As part of a big upcoming pre-winter energy improvement and remodeling at Chez McMurphy (sprayfoaming, new windows, etc), we're going to have to remove the 1920s era cast iron radiators. I'd like to replace them with more modern efficient "european style" flat panels. (My first option, sandblasting and refurbishing them turns out to be considerably more expensive.) A couple of questions though....
1) We're only redoing the upstairs. There are radiators on both floors. Can you have a system with the old radiators on one floor and new ones on another? (These are two-pipe hot water on a boiler, not steam.)
2) Any experiences with different types or brands of radiators? There's Runtal
- which are the closest to ones I've seen in Europe. There's Myson
- which seems to be less expensive. Other brands to consider? Best sources? (I'm not planning on doing this myself, but would like to be a lot more knowledgeable about the options, and probably buy the units myself and have them installed rather than a package.) Baseboard vs wall mount? Wall mount vs. towel rack?
3) These radiators have probably not been touched since the house was built; I'm guessing that separating the radiators from pipes isn't going to be easy. Is there anything that I can do to prep for that to make them easier to remove from the pipes? I'm worried that brute force alone will damage the pipes, which will then lead to a whole other complicated set of repairs.
4) Is there anything that can or should be done to improve the efficiency of the system while they're off? Clean out the pipes or something? I imagine that there's a lot of mineral deposits in the pipes which reduces the interior diameter and volume of water passing through.
5) Is there anything creative or do I do with these things - monstrously heavy and unwieldy but kind of cool - when they're out? Garden fences? Table legs? Or just get them to a scrapyard for recycling?
6) Any other related advice or suggestions?