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Conversion of CI Radiators to Baseboard?

I've purchased an old duplex house that's to be converted into a single family dwelling. One side had Cast Iron rads while the other had natural draft (?) hot air from a coal furnace.

The furnace and ducting have since been removed and it's time to consider a heating system. I've been told on one hand to use baseboard heaters since they use less water and therefore require less fuel to heat. With the H/W furnace located on the other side of the house (as opposed to the middle) this seems to make sense.

On the other hand, I was told by a plumbing/heating distributor that this would be a mistake as the CI radiators are more efficient. I can't see this and maybe it's wistful, romantic thinking on the part of the distributor.

One thing about the CI radiators is that they fit better with the 'old house' decor. My plan was to use the CI radiators downstairs and use the baseboard heaters upstairs (reduces piping, water requirements, quicker heating for sleeping area).

Comments please.

Comments

  • Rob Hamper
    Rob Hamper Member Posts: 2
    Conversion of CI Radiators to Baseboard??

    I've purchased an old duplex house that's to be converted into a single family dwelling. One side had Cast Iron rads while the other had natural draft (?) hot air from a coal furnace.

    The furnace and ducting have since been removed and it's time to consider a heating system. I've been told on one hand to use baseboard heaters since they use less water and therefore require less fuel to heat. With the H/W furnace located on the other side of the house (as opposed to the middle) this seems to make sense.

    On the other hand, I was told by a plumbing/heating distributor that this would be a mistake as the CI radiators are more efficient. I can't see this and maybe it's wistful, romantic thinking on the part of the distributor.

    One thing about the CI radiators is that they fit better with the 'old house' decor. My plan was to use the CI radiators downstairs and use the baseboard heaters upstairs (reduces piping, water requirements, quicker heating for sleeping area).

    Comments please.
  • DaveGateway
    DaveGateway Member Posts: 568
    Better balanced heating

    with CI. Yes warms up slower, but cools off slower too for a more even heating. You might want to look at CI baseboard since standard copper fin baseboard makes a great deal of expansion noise which drives some people crazy at night.
  • ALH_3
    ALH_3 Member Posts: 151
    Efficiency vs. Performance

    The heated space for the most part determines fuel usage, not the type of heat emitters used. Neither the baseboard or cast iron radiators are "more efficient". The room takes the same amount of energy to heat either way. However, different heat delivery devices do "perform" differently. You are no doubt increasing the amount of insulation and therefore decreasing the heating load. I would recommend installing steel panel radiators with constant circulation and either using a modulating boiler or weather responsive control. You may even want some radiant floor in a kitchen or bath. The boiler likely isn't large enough to heat the entire structure. Also, you might look at whether or not you would like to produce your domestic hot water with the boiler.

    -Andrew
  • J.C.A._3
    J.C.A._3 Member Posts: 2,981
    If you've got the time,

    See if the local "recycling" metal dealer has some radiators close to the exsisting ones. If there is a house in the neighborhood being re-done, ask them if they're tossing out the old ones.I, personally would stick with C.I.radiators over baseboard,(unless it's cast also) but think radiators are still the best.
    I tried to talk alot of folks out of getting rid of radiators a while back. They didn't want to look at them, and thought they took up too much space. In the town I was working in, most of the rooms were small to begin with, and had little to no insulation.To make up for the "ugly radiators", we had to lay baseboards on the entire perimiter of the wall space. To make that same baseboard work, they had to keep the furniture away from it so the air would flow, making the small room seem smaller.

    I'm glad to say that more than one customer was willing to bring back the old radiators after really seeing and feeling the effects.(Luckily, we saved them in the shed....just in case!)

    Your other choice is to ask around. I don't know where you live, but lots of heating contractors keep a few or more period radiators on hand just in case. They may have to be tested and cleaned up a bit, but that's the price you pay for the same type equipment. As always.... there ARE still brand new radiators available. Burnham makes some nice units and the cost isn't all that much more when time and piping runs get figured in.Quality IS priceless.Your home will most likely be your largest investment and if things keep going like they seem to be, this is a no-brainer. IMHO, money well spent. Let us know how you make out. Pictures are always good, and there are lots of different options available for either different zones or individual control of each unit,your (or your budgets) choice.Chris
  • DaveGateway
    DaveGateway Member Posts: 568
    Andrew made a good point

    You might want to look at panel rads from Buderus. I also saw steel column rads from Myson that look like old CI units.
    http://www.mysoninc.com/Pages/Radiators/Column.html
  • Plumbob
    Plumbob Member Posts: 183
    huh?

    > I've been

    > told on one hand to use baseboard heaters since

    > they use less water and therefore require less

    > fuel to heat.


    With all due respect, this is nonsense. The water gets hot and then releases the heat to the room, so both ways you need to put the same amount of energy into the water to deliver a given amount of heat to the room. the fact that the radiators hold more water makes no difference at all.

    > On the other

    > hand, I was told by a plumbing/heating

    > distributor that this would be a mistake as the

    > CI radiators are more efficient.


    A radiator can radiate a lot of heat. In some rooms you can put baseboard on all the available perimeter space and still not have enough to heat the room. But there is no difference in efficiency, except in the following sense. If you have an excess of radiators, you can run them with water that is not as hot, and that is more efficient. It is rare to have too much baseboard and so you always have to use very hot water, which is inefficient. If you have a mix of radiators and baseboard, you'll have to have water hot enough to heat the baseboard rooms.

    > One thing about the

    > CI radiators is that they fit better with the

    > 'old house' decor.


    Of course.
  • Ted_9
    Ted_9 Member Posts: 1,718


    Another way to go is to use these cast iron radiators in the house and design a system using oversized rads and lower water temp and outdoor reset. You could keep the old rads on the first floor and new panel rads or copper fin tube for the second floor, also sizing the radiators using a lower water temp. Of course these would be on separate zones.

    Patriot Heating & Cooling, Inc.
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