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Old 12-30-2006, 12:32 AM   #1
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


We're considering finishing the basement. Heat in this house though was an after-thought. The boiler is in the middle of the biggest room in the basement, and the pipes hang low enough you need to duck.

The heat is hot water with cast iron radiators. Currently the system is a combination of copper pipe and galvanized pipe. The radiators that have been added on use 3/4 or 1/2in copper pipe. Copper pipe I can work with and raise up to where it has to be so those arn't a problem. Unfortunatly copper is in the minority. The older radiators use galvanized pipe about 2.5in which I can not work with.

What are my options? I'd really rather not replace all the galvanized pipe. The pipe is exposed where it goes around the radiators so I want to leave that as galvanized for sure. I'd like to adapt from what I'm useing to the galvanized pipe where it runs up the wall. So what can I use? To the best of my knowlage this is what's available to me:
Copper - Should work fine but will be very expensive
PVC - Not for heating systems
Galvanized - Will work but I can't work with it
Pex - Biggest diameter I've seen is 3/4. Do I need to stay with the 2.5in current size or can I downsize?

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Old 12-30-2006, 10:09 AM   #2
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


How many zones is the system? are you sure it is a boiler and not a steam system.If this is a boiler system copper is most likely the best solution.unfortunley they dont give copper away these days.

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Old 12-30-2006, 04:08 PM   #3
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


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How many zones is the system? are you sure it is a boiler and not a steam system.If this is a boiler system copper is most likely the best solution.unfortunley they dont give copper away these days.
It is one zone, just very oddly plumbed. Extension added on, extra radiators tacked on, heat added to basement, etc. A lot of extra pipe that could be done away with.
It is definatly a hot water boiler.
So copper is the only solution? I guess I need to go with the 2.5in pipe then right? 2.5in copper pipe would probably run me $1000 in materials. That will hurt but still be a hell of a lot cheaper than paying someone to work with the iron.

Last edited by Tmb9862; 12-30-2006 at 04:28 PM.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:11 PM   #4
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


Are you sure that this is not steam heat?
You normally do not see 2.5 pipe on hot water system unless they are steam.
Does the boiler have a motor/pump on the side of it?
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:47 PM   #5
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


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Are you sure that this is not steam heat?
You normally do not see 2.5 pipe on hot water system unless they are steam.
Does the boiler have a motor/pump on the side of it?
I am certain it's a hot water boiler.

That is the circulator, correct?
When I bleed the radiators hot water comes out.

I was wrong about the 2.5in pipe though. 2in pipe goes into and comes out of the circulator. Then the 2.5in pipe forks, after the fork it steps up to 3in pipe. You can see the half inch copper pipe in the picture for an added radiator. The pipes then have another series of un-necessary forks.


The heat has been converted from coal - oil - gas.

Last edited by Tmb9862; 12-30-2006 at 05:11 PM.
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Old 12-30-2006, 04:56 PM   #6
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


It looks like they converted it from steam to hydronic.
How large is the house? (square footage. 1,000 - 2,000-3,000...)
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:09 PM   #7
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


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It looks like they converted it from steam to hydronic.
How large is the house? (square footage. 1,000 - 2,000-3,000...)
3500
The basement would be another 1750 but it only has three radiators.
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:14 PM   #8
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


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The older radiators use galvanized pipe about 2.5in which I can not work with.
Do the older radiators have one pipe to them or two pipes to them?
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Old 12-30-2006, 05:52 PM   #9
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


yes this is difently a hot water boiler.When I look at your pipping system it appears that your system originaly was a steam system that was converted.you can use 1 1/4 copper,or galvanized piping.my prefrence is copper easier and faster to work with.The old pipes were so large because it was a steam system.With hot water you dont need such big pipping.
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Old 12-30-2006, 10:58 PM   #10
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


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Do the older radiators have one pipe to them or two pipes to them?
They use two pipes. One on one side, another on the other.

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Originally Posted by trollmastergeneral View Post
yes this is difently a hot water boiler.When I look at your pipping system it appears that your system originaly was a steam system that was converted.you can use 1 1/4 copper,or galvanized piping.my prefrence is copper easier and faster to work with.The old pipes were so large because it was a steam system.With hot water you dont need such big pipping.
Another factor though is I want to keep the pipes inside the walls. These pipes are two to two and a half inches. Seeing as how these pipes would still exist would the new copper need to be larger to provide the extra volume?

Last edited by Tmb9862; 12-30-2006 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 12-30-2006, 11:41 PM   #11
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


No they can be smaller because you have a pump to circulate the water.The old system relied on gravity to bring the condensate from steam back.You may run the pipes anywhere you wish with hot water.If you due run them in a wall ,you should insulate them.
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Old 12-30-2006, 11:44 PM   #12
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


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No they can be smaller because you have a pump to circulate the water.The old system relied on gravity to bring the condensate from steam back.You may run the pipes anywhere you wish with hot water.If you due run them in a wall ,you should insulate them.
Sorry for not being clear enough before. The original galvanized pipes are already in the walls. I want to utalize those pipes and only replace the ones in the basement. The ones already in the wall that I will be useing are 2in - 2.5in. So my question is is it alright to go from a 1 1/4 copper pipe to a 2.5in galvanized pipe.
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Old 12-31-2006, 12:13 AM   #13
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


Sorry for confusing you . You can leave the pipes you want and just add 1 1/4 pipping too that. If you had to go from 2 1/2 inch pipe to 1 1/4 copper then back too 2 1/2 inch pipe this would work fine.
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Old 01-02-2007, 09:08 AM   #14
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


Would you want to put in more zones? for comfort.
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Old 01-02-2007, 02:32 PM   #15
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Replacement pipe for hot water heat?


That would depend on how many loops you have .I would imagine that you only have one loop not multiple loops.

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