Cast iron radiators.

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BlindPete
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Joined: Mon 25th May, 2020 9:18 am

Cast iron radiators.

Post by BlindPete » Tue 29th Jun, 2021 2:43 pm

Greetings lovely people.

We are planning the upgrade of our heating system in our 350 year old Yorkshire stone built home. It’s currently got double panel steel radiators which are huge with no grills or fins to help heat distribution. They are over 40 years old I think. We’ve a copper hot water cylinder with a puffer jacket on for our hot water.

Thinking a combi boiler once Yorkshire water have sorted the low water pressure out. This will do away with the cylinder and tank in the loft. Only have one bathroom.

We’ve priced cast iron radiators and by the time you add in the nice rad wall stays, pipe kits, traditional trv’s and fancy bleed nipples, they are very expensive.

What do folk think of them please? It regards to the look, quality, efficiency, heat up time, heat distribution and anything else that’s loved or not by them.

Being a Yorkshire man it’s taking some time to warm to the price 😩

Thanks kindly, Pete.

stretch
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun 7th Feb, 2021 4:00 pm

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by stretch » Thu 1st Jul, 2021 5:10 pm

I am also in the process of doing the same thing to our recently purchased 16th century "moneypit".
I am looking at the steel versions which look a lot cheaper. I await some comments from others.

Dave

Old School
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Joined: Thu 3rd Dec, 2020 2:07 pm

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by Old School » Fri 2nd Jul, 2021 3:33 pm

Hi there we fitted a completely new system to replace night storage heaters when we started our renovation ...way back in 2012. It's an old school so we wanted the look of cast iron rads, we went with Castrads which seemed the best value. I have to say their customer service is second to none, there can be issues with the TVR's leaking so you need to make sure your plumbers are tip top. The system heats up quickly and the rads hold the heat well after the system shuts off. They have changed the gasket system from silicon to graphite ..we did have some issues with gaskets leaking and they basically collected, refurbed and sent the rads back all free of charge and covered the disconnect and reconnection plumbing costs, even repainted some of them which had been damaged by ongoing renovations. Don't regret putting them in at all, I love the look of them but agree they are pricey. Castrads have 10 year guarantee. We went for a towel rail with cast iron type rad in the middle of it for our bathroom, not from Castrads although I think they might do them, do also recommend that since the rail itself gets hot as well as the rad in the middle and makes for lovely warm dry towels and a warm bathroom. Our system is mains pressure with a large pressurised heat storage tank so we did away with lagged immersion heater and cold water tank in the loft which I was pleased about ..especially in light of our ongoing rats and mice in the loft issues, didn't want to be brushing my teeth in er Wiels water!!! Hope that helps.

BlindPete
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon 25th May, 2020 9:18 am

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by BlindPete » Fri 2nd Jul, 2021 5:02 pm

Hi Dave. I thought the same and looked at steel and aluminium alternatives.

I found you needed bigger sizes to get the btu to match the cast iron equivalent, which brought the cost quite close.

Plus bigger rads take up more wall space and it would eat at me that I’ve tried to fake the look and it wouldn’t do the building justice.

I think I’m trying to tell myself it’s what’s needed, get on with it, they’ll be there long past my lifetime and the cost will soon be forgotten. The thermostatic valves are bloody expensive though. 😂

I’m hoping for folks “living with them experience and thoughts” like heat up time, cool down time, cleaning, quality etc.

Good luck with the choice battle! So far cast is winning for me…..

mardinor
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Joined: Tue 9th May, 2006 8:23 pm

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by mardinor » Fri 2nd Jul, 2021 5:13 pm

We fitted a whole house with reclaimed genuine cast-iron rads 20 years ago. It's a 300 yr old stone farmhouse with 20" walls, so 'heat up time' isn't an issue as we basically heat the house for the winter, leaving heating on all season but controlled by individual TRVs rather than a central thermostat. The house acts like a giant storage heater.

Even 20 years ago the price was eye-watering but I don't regret it a bit. They are beautiful and look like they've always been there. It's part of the aesthetic value that brings daily joy to living in a period house. But to my mind you have to do it properly or not at all - originals not copies, brass TRVs, feet and stays.

Performance is fine - no downsides noticed at all.

a twig
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Joined: Sun 6th Oct, 2013 10:18 pm

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by a twig » Fri 2nd Jul, 2021 7:39 pm

We had a smart set up with motorised TRVs etc so no period aesthetics applied! With the on / off we went steel as cheaper and quicker heat up / cool down time. We were only cast iron in a few rooms though and rest of them didn’t suit it.

While on paper you should have bigger steel ones we didn’t, just bought the same size as what would have been if cast iron and never felt colder anyway.

Feltwell
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Joined: Sun 18th May, 2008 7:28 pm
Location: Shropshire, England

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by Feltwell » Sat 3rd Jul, 2021 10:16 am

In my Victorian house, I used the steel copies, and - they're OK. Functionally they're fine, aesthetically they're much better than modern steel panel rads but definitely not as nice as genuine cast iron originals. They do look modern but they don't jar and blend in to the typical Victorian details well.

However - in an older, stone built house I'd go for cast iron. Ideally I would have had them here, but cost at the time was an issue.

Heating controls - hmm, that's tricky. We went from TRV's to an Evohome smart system at the start of this year and noticed a big difference in comfort. TRV's just shut flow off to rooms that are hot enough, they can't call for heat to rooms that are too cold and they are notoriously inaccurate. The evohome system is a battery powered motorised valve on each radiator that shuts flow off when rooms are hot enough but can also call for heat if the room is cold - so effectively it turns every room into a separately controlled heating zone. The radiator valves are much more accurate for temperature than TRV's. The whole thing is controlled from a central unit or from an app on your phone.

Now I am a luddite for new technology, no interest in gadgets, and even I've managed to make it work. Every room can be on different time settings and temperatures if you want - heating isn't just on/off, you can set different temperatures for different times of day in different rooms. The temperature can be overridden at the valve head in each room - but - crucially, if you have multiple teenage offspring as I do - it only overrides it to the next time change :twisted: . There's even a function to detect if a door or window is open and turn the valve off, though in quite a few of our rooms due to drafts I've had to disable that!

When we had TRV's my darling daughter used to turn her TRV up to max because she was cold, forget about it, then a few days later I'd spot she had her bedroom window wide open (because she was too hot) and her radiator on full blast - and she's in an attic bedroom, so all the heat was flowing nicely up the house and out of her window :evil: . At least now she can only override it for a few hours and then it resets!

But - it is of course a white plastic lump next to each radiator, like a big TRV valve head. It has made the house a lot more comfortable in winter though.

88v8
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Joined: Wed 15th Jun, 2011 7:01 pm
Location: Glorious Gloucs

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by 88v8 » Sun 4th Jul, 2021 11:14 am

In 1977, I put cast iron rads in our first house.
And in 1982 in our second house.
They were second hand, no new ones back then.
I paid £10 each. Advertised in the local paper to find them.

A struggle to find the right sizes in usable condition.
So easy nowadays, just pay up and look cheerful.

We had them off/on twice daily. They take a long time to heat up, and a long time to cool, one just allows for that in the timing.
No TRVs, new Crane D201 and D200 valves.
One stat in the hall.
As with all heating, it's important to size the rads correctly for the temperature you want in each room, but once that's done, one stat can rule them all.

Most of then were wall hung. That's handy for wallpapering, as you can undo the top bracket loosen the valves and swing them down to rest on the floor. Those that had legs, I stood on wood plinths so the fitted carpet - I plead guilty to fitted carpet m'lud, I knew no better back then - could be laid around them.

I also used iron tails to the valves, copper looked too skinny.

They were nearly all 4-column. Most 30" tall. A pair of 24" under a window. Because of the high output, they take up little wall space. One was a panelled panel, so to speak, seen in the third pic.

The only modern rad we had, I made a cover for it. It hinged forward to let out more heat.... last pic.

I painted them, using a special radiator brush for a column rads. Painted just the once, then over 30 years never again.
You can get a special vacuum brush for cleaning, the wife will appreciate your thoughtfullness.

If I were ever to install another CH system, I'd use cast iron.
As said, they just look 'right'.

Pooping into Photobucket which I haven't used since they went all snooty about posting on other sites, a couple of pics.

Ivor

Image

Image

Image

Image

MatthewC
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Location: Central/South England
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Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by MatthewC » Sun 4th Jul, 2021 5:04 pm

BlindPete wrote:
Fri 2nd Jul, 2021 5:02 pm
it would eat at me that I’ve tried to fake the look and it wouldn’t do the building justice.

I think I’m trying to tell myself it’s what’s needed, get on with it, they’ll be there long past my lifetime and the cost will soon be forgotten.
If you intend to stay in your house for any appeciable time, then they are worth it. Just look at my post about our new stained glass! Worth it? Possibly not, but if we didn't do it, the old glass would annoy me for the rest of my life, every time I passed it on the stairs. Plus there's smartie points with t'other half...

stretch
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun 7th Feb, 2021 4:00 pm

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by stretch » Sun 4th Jul, 2021 8:36 pm

Ok, i will go with cast. :D Do i go new cast or reclaimed.? Looks like i am going to struggle to get 9-10,000 BTU's on the cast one's. Might have to have a couple per room.
Thanks for all the feedback / encouragement to spend my son's inheritance. :D

Dave

stretch
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun 7th Feb, 2021 4:00 pm

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by stretch » Tue 6th Jul, 2021 8:58 am

Has anyone done the research on the best provider of cast ones. ? Price etc. I would prefer new cast rather than refurbished originals.

BlindPete
Posts: 9
Joined: Mon 25th May, 2020 9:18 am

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by BlindPete » Tue 6th Jul, 2021 6:51 pm

It’s cast iron for me too 😀 Thanks to everyone for their kind advice, thoughts and taking the time in replying.

Dave aka stretch. We have priced cast on a few internet sites and are likely to order with featureradiators.co.uk They have a good website and some YouTube videos.

They are based close to us and the wife has been to the showroom to discuss and look. The staff were very helpful and quickly sent us a price breakdown for different options. Also doing business with a local company will hopefully be a safe plan.

Ivor aka 88v8. Your rads look so stylish and suit the decor perfectly 😀

Feltwell, I’ll look into the smart control set up you use. Anyway I can sneak the heating down whilst not looking suspicious is a win win for me!

Thanks again people 👍

stretch
Posts: 27
Joined: Sun 7th Feb, 2021 4:00 pm

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by stretch » Sat 10th Jul, 2021 9:10 am

Blind Pete, thanks for the recommendation, i will check it out. Good luck with the wallet emptying... :D

88v8
Posts: 2876
Joined: Wed 15th Jun, 2011 7:01 pm
Location: Glorious Gloucs

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by 88v8 » Sun 11th Jul, 2021 11:19 am

stretch wrote:
Sun 4th Jul, 2021 8:36 pm
Looks like i am going to struggle to get 9-10,000 BTU's on the cast one's. Might have to have a couple per room.
Yes, 10,000 from one rad is a lot.

A Crane 4-column ten section 30" high gives 4,500 btu with a 180/160F flow/return, and weighs 150lb. Just bear that in mind when carrying them upstairs. One of the most alarming episodes of our install was carrying what became the hall rad in our first house down from the boardroom of a City insurance company - it was Eagle Star in Borough Market - it was 30" high and had 23 sections and weighed.... well you can work it out. Four of us carried it down the steep narrow stairs, at any moment expecting it to get away from us. At home I removed it from the van with an engine crane.

That rad was wall hung. I used no 24 Rawplugs - fibre - and coach screws. Later I discovered that the wall was breeze, and supported only on the joists.

Ideally the rads should go under the windows. Failing that next to the windows in which case two per room is often better in terms of heat distribution.

The problem with old is that they can rusted out or furred up, but new/old from a reputable supplier should make no odds.

This was the other rad in our library, which for reasons we don't need to go into was installed too near the wall....

Image

Ivor

DJH
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Location: Co Tipperary Ireland

Re: Cast iron radiators.

Post by DJH » Sat 17th Jul, 2021 4:44 pm

Back in my day, maybe 50 years or so ago :shock: we used to call them column radiators and they invariably came in individual sections ready for connecting up to suit the outputs required.

Firstly we used to tap them on the floor to detach/loosen any debris from casting such as core sand and odd fragments of iron. This was to help prevent any build up which could affect the circulating pump(s).

From memory the radiators came with machined flat mating facings where the columns joined each other. A thin paper or asbestos washer was fitted between each column top and bottom with a smear of Boss White to help prevent leakage.

Using an iron nipple with, I think, the same handed thread on each end, and a hexagon hole through the middle they were loosely engaged in the threaded hole in the centre of the machined faces. A long Allen key, similar to a stopcock key with a T handle, was then inserted in though the column and, because of the threads on the nipples, when turned they joined the columns together.

The large size rads were always made near to their destination.

Struggling with large radiators can be avoided by undoing the nipples to leave manageable size sections.

We were delighted when pressed steel reds were introduced... :D

Doug

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