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Could this be a pipe for steam?

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Hi all,

I’m finishing my attic to make it a livable space and I need to figure out what to do about these two pipes that come up about 3 inches above the subfloor and then are capped. I’m not positive they are steam, they don’t get hot when the heat’s on, but other clues indicate that they were probably put there by builders in case the family decided to put in radiators in the attic. They are lined up well above radiators on the floor below and they are located on either end of the attic under windows.

I don’t plan to put in radiators up there. I’m moving towards mini splits and, now that I insulated the space, it is pretty well conditioned by the floors below.

Can I cut the pipes and re-cap them below the subfloor. This could be their final resting place as I’m putting in a hardwood floor in the attic, so whatever I do needs to be permanent.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated.

Matt

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,430
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    Can you positively identify them on the floor below? If so, a better plan might be to disconnect them down below, and put a nipple and cap on there. I am somewhat averse to having pipes which disappear into a ceiling, never to be seen again.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
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    Threading those pipes below the floor, that close to the joists could be challenging,
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,883
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    Looks like 1" pipe. Doubt that's steam
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,614
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    @BronxNYSteam

    I would say they are steam pipes. Their location under a window points to that. The fact that they are black pipe points to that.

    If the pipes are capped in the attic they may not get hot even if connected as they would be full of air.

    What you need to do is find out if they are connected or not.

    How many floor do you have? 1 floor + attic? 2 floors + attic.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
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    With the steam off, you could loosen the caps to where they are hand tight. If water lines they would start to leak.
    If steam lines and you fire the boiler with the caps loose so they could vent air you will know if they get hot.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,883
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    JUGHNE said:

    With the steam off, you could loosen the caps to where they are hand tight. If water lines they would start to leak.
    If steam lines and you fire the boiler with the caps loose so they could vent air you will know if they get hot.

    and if an old gas line?
    mattmia2
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
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    Good point, Pecmsg. Then apply soap bubbles on the caps as they are loosened. If pressurized gas risers the bubbles would not stop. Hopefully the oderant is still active and would be smelled.

    Or abandoned piping for carbide gas light system??
    The largest I have seen for lighting was 3/4" main in the basement, with 1/2 and 3/8 doing branches.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,883
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  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,889
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    Assuming they're steam, why not use them? A couple small radiators would be cheaper to run than a mini-split when it gets real cold..................
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,738
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    But make sure they aren't part of old gas lighting...

    @pecmsg i lived in an apartment like that. it had a number of capped gas pipes sticking out of walls for gas lights. I think it was all connected and the ranges in the apartments tapped off of it too.