DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > DIY Home Improvement > HVAC > Steam Radiator Furnace Fuel

Help Support House Repair Talk by donating using the link above.
Thread Tools Search this Thread
Old 12-01-2017, 12:23 AM  
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 4
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts

Default Steam Radiator Furnace Fuel

Hi, everyone, and thanks for your consideration.

Since I was a small child I have lived in a home now over 100 years old. It has steam radiators, some of which I am told were not made later than 110 years ago. I can post pictures if wanted. I would very much like to keep those in the living room, dining room, and possibly the bedrooms, as they add to the charm and character of the house and figure in childhood memories. The kitchen one is a more plain style and if there is a better way to heat the kitchen as well as or better than the radiator, I am okay with that.

In the dining room, living room, and kitchen, the radiators are large and give good heat. The house could even be made pleasant in winter if less drafty. (I wear a hat or at least a headband inside at all times from about November through March!) In the bedrooms the radiators are small and give little to no heat. One room is bearable when bundled up and the other requires a space heater even when in bed.

At one point the whole system was heated with coal. There is a former coal cellar with the chute still in place and a few ancient lumps still around. We've been through a couple of coal oil furnaces. The oil is delivered into a tank and the pipe is inconveniently placed in the yard, a tripping hazard and a nuisance to work around. When the line became plugged, it was strung across the basement floor, causing other unpleasant issues. I would like to see the WHOLE SORRY MESS gone!

What I would like to know is:

1. Can we leave the radiators which work well in place but run them by some other means than coal oil?

2. Can we have one system in those rooms and another in other rooms, or does all heating have to be through one system? In other words, if the bedrooms and one bathroom are barely heated and back rooms (one of which has plumbing, so a space heater must be turned on and constantly checked all winter) and the basement rooms have little or no heat, and say anyone wants to add rooms (such as upstairs) and the radiators barely keep the main floor at temperatures compatible with life, should some other system be installed in the other rooms? Can this be done without sacrificing the radiators in the rooms in which I do enjoy them?

3. If ALL radiators for any reason MUST GO, are old radiators good for anything? They take up space and weigh a ton, but some of the old ones are really pretty!

Thanks for any help on this.

CoriSCapnSkip is offline  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-01-2017, 01:15 AM  
Contractor retired
nealtw's Avatar
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Upper Fraser Valley, British Columbia
Posts: 23,710
Liked 3052 Times on 2671 Posts
Likes Given: 5043


You might check int o natural gas or propane in your area. I would be looking for newer more efficient boiler and maybe change to hot water so you can change out the radiators to the wall mount ones and have it set up with zones so the bedroom area having it's own T'stat.
Most people run adds to sell radiators and some sell to people close by if you are lucky. Run the adds early so if you don't get any action you can just let the HVAC guy deal with them. They would sell them for scrap, A few cents per pound.

Last edited by nealtw; 12-01-2017 at 01:17 AM.
nealtw is online now  
Reply With Quote
Old 12-02-2017, 10:56 PM  
Junior Member
Join Date: Nov 2017
Posts: 4
Liked 2 Times on 2 Posts


Our area has no natural gas and I am so scared of propane would almost rather burn wood or just freeze.
CoriSCapnSkip is offline  
nealtw Likes This 
Reply With Quote
Old 12-11-2017, 08:54 AM  
slownsteady's Avatar
Join Date: Jun 2009
Location: Newton, NJ
Posts: 6,455
Liked 1160 Times on 962 Posts
Likes Given: 1905


There's really no need to be afraid of propane (except for the price). There are many houses in my neighborhood that have propane heat, and my house uses propane for cooking and clothes dryer. The tank sits outside the house and there are pipes that supply the fuel into the house....same as natural gas.

As far as heating goes, you could always keep the radiators (disconnected) as décor and move to a modern heating system, or have a mixed system if you choose. I would not want to have to boilers in my house, so you will need some advice on what systems can make use of the radiators as well as baseboards (or whatever).
Learn something every day
slownsteady is offline  
Reply With Quote

Thread Tools Search this Thread
Search this Thread:

Advanced Search

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off

Similar Threads
Thread Thread Starter DIY Home Repair Forum Replies Last Post
fuel fitting Rusty General Chit-Chat 12 07-20-2017 08:24 AM
Jeep YJ fuel problem havasu General Chit-Chat 10 03-03-2016 07:10 PM
Steam radiator movement jcwilson64 HVAC 1 03-26-2011 04:09 PM
Carpeting around old Steam Radiator gariecrowder Flooring 4 09-03-2009 11:40 AM
fuel line to furnace bethany14 HVAC 5 11-21-2006 07:35 AM

Newest Threads