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Detective Work - Tracing Heating Circuit

KevinWyman Member Posts: 27
OK all of you Columbo's out there, time for a little detective work.   I have more radiators than pipes or risers off from my main supply and return. I suspect, but don't know for sure, that at least for one room, the pipes rise up an interior wall and travel along the second floor to the exterior walls.  I also have places where the pipes split off the main supply and return in nearly the same location. One travels to the first floor the other to the second. But which is which? I am hoping to split the first and second floor into two zones and I will be breaking the pipe soon to drain the system and install new copper supplies and returns.

Is it possible to figure out which pipes go where? Could I rig up some sort of pump, flow a liquid through the pipes and take a temperature reading (this wouldn't have worked before as it was all one zone)?

Any brilliant suggestions?



  • Al Letellier_21
    Al Letellier_21 Member Posts: 402
    finding hidden pipes

    By far, the easiest way to find and trace hidden piping is with a thermal imaging camera. I have used one to trace out an entire radiant infloor system and the results were spectacular. While it may cost some $$ to get someone in there with one, it is a huge time saver and will give you the best results.
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 255
    lower pressure

    If this is a monoflow system there should be 2 pipes to each radiator. .How about lowering the pressure and draining enough water to get  2nd floor heat air bound . then run heat and the pipes that heat should be 1st floor.
  • Alan Welch
    Alan Welch Member Posts: 255
    edited August 2010
    lower pressure

  • KeithC
    KeithC Member Posts: 38

    Tap each line with a wrench. Have a helper with you.
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