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Help Adjusting Gravity Hot Water Fin Tube

Laura F
Laura F Member Posts: 1
but your heating Q&A has taught us everything we know about our gravity hot water system. However, I haven't been able to find anything about fin tube radiators that have been added to a system like ours.

We recently bought a house built in 1860, with a gravity hot water system. Most of the rooms in the house have old cast iron radiators which are easy to adjust (nice big valves on the side of the radiator -- radiators for dummies.) But the living room (the largest room) and our bedroom have "updated" fin tube radiators added sometime well after the original system was installed but still back far enough in the past to be old. My problem is that these two rooms are the coldest in the house and I can't seem to figure out how to increase the hot water flow into those radiators. There is a bell-shaped thingey sticking out of the top of the end of the radiator farthest away from the intake pipe. It has two hex nuts on top, but when I turned either of them with a wrench, water started to come out. That seemed bad, so I closed it.

So -- 1. Is it possible to adjust this type of radiator and 2. How the heck do I do it?

Any help would be most welcome. Thanks so much!

Comments

  • nick z.
    nick z. Member Posts: 157


    > but your heating Q&A has taught us everything we

    > know about our gravity hot water system.

    > However, I haven't been able to find anything

    > about fin tube radiators that have been added to

    > a system like ours.

    >

    > We recently bought a house

    > built in 1860, with a gravity hot water system.

    > Most of the rooms in the house have old cast iron

    > radiators which are easy to adjust (nice big

    > valves on the side of the radiator -- radiators

    > for dummies.) But the living room (the largest

    > room) and our bedroom have "updated" fin tube

    > radiators added sometime well after the original

    > system was installed but still back far enough in

    > the past to be old. My problem is that these

    > two rooms are the coldest in the house and I

    > can't seem to figure out how to increase the hot

    > water flow into those radiators. There is a

    > bell-shaped thingey sticking out of the top of

    > the end of the radiator farthest away from the

    > intake pipe. It has two hex nuts on top, but

    > when I turned either of them with a wrench, water

    > started to come out. That seemed bad, so I

    > closed it.

    >

    > So -- 1. Is it possible to adjust

    > this type of radiator and 2. How the heck do I do

    > it?

    >

    > Any help would be most welcome. Thanks so

    > much!



  • nick z.
    nick z. Member Posts: 157


    > but your heating Q&A has taught us everything we

    > know about our gravity hot water system.

    > However, I haven't been able to find anything

    > about fin tube radiators that have been added to

    > a system like ours.

    >

    > We recently bought a house

    > built in 1860, with a gravity hot water system.

    > Most of the rooms in the house have old cast iron

    > radiators which are easy to adjust (nice big

    > valves on the side of the radiator -- radiators

    > for dummies.) But the living room (the largest

    > room) and our bedroom have "updated" fin tube

    > radiators added sometime well after the original

    > system was installed but still back far enough in

    > the past to be old. My problem is that these

    > two rooms are the coldest in the house and I

    > can't seem to figure out how to increase the hot

    > water flow into those radiators. There is a

    > bell-shaped thingey sticking out of the top of

    > the end of the radiator farthest away from the

    > intake pipe. It has two hex nuts on top, but

    > when I turned either of them with a wrench, water

    > started to come out. That seemed bad, so I

    > closed it.

    >

    > So -- 1. Is it possible to adjust

    > this type of radiator and 2. How the heck do I do

    > it?

    >

    > Any help would be most welcome. Thanks so

    > much!



  • nick z.
    nick z. Member Posts: 157
    Cold living room

    When you say fin tube,do you mean baseboard?{like you see in newer houses}Or does it look like a alrge piece of pipe with fins on it?
    From your description of the bell shaped thing,I would guess it to be aair vent of some type.
    If someone replaced rads. with B.B. there is no adjustment for that. It just won't work porperly mixing rads,and B.B.
    Some pictures would help, and get some where the fin tube is hooked to the piping.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,226
    throttling

    Hello: You may be able to throttle down the hotter radiators, particularly on any upper floor, to force water through the baseboard. If you have access to an accurate thermometer, you could "temperature balance" all the radiators/baseboard too.
  • Boilerpro_3
    Boilerpro_3 Member Posts: 1,231
    If you have a pump on that system

    it should run continuously throughout the winter. This helps make sure that the heat stored in the radiators during the burner off cycle will be circulated to the baseboards that hold very little heat during the burner off cycle. This allows baseboard and old cast iron rads to work well together. Beyond that, the heating capacity of the baseboards needs to be balanced with that of radiators. Either the installer did this correctly or you will neeed to try to balance it be adjusting the flow to the radiators. Typically the radiators will need to be throuttled back considerably.... I'd start with the valves half closed. All of this,however only applies if you have a pump. If you don't, you'll need to install a properly sized radiator of a design similiar to those you have to get proper heating. Try to find radiators that are from the same period as your system.

    Boilerpro
  • sinkdoc 4338
    sinkdoc 4338 Member Posts: 11
    convector on gravity system

    copper convectors on gravity systems do not work well together. the best solution is to install cast iron column radiators or a circulating pump this will help the water to move more quickly. make sure the circulater is sized to the system. be careful when throttling old valves they tend to leak.




This discussion has been closed.