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Can't recess radiator because it would mean notching sill/plate midspan? Any ideas?

David_53
David_53 Member Posts: 32
edited November 2021 in Plumbing
Hi folks,

I'm not really sure what to do here (I'm not a plumber or a contractor, but have bought all of Dan's books and have used this site over the years to learn about steam heating...although we have hot water here at our new house). I'm remodeling my bathroom (house was built in 1900). There was a freestanding cast-iron hot water radiator in the bathroom on this same wall, but it did not leave much room for my legs when sitting on the toilet (we have oil forced hot water system with just one zone for the entire house). So I would like to put in a recessed Sunrad under the window. The problem is that there is a 4by4 (actual dimension) old sill there that my plumber says he would have to notch to put the radiator pipes in (he would be running pex lines to it from the corner of the room where there is already a huge notch, can't put radiator there because vanity will be up against wall there). This is the front wall of my house, 2nd floor. My concern is, I know that you're not supposed to notch a sill midspan, and this would be right in the middle. I have full access to the wall behind the sill, if that leaves me any other options?

My question is 1) is there another way to put in the recessed Sunrad without notching the middle of the sill? 2)Should I consider notching the sill in the middle? Or is that a bad/dangerous idea? As you can see from the picture, as I mentioned, at some point over the last 100 years someone already notched a huge chunk out of the side of the sill (and in other places in the bathroom). 3) My plan B was to just get a smaller slim cast-iron freestanding radiator and put it a little further away from the toilet on that wall, while still giving me enough room for the vanity to open etc.

I just don't want to structurally undermine the house or do anything stupid, while at the same time would really like to put the radiator in the wall so as to save space in the tight bathroom. Any ideas or help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!





Comments

  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 3,037
    edited November 2021
    There's a lot of room under the window. Is the recessed radiator that large that you have to deal with the bottom plate or do you just have to notch it to get the pipes in the wall?

    BTW, I like the way the plumber drained the other fixtures in the bathroom, i.e. the connection to the toilet drain.
    Often wrong, never in doubt.
    David_53
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,454
    Why not just get a different radiator, something slim, even heated towel bar.
    steve
  • David_53
    David_53 Member Posts: 32
    Thanks Alan for your help, I can get the pipes in the wall no problem, they come up from that right corner. But then the tappings for the sunrad i think are on the inside of it. So how would I get the pipes inside? Or you mean maybe prop up the radiator a bit and try to run the pex under the rad, is the pex that flexible to do it that way?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,340
    Bring the bottom of the opening for it above the sill, drill straight down through the middle of the sill to get the plumbing in there. other option is to insulate that wall and build another wall in front of it to contain the radiator.
    David_53EBEBRATT-Ed
  • David_53
    David_53 Member Posts: 32
    @ steve, you mean not recess it? yeah, I may just have to do that. Only issue is that space is tight with vanity on right-side wall coming out 24 inches and then I need 22 or so inches clearance ifo the toilet on the left side.
  • If the radiator sits on top of the 4x4 bottom plate, there's room to pipe it underneath, no?


    Often wrong, never in doubt.
    mattmia2
  • David_53
    David_53 Member Posts: 32
    edited November 2021
    Alan, yes plenty of room under the radiator above the sill plate like in the photo. I'm just unclear on how I would get the pex, which I would run in that wall (can I run pex in an exterior wall?), to the space underneath the radiator? Would I just bump the radiator out a bit and run it behind behind the radiator in the wall? Is that how it is done? Thanks!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,340
    I mean recess it, but create that recess by furring out the wall. That lets you insulate behind the radiator instead of having it up against the uninsulated sheathing.

    If you can't, make that space, on top of the sill works too(might need to use a shorter and wider model), but I would look for a way to make the space if at all possible.
    David_53
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,797
    What's under the sill? That is a critically important question. If it is continuously supported, for instance by the foundation, a notch such as the one in one of your photos isn't a problem at all. If it isn't, then drilling straight down through the middle of it and bringing the pipes out below it works, too, with the smallest holes you can get he PEX through.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    David_53
  • David_53
    David_53 Member Posts: 32
    Thanks Jamie, it is on the 2nd floor of my house, so no foundation. So you think it is ok to drill 2 small holes from top to bottom of sill plate? I know you can drill holes from side to side, but was not sure about vertical. Thanks!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,340
    If the sill has a wall under it that sits on the foundation, the wall is passing the load down to the foundation. I would still consult a carpenter here if you're removing a major piece.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,797
    mattmia2 said:

    If the sill has a wall under it that sits on the foundation, the wall is passing the load down to the foundation. I would still consult a carpenter here if you're removing a major piece.

    Actually, top to bottom is no worse than side to side, provided the holes are relatively small in relation to the sill -- which yours would be -- and provided that the two holes are spaced a bit of a distance -- typically 4 times the hole diameter -- apart.

    Side to side is OK, too, provided the holes are in the middle quarter or so of the piece. What you don't want to do is to take anything much out of either the top quarter or bottom quarter.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    PC7060David_53
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 571
    edited November 2021
    The “Front to back” and “top to bottom” description can be deceiving. I tend to think of the face and side; holes through the face (for example, the 3.5” side of 2x4) are allowed up to a maximum size based on the size of the wood whereas allowable holes through side are very limited. 
    Having said that drilling 1/2”-1” down through the face would be fine for your plate.   
    This link will take you to a IBC site which describes the limits on notching and boring. 


    I think I’ve reached my limit on boring(est)!!
    David_53
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,340
    edited November 2021

    mattmia2 said:

    If the sill has a wall under it that sits on the foundation, the wall is passing the load down to the foundation. I would still consult a carpenter here if you're removing a major piece.

    Actually, top to bottom is no worse than side to side, provided the holes are relatively small in relation to the sill -- which yours would be -- and provided that the two holes are spaced a bit of a distance -- typically 4 times the hole diameter -- apart.

    Side to side is OK, too, provided the holes are in the middle quarter or so of the piece. What you don't want to do is to take anything much out of either the top quarter or bottom quarter.
    The reason i say talk to a carpenter is that as long as it is supported down to the foundation by the first floor wall, it is unnecessary so you can cut it any way you want as long as it still passes the second floor wall down to the first floor wall, but we may be missing something. (for example notch the top out to be flush with the floor or notch the front to route pipes).

    I still think having that wall all insulated and air sealed is a great idea, especially since that is a bathroom. I don't know what your layout is, but is there room for one tall, narrow, single tube deep radiator on either side of the window?
    David_53
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,161
    You could do @gerry gill custom made vertical pipe radiator that would be just the ticket for that room!!!! If I could find that old post
    David_53
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,952
    I have it bookmarked just for that.  His was a steam system, so you’d need something slightly different for a hot water system.

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/151994/new-steam-mini-tube-installation-in-ohio/p1
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    David_53
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,161
    @KC_Jones

    TY, Funny I forgot it was square tubing , I thought it was pipe. that would work on this job
    David_53
  • David_53
    David_53 Member Posts: 32
    edited November 2021
    Thanks everyone for your ideas. So I'm thinking I can just stick some insulation behind the recessed radiator and have it sit halfway on the sill plate...so recess it 2 inches on the sill (the sill plate is 4 inches). That way I will access to get the pex in from that void space in front of the sill plate between the sill and the first floor joist. Then I just frame around the radiator to make it look finished. How does that sound?

    Or I guess I can just drill the holes instead of making the notch.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,340
    I would put foam sheet in the back of the recess. You need 1/2" of drywall or 3/4" of plywood as a fire barrier over the foam.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 571
    edited November 2021
    The Blue Dow XPS board is rated for fire exposure without drywall in certain applications. You may be able recess it back in there and tape and skim coat to adjacent drywall. 

    I believe the Dow Blueboard rating specifically calls out use in attics, basements, and crawl spaces and there may be limitations for use without fire barrier in occupied space. 
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,340
    PC7060 said:

    I believe the Dow Blueboard rating specifically calls out use in attics, basements, and crawl spaces and there may be limitations for use without fire barrier in occupied space. 

    The rule is different for unoccupied areas.