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tracking down copper pipe runs

Yes, it's a late 1800s-vintage farm house that's been added to over the years. The main zone has 11 ci rads, I believe. Three other zones, serving additions, have about two rads each. The fact that there's electric heat in the bedroom tells me that others have pondered this problem and came up short.

I wouldn't say it's a serious problem--I'm just looking for a quick fix, and I thought piping a pump into that line would give me a "zone within a zone."

But adding TRVs and balancing out the system sounds like a fun winter project. I'm also thinking about putting a four-way mixing valve on the big zone.

At the moment, I'm pretty busy getting a wood gasifier hooked up to the system, which as also been a fun project. Next weekend we fire her up.

Thanks again for all your help--I'll be back.


  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
    Tracking down copper pipe runs

    I have a couple of 3/4-inch copper pipe runs in my basement that head up to the second floor, but I'm not sure which cast iron radiators they serve. Is there a good way to dope that out, short of tearing out the walls or guessing? They're all on the same zone, so I don't think trying to follow the heat is going to work. And the valves on the rads don't close, so there goes that idea.
  • lee_7
    lee_7 Member Posts: 458

    how many is a couple? 2, 4, 10? Do they go up in one place or in multiple places thru out basement? more info always good
  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174
    Just two

    I have two separate pairs of supplies and returns serving a total of three radiators. Two rads are in one bedroom, and the other one is in another bedroom. Both are on the south side of the house, but in different locations.

    What I would like to do is put a small circulator, such as a Taco 007, into the line for the one bedroom and put a thermostat in the bedroom so that it will work somewhat independently of the other big zone that all the other radiators are on. I'm not even sure if that's a good idea, but I think it will work.

    Obviously, I'd like to know which is which before I start cutting pipe and sweating in flanges. It's a big, old house that's been renovated several times (hence, the copper pipe), but it's pretty hard to know exactly how the pipe is run.
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935

    sounds like an application for a TRV? much simplier than what you are suggesting doing.
  • Eric Johnson
    Eric Johnson Member Posts: 174

    That's a thought, though I'd still need to identify the right pipe.

    However, my problem is that not enough heat gets up to the bedroom, while the rest of the zone heats just fine. I'm thinking that a dedicated pump would pull hot water from the boiler up into those rads, even when the rest of the zone is not circulating. I could even create a separate zone pretty easily if it came to that--assuming I can figure out how those radiators are piped.
  • jp_2
    jp_2 Member Posts: 1,935
    move the tstat

    to the other room? and then put a trv in the room that heats just fine.

    sounds too like a balance problem. a single rad in parallel with 2rads connected together, single will get more flow than the 2 rads, thus less heat in that room. so if you reduce flow to room heating just fine, the two rooms can balance.

    don;t make things more complicated.
  • lee_7
    lee_7 Member Posts: 458

    You say you have two sets pipes that are on the south side of house. Are both bedrooms on the south side of house or on different sides. Are there any valves in the lines other then the radiator valves? Do the lines go up in the vicinity of the bedrooms?
  • Couderay
    Couderay Member Posts: 314
    Identity crisis

    Well some say ignorance is bliss,I beg to differ, sounds like it might be a good time to cut the lines add some valves and with air you might get a feel for the way the piping is run. Sounds like you have the capabilities to do that. And as stated above TRV's might be the way to go, but a lot of questions remain about your system.
  • john Cockerill_2
    john Cockerill_2 Member Posts: 33

    What is your highlimit setting? Turn it down to 150 and see if the circulation brings heat to the rad.

  • Rich Kontny_5
    Rich Kontny_5 Member Posts: 116
    Course of the least resistance

    The TRVs are an excellent idea after your solve the lack of equal flow problem. Water will always follow the course of the least resistance! With balancing valves that are old and probaly not functioning properly I would change them to a good quality balancing valve on one side of the radiator and install a TRV on the other side.

    There could of course be other issues such as a sludged up radiator or air in any part of that particular heating arrangement.Was this a converted gravity system at one time?

    Rich Kontny
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    gate the lines 'off'. Then open the valves...

    used to purge that line. drain the water off to a bucket.

    until you have about three gallons or so of water. next gate off any other lines that go some where you do not know what they control. turn off the boiler. turn off the feed water. leave every thing alone.for about a half hour .....

    go put your had on each radiator. the ones that feel cool upstairs are likely the ones connected to the zone.heres why.

    when you drained off the water BTU's could no longer go to the cold....reason no flow. and no source. and you removed any possible means of transmission of BTU's to the emitters on that zone.....

    while you were doing this operation the boiler continued to heat all other zones and radiators.

    a half an hour after that operation...the standing iron of the empty rad/rads is/are cooler than the rest....

    to test this then open the vents on these rads.if you here a vaccum sound....that is one of the rads for sure..any others not on that line will spurt water... and likely be considerably warmer.
This discussion has been closed.