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replacing baseboard

BobBob Member Posts: 25
I want to repace my baseboard convectors with black steel pipe. What size pipe and how many feet is needed to replace each foot of slant fin baseboard?


  • meplumbermeplumber Member Posts: 678
    Not sure what you are asking.

    Are you hoping to get heat out of the black iron pipe? Are you going to use that as the convector instead of the fin tube?

    If so, why?
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,532

    Yeah! They put the fins on that copper tube for a reason. Without them, you will need a much greater length of tubing. 

    At 180F, the fin tube I have would put out 570 BTU/hr per foot. (I have a lot of baseboard, so I run much lower temperatures.)

    If I took the fins off, I figure I would get about 50 BTU/hr/foot. This is with 3/4 inch copper tubing. Black pipe might give off a little more. Larger diameter might give off more too.
  • BobBob Member Posts: 25
    replacing baseboard

    For some reason the baseboard heat smells and makes me feel sick . Perhaps I have an allergy to some component of the baseboard unit . I intend to use the iron pipe as a radiator. To equal the output of the baseboard I will substitue a thermally equivalent amount of iron pipe. How many feet of what diameter pipe will be required? I run the boiler at 160 degrees. Thanks Bob.
  • Rich DavisRich Davis Member Posts: 87
    Wouldn't It Be Easier

    Have you researched just replacing the convector with a new one.  Maybe there was something spilled on the old one.  You wopuld probably have enough space to run one single pipe along the baseboard, unless you zig-zaged it up the wall. Just a thought.
  • bill nyebill nye Member Posts: 307
    Do You

    Do you have any pets? Dogs or cats ? mice?

     Baseboard in itself does not give off odors (except when new, oil from assembly) but if something is spilled onto the baseboard like milk, applejuice, got kids?, pet urine, don't laugh it could happen , etc. ....
  • meplumbermeplumber Member Posts: 678
    doesn't exist.

    I am sure that out there in engineer land somewhere, someone has a multiplier for the heat transfer rate of plan black iron pipe, but I have never seen it.

    The others are correct, baseboard simply pulls the room air, thru convection, across the fins and the hotter air rises out into the room. There is nothing there but aluminum and copper pipe to give off any kind of odors.

    I have seen milk curdled on the fins, along with pet urine and a particularly gross looking gummy thing once.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,532
    If it were copper tubing with no fins ...

    ... it looks as though you would need about 11x longer tubing than with the fins. So if you would need 10 feet of fin-tube, you would need 110 feet of plain copper tube. That would make an impressive looking wall, mostly covered by copper tubing. Lacquer it to keep up the shiny appearance. But the smell of the lacquer might offend you. I could not find the loss for black pipe, but I doubt it would be very much more than the copper tubing.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    ball park

    Heat emission pipes greenhouses
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    edited October 2011
    Black iron pipe

     All though the tables above do not specifically state black iron pipe. One would have to assume that being the piping in the tables are for steam, gravity, and forced hot water systems. They would be black iron piping in practice.

    2" forced hotwater with 70* indoor temp would emit 180000 btus per 1000', or 180 btus per foot. Extrapolate that to 1" would be 90 btus lf. 1/2" would be 45 Btus lf. But we do not know the flow rates in the tables above or the supply temp.

  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,512
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    Very Elegant

    Products. Be my first choice.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    Another table

    Sponsored Links

    Heat loss from 1/2" to 12" steel pipes - at various temperature differences between pipes and surrounding air - are indicated in the diagram and table below:

    heat loss diagram uninsulated steel pipes
    1. 1 kW (kJ/s) = 102.0 kpm/s = 859.9 kcal/h = 3,413 Btu/h = 1.360 hk = 1.341 hp = 738 ft lb/s = 1,000 J/s = 3.6x106 J/h
    2. 1 m (meter) = 3.2808 ft = 39.37 in = 1.0936 yd = 6.214x10-4 mile
    Heat loss from Fluid inside Pipe (W/m)Nominal boreTemperature Difference(oC)(mm)(inch)506075100110125140150165195225280151/230406090130155180205235280375575203/4355070110160190220255290370465660251406090130200235275305355455565815321 1/450701101602402903303754355557001000401 1/25580120180270320375420485625790112050265951502203303954655206007709751390652 1/2801201702603904655406157159101150165080310014021030047056065074086010901380198010041201702603805857008209251065137017402520150617025037054081597011301290147019102430350020082203204706901040124014401650190024403100443025010270390570835125015101750199523002980378056003001231546067098014701760206023402690337044306450

    The heat loss value must be corrected by the correction factor for certain applications:ApplicationCorrection factorSingle pipe freely exposed1.1More than one pipe freely exposed1.0More than one pipe along the ceiling0.65Single pipe along skirting or riser1.0More than one pipe along skirting or riser0.90Single pipe along ceiling0.75
  • BobBob Member Posts: 25
    Replacing baseboard

    I have the baseboard in 5 rooms and in all the rooms i have the same reaction. I have tried cleaning the convectors but it didn't help. There are no pets in the house or little children.  I dont get sick from other convectors just mine.I was thinking about insulating behind the convectors to see if that would eliminate the problem. Im not sure if I can use styrofoam 1/4 inch thick to do that.                 

      Thanks for responding, Bob.
  • BobBob Member Posts: 25
    replacing baseboard

    Besides aluminum and copper the enclosures are factory painted . I was thinking that the factory paint may be emitting VOC's when they are heated.
  • BobBob Member Posts: 25
    replacing baseboard

    Besides aluminum and copper the enclosures are factory painted . I was thinking that the factory paint may be emitting VOC's when they are heated.
  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,512

    you posted that you only get sick around yours? It doesnt bother you in other houses? Have yours been painted? Is there any sign's of leaks, green on the fitting's or small water spots? Does it take a period of time to affect you or just as you walk in the door?
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,532
    edited October 2011
    factory paint may be emitting VOC's when they are heated.

    My Slant/Fin 2000 baseboard claims, among other things, Nu-White baked enamel finish. Since this stuff is baked on at the factory, I cannot imagine it outgassing in the field. If yours is made by someone other than Slant/Fin, you may wish to check their data sheets. I am not a professional, but I have looked at other baseboard with unknown manufacturer, and that stuff is baked on too.

    Could there be something in the wall behind the baseboard that is outgassing due to heat? Chinese dry-wall, perhaps?
  • bill nyebill nye Member Posts: 307
    Hmmmm ...

    Has your heating appliance been serviced lately? You don't think it could be carbon monoxide from a blocked flue vent or something?

     I forgot to mention melted crayons in the baseboard. You could also do cast iron baseboard, or extruded aluminum (what I have)
  • BobBob Member Posts: 25
    baseboard sickness cured

    I now believe the problem was solved by repairing the rain gutters . The water would pond up near the slab foundation and leach into the concrete slab causing a mustiness that has been eradicated by repairing the rain gutters! thanks to all for their help.
  • Bob BonaBob Bona Member Posts: 2,081
    you're not smelling the baseboard

    You are smelling either something stuck to it or the air that is passing over the fins. Look for debris on the fins or where the air is being drawn across the floor. Unlikely it's the bb itsrlf.

    I've laid down plastic under bb and sprayed stuff like simple green or maybe an odor free cleaner on the fins and rinsed with water with a wet dry vac at the ready.
  • Harvey RamerHarvey Ramer Member Posts: 1,929
    Who would

    have thought. From baseboard to rain gutters.

    It's a curious little world we live in.

    Ramer Mechanical
    To learn more about this professional, click here to visit their ad in Find A Contractor.
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