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"Valving" each radiator ..has anyone else done it?

chrish99
chrish99 Member Posts: 4
I hope I'm posting in the correct section if not tell me where to go !

I bought an old house last year with oil heat and radiators. To make a long story kind of short we currently don't use the upstairs at all except for storage so to help save on heating costs I figured the cheapest way would be to install on/off valves to each radiator feed & return that go upstairs , so im not heating the upstairs for nothing this winter. My heating is only 1 zone with the thermostat being on the first floor. All my radiators are piped individually from the basement off the main trunk lines, none of them are piggy-backed together. My thoughts were if I installed on/off valves on each feed pipe and return pipe and turned them all off it would only circulate water to my downstairs radiators , in theory, saving me money.
Feel free to call me an idiot or just give me your 2 cents ..I'm no plumber but I feel it would work. Thanks in advance !!

Comments

  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 9,011
    I am assuming you have a one pipe or monoflow system which has separate supply and return tees for each radiator. you can add valves but the will add a restriction which COULD cause a problem if you decide to use the heat some day. you only have to install 1 valve/radiator to stop the flow.

    make sure there is no danger of freezing any piping or radiators or you wont be saving any money
    Zman
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,469
    edited August 2017
    Since you mention "main trunk lines" it sounds like this is a two-pipe system. I'd install a thermostatic valve on each second-floor radiator, except in rooms that have plumbing such as bathrooms. This will keep the rooms cooler but won't let them get too cold.

    Make sure none of the risers are run in outside walls before doing this. You don't want them to freeze.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Harvey Ramer
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,970
    Keep in mind you are now cutting down on emitters and will possibly creating a situation where your boiler starts short cycling-lowering efficiency, and more wear and tear on your equipment.
    Also heat goes to cold.
    I'd follow @Steamhead 's advice, maybe even zoning it if you're cutting pipe and draining.
    Better money would be spent on building envelop upgrades.
    steve
    Canucker
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,315
    You said old house with radiators. I assume cast iron rads.

    I have a house that I oversee the heating of. It is a rectory next to a church. No one lives there, only the first floor is used for offices.
    It is 2 story with maybe 5 bdrms and bath on 2nd floor.
    The existing rad valves if shut off are designed to still pass some water to prevent freezing, this was very common with gravity flow hot water.

    The simplest thing I could think was to not bleed the air out of these second floor rads. Hot water will flow slowly only across the bottom of the rads. I have also considered covering the unneeded rads with heavy blankets to conserve the heat. The objective is to keep the rads and piping from freezing and being able to bring the heat up if needed, (maybe once every 2 years).

    The 2nd floor bath is fully heated.
    Also, note that all my 2nd floor risers are exposed in the rooms below which are fully heated.
    If you have pipes buried inside outside wall any try to completely prevent the water flow will probably result in freezing/bursting.
    IMO allowing old plaster/lath to freeze repeatedly will cause deterioration of the wall surface. FWIW
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 15,852
    JUGHNE said:


    IMO allowing old plaster/lath to freeze repeatedly will cause deterioration of the wall surface. FWIW

    "Deterioration"? You're being kind. The word is "destruction". If it is plaster and lathe walls, you must keep the temperature above the dewpoint -- or let it freeze in the fall and don't let it thaw until spring.

    Found that out the hard way...



    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    MilanDJUGHNE
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,315
    I have an 2 story old house we acquired for a rental.
    The depression survivor couple that lived there heated only 2 rooms on the first floor. Not a speck of insulation anywhere, empty attic....good for gutting remodel though.
    The remaining rooms had plaster held on by the wall paper. Plaster was just crumbs.
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,159
    > @JUGHNE said:
    > I have an 2 story old house we acquired for a rental.
    > The depression survivor couple that lived there heated only 2 rooms on the first floor. Not a speck of insulation anywhere, empty attic....good for gutting remodel though.
    > The remaining rooms had plaster held on by the wall paper. Plaster was just crumbs.

    Wow! I hope you got a good deal on the price.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,704
    You have an single supply trunk and both pipes "Risers" to the radiators are tee to this single pipe that runs around the house ? This is an important question to ask .. A Monoflow or diverter tee system will be hooked up this way , The large flow of water though the system along with vanturies creates pressure drops and thous flow of heat to each radiator about the same time .. Capping and shutting off risers affects the whole system .....

    Hmmm. Most but not all homes in the era that installed dirvirter systems were from the forties or fifties and used convectors .. They had metal enclosures and tube and fin elements inside .. Most will call them radiators .. If this is what you have , an easy safe solution would be just to cover the element with Tin foil ... Blocking off the convection would be enough
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
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