Home Buying in 07666>Question Details

Mekaney, Home Buyer in Hackensack, NJ

What are the approximate cost of converting radiator/steam heating system to central air systems?

Asked by Mekaney, Hackensack, NJ Sun Sep 22, 2013

Hi All,
I am a potential first time home buyer and I have been looking at Town houses/Condo's and even single family homes in the Bergen County area (Hasbrk Hgts, Maywood, Rochelle Park, Teaneck areas) as going further North like Paramus gets more expensive. I am appalled to see that a lot of the nice homes that I was excited about still have those ugly looking radiators. For me this is a real problem as I have always disliked the way they looked and I had those in 2 apartments and it was very difficult to put leather furniture close to them which limited my space and I am noticing the same thing with the houses. It is for this reason why I am also looking at condo's and town houses as most of them have central air which to me is just way more modern and makes the living spaces look nicer.

My question to you all is, if I find a home with these ugly radiators that I really like. can they be removed & replaced with central air?Also what are the approximate costs?Thanks for your help!

Help the community by answering this question:


This can be pretty costly. The radiators and pipes have to be removed, holes repaired in floors as well as damage to walls. New duct work will need to be installed, which is quite a process when retrofitting a home and can often be tough to hide. You will need to switch over from a boiler to a hot air furnace. An average sized home could run $10,000-$20,000. While switching over to a hot air system it is not much more costly to incorporate central air conditioning as well, maybe two or three thousand additional. That is something most people would do while changing to a hot air system from a steam system.
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 9, 2015
Question asked" Sun Sep 22, 2013 a little late to the party, eh?
Flag Tue Jan 13, 2015
I would say that it is certainly an option for you to replace the radiators with central air. I think that another issue with having the radiators for heat is that they aren't nearly as effective. I would suggest that you look around for a good heating service, and they should be able to give you a good quote. It will depend on the heating service you find, but they should all generally be the same price. It will also depend on how big your home is for the price. http://alwaysreadyrepair.com/
1 vote Thank Flag Link Fri Jan 9, 2015
The costs of installing a central air system depend quite a bit on the size of your home and they way it's built. Some houses are built to be a little more conducive to central air systems. In any case, the cost for materials will be about the same with every contractor. You might be able to save some money if you find a contractor with lower labor costs. I would definitely recommend converting to a central air system though. My wife and I had one installed in our house a few years ago and we're happy with it. http://coleac.com/hvac.htm
0 votes Thank Flag Link Tue Jan 13, 2015
I think you should definitely look into installing central heating. You're right about it clearing up living spaces and they're usually more efficient. The cost will depend mostly on how the house is built and how old it is. Some home designs are more conducive to installing central heating systems. Since the house wasn't originally designed for central heating, you should probably get a contractor to look at it to see how feasible it is to install the heating. That's where I would start if I were you. http://www.climecresidential.com
0 votes Thank Flag Link Wed Dec 3, 2014
The cost depends on the size of the property. If you can do some of the work yourself as well it will reduce the amount you need to pay for the new central air system. If your on a tight budget I would see if you can remove the old system once you have a price quote for the new system. http://www.unitedheating.com/residential-hvac-service/
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Nov 20, 2014
The best way to find out an approximate cost on any home you are interested in is to contact a licensed Heating/ Air Conditioning Contractor and get an accurate estimate. It will depend on the size of the house and number of rooms.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Mon Oct 7, 2013
Getting someone who would be preforming the job is the best way to know the approximate cost. It is dependent on the size of the house and the system that is already in place. Getting rid of the old system might be an extra charge depending on how they do it.
Flag Thu Oct 23, 2014
The truth is that no one can give you an approximate cost for this. The reason is because you cannot know the cost of the labor to install the new system and to remove the old system without looking at the home in question. If anyone were to give you a guess, I would tell you that you can't depend on that at all. Here's why -

There's the cost to remove the old system. You could, I believe, cap off the old steam pipes and remove the radiators and furnace. One would think that is possible but now you have to install the new system and that can be very involved because you need to install a duct system that will work for both hot air heat and central air. That means you'll have to go through walls and there is no way to be able to estimate how much that will cost because you may have to do some repair work too.

Also, there's electrical to consider. Today's building codes demand more than what might be present in the home because codes may have been non-existent or quite different when the original system was installed.

Cost is also affected by the type of system you are removing - is it gas or oil? Are the radiators steam or hot water? If you change the fuel source, do you need a new chimney lining?

My advice is for you to discuss this with a contractor so you can get a better idea of what is truly involved in such an undertaking. I'm sure it can be done but only having the right professional contractor come to a house can you correctly assess the cost which would be, I would think, in excess of $10,000 for the average size home.
0 votes Thank Flag Link Thu Sep 26, 2013
So it's definitely not worth the renovation. If you really want a specific heating heating system, I'd recommend looking at homes that don't currently have anything installed. It depends on a lot of factors, but it can be easier to have something installed from scratch rather than trying to change an existing system. | http://www.pellcityheatingandcooling.com/services
Flag Fri Feb 13, 2015
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