Saturday, February 17, 2007

Radiator Heating Resources

Online Radiator Resources is Dan Holohan's website. There's more about Dan in the Publications section below. The website includes a Q&A section with answers to many common questions, as well as a bulletic board where you can post questions for professionals to answer. The site is well worth a visit.

If you have gravity hot water heating as we did when we purchased This Old Chicago 2 Flat, then this article by Dan Holohan has a good explanation of how it works.

The Ontario propane association has a clear, short description of how heat loss works, and the basics of heat loss calcualtions. Heat loss calculations are essential to understanding how renovations such as new windows, adding insultation, or adding an addition will impact your old house's heating.

Slant/Fin is a manufacturer of various types of radiators. Their web site includes an offer for free heat loss calculation software. You can use this software to determine the correct size radiator for a room, or the correct size boiler for heating your home.

If you are looking to buy new radiators, then a few manufacturers that distribute in the US are Radson, Runtal and Myson. Keep in mind that if you currently have cast iron radiators, you should not mix in new steel or copper radiators because they new sytles have very different heating properties.

Offline Radiator Resources

Need to replace a new radiator, but don't want to pay hundreds or thousands of dollars? Try a recycled raditor from B&B Formica at 5617 W. Grand Ave in Chicago. They have a yard full of a wide variety of radiators pulled from Chicago area buildings. They will pressure test the radiators and offer additonal services as well. We have been very happy with several radiators we purchased from them for $12/section. They used to be located on Milwaukee Ave between Ashland and Damen, so if you were wondering where they went, now you know.

When it came time to replace the boilers in This Old Chicago 2 Flat, we hired American Vintage Home to do the work. We were very happy with their service, the quality of workmanship, and the Lochinvar boilers that they installed.

Radiator Publications (Books, Magazines, Articles)

No list of radiator heating resources would be complete without mentioing Dan Holohan. Dan is the expert on old house steam and hot water heating. He has written numerous books and articles related radiator heating. The best thing about Dan's writing is that he is able to convey the mechanics of how these heating systems work without using a bunch of technical mumbo-jumbo.

A few of Dan's books that I have found particularly helpful are:

Hydronic Radiant Heating - A Practical Guide for the Nonengineer Installer

We Got Steam Heat! - A Homeowner's Guide to Peaceful Coexistence

I would like to point our readers towards a good book on how to work on old stream/hot water heatings systems, including how to work with iron pipe, but I have not found any. If you know of such a book, let me know and I will add it to this post.

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Anonymous The Old Man said...

I'm glad to hear more people praising American Vintage Home. I've used them to install my SpacePak system, fix my furnace, and repair a plumbing leak, and they've yet to disappoint me!

February 18, 2007 7:10 PM  
Blogger allison said...

Just one note about B&B Formica as a radiator source. It pays to call ahead and give them the dimensions. I made a trip there and they had nothing in the sizes I needed. Also, when buying any old radiator, get the lead paint off before bringing it into your house. Have someone sandblast it.

February 20, 2007 11:03 PM  
Blogger SmartShouldMakeYouSmile said...

I'm in the process of converting my home from steam radiators to gas-forced air. As a result, I have several good quality radiators that I'm looking to sell. I've been told by a couple of the heating folks we've had come in for estimates of replacing the system that there's a decent value to several of the big units, and that a very small unit in my bathroom is worth a considerable amount of money. Do you of anyone who will purchase old radiators from homes?

If so, please email me at shellynne7 (at)

October 20, 2008 10:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

B&B's radiator prices are as follows (as of Jan. 25 , 2010):
Radiators are sold by the section.
1-5 sections $25/section
6+ sections $17/section
(tax is not included)

January 26, 2010 12:08 PM  
Blogger JC said...

Thanks so much for the lead - it was driving me nuts where this radiator yard went - I would always see it on the train and refused to believe it went out of business!!

September 30, 2011 10:53 PM  

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