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Baseboard Cast Iron or Slant Fin ?

Hi guys,

I'm trying to add another zone to my hot water heating system. This will be for my basement. The plumber has given me two quotes one for slant-fin baseboard at $950 for 14 feet. The other for cast iron baseboard at $2200. Take the price away which should I choose ? The other radiators through out the house are cast iron.


  • Cast iron

    I like cast iron BB since it's not as flimsy as finned-tube BB, but it's more expensive to purchase and also more difficult to install. So it all comes down to cost. If you can afford it, go with cast iron.

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  • Dan_15
    Dan_15 Member Posts: 388
    But which is more efficient

    I am looking for the same advice to replace some big copper fin-tube convectors in a room we are remodeling: fin/tube baseboard, cast iron baseboard, or maybe baseray, panel radiators, etc. Notwithstanding the price, which is more efficient??????
  • Dan_15
    Dan_15 Member Posts: 388
    Fair Enough

    Yes, ok, fair enough, I mean which of these products will maintain heat and also distribute heat well in a system with a lot of water mass that takes a long time to heat up. My copper fin/tube convectors seem to distribute heat pretty well, but do not stay warm long. On the other hand, my cast iron baseray seem to stay hot a long time, but not sure if they can really heat up a cold room unless there are a lot of them. I know, youre going to tell me to do a heat loss.....
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,491
    It's all the same.

    Copper heats up about nine times faster than cast iron, but it also cools that much faster as well. So while the copper is heating the room, the iron is still waiting to get hot. When the copper turns off the iron is still cooling down. It's really a time-lag issue. The per-foot output of copper and cast-iron baseboard is nearly identical so the only advantage of cast iron is durability.

    This, by the way, is why we talk about never mixing cast-iron and copper radiation within the same zone.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    ok: how about with outdoor reset?...

    on a 50 degree day with the supply at 125 - cast iron may be too thick - and also might not have enough exposed surface area for radiant heat - where as the fin tube in the enclosure will still produce convective transfer - what do you think?

    - personally i don’t like both, since people always block them into uselessness - "the den is cold...", got there and one side is blocked by a couch, and the other by a bookcase - effective heat, “z-row”, i prefer fancy panel radiators where possible especially for low temp supply - or at least 2x2 cast iron under the window where it's usually not blocked - cause in the end, these things have to either, CON-VECT, or RAY---D---8!!!
  • tim smith
    tim smith Member Posts: 2,743
    cast iron vs copper fin

    I would say if you are using reset then the cast iron would be the only way to go as when you reset to lower water temps the output of the fin will go down substantially more than the cast at the lower water temps and beings how you have cast everywhere else it would make sense to stay with cast. IMHO. Tim
  • Kal Row
    Kal Row Member Posts: 1,520
    i have found fin to work real well at low temps..but..

    as you say he already has lots of cast - he ought to stick with it - i would just put larger ones under the window - for more exposed surface area

    i am not really countering you, as i have no experiance with cast baseboard at low temps - that's why i asked dan

    tekmar's preset curves seem to concur with you
    and their chart also shows a full radiator to be better - efective to 100f at 50f outdoor
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