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Radiator replacement question: Burnham Baseray

MarkNY
MarkNY Member Posts: 6
Hi all!

Steam radiator replacement question. We are doing a remodel of our kitchen and need to replace a radiator in a 1 pipe steam system. Current radiator is one of those Gov-Ray types that was recessed into the wall. It's 16 sections, so I calculate 8640 BTUs. The area where the radiator is located will have a built in bench area after the remodel, so we are looking at instead installing a Baseray type under the bench(with proper airflow in and out). Problem is, that wall will only fit a 5 foot Baseray section, which is only 4100 BTUs. Even if I take 20% off the original radiator ratings because it was recessed into the wall, that brings the required BTUs to 6900. So my question is, can a Baseray be run around a corner in a 1 pipe steam setup? I thought I remember reading about a max. length for 1 pipe steam applications, but can't find anything right now. I was also looking at the Governale Convector, but can't figure out how to calculate BTU output. Any input would be appreciated!

Comments

  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,701
    I think the max length recommendation of 10 feet was for two-pipe steam. I believe the Baseray is not recommended for one pipe steam, corner or no
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,272
    Governale has a number of options. Oddly, I don't find the EDR rating for the convectors in the literature, but a quick call to your distributor (or Governale) ought to come up with it.

    That said... people have reported a number of problems with Baseray and one pipe steam. Based on that, I'd be quite unhappy about going around a corner with it. It's just too hard to get the condensate to drain. If you could pipe it as two pipe -- which depends on having a true dry return (not a steam main extension) or a wet return plus a vent -- that, or fin tube even, can work well.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 901
    edited October 2020
    I always hate to combine finned tube and cast iron radiation but if you can not find anything else you could replace that rad with finned tube baseboard. Just search for Slant Fin multi pak90. Single stack baseboard is is 14" high and using 1 1/4" copper element will yield 1910 BTU/FT and 2" steel element will yield 1400 BTU/FT. I have seen Burnham Baseray used on a 1 pipe system with good and bad results. I stayed at a Bed and breakfast in north central Pa. where they removed all the standing cast iron rads and rep[lace them with Baseray. Only a couple short pieces of the radiation heated the rest of the system did not heat.
  • MarkNY
    MarkNY Member Posts: 6
    Thanks for the responses everyone. It seems the Baseray results are very mixed, and sounds like a longer run like I would need is not a good idea. Another thought I had was using a standard style radiator, but a very low one. I thin I remember seeing very short versions, but not sure if anyone is still making them. I would need something less than around 15" tall. It could be quite, like 6 or even 8 tubes, but the height is the issue.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,622
    It is very likely you could find a salvaged or reconditioned short and fat radiator. The piping that section as 2 pipe is also an option you shouldn't discount. It can be done, just if it is simple or slightly complex depends on the way your system is currently piped.
    ethicalpaul
  • AMservices
    AMservices Member Posts: 610
    if you pipe the baseboard as if it was a 2 pipe system you only need 1" of pitch across 20'. pitching in the direction of the steam flow. the supply line is the high side. 
    condensate drains out the opposite end into a wet return back to the boiler, or into a loop seal (basically a 5' tall water trap) back into the steam main.  
    really depends on how much room you have for piping underneath the baseboard. 
    its all in the Lost Art Of Steam Heating.  
    ethicalpaul
  • MarkNY
    MarkNY Member Posts: 6
    I've already started the process trying to find a salvaged short and fat radiator, as from my research, nobody still makes them. I have not investigated or read about piping one radiator as a 2 pipe, but will do so. I do have 'The Book', so will read up. One potential issue is there's not much room underneath this area of the house, only a crawl space, if you can even call it that, that's maybe 2' tall.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,272
    Two feet isn't going to be enough for a water loop, but...

    All is not lost. Consider what, exactly, you are trying to do. You want steam to come in one end of your baseboard -- freely. You need air to go out somewhere. You need condensate to leave the baseboard without getting in the way of the steam.

    Now. If you have one pipe steam, you can't exhaust the air into a steam main or even into a continuation of one. Won't work. That's why there there are vents on one pipe steam radiators. OK, no big deal, put a vent on your baseboard at the far end. Then the question is, what to do about the condensate? Not so simple. What needs to happen is a trap on the outlet (the low end, opposite the inlet), and that trap has to wander around somewhere until it can hook into a wet return line. But, so long as the water in there can get to a wet return, it will be OK. You do have enough height in that crawl space to run such a pipe, I would think. It should also have a vent on it, to make that it's pressure is lower than that in the radiator. It also should either be well below the water line, when it drops, or at least 28 inches above the water line, if it's above it at all, assuming you can limit your pressure to 1 psi or so.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ChicagoCooperator
    ChicagoCooperator Member Posts: 354
    This is probably a dumb question, but if you are renovating your kitchen - I assume - down to the studs (if you have a wood house) are you improving thermal insulation to the point that you might need a smaller emitter?
    mattmia2
  • MarkNY
    MarkNY Member Posts: 6
    Not a dumb question at all! We only opened up walls that needed to have work done, like moving plumbing, electrical, etc. As it turns out, no exterior walls were touched, so we still need around the same BTU output.