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Old Radiators w/ New System

Greg_14 Member Posts: 2
I have an 1895 Victorian with little or no heating. I live in very mild climate and don't need a big system. Winter temps stay between 40 and 65 for the most part. I'm considering heating the first floor and an upstairs bathroom with radiator heat and I have no idea were to start or what questions to ask. I've been doing some reading and I looked in the yellow pages for "hydronics" or "radiator" people and found nothing. It is a small town but there are larger cities close by so I do have access to other suppliers if I can't find what I need locally.

I saw some old radiators at a salvage yard that appeared to be in good shape. I really like the look of the old cast iron radiators. I assume I would need a boiler of some sort. I will be heating about 1600 sq ft in 5 rooms. This spring I'm going to be running new copper for the kitchen and baths and will be moving the hot water heater. I will also be replacing natural gas lines. I'm hoping to come up with a master plan for the whole thing so I can have some logic to the heating/water/gas/etc.

I’m very handy with tools and I will be doing the copper myself. My neighbor across the street has been a plumber for 35 years and will be teaching to sweat copper. He is a very nice guy and will be giving me hints and tips for code, sizing, etc but he won't be doing any work and I won't ask. He does industrial jobs and does not do residential work. And as he put it, "I'm a general these days. I don't get down in the trenches unless I really have to."

I’m starting from square one here so any help is appreciated.



  • Boilerpro_3
    Boilerpro_3 Member Posts: 1,231
    A starting point

    Up on the left, You'll find a program available from the generous folks at Slant Fin that will help you calculate heating loads. In addition, There is a find a Professional section that can help you locate someone locally that should know Hot water heat. This is hwere I'd start.

  • John_37
    John_37 Member Posts: 25

    I tried the "Find a Pro" first and got nothing. We are really in the boone docks here. That is why I was hoping to arm myself with as much information as possible before I started calling around. I'm afraid that I'm going to be sold what ever is being offered regardless if it is right or not. I don't want to end up with a system that does not do what I want.

    I'll keep looking and reading.

  • Earthfire
    Earthfire Member Posts: 543
    heating system

    from your description a radiant system with a groundsource heatpump would be an excellent choice for your heating system and would also handle your AC and DHW needs. Let us know what area your in and there may just be some one in your area that maybe interested in working with you.
  • Greg_14
    Greg_14 Member Posts: 2

    Thanks for the feedback. There are only 4 heating and ventiation contractors listed in the yellow pages so I can call all in a week or two (I want to study this more first) and I'll see what they have to say.

    I guess my main concern is whether I will be able to hook up old cast iron radiators to a new hydronic system. That is, if one of these contractors can set me up for a system designed for the modern baseboard radiators and/or radiant floor heating will I be able to connect old radiators to it instead of the baseboard/underfloor radiants? As I said in the first post, this is an 1895 Victorian home and I'm going for a look here.

    This brings up another question: Are radiant floor systems and systems that use baseboard radiators the same. That is, can you have both types of heat on the same system? Just curious.

    I saw some good books at this sight so I am going to order one or two and start reading. I have 6 weeks or so before I want to start work.


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    Required Reading

    Go to the Books and More page of this site and order Dan's book "How Come?". It will answer pretty much any question about hydronic heat.

    As mentioned above, you must first do a heat-loss calculation to ascertain what size radiators you need. The entire system design will be based on this calculation.

    With radiators, you won't just get "the look", if installed correctly they will give you superior comfort.

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
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