Can I change to regular hot water baseboard heaters?

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by michdrz, Aug 5, 2014.

  1. michdrz

    michdrz New Member

    Messages:
    3
    I'm looking to buy a house that was built in 1965. The heating system has a new gas boiler with the original radiant heating units in each room. The units are about the size of an old cast iron radiator but they are mounted on the wall just above the floor.
    Can I easily have these units changed to regular slantFin or Runtal baseboard heaters that run along the base board?

    Thanks!

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  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    Can you post a closer picture &/or give a model name for those units? Are they powered fan units, or is it a tall sheet-metal cabinet finned convector? If the latter, the size of the fins and width would be important information to have.

    It's always possible to swap out the radiation, but with what and how much matters, as does the output rating of the boiler (is it a modulating condensing boiler, cast iron, or something else?), and the total amount of radiation there is per zone.
  3. michdrz

    michdrz New Member

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    3
    Hmmm I thought I posted this close up picture yesterday.. I guess I didn't..
    All the information I have right now is that the boiler is new. I don't have any other details. I will try to get into the house again and check out the boiler better.

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  4. Tom Sawyer

    Tom Sawyer In the Trades

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    If your new boiler condenses then the chance of being able to get enough baseboard to match the load and allow the boiler to condense is pretty slim. You can swap them out for better looking units though and probably for wall hung, low profile, steel radiators that both look good and will give you the required delta T

    Example. http://www.qhtinc.com/radiators/ecostyle/
  5. michdrz

    michdrz New Member

    Messages:
    3
    Thanks. I guess that would be better than what's there but still not very attractive...:(
    I was looking to free up the wall space..
  6. Dana

    Dana In the trades

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    Location:
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    The fact that it has four buttons on it I'm going to assume what you have is a hydronic fan-coil, and not a convector, one that is muli-speed at that, which would allow you to balance room-to-room temperature by tweaking the fan speeds.

    To come up with the possible solutions that really make sense would require a proper design process, starting with a room-by-room heat load calculation based (ACCA Manual-J, or I=B=R), knowledge of which rooms are zoned together (or how you'd LIKE to zone them), and the make/model of the boiler. This could be pretty straightforward or ridiculously complex, depending on what you have, and where you want to go with it. But without knowing the heat load of each room, and the operating temperature & output range of the boiler it's impossible to say how much baseboard would be required in each room, or how to balance the room-to-room temperatures on each zone.

    How "attractive" is fin-tube baseboard? Most of it looks pretty crappy to me- YMMV. To a large degree it's a matter of what you're used to. Those off-white/beige sheet-metal convecting panel radiators are pretty much standard fare in Europe, and have been for at least 3-4 decades. There are more "artistic" versions (including Runtal's line) but just like prettier baseboard you pay a significant premium for it.

    If you give us a ZIP code (for outside design temp purposes) and describe your windows, wall construction & insulation, and attic construction & insulation we could walk you through how to do a quick & dirty I=B=R type heat load calc, from which you could estimate the amount of baseboard/radiater it would take per room for either a cast iron boiler or condensing boiler. The boiler make/model & or it's nameplate input BTU and it's D.O.E. output BTU numbers would be important considerations too.
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