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Did my plumber "F" up my system?

mprubin52 Member Posts: 1
Hola All,

This might turn into a long post.  I'll try to keep it brief and be quick with the questions for this esteamed crew.

Long and short is that I live in an old (1927) house with a steam system that I adore.  I'm a babe in the woods when it comes to the technical stuff, but I understand the theory behind how the system works, or at least a good portion of it.

Sooo.  This summer my wife and I are having our kitchen redone and off the kitchen was a smallish room that had a smallish radiator in it.  We are partitioning off the small room to make it a smallish bathroom and in the demo, they removed the radiator from the line with, I suppose, a plan to reconnect it to use for the heat in the bathroom.

Enter plumber (I've hung around this site long enough to know this doesn't end well) and he's piped the whole line leading to the Rad  in what I suppose is 1' or 3/4' copper coming off the cast iron steam line AND has put about 5 or 6 right angle bends in it as it snakes around the waste returns from the bathroom.  That it comes through the floor in a completely inappropriate spot is not an issue for this post, but nevertheless, another problem.

Now I want to tell my general contractor that

1. This is not going to work

2. That he has to fix it

But I want to be able to tell him why this is not going to work and how to fix it when he looks at my lawyer self and thinks to himself (or says out loud), "Oh yeah, what the hell do you know?"

Question # 3, for those keeping score at home...

3.  When this inevitably goes sour, does anyone know of someone in or around Westchester County NY who can do this correctly.

Thanks in Advance,



  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,416

    Get the plumbing inspector over there, don't pay the guy in full until what you feel is wrong fixed. Let me say it another way.

    From my PC I can't really visually say it isn't going to work or not up to par.

    So get the plumbing inspector there and point out everything you think is wrong & let the plumbing inspector tell him it isn't up to code.
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 2,000

    Will it work? You can turn up the heat and see what happens. The amount of bends might be problematic. No way to tell from here.

    Copper will work to get the steam from the main to the radiator. However, copper is not nearly as durable when used to carry steam. The expansion due to the heating of the copper pipe can cause the solder joints to crack.

    It is possible that there is no good way to run steam pipes to the new radiator location. Again, hard to tell from here.

    If not, then you have the option of having a hot water zone. Basicly, you would have hot water pumped from the boiler into the radiator. In essence, you would have a separate zone and system for that one radiator. Again, cant tell from here if that is necessary or not. Just an option.

    I wouldn't trust a plumbing inspector opinion on how to pipe steam systems. Good shot that he doesnt know more then the contractor. Anyway, there may not be any codes relating to proper and effective steam piping.

    Maybe post some pics.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Twisted Knickers:

    Before you get your knickers too twisted up, make sure that it doesn't work. If it does, blood can flow into the face and the tips of the ears can get hot.

    Hydronics, Hot Water and Steam are usually forgiving. They either work or they don't. Some Pro comes along and does something absolutely by the book, and it doesn't work. Some Hackaroo comes along and has a miscarriage on it and it works like a champ. Go figure.

    As far as having a "Plumbing Inspector" inspect it, "Plumbing Inspectors" inspect Plumbing. They don't inspect heat. They may not have any special training or experience. They might just prognosticate an opinion.  "Mechanical Inspectors" inspect Mechanical things like heat. There's a difference.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    My neck

    In my neck of the woods one inspector does it all framing, plumbing, gas,electric, hvac. If it don't leak or spark, it's fine with him. (a  couple of Redskins tickets a season never hurt either). We HAVE to do it right BECAUSE there is no one qualified to inspect the work.

    Turn it on, see if it works. If it doesn't, take it up with the GC. If it were me, at a minimum I would want it piped in iron so as to prevent any future leaks due to expansion / contraction.

  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,741
    Homeowner opinion

    If all those new pipes are run in an area that won't be accessible when the bathroom is done that could be an issue.  If there is a problem in the future you could end up having to rip apart the brand new bathroom to have it fixed.  It sounds by your description like this will all be buried in the floors and walls.  Like was said by others it might work just fine, but what about long term?  Working and not leaking today to me isn't much of a guarantee that in 2 years the whole thing could let go.  And now you are remodeling the bathroom again, and who will your GC hire to fix the pipes the second time?  Same guy that did it wrong the first time?  It could be a vicious aggravating cycle that doesn't end.  You could also post some pictures of this piping and people might be able to give better opinions.  Like I said just my opinion as a homeowner.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Joe V_2
    Joe V_2 Member Posts: 234

    Can you upload a photo?