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seeking advice on replacing baseboard radiators with wall-mounted panels

My husband and I bought our 80-some year old house about 2 years ago. The house currently has hot water baseboard heaters but we'd love to replace them. The baseboard heaters are very long, prevent us from pushing things up against the walls, and they were never installed correctly so the covers are always falling off. My husband would like to get new panel-style radiators that we can mount on the wall. I'm wondering if we should just go to our local salvage center and buy some old cast iron radiators. Does anyone have experience with this? How much do the panel-style wall-mounted radiators cost? And where would we buy them? I've been poking around online and I get the impression that we'd need to purchase them through a heating contractor, but my husband wants to install them himself. Maybe we'd be better off getting a contractor to do the installation? Any advice is appreciated!

Re: seeking advice on replacing baseboard radiators with wall-mounted panels


If it was MY house, I'd consider replacing just the OUTER COVERS of the existing baseboard, which would spruce up the rooms considerably with the new baseboard covers---also known as "dummy baseboard"---this would probably be the least expensive option, would not disturb the heating elements, which could remain in place during the rehab.

In most cases, old baseboard covers can be completely removed without disconnecting the heating system---thus it can be done even during the heating season.

However, I understand that some people don't like baseboard---the alternatives are several---one low-cost plan is to (as noted) buy one or two cast iron rads from a plumbing supply used, demolition yard, salvage yard or junk yard (See Yellow Pages under these headings) & bring them to an auto body dealer to be sandblasted & re-coated with new paint---they come out looking like new for a moderate cost---always air-test the 2nd hand rad before buying---one end is blocked up with a screw in metal cover & a bicycle pump with a psi gauge on it pumps 20 lbs of air in the other side & checks for 30 seconds to insure that no air is escaping---a small bottle of soapy water is brought along & sprayed on the rad to locate any leaks.

Sizing is different for rads and baseboard---baseboard puts out 560 btu/hour per each foot of baseboard---thus, if you pull out say, 25' of baseboard from a room: 25' X 560 = 14,000 btu/hr---which means a cast iron rad (or 2 of them) equaling 14,000 btu/hr has to be put in the room as a replacement.

Google "SIZING A CAST IRON RADIATOR" for the formula to calculate how much btu/hr each cast iron rad is rated (cast iron rads come in all different sizes).

An advantage of doing one room at a time is that it costs much less, & can be done as a diy project.

The other options cost lots more $$$---the stainless steel panel rads are excellent in appearance and functioning (very popular in Europe), but they cost an arm & a leg---$1,000 or more for each unit---the problem is, they are still seen by the heating industry as a "high brow" item---some U.S. sites (mostly in the Northeast) are below---say a little prayer that the Chinese enter the steel panel rad market---and put one on sale for $25 at Wal-Mart.

Beacon-Morris, inc. manufactures different heating convectors, that may be an option---at the site, click onto "products", then "residential", then "convectors"---also Google "hydronic convectors" for a wide range of mfgrs who make this type of heater & look much better than the Beacon-Morris sample.

It would be a good idea to go to your local HYDRONIC COMPONENT HEATING SUPPLY HOUSE & ask to see their catalogs with the color photos of the steel panel rads they have for sale---most heating supply houses now will sell to the homeowner directly, although it may be more of a retail price than a wholesale price---check the Yellow Pages under "Heating Equipment/Systems"---look for the word "supply" in the dealer's listing---don't be afraid to shop around in several supply houses---you'll get some supply houses that now sell wholesale to everyone----so shop around.

All these items are sold according to the btu/hour output of the different size of the items----an approximate btu/hr for each of your rooms can be done as above, multiplying the total baseboard footage in a room & multiplying by 560.

There must be numerous heating supply houses in the Pittsburgh area that can show you what you need---also check out national distributors who may have a store in Pitt: Sid Harveys, RE Michel, Johnstone Supply, Simons Supply, Pameco Supply.

Still another option would be to install under-floor radiant heat by running PEX plastic tubing along the underside of the floor-boards---this assumes you have under-floor access---the PEX is plastic tubing that can withstand hot water temps and uses the entire floor as the radiator---this is an expensive option, but is widely done these days.


Re: seeking advice on replacing baseboard radiators with wall-mounted panels

I installed Veha panel radiators in my house, and am very happy with them. High quality product, and not terribly expensive.

They have nice hydronic towel warmers too.



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