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Thinking of trying used cast iron baseboard heating. Problems? What are push nipples?

eclecticmn Member Posts: 53
edited November 2021 in THE MAIN WALL
Previous owner (since 1998) and me never got hot water heat in kitchen slant fins. Not air locked. Mystery. Rest is cast iron radiators. Ripped them out. Looking for used under window units. Slim pickings. I just came across used cast iron base board radiators in local place. Trying to get by cheap and need heat now. I have two pipe hot water system.

I have a 1 inch tee off a 2 1/2 inch pipe. I hope this is not an issue.

They appear to have a threaded steel supply and return on one end. The other end has steel openings for press fit nipples. Those need to be piped to each other to return the water, correct? How in the world do I deal with these? Someone suggested welding toe nipples to create threaded steel nipples to work with. True?

1. What kind of problems would I get into in addition to the above?
2. How to hang from wall? Where to buy hangers?
3. Directly on sheet rock?
4. Do I get covers for them? Where?
5. Does the flat or finned side face out?

I grabbed some photos showing some units with threaded openings, non-threaded openings, and non threaded opening with nipples shoved in.
Home owner near Minneapolis with cast iron radiators, one non working slant fin now ripped out, and hot water heat.


  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 4,288
    You need another end section with the threaded connections for the piping on that end. Push nipples are unthreaded nipples that get pushed in to the 2 sections to connect them together with the bolts/the assembly tool. You can get some sizes on web sites that sell new baseray.

    The flat side is out, it is the finished surface, they don't have covers.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 11,062
    And if the "Slant Fins" never heated these won't heat either if you don't find the problem.

    If you bleed it and don't get air it's not an air problem it's a flow problem
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 6,678
    edited November 2021
    You ripped out the standing cast iron rads? Uh, that was the best heat that you could have possibly had for an old house.

    Now you’re gonna put in Baseray which is an excellent alternative, but do you know how many linear feet you’ll need to sufficiently heat each room or the entire house? Have you done a scientific heat loss survey like a Manual J? That needs to be done to know how much radiation you’ll need in each room.

    The Baseray sections go together with push nipples and the specialty draw tool designed for them. Don’t even consider trying to weld them - you’ll destroy them attempting that.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • eclecticmn
    eclecticmn Member Posts: 53
    I did not rip out the existing cast iron radiators. There have been slant fins or equivalent since at least 1998. The old ones were beat up so I replaced them and the gate valve years ago. Still no heat. I recently took apart the piping at the 1 inch tee off the 2 1/2 inch main line hoping to find blockage. Then the 3/4 copper. No luck. People say not to mix slant fins with cast iron radiators. In desperation I decided to re-pipe and try to find under window cast iron radiators. I came across some used cast iron base boards while looking for them. I do not know the brand. Hence the questions.

    Some expert said I needed 17 feet of baserays. I will settle for less. 12 feet is doable. A cool kitchen is better than a freezing one.
    So, I cannot weld nipples in and need another threaded end? Hmm. Is that how Baserays normally terminate? A threaded end section that couples the top channel to the bottom?
    I still prefer normal cast iron under window units since I know how they work kinda.

    The local Minneapolis source that almost has a monopoly wants $30 per section for used cast iron rads or $20 per foot for cast iron baseboards.
    Home owner near Minneapolis with cast iron radiators, one non working slant fin now ripped out, and hot water heat.
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 552
    Do you still have the original rads?
  • eclecticmn
    eclecticmn Member Posts: 53
    The original cast iron kitchen rads, if they existed, were gone since at least before 1998.
    I guesstimated some numbers for BTU required and BTU output from various sources.
    I do not pretend to be a professional.
    I need an improvement over my bad situation now.
    At this moment I am leaning toward two 26 in 9 in wide 8 section cast iron radiators for sorta under 2 windows for reasonable. They will take the chill off and do not require 4 weightlifters to move them.
    I can move them if I find a better solution.
    I would prefer 19 in high but they only exist at the local high priced salvage place.
    I am learning that moving the long radiators is a big issue. I understand that the threaded rod rads are doable to take apart and the others require special radiator tools that take me down another path.

    I called consumers supply in Chicago and the guy said I need 8600 BTU which means 17 ft of 10 in high 2 inch deep radiator, Baserays.

    This program says I need 7500 BTU
    Home owner near Minneapolis with cast iron radiators, one non working slant fin now ripped out, and hot water heat.