Why are radiators made of cast iron

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Hi,
Why is cast iron a good material for radiators? Why not another metal? Would certainly make them a little lighter and easier to deal with.
Thanks in advance,
Sam
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Cheap, durable.
'nuff said?
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On 3/7/2010 8:30 PM Sam Takoy spake thus:

Aluminum might be better, but wasn't around when cast-iron radiators were first made. Iron is an excellent metal for casting and conducts heat well (and is less expensive than other metals, like copper, that are better conductors).
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In no particular order........ cheap, decent heat transfer characteristics, relatively good corrosion resistance, low tech manufacturing methods
cheers Bob
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They are. Newer homes, with hydronic heat, have copper or copper/aluminum baseboards. Cast iron baseboards have become *expensive* (and a waste of money).
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Sam Takoy wrote:

I would imagine one benefit of a heavy cast iron radiator would be the mass of metal will hold heat and release it over a long period of time. I also think that a copper or aluminum radiator of similar thickness would be prohibitively expensive.
TDD
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snipped-for-privacy@blueballs.com wrote:

Finally, a correct answer.
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Doug Miller wrote:

I guess majoring in physics wasn't useless after all. *snicker*
TDD
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snipped-for-privacy@blueballs.com wrote:

Guess not. But, yes, you hit the nail on the head. The principal advantage of cast iron radiators is that they retain heat very well, which provides a much more even heat than the aluminum fin-tube radiators do.
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Doug Miller wrote:

I've read about the Scandinavian or Finnish style fireplaces that have a huge mass of masonry which does the same darn thing. I've always thought that if I were to ever build a home, I would want such a fireplace. Add a bit of hysteresis to the heating cycle and keep things comfortable.
TDD
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The Daring Dufas wrote:

The only problem is they take a long time before putting out any real heat. Maybe a fire all day until the mass of masonry gets hot. The more mass, the longer it will take. Also the more mass, the more even the heating will be.
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Agreed. I don't like heating systems with a large lag factor. I want instant heat when I want heat, and when things are warm enough, I don't want the system to keep pumping out heat.
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mike wrote:

It's not like I wouldn't have central heat. This winter when Global Warming was falling all over Alabama and we had the coldest winter in many years, that's the sort of time I would use it silly.
TDD
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wrote:

Right. Cast iron isn't worth its hype. Copper/aluminum is the way to go for homes (cast iron is more rugged for commercial use).
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Missing the point, both of you. The "lag factor" isn't an issue when the room stays at a comfortable temperature all the time. It's apparent that you've never lived in a home with a hot-water heating system using cast iron radiators.
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On Tue, 09 Mar 2010 02:27:25 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@milmac.com (Doug Miller) wrote:

I missed nothing, though it's apparent that you can't read. ...and you're wrong.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

It shouldn't be a problem unless you change the thermostat a few times daily. And if you do, set the setting on your electronic thermostat to change the high/low settings an hour ahead, or more or less to suit your conditions.
If your schedule is erratic, yes, stick to light weight copper/aluminum.
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You have to do that anyway, with hydronic heating. However, it still matters if you decide that it's too cold and ask for more heat. For homes, cast iron has no advantages, some disadvantages (some major, some minor), and is more expensive than copper/aluminum. It's got nothing going for it outside of hype.

When we had a hydronic system (we have heat pumps now), we'd set the thermostat to 59F at night, 64F during the mornings and late afternoons, and 62F during the day. If we were cold, simply crank the thermostat a few degrees. The cycle would then restart itself. Eratic, yes. Programmed, sure. Did I ever want cast iron? Hell no.
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snipped-for-privacy@att.bizzzzzzzzzzzz wrote:

OK sure, cast iron is all hype like you say. There is no comfort gained when using a heating system with a lot more mass. Just like there is no comfort gained with hot water baseboard vs hot air. The copper, aluminum, and mostly the hot water left inside convectors doesn't have any more mass then hot air. Yes you are correct, no one likes hot water baseboard more than hot air. Just because it has more mass than hot air doesn't make it any better. You are right.
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No. Mass means nothing. All it does is take longer to warm up.

There is a difference, though not all will agree on which is better.

Water doesn't have more thermal mass than air? Ok, if you say so...

Of course..
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