Converting Steam Heat To Baseboard [3 Easy Steps]

Converting steam heat to baseboard requires following a few simple steps. The converting steps are, calculating the building’s heat loss and load correctly, the existing radiator’s modification, and efficiency factors recommendations.

If you want a more energy-efficient solution for your home, you should convert your steam heat system to a baseboard radiators system.

However, in this guide, we will tell you why you should convert from steam heat to baseboard, how to convert, and its pros and cons. So, let’s read…

Converting Steam Heat To Baseboard [3 Easy Steps]

Usually, the steam heating system becomes oversized as it meets the energy efficiency standard. Thus calculating the heating load ideally is essential in switching from stream to baseboard.

However, for converting the steam heat radiator to the baseboard, you need to follow the simple steps below:

1. Calculate The Heat Loss And Heat Load Precisely

For sizing the boiler correctly, you should know the heat load and heat loss amount of your building. Actually, boiler sizing is the determining process of how much heat is required.

By knowing this information, you will select the perfect-sized boiler that will consistently generate heat in an adequate amount.

If your HVAC professional knows your building’s heat loss amount, he would determine and suggest the best radiator to compensate for the heat loss.

Thus, the professional can help you decide on the perfect model and size of the boiler.

Note: You can also read things to consider while getting a baseboard heater humidifier.

2. Existing Radiator’s Modifications

Usually, the existing radiator’s some modifications are required to convert the steam to the baseboard system. The modification factors are:

  • Drill out the upper vent plug and chase the threads.
  • Remove and replace the steam trap using a union elbow.
  • Alternatively, allow the water’s free flow by removing the steam trap’s interior.
  • Now, replace the radiator valve.

Note: Perform all these modifications with the help of your locally trusted professional HVAC service provider.

3. Efficiency Factors Recommendation

Compared to the old steam counterparts, the new associated equipment, and boiler should be much more efficient. For ensuring the efficiency factors, do the following:

  • With an ECM (Electrically Commutated Motor), use the circulator. You should use ECM because it consumes 90 percent less power than the induction motor circulator. Thus using this motor can significantly save your energy bills by reducing power consumption.
  • Modulating condensing boiler’s use ensures better performance and increased efficiency. Thus use the condensing boiler, and it will compensate for the outdoor temperatures by adjusting the firing rate.

Why You Should Convert Steam Heat To Baseboard?

If you have an old steam heat boiler with a two-pipe system, you should convert and replace all the radiators and piping with baseboards.

Converting a steam boiler to a baseboard boiler is not new or complicated at all. The baseboard radiator system will perform more effectively.

However, you should convert steam heat to a baseboard for the following reasons:

  • Converting the steam heat boiler into a baseboard radiator offers 94% plus energy-efficient performance.
  • Steam can’t ensure energy-efficient heating. It is only reasonable to use for production.
  • The baseboard system is the clear and perfect winner over the steam in terms of convenience, upfront cost, and efficiency.
  • Significantly the baseboard radiator system reduces fuel consumption.
  • The steam heat boiler’s performance dropped largely compared to the baseboard. It’s alarming, and it predominantly affects the standard PVC venting.
  • In the steam heating system, the units may heat randomly. Some units may heat 90 degrees plus, while some may produce no heat or not enough heat. Thus you should convert the steam to baseboard because of this inefficient heating system.
  • With precision, the user can control the water flow and temperature in the baseboard water system, which is impossible in a steam system.

Things To Consider While Converting Steam Heating System To Baseboard

  1. If you convert the steam heating system to the baseboard using the same boiler, you will have an under-sized radiator and an oversized boiler. The boiler and radiator’s size mismanagement would more likely lead to a short cycle. Thus you should be careful about it.
  2. If you aim to achieve greater comfort and efficiency through conversion, you should definitely ensure the system’s balance.
  3. But if you have a different motto in substituting the baseboards by removing the system’s radiator, you should obviously use an additional or another hot water boiler.
  4. While using a different hot water boiler, ensure that it is correctly sized for the house’s heat-loss
  5. If you convert the steam to the baseboard using the oversized boiler, make sure your burner is downsized.
  6. The converting process is not only about the steam heat system or baseboard, but you may need to replace almost everything. Thus the converting and replacement process could be expensive.
  7. The conversion requires an adequately sized baseboard.

Pros and Cons of Converting Steam Boiler To Baseboard Boiler

The steam heat to baseboard conversion includes the following pros and cons:


  • The upfront installation cost is low
  • Having the particular thermostat in each unit will enable you to control the heat
  • Energy-efficient and works effectively
  • Reduce floor damage and the plumbing cost
  • Avoid leaking valves frequently by preventing the too-cold or hot issue
  • Baseboard required little maintenance compared to the steam
  • Easy to control the heat, and response time is faster
  • Reduce energy expenses and ensure energy consumption at an optimal level


  • The baseboard heat system’s running cost is approximately two times more expensive compared to the steam heating system


How much does it cost to replace the steam radiator with the baseboard?

The average replacement cost of the steam radiator with baseboard is $400 to $1,070. Therefore, the baseboard radiator is much more affordable and less expensive than the steam radiator. Moreover, the baseboard is more energy efficient.

What is baseboard radiant heat?

The baseboard heater unit contains the liquid, and the hydronic baseboard warms that liquid to produce heat. Usually, the unit comprises oil or water-type non-toxic liquid. The baseboard radiant warms your home by warming these liquids.

Is electric radiant heat the same as baseboard?

Compared to the baseboard heating system, in every way, the electric radiant heat is superior, especially in terms of the long-term benefits. Moreover, the radiant heat’s easy operating and economic features make it better than others.

Do baseboard heaters use more electricity than space heaters?

Compared to space heaters, baseboard heaters are more electricity and power-efficient in the long term. But the baseboard heat is more expensive also than the space heaters.

How can I make baseboard heat more efficient?

For making baseboard heat more efficient, keep it clean, lesson window drafts, ensure enough air flowing, use programmable thermostats, heat by zone, and adjust the thermostat.


Hopefully, the above guide was quite helpful for you, and now you know the way of converting steam heat to the baseboard. Also, you know why you should transform the steam system to the baseboard, including its pros and cons.

Thus, if you want an energy-efficient solution, you can convert your home’s heating system.

However, when you have any other queries on the steam to baseboard conversion system, comment on them. We will come to you with the possible solutions ASAP.

About William

William is the founder of He has real life practical skills in fixing smoker & heating appliance issues. He loves to share his knowledge & helps others in fixing their appliances & saving their money. William firmly believes that anyone can repair his or her unit with the correct guidance & knowledge. See more at about us.

2 thoughts on “Converting Steam Heat To Baseboard [3 Easy Steps]”

  1. Two 4 unit condo buildings are heated by two steam boilers and radiators. The cost of fuel and inability to regulate temperatures in the units is a big concern. What options do we have, including installation of separate systems per unit?

    • Hi Robert

      You can upgrade your building’s heating system from steam to hot water.

      To do this you have two following options-
      1. Adapting the existing heating system installation to use hot water.
      2. Completely replace the heating system.

      Both options are cost-effective. In addition, no. 2 is more expensive.

      Well, before taking any decision, it would be worth contacting the manufacturer’s customer support center or hiring a certified technician.

      Have a great day!


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