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Ken_40 Member Posts: 1,320
If a 14" wide by 3-4' tall spot of wall is near the existing convector, here's a trick I've found very effective:

Make a serpentine heater out of 1" or 1-1/4" fin tube or copper HWBB. The end product looks like fin tube on top of fin tube connected in series, with an air vent on top.

This "panel" is then inserted into a stud bay. 1/2" or 1" foil faced rigid goes between the fin tube you build and the outside wall. A 4-6" void is left below the starting point of this "stud-bay-width" homemade convector. This void is the lower air register location. 6" above the stud-bay-width convector, put a block of wood to orevent the heat from passing into the wall and the ceiling break above.

In the void created by the top of the convector and the block, cut out the wall board and put the upper register grill.

The chimney effect of this form of home-made steam (or hot water) convector is dramatic! The 1" copper HWBB serpentine will yield about 1,000 BTU per stacked piece. This assumes you can only get 1' of HWBB per row, due to the series connections going to the next row. If you only have four "stacks" of HWBB connected (at about 3-1/2" square) even 3/4" can work. If really high output is needed, you must use 1" minimally. If very lareg output is required, 1-1/4" with fins small enough to fit between the exterior sheathing and the minimum 1/2" rigid foam barier - and, the sheet-rock inner wall. If you have 6" framing, staggered fin tube is the way to go.

Let us know how the project goes.


  • [Deleted User]
    residential steam system using fin tube convectors

    kitchen is being remodeled and existing 46'' convector is in the way of new cabinent. I would like to move existing convector from horizontal to vertical position and roll steam vent up with an ell. will this work, and if not why not?
  • Brad White_9
    Brad White_9 Member Posts: 2,440
    Because it is a convector....

    If you tip it up, the airflow is no longer vertical. You are asking the air to move up, take a side turn then continue upward.

    Convector output is a function of airflow. Defeat that and you have a hunk of warm metal dressed up with no place to go. Air under gravity flow is lazier than a dog in a socialist country ;)

    You will get some output, mostly radiant from whatever is enclosing it, but I suspect the convective output will be defeated by 85% or more. If you wanted to get any appreciable convection out of that, you would need ample space on both sides to carry the air in and out.

    Why not use the space to put in a nice CI radiator? Granted it will stay warmer on average than the lower mass convectors but a TRV vent valve may compensate for that.
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