Steam Radiator Furnace Fuel

Discussion in 'HVAC' started by CoriSCapnSkip, Dec 1, 2017.

Help Support House Repair Talk by donating using the link above.
  1. Dec 1, 2017 #1

    CoriSCapnSkip

    CoriSCapnSkip

    CoriSCapnSkip

    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    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.
     
  2. Dec 1, 2017 #2

    nealtw

    nealtw

    nealtw

    Contractor retired

    Joined:
    Nov 4, 2010
    Messages:
    23,949
    Likes Received:
    3,135
    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: Dec 1, 2017
  3. Dec 3, 2017 #3

    CoriSCapnSkip

    CoriSCapnSkip

    CoriSCapnSkip

    New Member

    Joined:
    Nov 30, 2017
    Messages:
    4
    Likes Received:
    2
    Our area has no natural gas and I am so scared of propane would almost rather burn wood or just freeze.
     
    nealtw likes this.
  4. Dec 11, 2017 #4

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    slownsteady

    Administrator Staff Member Admin Moderator

    Joined:
    Jun 6, 2009
    Messages:
    6,567
    Likes Received:
    1,180
    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).
     

Share This Page