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Convert two-pipe radiator to one-pipe?

and the remaining hole will probably be 1-1/4". This is typical of a small-tube rad like that. The lower tapping was 1-1/4" and the upper one was 1".

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  • Ken L.
    Ken L. Member Posts: 35
    Convert two-pipe radiator to one-pipe?

    I would like to install a "medium sized" radiator in my master bedroom. This is kinda like the Goldilocks story. I took out a 20 section that my wife complained was too warm, and installed a ten section that I think is too cool. The boiler was just replaced by an excellent company (that I found here). No hammer, bangs or noises before or after the job.

    I can find a lot of radiators on eBay. Most of them appear to be two-pipe. (also there are usually not a lot of pictures from all angles) Someone has done this type of work before.

    My question is:
    Is it easy (or worthwhile) to convert a two-pipe radiator to one-pipe? FYI, I used to be an automechanic and can drill and tap with the best of them, if need be. I've done steam related plumbing and swear I can fix a rainy day.

    Post here or email me directly.


  • Christian Egli_2
    Christian Egli_2 Member Posts: 812
    Marriages are for life, while 50% of radiators end in...

    It's very accommodating of you to switch around the radiators in order to keep the temperature just right... :)

    Going from two pipe connection to one pipe only involves plugging one hole (an yeah, adding the air vent). It's going from one pipe steam radiators to a hot water conversion that is impossible - because the top of the cavity is not internally connected through to allow water and air separation. But with steam all of these things are non-issues.

    On your large radiator, have you considered installing a thermostatic vent in order to prevent room overheating?

    You could also build a louvered enclosure and control heat output that way.

    And if it gets too cold, you can always lug the big radiator back in.
  • Ken L.
    Ken L. Member Posts: 35
    Big radiator is going upstairs

    I had considered installing a thermostatic vent after I read LAoSH. However, the 20 section rad is going upstairs in my daughters room. I found company that will install MY steam radiator where none exists. I might be handy, but I'm not attempting that in the middle of the winter.

    I placed a 10 section in our bedroom. Seems to me a 15 section might be just right. (I have calculated the EDR) If that does not work, or if I find a larger one the thermo vent will be the way I go. The dead men must have had a handy chart stating if the room is X by X, then use a Y edr radiator. My last house also had steam and all the rooms were nicely balanced.

    Used Radiators are available at reasonable prices as long as one avoids antique and other specialty shops. A mild drive to pick it up is well worth what shipping that heavy hulk would cost.

    Thanks for confirming a two-pipe to one-pipe conversion is easy and worthwhile.
  • Make sure

    you change the bushing in the rad if it doesn't match the pipe size of the valve. I've seen people reduce a 1-inch or 1-1/4-inch valve to 1/2-inch to connect to an existing bushing, and then wonder why it doesn't work.

    If you have a 3/4-inch impact wrench and suitable impact sockets, removing old bushings is real easy. My partner "El Gordo" turned me on to this.

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  • Ken L.
    Ken L. Member Posts: 35
    have spud tool

    Steam head, I have the spud tool (picked up today) and a half inch impact gun, but lack a socket to fit the spud. Sounds like I need another tool for my collection. LOL.

    Thank you for the warning on inlet sizes.

    My new question for sellers of radiators is:

    I must know the pipe size of the inlet. If your familiar with black pipe you know what I'm asking. For the handy man, measure the inside diameter of the inlet with a ruler to the nearest 1/4 inch.

    Is this correct?

    Would you look at this and let me know if you can gather enough info:

  • Ken L.
    Ken L. Member Posts: 35
    impact spud wrench?

    Steamhead, I was unable to impact the radiator flange out.

    However the impact gun suggestion was very useful to install a 1 1/4 pipe plug into the radiator I converted from hot water to one-pipe steam.

    The 22 section by 5 tube radiator was installed today. It gives off warmth like a campfire in winter.
  • When you say \"Flange\"

    if you mean the part of the valve that has the union nut on it (properly named the tailpiece), you'll probably have to cut that out. But the impact works well on bushings and plugs, as you see. Nice looking install!

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  • Ken L.
    Ken L. Member Posts: 35

    This tailpiece was easy to remove. I used a hammer and chisel, various wrenches and a bit of cussin'.

    The irony is I took heating and refrigeration in high school and could not enter the trade.

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