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Old 09-24-2010, 10:39 PM   #1
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Installing Cast Iron radiators to existing home


Our house is a cape built in 1946, and the second floor was never finished--until now! The great part, however, was that the previous owner was sure to bring up the pipes for cast iron radiators--one per bedroom (2), one for bathroom, and one currently functioning in the landing. We've purchased radiators and are prepared to install.

BUT after draining the system, when the caps were removed from the bare pipes and the water turned back on, nothing happened. No air push out, no water, nothing! We checked the piping down stairs and all radiators pipes are accounted for, including the one functioning in the second floor. Now I don't know what to do!?!

Does anyone have any suggestions? I'm a mother of two--aged 2 1/2 and 7 months with my oldest's bedroom as the front entry of our home. I AM IN NEED OF THIS PROJECT'S COMPLETION! PLEASE HELP US!
Elycia

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Old 09-25-2010, 06:45 AM   #2
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Installing Cast Iron radiators to existing home


I am assuming the thermostat was set so the circulating pump would run???? No pump, no water, unless this is a gravity steam system, but the house is not old enough for that..

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Old 09-25-2010, 07:03 AM   #3
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Installing Cast Iron radiators to existing home


One pipe per room? If so it aint a forced hot water system, you need a feed and a return from each radiator. It is or was probably steam. How big are those pipes?
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Old 09-27-2010, 10:09 PM   #4
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Installing Cast Iron radiators to existing home


Presuming it's one pipe and one return per room (thus not a steam system like NHMaster suggested): one gotcha is that you need to set the system pressure high enough that the water will reach the highest room. There should be a pressure regulator valve attached to the cold water intake of your boiler. (They vary in style, but they all have a way of adjusting their pressure set point. My mom's has a slotted screw going into the body with a nut to lock it. Mine has a little lever attached to a threaded piece that turns to reduce or increase pressure.)

You can calculate the minimum pressure you need by measuring (or making a good estimate) of the number of feet from the pressure regulator to the top of the highest rad, then multiply by 0.43 and add 3 lbs. For good measure, you'll probably want to round up to the next pound or two. Then check the pressure gauge, and if the pressure isn't that high, adjust until it is.

I found this out the hard way when my system pressure dropped for some reason and my daughter started complaining about her rad always being cold. Turns out the magic # for this house is around 13lbs, and once it got below that none of the hot water was making it up to her room.

Good luck!
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Old 09-28-2010, 05:23 AM   #5
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Installing Cast Iron radiators to existing home


fast fill valves come factory set at 15lbs which is way more than enough pressure to circulate the 2nd floor
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Old 09-28-2010, 09:34 AM   #6
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Installing Cast Iron radiators to existing home


Quote:
Originally Posted by NHMaster View Post
fast fill valves come factory set at 15lbs which is way more than enough pressure to circulate the 2nd floor
True, but (a) they can (and must be able to) be adjusted from the factory setting, and (b) we don't know what equipment brnidgrl0537 has. It's worth taking the 5 min to look at the system pressure gauge and eliminate the simplest possibility before looking at the more complicated (and more expensive) possibilities.

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