Home>Discussions>PLUMBING>replace aluminum baseboard with castiron b/b
3 posts / 0 new
Last post
replace aluminum baseboard with castiron b/b

Our split level home has h/w alum. baseboard radiators in 3 zones. The family rm is on a slab. We would like to replace the f/r zone with cast iron b/b. would we use the same lengths of cast iron baseboard radiators as the alum? the c/i baseboard is 10" h vs 8" for the aluminum.

We will need to replace our 17 yr oil fired boiler soon, how can we compare the long term costs of oil h/w vs LPG h/w cost to operate? ( buy unit and fuel)? We are considering LPG because the cost of fuel oil has nowhere to go but up.

Thanks for any information.

Re: replace aluminum baseboard with castiron b/b


I always recommend that homeowners stay with their present heating equipment until they have a chance to consult with local heating professionals about the various factors that are involved in heating a particular home---most of this just can't be done over the internet, although you can obtain considerable info in conjunction with calling in local experts.

A number of questions you ask involve making modifications to the equipment you already have, & perhaps making some modifications to the building structure---this is a lot less expensive in dollar cost than going out & buying new equipment that might not do the job of improving heating comfort for your home at less costs than what you're paying now.

In the 1st paragraph of your post you imply that you're having considerable problems heating the family room, even though it's on a separate zone---this could well be because it's built on a slab that may not have been properly insulated before the slab & house were constructed & the slab is acting "like an iceburg" in winter, radiating cold air from the frozen ground into the family room---if this is the case, the solution may be to install more floor insulation over what you have now, & keep the existing fin-tube baseboard.

Propane fuel DOES seem to offer more savings on fuel expenses when comparisons are made, but I would also in this case recommend you try to do some things to improve your oil heating output & comfort before making the decision to switch to propane & a new boiler.

As the site below indicates, the heat output of individual fuels is measured in what's called BTUs (british thermal units) per gallon, and NOT the comparative price of given fuels; you can do the math using the site below, & punching in the current costs for each fuel mentioned to come up with comparative costs per gallon---I would recommend using an 85% figure for both propane & oil-fired boilers, as there have been considerable problems with the high-efficiency propane boilers mentioned in the article; I would also recommend you read all the comments that follow the site below to get better understanding of the issues involved, & not just the issue between fuel oil & propane.

We haven't even mentioned the issue of blowing in cellulose insulation into all the exterior walls & attic so that you have at least R19 and R40 insulation factors---most homeowners completely ignore this extremely important move that costs only a few hundred $$$ & can markedly improve the heating comfort of the home, while burning considerably less fuel; double-pane new vinyl windows throughout the house are also a must, and also will improve the house's heating ability---although, again, these measures seemingly have nothing to do with baseboards & boilers---get it????

It's not uncommon for a homeowner to see a 50% drop in fuel usage by making a decision to spend their money on blown-in insulation & double-pane vinyl windows--it's not so much how much heat the boiler (propane or oil) can put out to heat the house---it's HOW MUCH HEAT THE EXTERIOR WALLS OF THE HOUSE CAN KEEP INSIDE, otherwise the heat is just flying right through the exterior walls, windows & roof to heat the great outdoors!

Blowing in insulation is simple---the contractor shows up with a large truck with blower motor & works completely from the outside of the house, removing a small piece of exterior siding here & there & filling the exterior wall cavities---the job is done in less than a day, and the fuel savings are unbelievable; spending your money now on insulation & new windows & keeping your present heating system for a little while longer before you decide if you want to switch, will save you both heating $$$ and summer cooling $$$; there is also incidental modifications that cost next to nothing, such as putting in a smaller fuel oil nozzle into the boiler (called de-rating the nozzle)---having your heating tech install a nozzle that burns perhaps 3/4 gallon of fuel oil per hour, instead of the one you may have now that burns 1 gph, or more, may in itself save a considerable amount of fuel bills, and heat your house more effectively.


Re: replace aluminum baseboard with castiron b/b

thanks for your reply. we have a stucco over masonary home, so it might be difficult to insulate the walls. the attic has 10" of fiberglass, we could add additional material. The picture window is a new double pane unit and the exterior is a replacement steel door. I'll do the cost analysis as noted on the website you provided. Thanks again.

Sponsored Stories

TV Listings

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