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Basement Headroom

ARM Member Posts: 1
I am considering finishing the basement of our home. We have a new (2 year old) gas fired steam boiler, but the original pipes to feed radiators remain. Headroom is currently an issue. How involved would it be to raise the pipes between the joists to gain valuable headroom? Several of the pipes are currently below the joists. Could the current pipes be reused? I assume they are original to the home (1914), or would it be wise to replace them? If so what would work best? Any help or advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    Not practical

    The pitch of steam pipes is very important. It's hard to say whether a particular pipe could be moved without a picture or drawing, but in general I would say there's probably a good reason the pipe is below the joists. And if the pipe runs perpendicular---I wouldn't drill a lot of huge holes in a lot of floor joists in a 1914 house. I think you would have to use all new cut and threaded pipe to replace whatever was removed, possibly creating other problems in the process.

    It may sound crazy but I think it would be easier to dig up your basement and pour a new pad than to mess with the mains or the joists. 
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,943
    Yes and no

    It can be done BUT it can also be disastrous if done incorrectly. The easiest option would be to box in the pipes(make sure that there is access to the vents that should be at the end of those pipes) . If you do have the pipes moved make sure to stipulate that the installer will not be paid if there any problems that did not exist before(i.e. banging or radiators not getting hot).
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    Another person tried this

    He hired a contractor who was confident that he knew what he was doing and could modify all of the piping and raise it out of the way.  The end result was a disaster.  The contractor's biggest qualification was that he had a big pipe wrench and could put large iron pipe together.... he thought he knew steam well enough that he argued with the home owner, who actually had much more knowledge than the contractor.

    The end result was a disaster.  As I recall, the owner really wished he had never begun the project.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
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