Cast Iron Baseboard Heaters – Everything You Need To Know

Heat is a type of energy we cannot live without. From the time of the first human on this earth, we had to find a source of heat to keep ourselves alive. Those days the sun was the primary source of heat, then we invented fire and now we are in an era where we can generate heat out of unthinkable sources.

One of these amazing technologies is a cast iron baseboard heater. It came into existence in the 1850s. A man named Franz San Galli first invented a heater that ran on steam and was made of hollow, cast-iron containers to distribute the steam throughout the area. The first cast iron heater.

These heaters are installed on the floor or in the lowest place possible at a house so the heat distribution is uniform throughout the whole house. That’s why they are called baseboard heaters. And this is our discussion on cast iron baseboard heaters – everything you need to know about them.

Cast iron baseboard heaters

What are the advantages of cast iron baseboard heaters?

The cast iron baseboard heaters have some great advantages. Let’s see the main benefits.


Cast iron baseboard radiators, once they reach their maximum heating temperature, can retain the heat for a much longer time than any other type of heater. You can even switch it off and still get heat for a long period of time. That saves up to 10-15% fuel cost and 20-30% fuel used to make hot water.

Energy efficient

Well, if the cast iron baseboard heaters can hold heat for much longer, that saves fuel. And saving fuel means decreasing the overall energy consumption which is great.


A great advantage of these types of heaters is they are safer than other types of heaters. They are a lot less prone to fire hazards than other heaters like space heaters.

Low maintenance

Cast iron heaters need very low maintenance. Because they don’t require fuel replacement like some other types. They are sturdy, heavy, solid, and reliable. So, they don’t need to be replaced that easily also.

Quietest heater

Cast iron heaters are one of the quietest types of heaters. They make almost no noise. On the other hand, some heaters are very loud which sometimes becomes very irritating.

Even heat distribution

This is a really good side of this type of heater. Because of their heavy metal build, they distribute the heat evenly to all the places. So, no place or corner of the house is deprived of heat. 

Elegant design

A cast iron baseboard heater is elegant and stylish to look at. Generally, baseboard heaters are not the most beautiful type of heaters but cast-iron baseboard heaters with their vintage look, are fine.

Supplementary heating element

Like other baseboard heaters, cast-iron baseboard heaters can be used as a supplementary heating element. When a central heating system of an old house has become outdated, replacing the whole system with a new one is quite a hassle. Instead, install a supplementary cast-iron baseboard heater.

Great sensitivity

Cast iron heaters are very sensitive to input. They respond even in very low temperatures compared to others. This makes the condensing boiler run at very a low firing rate. It keeps the electricity bill low too.

Great input to output ratio

Cast-iron heaters show a staggering efficiency of up to 95%. They run on input temperature from 140 to 150 degrees. And their return temperature is between 120-130 degrees. 

Best applications of cast iron baseboard heaters

Due to so many benefits, cast iron baseboard heaters have so many applications. Here are a few.

Supplementary to the central heating system

cast-iron baseboard heaters can be used as a supplementary heating element. When a central heating system of an old house has become outdated. Then instead of replacing the whole system, you can install a cast iron baseboard heater to run along with it.

For upper-level bedrooms

Cast iron baseboard heaters are the best option for upper-level bedrooms that are not occupied the whole day. With an individual control system in each room, the rooms can be left cold when not used or the temperature can be set back at night time for a cooler sleeping experience.

For vintage-looking houses

Cast-iron baseboard heaters have been around for quite a long time. With their heavy metal build and stylish and elegant look, they go very well with houses with vintage looks. 

Are old cast iron baseboard heaters better than new ones?

New cast iron baseboard heaters are not more efficient than the older ones. Regardless of how old a baseboard heater is, replacing it with a newer one is not going to save you any energy. So, if newer ones are not better efficient than the older ones then keeping the older ones is better.

Can you mix a cast iron radiator with a baseboard?

It’s better not to mix a cast iron radiator with a baseboard in the same system. Different types of radiators at the same place will heat and cool at different rates. The cast iron radiator takes more time to heat up and cool down while the other one does it very quickly. So, the thermostat will not perform efficiently.

What is the lifespan of cast iron baseboard heaters?

Usually, their lifespan is 10 years for many manufacturing companies. Some brands make better and longer-lasting cast iron baseboard heaters. With their heaters, it can last up to 20 years. 

Can I replace the cast iron radiator with a baseboard heater?  

The answer is yes. You can do that. First, calculate the number of feet of baseboard you will need. And then you can simply install a baseboard heater replacing the cast iron radiator. It will give you practically the same heating experience.

How much does it cost to change a radiator to baseboard heat?

Baseboard radiator is one of the most cost-efficient ways of heating. Changing and installing a radiator to the baseboard will usually cost you from 400$ to 1100$. A baseboard itself costs only 65-200$.


How often should baseboard heaters be replaced?

Not so often! The average lifespan for a baseboard heater is between 15-25 years. The lifespan varies depending on various factors like quality, thermostat setting, outdoor temperature. 

Why are baseboard heaters placed under Windows?

That’s done to ensure the most natural convection. Dense cool air tends to fall on the floor entering from the window and the heated air by the heater wants to go up. The denser cool air pushes the hot air back to a lower height. This way the room is better heated.

Are modern baseboard heaters more efficient?

No way they are. The baseboard heaters convert 100% of the electricity to heat. Modern baseboard heaters can’t go beyond that. So, they are as efficient as the older ones in theory.

Do baseboard heaters use a lot of electricity?

Relying on electric baseboard heaters will definitely cost you more electricity. They can consume up to 5o% of the total electricity usage, especially in winter.


We have discussed all the aspects of cast iron baseboard heaters – everything you need to know. The advantages of using a cast iron baseboard heater over other heaters were discussed in great detail. Hope that helps you make your choice on heaters.

Like all other heaters, cast iron baseboard heaters have some problems but their pros surpass their cons. These heaters are elegant to look at and need very low maintenance. They show an amazing amount of efficiency up to 95%! At the same time, cast iron heaters are energy and cost-efficient.

Now that you have all the information on cast iron baseboard heaters, you can make a decision about buying one. Of course, only if all the qualifications of a cast iron baseboard heater satisfy you. But in a nutshell, they are quite a great investment. 

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