Replacing Radiators

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    Doing a renovation and would like to remove the bulky cast iron radiators. They heat the house perfectly, but I’m concerned that it may burn my 3yr old or might be a problem for my baby on the way. I’m thinking about baseboard but is that the only option that I have? My heating contractor told me of a low profile cast iron baseboard, but it potentially gets hot like a full sized radiator being that it’s also cast iron. Almost feel like I’m throwing away money replacing them, but don’t want my kids to get hurt. Opinions anyone?

    15 Replies

    1. Spend the money better on window gates, put remaining into NY State’s 529 College Saving Plan and outlet covers.

    2. I have no experience with them personally but have been looking at the “modern” style steam radiators. For example: http://www.steamradiators.com which I believe are Runtal. Has anyone installed these or had experience with them?

      We have a combo of old cast iron and awful 50s fin tubes in our house and while it isn’t a priority to address since they are all behind covers, I would really like to replace them all eventually.

    3. We used to have a house with baseboard heating. whereever there is a baseboard it is difficult to put furniture against it so it made walls useless for furniture. Radiators just take up a little of the wall and make decorating easier.

    4. I empathize with your concerns. I have a daughter and a hot water system. Hot water is not as hot as steam. Locate the units carefully and consider using radiator covers. Ed Kopel Architects.

    5. I remember as a kid liking to sit on the radiators – maybe with a blanket underneath (of course ours were not the huge victorian one…maybe from 1920 and squareish). lots of kids..steam radiator…I don’t think ever so hot would get burned.

    6. Our radiators are never that hot to the touch – hot water system. Do you have steam?

    7. I am glad people still like and use those bulky radiators. If properly maintained, they can last a very long time. Some radiator casting designs I have seen are beautiful. Form and function is a lost art.

    8. well definitely a valid concern, othercomments not withstanding.
      but the best thing is to get covers made, it’s an expense but a smaller one.

    9. Okay don’t kill me, geez it’s just radiators, and i already acknowledged that I may be throwing away money. Okay so i will keep em. They work perfectly fine and keep the house very work. Like they say, why fix something that aint broken. Thanks.

    10. If they are hot water (one pipe going in and one pipe going out) rather than steam (one pipe going in, you can turn down the temperature of the water on the boiler. the radiators will need to stay on longer, but will be warm rather than hot. It will actually lower your heating bills. it is comparable to turning down the temperature on your water heater, which you should also do.
      Covers will work too–if they are steam that is the best solution.

    11. Will you also get rid of your stove because one of the kids might get burned? And hot-water faucets? And stairs? And the car? And all plastic bags? Instead of trying to protect your kids from all danger, teach them how to manage it. Let have them touch the radiator very quickly when it’s hot and say the words “hot!” and “ouch!” Once or twice and they’ll learn how not to get burned. Then you apply the same lesson to the stove and the faucets and any other “hot” things that might potentially hurt them.

    12. steam or hot water?…if steam, you will not get anywhere near the btus required out of cast iron baseboard…if you that worried about the burn issue (which i think is overblown), get some radiator covers made..

    13. You’re throwing away money replacing them. They are far superior to crappy baseboard heaters, which don’t offer any radiant heat, only convection.

    14. Half of the urban kids in the world have been raised in houses with radiators. Along with many of my friends we raised our kids in Park Slope homes with radiators in every room. Your kids will learn, and it’s not really an issue.