Before purchasing a steam baseboard heating system, it's worth considering whether the disadvantages of slow heating, the need for separate ductwork for the air conditioner and an inability to put furniture against walls with heaters are worth it. Steam baseboard systems do offer a number of advantages to compensate.
Steam baseboard heating works similarly to radiant heating, using a boiler to heat water that goes to heat rooms through a blend of convection and radiation. The hot water is piped to a series of baseboard units that feature fin-shaped tubes. The purpose of the fins is to augment the surface area through which heat enters the room, increasing the overall efficiency of the unit.
The advantages of a steam baseboard system include relative energy efficiency, quiet operation and temperature control that is easy to access. However, placing furniture or drapes in front of the wall units hinders their operation (and can damage the fabric). Also, it takes longer for the temperature to go up with this sort of system. Finally, a steam baseboard system requires the expense of a separate system for an air conditioner to circulate cool air. Analyzing the square footage of each room and the feasibility of separate ductwork systems is just part of making this choice.