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Autumn Saturday radiator repipe

ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
Hey gang! Nothing like cutting into your main on a Saturday to make you feel alive, am I right?

I can’t believe it was only a year ago that I first asked for advice on a 2nd floor radiator that would bang and not heat very well due to house settling creating a trap: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/167233/fixing-pitch-issues-in-old-house

Well today I’m finally really starting on repiping it to be 1-1/4 instead of 1”, and running the supply in the living space rather than in the freezing wall space.

Here’s the beginning, more to come
1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
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Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    Gosh I wonder how the mice are getting in, and why is this pipe always so cold??

    There, that’s better
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    What does everyone think of these swing 90s to let me get the vertical position just right and to allow for expansion? (Not taped yet)
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Fred
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,501
    Sure as long as ur condensate will run back to the main n not drop straight vertically into the main . You gonna insulated that puppy ? Some of the greatest generation would have done the same right after they took off there suit n tie not today too often great to see the enthusiasm . Peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpauladasilva
  • acwagneracwagner Member Posts: 414
    Well done!

    I did some of my swing joints like that. Just make sure you have space to put the wrench on that street 90.

    Also, a tip I learned the hard way--favor the riser to one side of the hole through the floor so when the pipes expand it's not rubbing. Rookie mistake on my part....now the pipe gets hung up.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

    ethicalpaul
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,050
    I am not a plumber, just a pipefitter so I hate weird angles. If it was me I would put the tee on a 45 and come out with a 45 to get it flat and then 2 90s to go vertical to the radiator...allowing for pitch of course......but thats just me
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,913
    Ed, I'm thinking that Tee would not turn without 2 sledge hammers.
    Intplm.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,913
    Paul, I don't know what your day job is, but I agree with Clammy that it is good that you took this adventure on yourself being self taught. (I assume, having followed you since you joined the wall).

    Years back people used to do this type of thing all the time. All be it quite often wrong as there was lack of info, but they would make the attempt. Unlike today we are flooded with tech info if anyone bothers to study it.

    I inherited a 25+ volumes set of the Home Handyman from the early 60's. Projects from a homemade garage door opener to rewiring in your house. And these were done by dad when he came home and shed that coat and tie, as Clammy said.

    Today, over the phone, I have to walk people thru resetting a GFCI button, circuit breaker, lighting the pilot on the water heater, changing batteries in smoke alarms and tstats, and god forbid, changing a fuse, etc. (and quite often the women follow the instructions better than the husband).

    IIRC, there was a posting here with a FAF problem, wife posted saying they lived there 11? years without changing the furnace filter......and the husband was an electrician......apparently can't
    cross the trade lines.

    Something has been lost in 50 years. Know any dads who can patch a bike tire tube?
    ethicalpaulforesthillsjdadasilva
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    > @JUGHNE said:
    > Ed, I'm thinking that Tee would not turn without 2 sledge hammers.

    It turned with a 24” pipe wrench with a 6 foot cheater 😅

    It’s hard to tell the angles due to the photo angle but I do have the Tee pointing 45 degrees toward the wall

    @EBEBRATT-Ed I used the swing 90s expressly to have those weird angles! I’m sure a pipefitter would cringe but the swing joints did let me put it right where I wanted it while still keeping a nice pitch. I do really appreciate your input!

    I didn’t put a gate valve because I couldn’t think of the point.

    Here is the finished job in the basement and what I have so far above the floor. I capped it for today to pressure test what I have so far.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Ironman
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    > @JUGHNE said:
    > Paul, I don't know what your day job is, but I agree with Clammy that it is good that you took this adventure on yourself being self taught. (I assume, having followed you since you joined the wall).

    Thanks @JUGHNE and @clammy 😀

    I make iPhone apps but I’m kind of old so I grew up with rotary phones and tearing apart everything and fixing stuff. My dad was a blacksmith so I had some exposure to hammers and tools and forges as a kid, that helped. I have fallen in love with working on my steam system!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    JUGHNEforesthillsjdadasilva
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,913
    Quite a distance between Iphone apps and one pipe steam heating! If that is your picture with your name you don't look to be rotary phone generation....to much non grey hair. ;)
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    Oh and @clammy yes I’m going to be insulating everything in the basement. I already have 1” fiberglass in boxes ready to go
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,501
    No sledge hammers on cast fittings the better way to do w about zero collateral damage is to use a grinder grind a cut in the cast fitting and then use a small chisel n hammer usually one wack n she splits like a diamond cutter only easy way to do w usually zero pipe shock or damage using 2 big lumps was the way I did it for 30 years now the last 4 or 5 I ve smarten up n use the grinder the easier way was there for years now w the cordless grinder it’s a no brained .i hate non square piping and would have gone outta way to do w out crazy angles but if it works thumbs up . Guess you went to metro supply for insulation fitting covers and tacks? Wish they made a tool fo4 pressing those fitting cover tacks in but no luck as of yet after a few dozen fitting covers my pushing thumb is shot seems it the only spot on my hands that is not a Callous lol good work Paul Peace an$ good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpaulIntplm.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    I got the insulation at http://www.buyinsulationproducts.com/ but I didn’t get the plastic covers. I kind of don’t like that shiny “stormtrooper” appearance 😄 but maybe I’ll add them at the end.

    Regarding square piping— I’m not sure how I could preserve a slope back to the main and also allow for riser expansion without these swings.

    Although I think the motion of joints during heating and cooling is mythological I wanted to try it with the swings.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    > @JUGHNE said:
    > Quite a distance between Iphone apps and one pipe steam heating! If that is your picture with your name you don't look to be rotary phone generation....to much non grey hair. ;)


    Lucky genes there! I’m 52
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • clammyclammy Member Posts: 2,501
    Paul try metro supply in Clifton it’s the only place I go for insulation usually one stop shopping and good pricing and get them shiney covers they finish the job also get union covers if needed .it ain’t finsished till it’s insulated in my book unless you want to dry clothes in the boiler room .peace and good luck clammy
    R.A. Calmbacher L.L.C. HVAC
    NJ Master HVAC Lic.
    Mahwah, NJ
    Specializing in steam and hydronic heating
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    edited November 2019
    I’ll give them a try @clammy, you’ve never steered me wrong before! No doubt I’ll need some additional pieces that I got wrong on my order 😅

    Also Clifton is right next door! My wife teaches there
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • mikeg2015mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,178
    Nice job.

    One reason I left a corporate type job and went into trades was I really wanted to build things and troubleshoot first hand. I’m not that good yet and have so much to learn and craftsmanship isn’t natural to me. But it reminds me of the best part of my youth, playing with legos, the sandbox, fixing my bicycle, etc.

    On my own system, it’s not the prettiest, lots of foreign malleable fittings, things I would do differently for piping, but in the end, it works 100x better than when I inherited it, water use has dropped, it’s safer (none of the LWCO or autofill safeties worked before), quieter and much more effecient.

    THis site has been an invaluable resource.
    ethicalpaul
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,913
    Insulation thumb tacks: I use my small flashlight that has a pick-up magnet on the end. It is flat, right size, holds the tacks and then the 6" long flashlight works as a handle.
    Flashlight is "Sensible Products" EMF-1. telescopes with flex head, magnets on both ends.
    ethicalpaul
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263
    Remember that, when you're screwing a pipe into a fitting, you can usually go an extra turn after it gets tight, the same isn't true with fitting-to-fitting joints. They get tight all of a sudden.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    Yeah I struggle with that. But I’ve never had one leak and I’ve done I guess about a dozen steam fittings so far (a tiny number compared to the real folks on this forum of course)
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
    Hap_Hazzard
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    Interesting thing happened today. Lots of surging and water getting thrown up past the header after months of dry steam.

    Can you guess why? The clue is in this thread

    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • AMservicesAMservices Member Posts: 490
    You disturbing the pipes caused a lot of trash that was just sitting there to fall back to the boiler, dirtying the water and now it's surging
    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    edited November 2019
    That’s possible. I was thinking it was the oil from the 3 feet of new pipe that I installed. But either way it shows how easy it is to get garbage steam production when the near-boiler piping is iffy (in my case a Dunkirk boiler with only one supply and not a great header)

    I boiled some skimmed water and it didn’t suds up, but it was weird
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 6,913
    I did some minor piping changes on a system with a 1 million+ boiler that did not have any skim ports.
    The electric water heater was in the boiler room. With a hose attached to the WH drain a bucket with dishwashing detergent was filled and all fittings and nipples washed, short lengths of pipe scrubbed with long brush. Then second bucket overflowing into floor drain for rinsing.
    Bonus of flushing out the WH also.

    This was a 1932 system, new boiler in 76, attic downfeed main.
    We removed and cleaned about 50 mud drip legs, 3/4 to 1 1/4".
    A lot of the sludge had putrid oil smell to it. From when IDK.
  • Hap_HazzardHap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,263

    That’s possible. I was thinking it was the oil from the 3 feet of new pipe that I installed. But either way it shows how easy it is to get garbage steam production when the near-boiler piping is iffy (in my case a Dunkirk boiler with only one supply and not a great header)
    I boiled some skimmed water and it didn’t suds up, but it was weird

    I think you're probably right about the oil from the new pipe. Maybe it's my imagination, but I think I'm seeing a film on the surface. It doesn't seem to be sticking to the pan though, so maybe it won't be too hard to skim it off.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA

    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    I skimmed it for maybe 30 minutes until it ran clear then drained it back to water line and it ran smooth again
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,050
    @JUGHNE
    the situation is real bad. My girlfriends daughter lives with her boyfriend both early 30s. My GF says "I have to bring Mary's bike to the bike shop it wont fit in her car" I said whats wrong with it? Flat tire. I said Mike's 32 he can't fix a bike tire??? Guess not. I think i was doing that when I was 7 years old.

    @ethicalpaul

    nice job. Hard to tell from the picture how much room you have to work with, Swing joints are the way to go good job. Not many homeowners could even attempt that.

    @clammy

    don't know if you know this thumbtack trick but I put the thumb tacks through the first layer of the fitting cover while I have it in my hands. Then put the cover over the fitting and push the tacks through the second layer .....works much better
    ethicalpauladasilva
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    Next phase. I cut the threads on the riser and finished patching up and painting the wall. And cut the 2” -> 1” bushing out, replacing it with a 2” -> 1-1/4”

    The last fittings and nipple are on the way. I wanted to get the riser and 18” nipple (unpictured) on there to be able to measure what length remained.
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    Oh yeah, one more thing. I put a +/- gauge on that 1/2" side riser there and found that my system pulls -10 inches of water at the end of a call for heat (very temporarily).

    I'm still looking for zero cracking pressure check valves for my vents to experiment with vacuum, no luck
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • coelcanthcoelcanth Member Posts: 89


    I'm still looking for zero cracking pressure check valves for my vents to experiment with vacuum, no luck

    i've looked a bit too, with same result..
    even when a valve turns up rated as low as .5psi,
    the swing is +or- something like .5 psi !
    seems like that is no guarantee it will work at all

    the other thing i wonder about my system is:
    if most radiators are only hot to the third or fourth section, and the vent is not even shut, how long would it take generate much vacuum anyway ?
    not sure about how your system works, but my radiators are rarely fully hot


    ethicalpaul
  • acwagneracwagner Member Posts: 414
    I made a proto-type ball check valve that works on a bench top setup that has maybe an inch of H20 cracking pressure.

    In the next few weeks I'll make enough to try on my system.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    Same here @coelcanth. .5 might as well be infinity
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Intplm.Intplm. Member Posts: 1,158
    YOUR HIRED !!!
    ethicalpaul
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,107
    @acwagner Are you using something like a 45 ACP shell casing and and a teflon ball (or disk) as the valve mechanism?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • acwagneracwagner Member Posts: 414
    I'm not a firearm enthusiast, so no 45 ACP shells. I used a copper pipe cap, some rubber o-rings, and a 5/16" teflon ball as a proof of concept. It held 20" of Hg of vacuum.

    I plan on making a batch of prototypes on the lathe using aluminum round stock.
    Burnham IN5PVNI Boiler, Single Pipe with 290 EDR
    18 Ounce per Square Inch Gauge
    Time Delay Relay in Series with Thermostat
    Operating Pressure 0.3-0.5 Ounce per Square Inch

    ethicalpaul
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 1,608
    edited December 2019
    Really? 20 inches HG?? That's 272 inches of water! That would be pretty great
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • PMJPMJ Member Posts: 950
    @coelcanth said:
    coelcanth said:

    the other thing i wonder about my system is: if most radiators are only hot to the third or fourth section, and the vent is not even shut, how long would it take generate much vacuum anyway ?
    not sure about how your system works, but my radiators are rarely fully hot


    The vacuum generated in partially filled radiators happens quickly on shutdown and the amount will surprise you. But more importantly, all you need to gain the benefits of vacuum is to keep the radiators as the lowest pressure points of the system when the burner goes off. They just need to go below atmospheric and be less than the mains. This will keep steam flowing into the rads from the mains for minutes after shutdown every cycle. Currently your rads quickly become the highest pressure place in the system when your burner goes off and all flow stops completely between burns.

    More vacuum is better, because it lowers the boiling point and produces more steam with no burner, but any vacuum has very significant positive effects.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
  • coelcanthcoelcanth Member Posts: 89
    i think i follow..
    but if a partially filled radiator with vent open is close to (or at) atmospheric pressure,
    is the amount of steam collapsing enough to pull the radiator into vacuum ?

    or is it something that happens over the course of a few cycles
  • BobCBobC Member Posts: 5,107
    @acwagner I don't use guns myself (had enough of that in the army) but 45 brass is a pretty good fit on Maid o mist replaceable orifices.
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • PMJPMJ Member Posts: 950
    edited December 2019
    coelcanth said:

    i think i follow..
    but if a partially filled radiator with vent open is close to (or at) atmospheric pressure,
    is the amount of steam collapsing enough to pull the radiator into vacuum ?

    or is it something that happens over the course of a few cycles

    The volume change from steam to water is over 1700 to 1 so yes the collapsing steam easily creates vacuum and quickly on the very first cycle if the vent has a check valve preventing air from entering.
    1926 1000EDR Mouat 2 pipe vapor system,1957 Bryant Boiler 463,000 BTU input, Natural vacuum operation with single solenoid vent, Custom PLC control
    ethicalpaulCanucker
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