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Heating piping embedded in concrete floor for 60+ years.

I recently inspected a split level house built in the 1950s that has baseboard heating in the upper areas, but there are two hot water radiators at grade level. The piping for the grade level radiators is embedded in the concrete floors. Since the system is original and more than 60 years old, I am concerned about degradation of the embedded piping, whether it is external corrosion from the concrete, rusting from condensation or some far out speculation of degradation if the piping could move while in the concrete. I know it is a stretch of the imagination, but thought I would ask anyhow.

Thanks for any advice.


  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,852Member
    What is the pipe material? Makes a difference... some materials (steel, copper) can corrode badly from the outside in concrete. Sometimes. Black iron, on the other hand, not much.

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • SteamingatMohawkSteamingatMohawk Posts: 96Member
    I assume it's black iron. Good question.
  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Posts: 2,632Member
    edited October 8
    My house was built in 1950 and has copper tubing (mostly 1/2 inch) in the slab at grade. As far as I can tell, the system is not leaking. I used to turn off the make-up water and watch the system pressure twice a day for a month, and do not lose pressure. The pressure gauge does indicate slight pressure changes with when the circulators run, and reflects the setting of the makeup pressure regulator, so I think it works. Come to think of it, I had to drop the pressure to add boiler treatment (X-100) and the gauge noticed that, by golly.

    I have been told (probably here) that it really depends on the mix of the concrete. I may have the details wrong, but IIRC, the more fly-ash in the mix, the faster the corrosion.
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