Radiator heating is common in older homes. Unfortunately, it’s an unreliable way to keep warm during the cold winter months. If you have concerns about your current heating system surviving another winter, upgrading to central heat is a great investment. Today, we will be discussing why you may want to consider a home radiator replacement or changing a radiator out in favor of central heat.
IS A HEATING SYSTEM UPGRADE WORTH IT?
Replacing an appliance is a big decision. However, a new heating system is a worthy investment if it improves your air quality, reduces monthly utility bills, and increases the value of your home. Let’s review some downsides of radiators, then discuss what’s involved in an upgrade to central heat.
RADIATORS ARE DIFFICULT TO CLEAN
Cleaning radiators can be awkward and unpleasant. Plus, they need frequent cleaning to ward off the buildup of dust, grime, and allergens. These irritants can irritate your respiratory system and create an uncomfortable living environment for you in your home. A good cleaning of a radiator involves turning off the heat, vacuuming out the inside, and reaching underneath to wipe out trapped grime. It’s an unsavory and time-consuming task that you’re stuck with while you rely on radiator heating. Replacing old heating systems like radiators with a new central heating system allows for much easier maintenance. Instead of getting on your hands and knees and deep-cleaning your appliance, many new smart thermostats can alert you to any maintenance issues or notify you when to change a filter.
RADIATORS ARE A BREEDING GROUND FOR ALLERGENS AND OTHER HEALTH HAZARDS
Convection radiators provide heat by circulating air. They also circulate dust and whatever pollutants and allergens are carried by the dust particles. To feel safe and healthy at home, indoor air quality is crucial. If you’re sniffling and sneezing every night, note whether or not the onset of your symptoms is connected to your heater use. Do you notice a correlation? This could indicate that it is time to replace the radiator with a more modern heating system.
IT’S DIFFICULT TO DECORATE YOUR HOME WITH RADIATORS IN THE WAY
Radiators take up quite a bit of space and detract from a room’s aesthetic. They get in the way of furniture placement, forcing your entire decorating scheme to work around them. Other heat delivery options, like vents, more smoothly blend into a room’s design. Depending on your tastes, you may also just simply not enjoy the sight of a radiator in your room. Instead, vents can be painted to match the color of your walls and are fixed flat to the surface, allowing you to place your favorite decorations closer to them.
MODERN FORCED AIR SYSTEMS WITH DIGITAL THERMOSTATS PROVIDE EASIER PERFORMANCE CONTROL
In a forced-air heating system, a powerful fan moves air over a heat source. This is a more direct, and thus faster, means of providing heat in comparison to a radiator system, which requires time to warm up gradually. A single thermostat is used to control the temperature in an easy, efficient, and straightforward manner. You may also elect to install a smart thermostat that can be adjusted with your phone or tablet from virtually any location. Need to turn the heat up or down while you’re vacationing out of state? Just open your app and change the settings.
RADIATORS ARE NOT ENERGY EFFICIENT
The older your radiator, the more likely it is to be an energy hog. The radiator may take time to slowly and inefficiently begin producing heat once it’s turned on. Furthermore, if the settings are vague and can’t be easily calibrated, you’re likely to often produce more heat than you need. This can create an uncomfortably warm living environment for you and other members of your household, even when it is freezing outside.
RADIATORS CAN LEAK FILTHY WATER INTO YOUR HOME
Radiator leaks are common. They’re also messy, and sometimes can be quite upsetting—like any malfunction from one of your major home appliances. Fixing radiator leaks isn’t always easy. The leak may be coming from the radiator body due to corrosion—meaning that a total body replacement is required. If you’re lucky, the leak is coming from a valve. That’s an easier fix, but still requires some tool work, and possibly even the help of a professional. Conversely, maintenance issues with modern central heating systems are typically easier to diagnose. In many cases, it boils down to either a blockage, a crack in the ductwork, or a problem with the heating system itself. With the assistance of a professional HVAC technician, many of these can be easily corrected.
HOW TO REPLACE A RADIATOR WITH CENTRAL HEAT: THE PROCESS
What’s it take to make the leap from radiators to central heating? It’s a few days’ work, but when it’s done you’ll have a more modern, attractive, efficient, and reliable source of heat. When you hire an HVAC team to upgrade your heat system, here are the steps that they’ll follow.
DISCONNECTING AND DISPOSING OF YOUR OLD RADIATOR
The first step is to disconnect the radiator from the heating system. Your HVAC contractor will remove obsolete pipes, seal off the old opening in the wall or floor, and dispose of the radiator for you. This will set the stage for installing the central heating system throughout your home.
INSTALLING A NEW FURNACE FOR CENTRAL HEATING
Next up is the installation of your new central heating furnace. This task typically takes between four and eight hours to complete. The technician will install the heating system, ductwork, and thermostat in the most efficient locations throughout the home to ensure ideal indoor air quality and ease of access.
Your contractors will install ductwork throughout the house. These ducts will transport the forced air once your new system is up and running. This is the most time-intensive stage of your heat system replacement, usually taking three to five days.
TESTING THE NEW AIRFLOW SYSTEM
Once your new heat system is installed, the contractor will perform a system test to ensure that all components are working properly. During this time, you should also ask them to teach you how to control your new thermostat so that you can adjust it with greater ease.
KEEPING YOUR NEW HEATING SYSTEM IN PEAK CONDITION
While central heating systems do provide a superior experience compared to radiators, they still do have a lifespan, usually 10-15 years. To ensure your new investment lasts as long as possible, it is important to schedule maintenance with a professional HVAC team. Generally, you should schedule maintenance before turning on your heating system for the cold months. This will give a professional enough time to address any issues in advance. You may also want to make an appointment after you turn it off for the season.
Other signs that you may need to schedule future maintenance can include but are by no means limited to:
- Unusual odors coming from the vents
- The air in the house feels cooler than usual
- The heating system is noisy
- Your utility bills are rising despite not changing your thermostat settings
- Your thermostat is not changing the temperature of the air coming through your vents
CENTRAL HEAT INSTALLATION IN IDAHO
No matter what your current heating situation looks like, Advanced Heating & Cooling can provide whatever installation, repair, and maintenance you need. We serve Idaho homeowners in Boise, Meridian, Nampa, Caldwell, and the surrounding areas. We’ll make sure your heating system doesn’t let you down this winter. Reach out to us anytime with your HVAC questions and we’ll be happy to help.