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Chicago Radiant Repair Recommendation

mprest Member Posts: 2
We have a house from 1953 with copper radiant tubing in two zones; basement floor and bedroom ceiling. This winter we started to lose pressure in the basement zone with what appears to be a small leak.

Would love to repair the leak as we have a newer Triangle Tube Prestige Solo 110 boiler and newer Taco Cartridge Circulators. We'll need to replace one of the Taco Circulators as pressure dropped last month and affected circulator lubrication causing issues with it.

I did see a recommendation for FERNOX F4 Express leak sealer and would like to repair if possible. We're being told to scrap the system and replace with forced air, but I love my radiant system and would like to keep it. Many thanks!


    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,764
    The leak can probably be fixed but at what cost? And if you get more leaks which is likely in a 70-year-old system is repairing leaks money well spent? Or you could fix the leak and not have issues for a few more years. It's a crap shoot.

    Anything you put in the system may gunk it up. If your boiler was old, I would say go for it but not with a newer boiler.

    I assume the basement is a concrete floor you won't want to tear up.

    Your options may be hot water baseboard, panel radiators would be your best bet, or an air handler with a fan coil
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,382
    It is a bit of a gamble to use a sealer on a system that old. I suspect there will be more leaks from now on. Sealers work on pinholes, but the copper can corrode a big hole, beyond what a sealer could handle.
    You could add a small water meter and get an idea of how much of a leak you have.

    You will want to get a plan B in place . Over the top systems are an option, Uponor or Viega has them. Ceiling or wall radiant retrofit maybe. These give you "radiant" comfort.
    Panel radiators can be easy to retro-fit. They are close to radiant floor comfort.

    Do you have AC?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,076
    edited May 2022
    We replaced a boiler earlier this year on a mid-century Eichler house. Pressure tested the radiant before and the gauge dropped from 30 psi to zero in a day, too small of a drop for a leak detection company to spot. The owners decided to go ahead with the installation and live with the leak.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,766
    Abandon the existing floor system and install radiant ceilings . Good chance ceilings will not require 100% coverage if budget is an issue . That being said 100% coverage will require lower SWTs
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833