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New steam line in contact with drywall

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Howdy,

So, I'm in the process of renovating an old 1920s duplex that I plan to live in (it's a flat with identical units, more or less, on top of one another). It has steam heat and everything is in a one-pipe system. In re-doing the upper/2nd floor kitchen, I tore out the old steam pipe because it had corroded quite a bit and ran a new vertical line from the basement up the 1st floor wall and through the joists in new kitchen (to a new location than before).

I had no remodeling experience when I started but have learned a lot a long the way. I had one plumber take a shot at re-routing the new steam line, but he did a poor job and no HVAC companies I called were willing to do it, so I took the task on myself. I didn't think it was that hard overall and thought I did a good job at pitching the pipe so that water will return to the boiler easily.

Long story short, but unfortunately in my naivety I did not insulate the new steam lines at the time. My bigger concern, however, is that the new steam line comes into direct contact with the lower kitchen drywall. If I knew any better I would have ensured this was not the case however there isn't really any maneuverability going forward. I have already laid the floor upstairs and can't really move anything without being super invasive.

I'd love to use this steam line going forward but am concerned about the contact with the drywall. I know it's not a fire concern, but am worried about the wall deteriorating. Is there anything that I can do to mitigate this? I'll try to upload some pictures if I can. Thank you.

Comments

  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,205
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    Its going to creak too when the heat comes up. Send some pictures....I would worry more about noise than doing great damage to the sheetrock.  Did you use black screw pipe or copper?  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,205
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    As long as you didn't reduce pipe size and  pitched it well, you might just have to live with it.  Alot of folks do.  Run the heat now to see how its going to be.  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • eddymoney
    eddymoney Member Posts: 4
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    Ignore the piece cutout in the opposite wall in the vertical section. The hallway/staircase with the vertical pipe has not been drywalled on the currently exposed side yet, so I do have time to put some insulation on the vertical pipe, just not horizontal section upstairs.

    All of my radiators are in the garage getting ready to get sandblasted, otherwise I would test run it. When I ran it earlier in the year, though, I didn't notice any issues with noise.
  • eddymoney
    eddymoney Member Posts: 4
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    Also, I know my sections look really jenky on the vertical side, but I was working with what I had at the time and feeding sections through vertically to reach the elbow upstairs.
    Mad Dog_2
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,764
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    I am concerned you won't have any pitch on the radiator run out, You need a swing joint (two elbows) below the radiator valve either 290s but a 45 and a 90 would be better and you need pitch on the short horizontal piece coming off the riser
    Mad Dog_2ethicalpaul
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,205
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    Yes...as I said GOOD  PITCH is Golden.  To make you feel a little better, your piping job looks like many I've seen when you do demo...Worked for 100 yrs   Mad Dog 🐕 
    eddymoney
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,746
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    I'd also suggest finding a completely new route above the floor or at least properly through the joists. The way you notched those they are essentially ruined and now need sistered. Properly sized and placed holes would have been much better structurally.

    Here is some good information about the subject.
    https://buildingadvisor.com/notching-and-boring-joists/

    I agree with the above the way the valve is won't allow proper pitch on the radiator. The way you have it the radiator needs to be high on the right, low on the left. The pipe under the floor needs to be high on the left and low on the right. See how they are in conflict? Add a swing joint and it allows for both of those things.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    eddymoneymattmia2WMno57
  • eddymoney
    eddymoney Member Posts: 4
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    It may not be noticeable but the horizontal pipes have pitch to them - I'm not really sure I see what the issue is as long as the radiator pitches towards the valve, which pitches (in either direction) towards the vertical pipe. Maybe it will be tough for the radiator to pitch towards the valve, but this setup doesn't seem super different than many others in my house.

    That is a good guide on notching/boring joists - thanks for sharing. The rule of thumb everyone told me was to not go more than 1/3 down in either direction, which sounds like an oversimplification. That being said, "ruined" seems like a pretty strong word for the condition of the joists. Regardless a plywood subfloor was installed over the area and hardwood has been laid, so it is long in the past at this stage. Time will tell, I guess. FWIW the jagged tooth cuts you see were from my plumber before I took things into my own hands.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,759
    edited August 2023
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    I'm kind of curious...why does your horizontal pipe travel to the lower left so far only to turn and face the other way where I assume the radiator went (approximately where that board is leaned against the wall)?

    Couldn't you have made it shorter by the length of the radiator by having it attach to the right side of the radiator instead of the left? (accomplished by rotating the radiator)

    PS: don't even worry about the insulation, it's not an issue.

    PPS: Regarding the notches, no one is concerned about the roughness of the cuts, it is the size of the notches:


    PPPS: those multiple couplings aren't awesome, and do I see pipe dope on the union? A leak in there won't be easy to detect or fix so, maybe leave that open for a heating season to see how it does, but even then a leak can develop over time so it's a bit concerning.

    PPPPS: @EBEBRATT-Ed 's and @KC_Jones 's pitch concern is valid. The way your pipe is, if the pipe has any pitch away from the radiator (which it does need), then by definition, the radiator itself is going to pitch away from the supply valve and will collect water on the other side, which may well cause loud banging. If the radiator has correct pitch toward the supply valve, then by definition the horizontal supply pipe will be running downhill toward the supply valve, causing water to collect just before the valve with the same concern.

    But you might get lucky!
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,866
    edited August 2023
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    People butcher joists all of the time, especially plumbers and HVAC guys.
    However, notching one joist close to a wall is one thing, but 5 of them in a row, that deep?

    I'm glad it's not mine and I'll leave it at that.

    Get the building inspector to come tell you what he thinks of it.
    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
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,205
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    Not great, but we see that in many older houses...pre-Right Angle drill days??  Sawzall was King.  Ill try to find a Picture but the worst I've ever seen was some DIYs
    Cut WINDOWS out of the 2" x 8 " Floor joists...I'm talking...they left an inch on top of joist and an inch on the bottom and 12" wide even though it was for 4" PVC soil line!!!

    They got nailed for getting no permits but two bathrooms, stacked.  We came in as the Licensed Master Plumbers and had to cut it ALL OUT...Carmine the Plumbing inspector couldn't believe how crazy they went with the Sawzall.  He called in the Sr. Building Inspector and they had a Field day on the HO.  He had to put in structural steel and everything.  

    The worst part was that the HO was a very wealthy businessman that could well afford the proper Licensed trades but cheaped out.  
    Mad Dog 🐕 

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,842
    edited August 2023
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    eddymoney said:

    The rule of thumb everyone told me was to not go more than 1/3 down in either direction, which sounds like an oversimplification. That being said, "ruined" seems like a pretty strong word for the condition of the joists.

    The strength in the central part of a span of a joist comes almost exclusively from the compression of the top and the tension of the bottom of the joist, You shouldn't notch a joist at all. I suppose very shallow notches compromise the strength an acceptable amount in the eyes of the code. When you have deep notches like you have you effectively reduce the height of the joist to the height of the bottom of the notch.

    You effectively have about a 2x7 spanning whatever the span of that floor is instead of a 2x10.(or whatever the actual dimensions of the joist and notch are) Will it collapse, probably not. But it will sag and bounce and likely separate the plaster if it is wood lath and plaster.

    WMno57ChrisJMad Dog_2ethicalpaul
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,204
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    The notch exceeds the 1/6h depth but long term performance will depend a lot on how the subfloor was installed. Properly glued and screwed 3/4” will significantly strengthen the joists and reduce deflection.  

    And as @Mad Dog_2 said, I’ve seen worse. I’ve learned over the years the various trades have no respect for framing. And of course framers often pay little consideration for providing space for the plumbing stack or HVAC needs to be routed. Another reason for a good GC who is on-site daily. 



    Mad Dog_2
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,866
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    PC7060 said:
    The notch exceeds the 1/6h depth but long term performance will depend a lot on how the subfloor was installed. Properly glued and screwed 3/4” will significantly strengthen the joists and reduce deflection.  

    And as @Mad Dog_2 said, I’ve seen worse. I’ve learned over the years the various trades have no respect for framing. And of course framers often pay little consideration for providing space for the plumbing stack or HVAC needs to be routed. Another reason for a good GC who is on-site daily. 



    Glued and screwed to what?  It looks like there's nothing to screw or glue to between the wall and the pipe.   There's nothing left on most of the joists.
    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
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,204
    edited August 2023
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    @ChrisJ - granted there is not a lot remaining but the 2-3” that is will allow a solid bond to the subfloor to reduce flexing similar to the top chord of a T beam. But as a said before, properly glue and screw along length of joist   
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,554
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    I'm very glad I'm not your building inspector. Also glad -- for your sake -- that that appears to be an exterior wall, and thus bearing. There are two strength considerations for a joist or other beam: shear and moment. The joists which you notched near the wall are shear critical, and while one or more of them may break, probably not. They should be sistered with at least 1 inch nominal thickness timber, both sides, bearing on the wall and extending at least two feet beyond the notch, glued and screwed to the remaining joists. The one which is notched farther from the wall is moment critical. It -- and only if -- you used at least 1 inch thick structural plywood, glued and screwed (2 1/2 inch No. 10, 6 inch spacing) to the remaining joist, extending at least from the wall to a point three feet beyond the notch I might accept it. Otherwise... no.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,205
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    Liquid nails and long screws...go to Town  Mad Dog 🐕 
    PC7060
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,866
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    I'm very glad I'm not your building inspector. Also glad -- for your sake -- that that appears to be an exterior wall, and thus bearing. There are two strength considerations for a joist or other beam: shear and moment. The joists which you notched near the wall are shear critical, and while one or more of them may break, probably not. They should be sistered with at least 1 inch nominal thickness timber, both sides, bearing on the wall and extending at least two feet beyond the notch, glued and screwed to the remaining joists. The one which is notched farther from the wall is moment critical. It -- and only if -- you used at least 1 inch thick structural plywood, glued and screwed (2 1/2 inch No. 10, 6 inch spacing) to the remaining joist, extending at least from the wall to a point three feet beyond the notch I might accept it. Otherwise... no.
    But 2" addition in width isn't going to be close in strength to that reduction in height is it?
    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
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,554
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    The sheer strength is likely adequate -- the problem is the stress riser at the sharp cut where the notch was made. The objective of the cheek pieces is to reduce the sheer stress at that location.

    The sheer strength of a beam is proportional to the cross section area. In most structures (I've seen exceptions -- usually a tenon) the area is more than adequate to carry the sheer. The bending strength -- which resists the moments in the beam -- is proportional to the square of the depth times the area for a rectangle, or more generally the section modulus.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Mad Dog_2
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,205
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    Dang...love those engineering terms...$50 dollar words...Mad Dog 🐕