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Old 08-24-2013, 04:57 PM   #1
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


Hi, I have recently converted a single block extension into a dinning. I have fitted a new radiator in the room (no rad in there originally) and routed the flow/return pipes through the attic space. They are 10mm SpeedFit plastic pipes.

I forgot to insulate the pipes!!

Is there an anti freeze I can put into the heating system to stop them freezing? Thanks in advance.
Joe

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Old 08-24-2013, 09:16 PM   #2
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


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Originally Posted by Joe L H View Post
Hi, I have recently converted a single block extension into a dinning. I have fitted a new radiator in the room (no rad in there originally) and routed the flow/return pipes through the attic space. They are 10mm SpeedFit plastic pipes.

I forgot to insulate the pipes!!

Is there an anti freeze I can put into the heating system to stop them freezing? Thanks in advance.
Joe
This is probably more of an hvac question then plumbing. Reccommend you start a new post on the hvac forum as well. Thanks.

While you can put antifreeze/glycol in a system, this must be done by an hvac/plumbing pro that knows the local code in your area regarding this. Glycol is baned in a lot of states. Also your system must be set up for this with backflow preventer, etc., so you do not get cross contamination between bolier and domestic drinking water, etc. My recommendation to you is to contact an hvac/plumber pro for further assistance. Thanks.


Last edited by jmon; 08-25-2013 at 09:29 AM.
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Old 08-24-2013, 10:36 PM   #3
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


Propylene Glycol, is a food safe glycol. And can be used in probably all states.

Remember, if the pipes aren't insulated. You will have trouble heating that room due to the heat loss of the pipes in the attic. Along with the loss due to the glycol, since it is not a good heat transfer medium.

I'd go in the attic, and insulate the pipes.

Never freeze protect heating pipes. just burst protect them. You get better heat transfer that way.
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Old 08-25-2013, 03:08 AM   #4
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


Thanks for the replies.

I can't get access to the pipes now as the ceiling has been plastered.

I have put radiator inhibitor in the system already and automatically assumed that it would not contaminate the drinking water, is that right?
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Old 08-25-2013, 05:59 AM   #5
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


You need to have a back flow preventer in your fresh water feed pipe to the boiler. Or it could mix in with your drinking water under some circumstances.
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Old 08-25-2013, 07:07 AM   #6
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


through my experiences as a contractor (not a licensed plumber), pipes will freeze and could burst open if allowed to freeze. The fun begins when they thaw and the water starts seeping or gushing through the burst.

I've found freezing pipes happen one of several ways. If the pipe is an area where is could be exposed to wind gusts (like near a soffit or gable vent) it's likely to freeze much sooner than even an uninsulated pipe contained in insulation of some sort. Now I'm in NJ and we get cold winters but certainly not as cold as say Alaska or Maine. As long as your conditioned space is always kept heated that water pipe should stay above freezing. It takes a LONG time at a freezing temperature to freeze the pipe but it can happen especially if you're boiler is oil fired, the power goes out and you have no way to run the system. Heck even my nat gas boiler won't fire without ac power because of the safety devices and relays on it....

what was the pipe you used? Your Description sounds more like a pex pipe if I'm not mistaken? Maybe when you consult a plumber with your glycol questions ask him/her about the burst rate on your pipe. Pex being a plastic pipe should actually give a bit (kind of like a balloon). I wanted to use PEX for running compressed air and "everyone" i asked said no except a realistic plumber friend who said that he saw a demo of someone over pressuring the pipe as a demo and it blew up. If there is any failure point my assumption would be the fittings as they're typically metal which could crack/split.

Do a little more research but you ***might*** be ok. Without fully seeing the pipes routing, knowing exactly what the specs are on your pipe, your geographic location, setup of the attic, etc i can't exactly say you're out of the dog house.

It may be beneficial to just pull the ceiling now and fix it so there isn't a problem. Me personally, id just leave it (based on my assumptions as to how it's set up) and stress about it everything there's a cold snap...but that's just me. Ha-ha

Good luck and keep us posted. Any chance you can post some pics?
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Old 08-25-2013, 08:23 AM   #7
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


Propylene glycol or any other product listed specifically for use in hydronic heating systems is the only thing you should use. These materials are made to be safe and to not negatively affect the components in the hydronic system.

With that said, you need to understand that a lot of different negative affects will now be permanently dictating how your system operates.

1) The heat loss from the uninsulated pipes in the attic space. Depending on the length of piping exposed to cold temperatures this could result (in some cases) to a substantial addition to your heating bill.

2) By adding antifreeze to the system 2 things are going to change. The hydronic system as a whole will become less efficient at transferring heat. So, for argument sake, if you had an 80% efficient system before the work you could reduce that efficiency to as little as 65% or less by adding the antifreeze. It all depends on the concentration.

3) The antifreeze does not move as easily as plain water. The circulator(s) will have a harder time maintaining a sufficient water movement through the entire system. Heat delivery in a hydronic system is basically dependent on 2 things. Temperature difference and flow.

4) Some manufacturers of boiler restrict how much (concentration) antifreeze you can have in the system before they will void their warranty. This again has to do with heat transfer and flow.

Consider the potential long term affects and costs of not insulating the pipes before not doing it simply because it would be difficult.
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Old 08-25-2013, 11:34 AM   #8
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


I don't plan on being in the house for more than 2 years so im not too worried about the bills as the price of re-plastering will be more than ill save in oil.

I think I'm going to research some different antifreeze products and leave the pipes uninsulated.

This is the first time iv posted on any forum and its been very helpful. That's the pic. Ha

Anti-freeze in Radiators?-image-628681836.jpg
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:13 PM   #9
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I can see it now. In a few years there will be a post ..............

I just bought this house with hydronic heating and there is something wrong. Can anyone help me?
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Old 08-27-2013, 12:41 PM   #10
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


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I can see it now. In a few years there will be a post ..............

I just bought this house with hydronic heating and there is something wrong. Can anyone help me?
Bahahahahahaha thanks for the laugh!

I have to agree with old_squid. Even if you intend to disclaim to a new homeowner years down the road do you think you'll remember? I know I wouldn't haha!

I'm no heating "expert" but I'm sure there's a way to isolate that zone and only use anti-freeze on that zone. This way you don't screw up the heat transfer on the rest of the zones by using glycol. Just a thought!!!
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Old 08-27-2013, 05:57 PM   #11
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Anti-freeze in Radiators?


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Bahahahahahaha thanks for the laugh!

I have to agree with old_squid. Even if you intend to disclaim to a new homeowner years down the road do you think you'll remember? I know I wouldn't haha!

I'm no heating "expert" but I'm sure there's a way to isolate that zone and only use anti-freeze on that zone. This way you don't screw up the heat transfer on the rest of the zones by using glycol. Just a thought!!!
There is a way. But its a bit on the expensive side.

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