7 Tips to Finding the Perfect Vintage Radiator

Shannon Lee

Do you long for that classic sound of a radiator ticking away in the corner of your living room? Do you have a space underneath that wide windowsill that would be perfect for a vintage radiator? Before you hit the salvage yard, take a moment to consider your options.

Tips for Choosing the Best Vintage Radiator

When purchasing a radiator for your old home, there is much more than aesthetic appeal to consider. Walk through your house with the following list and think through your decision before you head for the antique stores.

  1. What kind of radiator do you need? There are two types: Single-pipe and double-pipe. The single-pipe radiators work with steam, while the double-pipe radiators work with steam or hot water. Double-pipe is the most sought-after type of vintage radiator.
  2. How big should it be? The dimensions of the space you have, combined with the amount of heat necessary, determine the size of vintage radiator you need. Two smaller units might heat better than one large one, depending on the layout of the room.
  3. Does it match? A vintage radiator that fits in with the architecture of your home can impart just the right amount of charm. Look for radiators with detailing that fits your decor.
  4. Is the original radiator the best? Vintage radiators often had to battle the cold in a home where insulation was non-existent. If your home has had an insulation upgrade, the original size vintage radiator might offer far too much heat.
  5. Is it rusty? Cast iron can begin to rust after only a day without primer. If you come across the perfect vintage radiator but it is covered in rust, inspect it carefully. Some rusty radiators can be resurrected, but others might have rusted through, which could lead to serious leaks.
  6. Is it painted? Many vintage radiators are covered in layers of paint, and much of that paint could contain lead. If you purchase a painted radiator, take the proper precautions to remove lead paint from the surface before you install it in your home.
  7. Does it leak? A cracked radiator can be difficult to repair. If you plan to use the radiator only for decoration in your home, a leak won't matter--but if you intend to use it during the winter, don't buy a vintage radiator without a "pressure test" guarantee.

Vintage Look and Classic Warmth

Radiators have been used to heat homes effectively for generations. A good working vintage radiator can keep your home warm while offering a classic, understated beauty that no other heating unit can match.

Amy R. Hughes • Take a Good Look at Vintage Radiators • http://www.thisoldhouse.comhttp://www.thisoldhouse.com/toh/article/0,,1171946,00.html

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