What can I do with this heater?

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by coopns, Jun 10, 2010.

  1. coopns

    coopns New Member

    Messages:
    95
    Location:
    Massachusetts
    I have this forced hot water heater and would like to dress it up a bit. I have some pictures from underneath it. The rest of my house just has the baseboard heat with the metal heaters that around are about 8 inches high. Could I convert these bigger units to smaller ones? I have one that is shown in the kitchen and a similar one in the bathroom.

    Advantages/Disadvantages, Thoughts?

    Get the wife on that cleaning eh?

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  2. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,841
    Location:
    01609
    Replacing ugly tinny fin-tube convectors with thin profile "radiant" cast-iron recessed convector/radiators would be both better looking & more comfortable. They're wicked-expensive new, but can often be had on the cheap from antique renovator-supply houses (tried Craiglist?) or others.

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    (used)

    [​IMG]

    (new)

    http://www.usboiler.burnham.com/pdf/radiant_spec.pdf


    Try to figure out the output specs for your dusty-crusty convector, see if you can't find a cast iron convector in a similar range. Once you've gone with cast iron radiant convectors or cast iron radiant baseboard you'll never go back to the cheezy fin-tube stuff (if you can afford it.) They're re-paintable (use a paint rated for your water temp though.) I usually find 36-40section versions at scrap-iron recyclers or Craigslist for a hundred or two 'merican shekels, clean 'em and paint 'em. If it's in the budget, a light sandblasting & bake-on auto paint can be GREAT looking, and still cheaper than new in standard colors (or primer.) They're typically ~5" deep, ~ 20" high, from any vendor. (Burnham Sunrad, Burnham Radiant, etc.)

    Low profile Euro-panel radiators with convector channels look sleeker, but are even more expensive. A dressed up repainted Sunrad color-matched to your trim or walls can be pretty fine, if slightly old-school. (And they work great with low temp water too, unlike fin-tube which craps out considerably once you're in the ~ 120F range or lower. In my own home I run them at the same temps as the radiant-floor water.)
  3. Cookie

    Cookie .

    Messages:
    5,658
    Location:
    .
    ...and you have been married how long thus far? :)
  4. nhmaster3015

    nhmaster3015 Master Plumber

    Messages:
    836
    Location:
    The granite state
    That's a pretty big piece of iron there. Somewhere in the 20 to 30,000 btu/hr range. @ 650 btu/ft for baseboard it would take more baseboard than you have wall to attach it to. that's the reason it's there. You can fabricate a decorative cover for it though.
  5. Dana

    Dana In the trades

    Messages:
    2,841
    Location:
    01609
    Burham Radiant and similar 5"d x 20"h cast iron convecting cast-iron radiators run a similar order of magnitude output as aluminum-fin 4-1/4" fin-tube convectors of similar height (~2000BTU/foot @ 180F), and more than steel-fin versions. If the fins in that sucker are bigger than 4-1/4 cast-iron convector may be somewhat undersized, but if they're that big the convector in the pic could probably heat my entire house on design-day with 180F water. :)

    What I like about cast iron (and hate about fin-tube) is how well they continue to work with low-temp water compared to fin-tube. At 110F the cast iron still puts out, but the fin tube falls short. When the system is cycling at low heat load the convectors don't put out until they're warmer, and have a tendency to overshoot the setpoint temp a bit- the cast iron keeps it steadier and sitting next to a 110F radiator is far cozier than sitting next to a 110F convector (that isn't putting squat into the room anyway.)
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