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Removing cast iron radiators

I have a gas fired furnace providing hot water to cast iron radiators in our house. Thers is a supply pipe and a return pipe which all radiators in the house are connected to making it one zone. I have to remove 2 downstairs radiators to have our floors refinished. There is a shutoff valve at each radiator. My question is do I need to drain the whole system to remove these or can I shut off the local valves for removal? Secondly, if I do drain the system, do I need to shut down the furnace (pilot light and all) before doing so to prevent damage? If I can remove them by closing the local valves, do I run the risk of hydraulic pressure from the 2nd story radiators forcing water out the return line when the radiators are removed? Finally, to shut down the furnace, do I simply shut off the furnace switch? It controls the gas flow valve but it seems to be safer to also shut off the manual gas valve in the furnace supply line if the furnace and pilot light are out. Any and all help is appreciated, thanks.


  • Brad White
    Brad White Member Posts: 2,398
    How To

    Personally, I would not trust hand-valves. They tend not to be exercised very much and one never knows how well they will seal.

    If you do isolate one especially on the lower floor of a two or more story house and the valve does not hold, you will be running around with a mop, rags and using a lot of foul language.

    Whenever you work on an appliance, yes, you shut it off. One cannot tell if you have safety controls and an uncontrolled leak or outright drainage with a running boiler (not furnace, -boiler), you would have a disaster in the making.

    Do you really want to be a 50th Anniversary Sputnik Re-enactment? :)

    Personally, all this being said, I think you should call a professional. I mean, it is great you are a "do-it-yourselfer" and ask the questions that need to be asked. But there are many more things to consider which come from experience and which none of us here can transmit to you by remote.

    Really, call a pro. We want you and your family safe above all.
    "If you do not know the answer, say, "I do not know the answer", and you will be correct!"

    -Ernie White, my Dad
  • Fred Rappuhn
    Fred Rappuhn Member Posts: 107

    Jeff, I have done it for the same reasons you are about to. In fact I have to do one this weekend to paint behind, at least that's what my wife says.

    It's a lot of work
    Shut the whole system down, drain all water out all floors, remove the raditor without breaking something, move the raditor without breaking your back, then while it's out might as well flush it out and clean it, possibly paint it ( I did), reinstall again without breaking something (including your back again) or scratching the new floor, fill system and bleed all air out of system,(that's were the fun is, up and down the steps a dozen times).

    Other than all of that, a piece of cake.
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