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Removing basement steam pipes but leaving risers in the walls?

After flooding from Ida killed our boiler, we are putting in heat pump type systems and removing our radiators. We want to take out all the horizontal steam pipes in the basement because it will allow us to raise the ceiling a bit, but we do not want to mess with the risers in the walls, since it would require a bit mess on the above ground floors. I'm worried if we remove the mains, that the risers will fall/shift/sag since nothing will be supporting them from below... any thoughts or comments? Many thanks!!!


  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,692
    I think that's an awful idea.
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,376
    Getting rid of the steam and going with a heat pump will most likely result in a very uncomfortable house.

    Old homes like that were designed for radiant heat, not forced error.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • mknmike
    mknmike Member Posts: 82
    Is it possible the OP NYCDave is looking to install heat pump driven floor hyrdonic? Probably not eh? If the pipes fall, they fall. Then cut section my section until it's all out of your way. Right? Or just put a support in to assure the pipe does not fall.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,310
    As has been said, you will not be happy with heat pump only heat. Nor warm. And if it is mini-splits you are putting in, not ducted, you will be even less happy.

    Thats your choice, though.

    On the risers. Yes, they will fall. How far they fall depends very much on what they connect to on upper levels. You may find that they fall very little, and hang up on horizontal piping buried in the first floor ceilings. On the other hand, they may come right on down. It might be wise to create anchors for them (both horizontal and vertical) before you cut them.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
    Don't take out your steam system. Now that's out of the way.

    I have a couple abandoned risers in my house (as little as it is at 1200 sf it was still over-radiated and so over the decades some radiators were moved or removed, leaving behind some risers.

    They are just sitting in the wall. They don't hurt anything. I can see the bottom of them in the basement near the rim joist.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    I don't know what's in your house or how it was done, but I can tell you if I had to take out my steam pipes, they would all have to come out because none of the verticals are supported once the radiators and steam mains are removed. Then all the holes need patched, plaster, hard wood floors that might not even be available anymore.

    Also, you are worried about ripping out the pipes to gain headroom in the basement. Ductwork will take up more space than the pipes do so I've never understood this logic. Well, properly sized duct work will.

    Are you aware of how much work it's going to be to run all that duct work...properly? Returns, supplies, proper sizing, most likely bulkheads to hide some of the duct work in some rooms. Trying to match trim etc. This isn't just changing to a different heating systems, this is very intrusive, if it's done properly.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • wmgeorge
    wmgeorge Member Posts: 222
    edited February 2022
    Be aware and speaking from experience, If you use Mini Splits they will not make you warm and happy when its below 10 Degrees F or when the wind is blowing hard out of the North. They also need TLC, the flare nuts can be a leak source Even if did the Right way, multi head units are a pain to keep running. Cleaning the indoor units is either a every year or every two year pain in the rear to do. Speaking from Experience.
    Old retired Commercial HVAC/R guy in Iowa. Master electrician.