Updating heating from radiators to vents

20 Dec

This is the pattern you will often see in heat-paid rentals and with office occupants where the system is not well-designed.

Habits, fuel cost, and weather will affect heating costs more than type of system.Anywhere masonry contacts wood like concrete steps that contact wood is an invitation to termites and wood eating ants as well.It's more a matter of your own preferences and behaviors.Single pipe steam systems in particular can have hot, oxygenated water and water vapor that can badly corrode steel piping.On the plus side, though, the vents at the radiators do discharge some water vapor while the system is on, providing humidity. Water hammer, gurgling, expansion creaking and popping, all can happen if the system isn't sloped just right (common in older systems where the house has settled or repairs have been make and the pipes not installed correctly).The wife and I are looking to purchase a house this year.The area we are looking has older homes, the oldest I've seen so far was built in the late 1800s.It's just valves and thermostats, whereas with forced air you need zone dampers and often separate ducts.There three variations in systems people call "radiators:" one-pipe steam systems, two-pipe steam systems and hot water baseboard. Steam systems can be rough on pipes, where steel piping can rot out after a relatively short time.I'm not so big on portable A/C and window units--noisy. I would imagine baseboards are much more efficient than radiators. Older steam systems often used asbestos insulation on the pipes in the cellar.If the cellar pipes have old white paper looking insulation - that is very likely asbestos. Retro fitting an HVAC air system into an older home should require both supply and return air, if I'm not mistaken.