be close enough? I'm not challenging your expertise but trying to learn the why of the various methods being used.

    Also, if 25,769 calculation is close enough, my CI Radiator Output worksheet I posted earlier today (yesterday now as it's after midnight here now) shows that my total upright radiator output in the old part of the house at 150F at 4 GPM is 48,180 BTU/hr, which is higher than my heat loss calculation came out to be. If that number is close to accurate, do I still use 150F to calculate how much baseboard I need in the living room addition? I'm a little confused but that is easy - just ask my wife. I didn't do the calculations at 130F or 140F but if I remember correctly, for every 10F change in water temp, there is a 20 BTU/hr change either up or down. If true, then each 10F decrease in water temperature equals a total of 8760 BTU/hr decrease in total radiators output in old part of the house.

    If the 25,769 BTU/hr total heat loss is close enough, I could run my upright radiators in old part of the house on a design day at 130F (boiler output at 140F) and still over deliver on BTU/hr output by approximately 5000 BTU/hr - not taking into account calculation yet for the living room addition zone. This is where I need more guidance because what heat loss should I attribute to this zone to calculate replacement BTU needs on a design day?

    I will say this, on the coldest days of winter, our 2 column x 15 section CI radiator did not keep up with the thermostat calls and we had to run a Vornado 1500 watt fan-powered heater (which works very well I must say) to allow the thermostat to give the boiler a break and we couldn't set back at night because the catchup the next day would take forever. We also had to put a fan in front of the CI radiator to quickly distribute its heat better. This upright radiator has a heat output (I'm guessing peak boiler temp allowed to fire at on design day of 170F) of 7800 BTU/hr (160F delivered) plus the 1500 watt heater BTU/hr output of approximately 5000 gave us approximately 12,800 BTU/hr which was barely enough to satisfy a design day. Also, all uprights were dangerously hot at times - allowing the boiler to fire constantly at those temps on design day. However, knowing approximately how many BTU/hr calculated it took to be comfortable in this room, how would you go about using this information? Sorry for the long post.
  • Hot_water_fan
    Hot_water_fan Member Posts: 892
    You took a very long explanation and made it simple and I sincerely appreciate that. Now I'll see if I understood your instructions correctly. Drum roll please........


    Extremely close - You needed to divide by 24, not multiply. Puts you around 45kBtu. But sounds like you're adding BTUs from an electric radiator, so it bumps it up some.

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 17,531
    Z room by room load calc would be the best step to get a handle on all the room loads
    There are other free online calcs

    If you like old school pencil pushing, this one won’t crash🥴

    https://www.pprbd.org/File/Resources/Downloads/ResidentialHandout/Heat_Loss_Table2011.pdf
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16

    You took a very long explanation and made it simple and I sincerely appreciate that. Now I'll see if I understood your instructions correctly. Drum roll please........


    Extremely close - You needed to divide by 24, not multiply. Puts you around 45kBtu. But sounds like you're adding BTUs from an electric radiator, so it bumps it up some.

    Thanks for clarifying! I was thinking 25k seemed very low for a house my size and age. Per my novel to @EBEBRATT-Ed, and the radiator calc sheet I attached earlier in this thread, I have a decision to make still regarding how many linear feet of CI baseboard will comfortably replace the heat loss in this living room zone. I know at 140F to 150F HW delivery to upright rads in older zone I can address the heat loss on design day for the entire house - not including the living room zone I am trying to size for currently.

    So then, do I use 140F or 150F to size for this living room and if so, how do I know how much heat loss to attribute to this room only? By % of sq ft? I've learned a lot from this exercise!
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 12,654
    Slant Fin is owned by Burnham now?? Maybe that is why it isn't available. too bad.

    @bdubya

    if the radiation output at 150 exceeds the heat loss, then lower the water temperature until the radiation matches the heat loss . Then pick you new BB at that temp. Remember average water temp means the boiler output is 10 degrees more than the average if using a 20 deg td
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16
    edited August 26

    Slant Fin is owned by Burnham now?? Maybe that is why it isn't available. too bad.

    @bdubya

    if the radiation output at 150 exceeds the heat loss, then lower the water temperature until the radiation matches the heat loss . Then pick you new BB at that temp. Remember average water temp means the boiler output is 10 degrees more than the average if using a 20 deg td

    I didn't know that either. It would be nice if the Burnham baserays were more readily available in St. Louis area. I am looking forward to getting the baseboard working for this winter to see how I can dial back my boiler to save on NG that is skyrocketing in price.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 17,531
    Unless you are going to use a condensing boiler, dialing back the SWT probably is not going to change fuel consumption much. And a mod con, running 140F SWT, so the return is in condensing temperature 120F or below, might pick up 10% or so.

    The structure dictates the heat required, period. Spend money making that as energy efficient as possible.

    The efficiency of the boiler changes the fuel consumption to a small degree..
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • bdubya
    bdubya Member Posts: 16
    Well I have ruled out OCS. They are not easy to work with at all. I asked for installation instructions to make sure I am ordering and planning the install for their baseboards correctly - based on their design. I was told that they don't have installation instructions for their product and that the installation is a plumber's job. I told them that I may not be an energy engineer nor a plumber by trade, but I framed and built my first house with my own hands, installed every sink, bathtub and water line, each linear foot of plumbing, installed my own septic tank and laterals, and did my own electric including the meter and every part of it passed inspections so I think I'm capable of installing 30+ linear feet of CI baseboard regardless of who makes it.