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Maine1 12-17-2012 05:54 PM

Hydronic baseboard mounted to concrete wall
I have a walkout basement in a split level ranch. I am re-doing a bedroom that is downstairs. One of the bedroom walls is a half concrete wall as it is about 2 ft below grade ( the wall is about 40 inches or so).I want to insulate this wall using XPS and apply furring strips over that and than drywall. It was previously finished with furring strips and drywall with no insulation.

I stripped it to the bare wall and realized that the baseboard heater (hydronic) that is on this wall is mounted right to the concrete wall. They had just cut the drywall around it!

Im sorry for not posting any pics, I will try to tomorrow. There is no power at the house yet but should be on in the morning and it got to dark to take any good pics.

I would assume I should just move the heater out and attach it to the finished wall after but it looks like the plumbing for this heater comes right out of the floor!:eek: Right at the base of the wall maybe about an inch away from the wall. It is a concrete floor.

How bad would it be to just do what they did and build around it? I would hate to do this because I couldnt get any xps behind it. I realize I am just heating the wall and the dirt behind it so this is obviously not the best way to go.

Other than building around it, the only other thing would be to have the plumbing moved, but this seems like a big expense and a big job..

Any other options??

Maine1 12-17-2012 07:16 PM

Again, Im sorry for not having pictures to better explain my question. I was thinking maybe I can attach a 90 deg off of the pipe that come up out of the floor pointing out away from the wall. (would have to do this on both ends of the heater) and bring it out an inch or so, just enough to bring it outside of the drywall once its installed. than put another 90 pointing up to attach to the heater on both ends.

Not sure if this should be in the plumbing forum instead.... I am comfortable cutting and soldering copper pipes but have never opened up a forced hot water heating system. I just worry about bleeding it afterwards. I need to replace the expansion tank at the furnace anyway, so I could do it at the same time.

Any thoughts?

TheEplumber 12-17-2012 08:02 PM

199 Attachment(s)
I think you need to move it out. Might be a challenge. Please try to get a picture up.

Maine1 12-18-2012 02:04 PM

4 Attachment(s)
Heres some pics

Maine1 12-18-2012 03:10 PM

Im also wondering id just the one radiator on the striped wall is enough for that room. Its a small bedroom. Maybe 8x15 lr so.

Missouri Bound 12-18-2012 04:30 PM

A couple of reasons you should move it out. 1. You can then fur out the wall and insulate and finish properly. 2. When it's out from the wall it gives you the opportunity to connect to the existing lines in case you need to add another unit for additional heat.:yes:

Maine1 12-19-2012 09:42 AM

Ok, just thinking about this.... Would it be possible to cut the pipe as close to the floor as I can to fit a sharkbite 90 and build it out that way?

I was also thinking about chiseling out some of the floor and putting a 90 below the surface and cementing back in. If its to tight o solder, could I use the sharkbite and seal that in the cement?

Missouri Bound 12-19-2012 10:02 AM

In my opinion I would not use sharkbites in cases where heat and thermal expansion are a constant condition. Stick to conventional soldering for the copper fittings. And as far a cutting the tubing, allow yourself enough room to work.

tylernt 12-19-2012 01:58 PM


Originally Posted by Maine1 (Post 1075433)
Im also wondering id just the one radiator on the striped wall is enough for that room. Its a small bedroom. Maybe 8x15 lr so.

Hard to say unless you've lived in the room for a while... how much heat the baseboard puts out depends on how well the heating system is balanced and how energy efficient the windows are.

As for the baseboard... if you like this house and plan to stay a long time, I like the idea of soldering new elbows pointing away from the wall.

But if this were my house and I knew I was going to be moving in a couple years, I probably wouldn't go to that much effort. I might pull the metal shroud off though, and use a stack of washers to space the shroud off the concrete wall so they are no longer in intimate thermal contact. This will reduce, though not eliminate, the heat loss.

Maine1 12-19-2012 02:24 PM

Im still torn on this one.... I dont see us staying here more than 5-7 years, but I do want to make this room a comfortable space for my teen daughter.

If I can get some type of material between the metal heater and the concrete I would feel better about it. Maybe some thin foam of some sort. I know it wont be perfect, but it shouldnt cause to much heat loss, it is insulated somewhat being underground.

Still not sure though.... I will get a few copper elbows and really take a look at how it will fit together as far as spacing goes.

Maine1 12-23-2012 08:34 AM

So i busted up the concrete floor around the copper pipes coming out of the floor. I now have enough room to make an "S" bend which would than be covered up by new cement.

I removed the old baseboard heater and now have to solder a tight "S" with 2 90 deg elbows and a bit if straight pipe. I wish they made a preformed copper S pipe.... The only problem is, how do I test my joints before I cement them in? I cant connect the heater until the floor is cemented in.

I have soldered joints before, but with several all so close together, I hope I can get them all sealed up. Is it best to try and solder more than one at a time? Both sides of the elbow for instance?

One other thing? I noticed the old pipes have the black foam insulation on them inside the concrete. Should I wrap the new pipes with something before filling back in? Would have to be insulation tape because of the tight s bends...

Thanks for all the advice!!

Maine1 12-23-2012 08:37 AM

Sorry, I forgot one other question...

Should the new baseboard heater be mounted to the drywall or can I mount it to the furring strips and drywall around it?

The concrete wall will have XPS than furring strips than drywall.

oh'mike 12-23-2012 08:47 AM

Mount the new pan to the finished wall---not the studs

Maine1 12-23-2012 09:37 AM

2 Attachment(s)
Some pics

tylernt 12-23-2012 09:44 AM

I would make the nipple between elbows a wee bit longer so you can get solder in there better. I'd also make up the elbow-nipple-elbow on my workbench beforehand, so I wasn't working on the floor so much.

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