Radiators vs steam baseboard


Old 07-28-04, 09:32 PM
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Radiators vs steam baseboard

I just bought a house that has radiator heating throughout the house except for a small addition the previous owners had put on in 1997. The two rooms (bathroom and sitting room) are heated with steam baseboard heat. I have a couple of questions:
1. What would it cost roughly, to connect the rest of the first floor to steam baseboard instead of the radiators? Would this be worthwhile? I personally like the radiators but since this is my first house i am not sure what heating system is most efficient. My guess is that they are the same since they will both run off the same boiler and it turns into what is more aesthetically pleasing. My father-in-law's friend says all he would do is disconnect the main pipe to the radiators and would connect the new baseboard to the existing pipe from the sitting room. To me it sounds like a [email protected]$ job to leave half the steam radiator pipes in the house, not being used. Also there is asbestos insulation over these pipes.

2. If i keep the radiators, what is the best way to clean them both inside and outside. Also, what kind of paint should i use for the metallic radiator covers?
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Old 07-31-04, 05:29 AM
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I'm not sure I understood the proposed modification but I would advise not to make changes. More steam systems are thrown out of whack by modifications than you can imagine. One of the first things that you would have needed to do is calculate the output from the radiators and then you would know how many feet of baseboard it would have taken to equal each radiator. You would have probably been shocked. Usually it takes over 10 feet of baseboard to match a 3 foot long radiator. Then the piping changes would all have had to be done with black pipe. Cut and threaded on site. I would strongly recommend leaving the system alone and only repair what goes wrong.

The radiators and the covers can be painted with any paint suitable for metal. I usually prefer to see a spray paint on the radiator because it puts on a thinner film. If you like the color, you can use the high temp aluminum color paint from the auto store. It just looks natural on a radiator to me. The covers do not get that hot compared to the radiator and you can use any paint on them that you like. Clean them up with a wire brush.

As for the asbostos. Leave it alone. It is harmless until it is flying around the room from being knocked off the pipes without using the proper technique and safety measures.

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