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Feb 8, 2022 4:56:08 PM by Lauren Mangano

Ductless Mini-Splits: A Safe Alternative to Cast-Iron Radiators

Cast-iron, steam radiators are not common in newly built homes but are still present in many older homes and apartment buildings. While they can be a great source of heat, the steam and the scalding hot cast-iron also present the risk of serious injuries and even death. A ductless mini-split system, on the other hand, is a safe alternative that can be installed in any home.

Dangers of cast iron radiators

The Dangers of Cast-Iron Radiators

In the past decade alone, 10,000 people were hospitalized across the country as a result of radiator burns. One case was noted by New Jersey Chief Justice where, in 1975, a six-month-old twin in Trenton died after rolling off a bed and getting burned by a radiator.
More recently, in March 2010, a nine-month-old boy rolled off his sister's bed and was lodged between the bed and a cast-iron, steam radiator. The parents sued the landlord of their apartment located in Jersey City, New Jersey after their son received third-degree burns that left him with permanent scars. A little less than a year later, a majority of the New Jersey Supreme Court ruled that landlords have no obligation to cover/insulate radiators in apartments.
Why would landlords not be responsible for a simple solution to a dangerous problem? Well, the Department of Community Affairs regulation governing heating systems in buildings did not apply to the radiators in the rooms of that building. This is interesting because the regulation calling for insulation of the hot components to prevent burns includes only the heating risers, ducts, and hot-water lines, but not the radiators themselves. This is because if you insulate the radiators, you won't get heat. But what about radiator covers? Radiator covers provide a simple solution that's grossly underused. 

An Alternative to Dangerous Radiators

So how can we as tenants, landlords, and homeowners make sure we are safely heating our apartments and homes? The solution could be to go ductless. Steam radiators work by boiling water to create steam which travels up a set of pipes into the radiator which, in turn, heats up the room via radiation and convection. Similarly, ductless mini-splits work to heat (or cool) the room/space they are in, but with electric power. The important difference, however, lies in how they are set up. Ductless air handlers are encased and hung high on walls, out of reach of small, unknowing children. Even the units that are mounted low on walls are safe as they do not get dangerously hot to the touch. There is no steam either; just thermal energy transferred from the air outside.

Ductless mini-split systems

You may be thinking that it would be tough to completely replace your steam boiler system with ductless mini-splits. Fortunately, ductless heat pump systems are extremely versatile and require the least intrusive installations. They can be used to heat your entire home in the dead of winter and can save you money over time, too. Click below to read about common ductless misconceptions.

7 Ductless Heat Pump Myths: Debunked

Furthermore, each air handler is controlled separately. So certain rooms can be adjusted based off preference and heating needs. Even if your home is a century old, ductless systems can be retrofitted in. While they may have a higher upfront cost than steam boilers, the safety of you and your family is obviously priceless.
To learn more about mini-split systems, visit our ductless blog page here. You can also schedule a consultation to learn more and find out how ductless could fit in your home. It's time to stop living with dangerous, cast-iron radiators and enjoy safe, efficient, personalized heating for your home.Schedule Your Free Ductless Consultation

If you live in the Delaware Valley/Greater Philadelphia area and would like to find comfort within your home, visit our website or give us a call at 215 - 245 - 3200 to learn more.


This entry was posted in Heating, Heater Safety, Safety, Radiators, Ductless

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