Should I change my cast radiators to baseboard?

Discussion in 'HVAC Heating & Cooling' started by dustpol, Jun 10, 2009.

  1. dustpol

    dustpol New Member

    Jun 13, 2006
    I bought a house that has a gas boiler with circulating hot water. It previously was a steam system and I have all of the original cast iron radiators in use with the system. The pipes coming out of the boiler are 2" in diameter and the pipes branching out to the radiators look like they are 1 1/2. I was wondering if it would be worth my while to change all of the piping and swap the radiators for baseboard. My thought was that the amount of water that I have to heat now in the larger pipe is causing my boiler to run more. Has anyone had any experience with making this change? Can anyone let me know what kind of savings I would see if I made the change to 3/4 pipe with baseboard heat? I plan on keeping the house for at least 5 more years and I want to see if spending the money on this upgrade would pay. Thanks!
  2. hj

    hj Moderator & Master Plumber Staff Member

    Aug 31, 2004
    Cave Creek, Arizona

    Unless you insulate the piping, 3/4" copper has a much higher ratio of volume to surface area, plus copper is a better heat transferer, so you will get more heat loss with the baseboard. You would probably have to break it down into multiple zones so that 3/4" would be adequate. Other than heat loss from the piping, you are only heating whatever it takes to replace the heat used to warm the rooms. Baseboard may, or may, not heat them more efficiently and if so that might generate some savings. Whether it would be enough to compensate for the cost of the conversion is debateable.
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  4. Scuba_Dave

    Scuba_Dave Extreme DIY Homeowner

    Jan 5, 2009
    Used to be in IT
    South of Boston, MA
    I have hot water cast iron radiators & love them
    Compared to baseboard they (seem to?) keep the heat longer & radiate the heat longer. Makes sense since they have a higher mass
    In my new addition I actually plan to add more radiators instead of baseboard
  5. patsfan78

    patsfan78 Web Development | HVAC

    Jun 3, 2009
    No baseboard

    Baseboard, although fairly economical to install is the least efficient form of hot water heating out there. If you want to replace your cast iron radiators i would consider Steel Panel Radiators. The may cost a little more but you can get more BTU's at lower water temperatures than baseboard. The best things is that you don't take up all of that wall space. Some of the better steel panel radiators are made by a company called Pensotti.

    Good Luck

    Home Heating Solutions
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