Going from steam to hot water baseboard


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Old 05-05-18, 07:04 AM
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Question Going from steam to hot water baseboard

Hey... my friend's place is an older house with steam. The boiler's dead and leaking and we were thinking of getting rid of the steam system and putting in hot water baseboard. What's the consensus on this? Yeah, there's some cost for the baseboards and pex, but it could be more efficient heating-wise in the long run, no? Running the hot water lines isn't an issue to consider here... it will be easy. A big plus for him is gaining the extra room in the house after getting rid of the big radiators.

Thanks.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 05:34 AM
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Some radiators can be used for both steam and hot water. It depends on their construction. That said, finned tube radiation heats an entirely different way than does cast iron radiators and the heating of an area is different and has a different feel. Let me explain; cast iron radiators heat by radiation, conduction and convection. Radiation is the same feeling as you get when you step from a shady area to a sunny area, the temperature may be the same but due to the sun you will feel warmer. Conduction, is the radiator heating the air surrounding the radiator, while convection is the movement of the air over the radiator and moving that air around the room. Finned tube , baseboard radiation heats only by convection and the result is a different feel of heating. Now, if he really wants to convert from radiators to baseboard radiation, do not just throw away those old radiators, they are worth $ depending on the radiators construction and size. There are many homeowners that prefer the heating of cast iron radiators to the feel of baseboard heating so they want to retain the radiators. I worked with steam and hot water for 40+ years and if installed correctly the steam system has advantages and disadvantages to hot water. I like steam but it is more expensive to operate and maintain than is hot water. Steam systems usually are freeze resistant and in some cases can be operated with no electricity depending on codes in your area, but that is another discussion for another time. Hope this helps
 
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Old 05-06-18, 11:28 AM
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Thanks. One of the other nice things about the hot water is the fact that the 2nd floor can be a separate zone, instead of the whole house being heated now with steam.
 
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Old 05-06-18, 12:46 PM
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Both types of systems, steam or hot water can be zoned by individual rooms in most cases. In a new hot water system zoning by floors, areas, or individual rooms is possible depending on the sophistication of the piping used. Most people use a single loop per floor but any configuration can be used including monoflo, direct return, reverse return, etc. On an existing steam system, both 1 pipe and 2 pipe steam systems can be zoned using self contained thermostatic valves. "GOOGLE" Danfoss valves for to get ideas. How ever you do it be very careful that you check everything to make sure nothing is missed.
 
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Old 05-07-18, 04:16 AM
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You need to heat the water to 212 degrees before you can get heat with a steam system. With a circulating hot water system you can get heat any time the heated water is above room ambient. There is a water temperature adjustment on the hot water system aquastat to select the most efficient temperature for the loop. My choice is a circulating hot water system.
 
 

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