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Older Radiant (hydronic) Heat systems

Nick_17
Nick_17 Member Posts: 1
I'm looking at buying a circa 1950 home with hydronic radiant heat in the ceiling. I like radiant heat, but am I courting disaster (as far as leaks & maintenance)with a 55 yr old system above my head? I'm assuming it's copper pipe, but I obviously can't see it. Hasn't leaked yet ..
Anybody have experience dealing with these older systems?

Comments

  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Ceiling radiant

    Hi I'm a homeowner with ceiling radiant circa 1952. Mine is purring like a kitten no problems with leaks. You will not be sorry by its performance for heating if constructed as my system.

    I will give you my system low down for comparison.

    The copper 3/8" tubing is 6" on center through out the whole ceiling in my home embedded in the plaster.

    The system is controled by one T-Stat. Single zone.

    There is one circulator a Bell and Gossett HV.

    There is a Paneltrol mixing valve (original) that mixes the return water with the supply water.

    The original boiler lasted 41 years before being replaced with a Weil Mcclain CGM 7 cast iron boiler.

    The supply water temps to the ceiling radiant is from 105 to 115* depending on the outdoor temps.

    The return water temps are 85* to 95*.

    The boiler is set at 160*

    The size of my dwelling is 2300 sq. ft. including the basement its 3900 sq. ft. the basement has radiant in the floor.

    My Btu's per square foot per heating degree day is 5.11 avg. Highest being 5.98 lowest being 3.54 in a 2 year period.

    If you are seious about this house, and want to do some ivestegating buy a infra red thermometer. They are about 50.00 for a cheap one. You can run it across and close to the ceiling, and where the temp is highest is where there is a tube. Best to do when heat is cycling. That way you can see the tube spacing. You can also use it to spot check temps around the prospective home.


    I will end in saying that just because I have had no problems does not mean that you will not, or I will not in the future. This is purely testimonial to my own system. If the same craftsmen that did my system did the one your looking at. Its a gem!

    Gordy
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Ceiling radiant

    Hi I'm a homeowner with ceiling radiant circa 1952. Mine is purring like a kitten no problems with leaks. You will not be sorry by its performance for heating if constructed as my system.

    I will give you my system low down for comparison.

    The copper 3/8" tubing is 6" on center through out the whole ceiling in my home embedded in the plaster.

    The system is controled by one T-Stat. Single zone.

    There is one circulator a Bell and Gossett HV.

    There is a Paneltrol mixing valve (original) that mixes the return water with the supply water.

    The original boiler lasted 41 years before being replaced with a Weil Mcclain CGM 7 cast iron boiler.

    The supply water temps to the ceiling radiant is from 105 to 115* depending on the outdoor temps.

    The return water temps are 85* to 95*.

    The boiler is set at 160*

    The size of my dwelling is 2300 sq. ft. including the basement its 3900 sq. ft. the basement has radiant in the floor.

    My Btu's per square foot per heating degree day is 5.11 avg. Highest being 5.98 lowest being 3.54 in a 2 year period.

    If you are seious about this house, and want to do some ivestigating buy a infra red thermometer. They are about 50.00 for a cheap one. You can run it across and close to the ceiling, and where the temp is highest is where there is a tube. Best to do when heat is cycling. That way you can see the tube spacing. You can also use it to spot check temps around the prospective home.


    I will end in saying that just because I have had no problems does not mean that you will not, or I will not in the future,Look at the condition of the plaster if there is excessive cracking beware . This is purely testimonial to my own system. If the same craftsmen that did my system did the one your looking at. Its a gem!

    Gordy
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    There is a good chance

    that it will leak someday. Your dilema is deciding when :)
    Guess it depends on your luck, and the cost of the furnishings below.

    hot rod

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
  • Dave Stroman
    Dave Stroman Member Posts: 763


    I maintain a system built in 1953. Copper tube in the ceiling. Some steel pipe in the slab. Most of the pipes in the slab have failed. Copper tubing still good. Boiler has no mixing. Set at 140. I put heat in a new garage slab and some baseboard in an addition. All runs at 140. The people are in their 80's and keep the house at 80 degrees at all times. Original Peerless boiler still runs fine.

    Dave in Denver
    Dave Stroman
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Hot Rod

    > that it will leak someday. Your dilema is

    > deciding when :) Guess it depends on your luck,

    > and the cost of the furnishings below.

    >

    > hot

    > rod

    >

    > _A

    > HREF="http://www.heatinghelp.com/getListed.cfm?id=

    > 144&Step=30"_To Learn More About This

    > Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in

    > "Find A Professional"_/A_



  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    Hot Rod

    Hot Rod, You probably can't wait for the day I post on my new fire protection system :^))). Then we will know.

    Gordy
  • hr
    hr Member Posts: 6,106
    I would

    venture to say copper ceiling systems will fare better than copper in slabs. In slabs copper may be exposed to soil conditions, backfill materials, moisture, concrete mix ingrediants (cinders, flyash, BFS) , slab movement, etc.

    Ceiling conditions should be much more friendly :) Only arsenic to worry about !

    Sure it's possible that a copper ceiling radiant could last another 100 years. Although we will probably not know :)

    hot rod

    To Learn More About This Professional, Click Here to Visit Their Ad in "Find A Professional"
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