What is an energy efficient heating and cooling system?

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I have steam radiators and don’t know if I should keep them or not. Many think they are not efficient. What kind of heating system is good for a 100 year old home?

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  • Excellent question! I would do a lot of research and get at least a half dozen, if not more, bids from HVAC licensed contractors. Chances are you will need to have ductwork installed, which means construction to your home. And it must meet current building codes for your area. I would check with your local Building Code Department and chat with them for suggestions too. My mom's house was built in the 20's but here on the West Coast, big difference from the Northeast. My experience is with new builds on the East Coast, hopefully other East Coast Hometalkers can add more and better info. And always check and verify contractors license with your Contractors License Board.



  • Barbara Baldwin Barbara Baldwin on Nov 10, 2017
    Don't know about efficiency but I do know houseplants thrive with it

  • Mary Mary on Nov 11, 2017
    I have found forced air heating is not as efficient as radiators. Also in your home it may not be possible since you will need ductwork and registers which may be inconvenient to work into your structure

  • Sharon Sharon on Nov 11, 2017
    I would keep the old radiators as long as their still working.

  • Ellis Ellis on Nov 11, 2017
    I wouldn't change from the steam radiators. They're efficient in a way that hot air heat is not--when the radiator heats up, it stays warm for a while. In Massachusetts, that's a plus. Hot air turns on, blows into the room, and then shuts off. I lived in a house with that, and the swings in temperature were large.
    If you have a place where a radiator is in the way, etc., consult a plumber about other types of steam radiators that could be installed. Or, conversely, inquire about a more efficient steam boiler. Otherwise, I think steam radiators are a bit of character that matches your 100-year-old home.

    Just make sure you find a plumber who is well-versed in working on steam heat systems. Nowadays, some are not.

  • Edean Edean on Nov 12, 2017
    I WOULD KEEP THE RADIATORS,esp.in your 100- YEAR OLD HOME!JUST REMEMBER TO BLEED THEM/MAINTENANCE THEM PROPERLY... I DONT KNOW WHY MOST PEOPLE WANT TO GET RID OF THEM?THEY GIVE OFF AND MAINTAIN MOST AWSOME HEAT WHEN PROPERLY TAKEN CARE OF.I ALSO LIKE TO HEAT BY WOOD,ITS ALOT OF WORK IF YOU DO IT YOURSELF BUT WELL WORTH IT FROM THE WARM HEAT YOU GET OUT OF IT & IF YOU HAVE ALOT OF ACRES LIKE I DO IT IS THE CHEAPEST WAY TO HEAT YOUR HOUSE.

  • Edean Edean on Nov 12, 2017
    Also note if you choose to get rid of your radiators,they are worth money (weight for scrap metal)also in some places considered a collectors item!

  • 2dogal 2dogal on Nov 12, 2017
    I would contact a couple contractors and get their opinions. If you are updating your whole house heating system, you may need to run ductwork. This is not a DIY job. There is also a new type heating/cooling system that goes in each room individually, that installs high on the wall that does not need ductwork.