2 Steam Radiator Alternatives and Which To Pick?

Just when you are considering changing your steam radiator, so many choices come rushing in front. We know what a dilemma it is. 

So do you want to know the proper steam radiator alternatives?

The best steam radiator alternatives are hot water radiators and central heating radiators. If you want higher heat then a hot water radiator is the one for you. Although, central heating radiators heat up your room quicker and are more energy efficient. Also, they are cheaper.

Keeping the nitty gritty in mind, let’s dig into the depth of this alternatives-

2 Steam Radiator Alternatives: Head to Head!

Two of the best steam radiator alternatives are hot water radiators and central heating radiators.

Here is a head-to-head comparison of steam radiators and two of it’s counterparts-

FactorsSteam RadiatorHot Water RadiatorCentral Heating Radiator
Heat Output444.2°F356°F2300 W
Heating Time30 – 40 minutes60 – 80 minutes60 minutes
Energy efficiency Less efficientMore than steam radiatorAbout 92% efficient
Cost280$ – 320$150$ – 250$100$ – 150$
ProductCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on AmazonCheck Price on Amazon

From all these, we are sure you have the gist of the matter. But still, details are necessary. As many factors depend on one’s personal choice, the right answer might be different for you.

Central Heating Radiator
Source: The Radiator Company

Steam Radiator Alternatives: How to Choose?

For selecting the right alternative to steam radiators, we summed up for criteria to consider-

Heat Output:

While getting a radiator, the first thing you should consider is the highest heat output. The right knowledge will help you decide whether you can add central air with radiator heat.

So, what is the highest temperature steam radiator can produce?

The answer would be 229 C.

Surprisingly enough, this is a temperature most radiators fail to produce. Like the hot water radiator and central heating radiator. 

Now, what is the highest temperature hot water radiator can produce?

That would be 180 C. This is much less than the steam radiator. In terms of the highest temperature, the central heating radiators also lack steam radiators. 

Also, while all radiators’ heat is based on BTU output, it’s especially true for central heating. So, what is the heat output for central heating radiators? On average, it would be somewhere between 2000 – 2500 BTU. 

How to Decide Heat Output Required From The Radiator?

As per the comparison of heat output above, you should learn the heat requirements of your room or house first.

To determine how much BTU I need for my room, these are the steps-

You have to calculate the measurements of your room first.

First calculate the length, width, and height of your room. Using these calculate the volume by multiplying them. 

Now multiply the volume by 4 and that is the BTU requirement for your room. 

BTU requirement= (length* width* height)*4

If you do the calculations then you’ll see that the central heating radiator provides enough BTU. 

Although for larger rooms and houses there are also radiators with over 8000 BTU. 

Heating Time:

The second thing to consider is how long it takes for radiators to heat up. You would like it to kick in without any delay.

Here also, the steam radiator outweighs the others. 

So, how long does it take for steam radiators to heat up? The steam radiator needs more or less 8 – 13 minutes to heat up properly. Also, to acquire the proper pressure.

The rest of the time needed is purely the time it takes for the heat to radiate. In total, that would be about 40 minutes. 

On the other hand, hot water radiators take about 60 – 80 minutes. Although the gas tankless water heaters take less than 30 minutes. 

A tankless gas heater heats water instantly. The warm water has to travel through the pipes into the component. But it should only take a few seconds.

And, warm water will be provided quickly by an electric tankless heating unit. But due to the strength of gas heat, they may take longer than gas systems. 

Now comes the central heating radiators. The heating time for central heating radiators is about an hour or so. Within this time the radiator can raise the temperature from 16 degrees to 21 degrees. 

Unless you are too concerned about the time, both of these alternatives are good options. That is if you want to change your steam radiator.

hot water radiators
Source: PNGWing

Energy Efficiency and Cost:

Despite its’ benefits, is steam radiator energy efficient? 

The short answer would be NO. It takes longer to boil the water and distribute the steam. Thus, steam radiators are thought to be less energy-efficient than water heaters.

It is true for both one pipe systems and two pipe systems. Also, the central heating radiator is much more efficient in delivering heat in an energy-efficient way.

In the case of hot water heaters, pumps circulate the water through the system. This allows it to do so at a steady rate. Which in turn, reduces energy consumption greatly. 

The central heating radiators also offer good efficiency. Brand new models can be as efficient as 92%. 

So, if you want to cut down your electricity bills and help the environment, go ahead. Both of these alternatives will help in cutting down energy consumption compared to steam radiators. 

Among central heating radiators and hot water radiators, central heating ones are more energy efficient. Central heating radiators cost less in your pocket as well. You can manage a good one within 100$ – 150$. Whereas you’ll have to spend much more on the steam radiators. 

Here are some suggestions for the best central heating radiators:

  1. For the best efficiency check out AC Infinity AIRTAP T4 radiator(check price on Amazon).
  2. As an alternatively consider Frost King HD5 Heat and Air Deflector(check price).
  3. For quick installation, go for EZ-FLO, White Two-Way Sidewall/Ceiling Register(check price on Amazon).

What to Choose?

Summing up, If you have to change your steam radiator, either hot water or central heating will suffice. But the question is which of these two are for whom?

If you want one with a better heat output then go for the hot water radiators. If you prefer one that is lighter on your pocket then choose central heating. It will also take lesser time to heat your room on average.

Steam Radiator
Source: Only Radiators

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How long should a steam boiler run?

If installed properly, you can expect it to run for more than 20 years or so. These are made in a way that you can just install and forget about them. Although neglecting them would result in bad maintenance. This, in turn, might result in unexpected malfunctions and casualties.

What is the process of heat flow in radiators?

In a radiator, heat transfer occurs by some simple mechanisms. First comes thermal radiation which is electromagnetic radiation emitted from the heat of the material. Then there is convection into liquid or flowing air. A radiator might even transfer heat by the process called phase change. 

How to increase radiator efficiency?

Always be sure to keep your radiator clean. Be sure to use reflectors to transfer the heat properly. You can use additives to further keep the liquids warm and also warm them up quickly. Lastly, be sure to always check if there are any cold stops. But in this process, be sure to not get your hands burned. 

Bottom Line!

Were we able to answer all your queries about steam radiator alternatives?

Here’s some extra tip for you. In hot water radiators, be sure to bleed to remove the trapped air bubbles. 

If there’s anything else on your mind, be sure to comment down below. Now we’d like to hear your opinion.

Until next time!

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