Home>Discussions>INSULATION & HVAC>removal of cast-iron radiators
7 posts / 0 new
Last post
removal of cast-iron radiators

I am hoping someone can help me solve my problem of removing all my cast-iron radiators. I live in a 1925 Sears and Roebuck kit house. I am in the process of putting in central air due to the inefficiency of the old boiler and the addition of our first baby. I would hate to take the radiators to a scrap yard to be sold as junk yet i have had no leads on antique salvage yards in my area. My biggest problem is that I don't even know how to dis-assemble them to make them easier to remove. i live in the fort wayne, Indiana and any help on what to do with them and to dis-assemble them would be greatly appreciated Thanks. The units that I have are (2)5', (2)3' and (1)1' radiators.

Re: removal of cast-iron radiators

Don't do it!!!
Your radiators are the best heat you can get!! Regarless of who and what they say radiators produce and hold heat for hours and it's moist.

My house is over 8o years old and they couldn't give me another method of heating. You can get small high pressure air conditioning if that is the reason your taking out the radiators. I have A/C in my house and it's 80 years old.

Keep the old radiators, believe me it's worth it!

Re: removal of cast-iron radiators

Spectrum nailed it---I agree completely and wholeheartedly with everything he says.

I've been working on heating systems for more years than I care to remember---hot water heating, especially with radiators is the best and most efficient.

Conversely, most people who switch from HW to forced hot air are NOT satisfied with the difference, either in fuel economy or comfort.

Could you provide more info as to if a new boiler would solve your problems.

In regards to air conditioning, you can install ductless mini-split air conditioning by Sanyo, Mitsubishi, Friedrich or others---they don't require any ducts to be installed & are widely done these days, at a very reasonable cost.

Please post back.

Re: removal of cast-iron radiators

The main reason for the switch is that our second floor does not have the ability to have the mini-split system. There is not enough space between the top of the windows and the ceiling. The side walls are rounded and don't offer enough space either. The other problem is that the windows are not wide enough to install a window air conditioner and the portable models don't seem big enough. The house is also brick which does seem to help with the heating situation. There are also no radiators or other forms of heat on the second floor either. It gets really cold in the winter and hot in the summer.

Re: removal of cast-iron radiators


Naturally, the final decision is your call---I only wish you would reconsider & get some heating techs in there for THEIR opinion before you make a final decision.

If you could provide more info as to the sq. footage of all the rooms in the house & the amount of insulation & age of the windows I could do some calculations on what you need for heating & cooling.

Most cast iron radiators are EXTREMELY HEAVY & thus can cause injury if you try to remove them yourself.

For the 2nd floor heat, it is a rather easy matter to extend your present system by installing flexible PEX tubing thru the wall cavities to the 2nd floor & installing baseboard up there.

If you can provide the btu output of your boiler I can compute if you have enough capacity with your present heating system to extend to the 2nd floor.

To my knowledge mini-splits can be mounted on such curved walls---there is also the option of a thru-the-wall AC---these run up to 30,000 btu/hr cooling capacity.

If the boiler is several decades old, a new one in the $2k to $3k price range will drop your fuel usage 30%.

If it was MY house, I would think more along of the lines of the above, rather than rip everyting out & install a whole new system that won't be as comfortable as the one you have now & will cost more to run.

Consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Contractors", and also under "Fuel Oil" for oil dealers, who are also licensed to install upgraded gas & oil heating equipment.

The Yellow Pages index usually lists "Building Demolition" companies, "Salvage Yards", "Demolition Contractors", etc.

Re: removal of cast-iron radiators

Thank you for the info Jack. I really appreciate the time that you have taken to help me. I had a local heating and cooling company over to get their opinion and they are going to put the whole central heating and cooling unit in for less than price of the new boiler and the the mini split system. I talked to them about the running if the pipe to the upstairs also and they thought I would have more headache getting through the plaster walls and insulation than I would want to tackle and I agree. They took me over to a house about like mine in the area that used to have the same boiler unit that i have where they switched over to central air also and their heating bill was 50-75$ less per month. This choice will also allow me to finally be able to finish my basement without the headache of raising the radiator pipes above the joists. Thanks again for all the info.

Re: removal of cast-iron radiators

mageiger- if you haven't removed your radiators yet and are looking to get rid of them let me know. I also live in Fort Wayne and have been searching for a replacement radiator for my house that I am renovating. It was a bank repo and the guy they sent out to "winterize" it obviously didn't know anything about hot water systems and didnt drain it. It took out the radiator...part of the bedroom floor...living room ceiling...living room floor...... :(
If there is anyone else in the Fort Wayne area that might have a radiator I'd appreciate a shout :)

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

Find TV listings for This Old House and Ask This Old House in your area.