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Need to repair radiant heat before winter

Nick62087 Member Posts: 1

I'm new to radiant heating (previous houses I've lived in have been forced air or electric) and I need some advice for getting my system operational, and I have some specific questions as far as repairs and upgrades.  I apologize if this post is too long:

I bought a foreclosure that had BOTH an improperly winterized heating system and stolen copper.  The stolen pipes aren't a big deal, there's enough left so i can figure out what ran where.  My biggest problems are the cracked radiators, actual volume of work, and that I have no idea if the system ever worked properly.  I have little knowledge about heating systems, but I have decent technical ability and most of the required tools (I think). 

What i have:

Burnham boiler, from '04, model 204PVNI-T2

Expansion tank with air valve on bottom, looks like about 3gal capacity

Taco circulator, 1/25 HP

2 taco 572-2 zone valves

Base-ray baseboard radiators, some of these have visible cracks

runs to baseboards are 3/4 pipe

My thoughts:

Furnace holds pressure when i close all the valves and open the 'fill' valve from the water supply, so i assume its good.

I could probably test the circulator by putting 120v on it, just for a second

I could probably pressure-test the radiators with either compressed air or by connecting a hose to a water supply

My questions:

Pipe coming from furnace starts with large pipe with tees to smaller pipe to each room, should i set it up the way it was, or get a manifold system? I assume i need 2 manifolds for 2 zones?

Is 3/4 pipe for each room standard?  A lot of stuff i've seen online is for 1/2" runs...

My setup goes zone valves -> circulator -> furnas ->expansion tank -> radiators -> zone valves .... is this correct? I've heard that you should pump away from the tank.  If so, pipes between valves, circulator, furnace and tank are intact, is it worth re-configuring?

I've researched the baseboards and found that they are in sections and can be separated and pieced together, i can probably piece together enough lengths for a few rooms, but are these even worth saving?

I've also looked into radiant floor heat for my bottom floor (there is a basement beneath) - is it as easy as running pex and stapling the aluminum plates up against the subfloor?

Any input, suggestions, or thoughts are greatly appreciated

Thanks for reading!


  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Repairing Disasters:

    Don't take this the wrong way but you need a Pro that knows what they are doing and looking at. From what you describe, there is a lot of work to be done. Cast Iron radiators are just one issue. How many are broken, how old are they, and can you get new sections  for the broken ones.

    You have too many issues. It needs to be addressed by an issue to issue  case.

    Don't hire Joe "The Plumber" (who isn't a plumber) Wurlzelbacher as a handyman helper because it could cost you a lot more cash than it is going to now.

    Where are you located?
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850

    The first thing you should do if you plan on doing this yourself is to post pictures of what you have. Boiler and near boiler piping, radiators and cracked radiators, cut off pipes (with descriptions of locations). You also need to do a heat loss of the house, as it is a foreclosure, you don't know how it heated before, you may be over radiated (as in most cases) or under radiated. We are here to help. but we need more info.

This discussion has been closed.