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Slim/small replacement radiator or retrofit the pipe?

Carol_9 Member Posts: 19

Not exactly, the pipe comes into the first floor and just before the radiator valve there is a tee which goes to the right with an elbow on the end and the riser attaches to the elbow and goes to the second floor.

If I could find a slim short radiator I'd be golden and wouldn't have to worry about any pipe fitting - but I know my luck!

I can't remember if we put insulation under the tub or not - I'll have to call my brother and see if he remembers. I'm just itching to uncap that pipe to see what happens! There were so many odd things done in this house that I wouldn't be surprised if it was just capped off for some stupid reason and not for a leak.

Thanks for your input.


  • Carol_9
    Carol_9 Member Posts: 19
    Slim/small radiator or retrofit pipe?

    Here's my dilema.

    Have an old house with one pipe steam system. In a 2nd floor bedroom the original pipe for the radiator was capped off (don't know why) and another pipe was ran from a radiator on the first floor to the 2nd floor. There is no radiator connected to this pipe, there is a radiator valve with a 5 ft long piece of pipe with a fin around it used for heating the room. Pipe does not stay hot long enough to really heat the room and would like to replace it with a radiator. Problem is when they ran the new pipe up through the floor it is not the same distance from the wall as the original heat pipe was so I either need to get a very slim radiator - no more than 4 inches wide - or attach an S pipe or some sort of extension pipe to the valve or pipe itself to bring it away from the wall so I can fit a regular sized radiator on it. Any ideas on which way to go?

    I don't know why the original pipe was capped, when I did some work on the bathroom I saw the pipe running under the tub and it seemed to be intact. If it wasn't intact wouldn't I have some sort of leak or problem with this pipe even though it's capped? Wouldn't steam still travel through this pipe? I know behind the first floor bathroom there are several heat pipes running up the wall, several of the pipes are capped at the end but the pipes still get hot. I'm tempted to uncap the pipe and hook up a radiator that I already have to see if it works but am afraid to do it as I don't know if there is a problem with the capped pipe or not. And now I have a fiberglass tub, would the heat running under the tub damage it in any way?

    Thanks in advance for any help with these questions.

  • Brad White_200
    Brad White_200 Member Posts: 148
    Some thoughts, Carol

    What I envision from what you describe:

    The pipe riser enters the first floor living space, where a tee comes off to serve the first floor radiator. The riser continues straight through the tee to the second floor. Does this sound correct? (That the pipe riser does not really rise from the first floor radiator but rather goes by it and feeds it on the way?) I just want to be clear.

    What you are describing regarding the 5-foot finned piece is common and understandable. No mass to hold the heat and emit it over time compared to the other cast iron radiators. Textbook condition of what not to do for effective heating.

    A good pipefitter can make that pipe offset and get you a proper radiator, either new (check out Burnham or Governale), or salvage from a reputable local yard. A set of street elbows or a 45 elbow can work wonders.

    Two 45-els in series can offset neatly in two planes in what is called a "knuckle joint".

    As for leaks, no one can tell without looking at it, but at least your steam system, properly set up, can run on a pound or less. The leakage probability is much less than if this were a water system all other things being equal.

    If a fiberglass tub, a half-inch of insulation will reduce the surface temperature about 99 degrees in a 70 degree room. If you use an inch, the surface temperature will be about 84 degrees under the same conditions. So, even a half-inch of fiberglass insulation, I would not worry about it. The bare pipe would be about 215 degrees by the way.

    Hope this helps.

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    steam investigation

    why not take the cap off and put on an elbow with a bushing in the outward end into which you can screw an air vent?
    that way you can watch the situation for a while [and get a little heat] while you look for the right radiator.; or you will discover the reason it was capped in the first place!--nbc
  • Carol_9
    Carol_9 Member Posts: 19

    That's an idea.

    I am getting a little heat in the room now because of the pipe that was run from the 1st floor - it's just not enough heat for winter days.

  • Brad White_200
    Brad White_200 Member Posts: 148
    And that illustrates

    why a cast iron radiator similarly sized will eventually be needed. If just fin-tube, as you note, it cools off almost immediately between steam cycles, while the remainder of the house radiators continue to emit.

    Burnham small tube slenderized CI radiators are only 5-6 inches wide and 19 to 25 inches tall.
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