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    Re-Using Old HW Radiators on Single Pipe Steam (11 Posts)

  • mcsteamy mcsteamy @ 5:17 PM
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    Re-Using Old HW Radiators on Single Pipe Steam

    We're closing on a "new" house shortly, and are going to need a few radiators.  The kitchen radiator was removed eons ago, along with a a few others, and the master bedroom radiator is in a terrible location.  I was hoping to find one of those 5 column 18-20" radiators to replace it.  And I would sort of like a wall mount radiator for the future garage or the basement.  Wonder of wonders, some guy two blocks over is selling a whole house full of nice looking cast iron (he converted to scorched air).  He has everything I need.  I was just blown away to see those massive cast iron shorties.  However, I am guessing that these are probably hot water radiators.  Are there any conceivable issues using them?  The shorty radiators have a goofy connection with two pipes going into one end that I haven't seen before, and I have no idea whether steam is a good idea (or possible) on a 15' long wall radiator.  I don't see why not, but I thought I'd seek some expertise.

    Any thoughts whether I will be able to use these things would be much appreciated. I've attached a couple pictures to help. 
  • icesailor icesailor @ 7:01 PM
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    "Goofy Connections"

    ,,,"The shorty radiators have a goofy connection with two pipes going into one end that I haven't seen before, and I have no idea whether steam is a good idea (or possible) on a 15' long wall radiator.  I don't ",,,,

    Those "Goofy Connections", if they are all there, don't throw them away. Someone will want them. They are extremely rare if complete.
  • JStar JStar @ 11:15 PM
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    Steam

    Depends on the room heat loss and the radiator output.
    - Joe Starosielec
    732-494-4357
    j.star@thatcherhvac.com
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    Guaranteed performance. Guaranteed energy savings.

    Serving all of NJ, NYC, Southern NY State, and eastern PA.
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  • mcsteamy mcsteamy @ 11:42 PM
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    Heat Loss

    I went out and measured them all today to do EDR calcs.  I'm not so much concerned about the sizing as whether the radiators are suitable.  I suspect they are, but I'm eager for confirmation before dragging around a couple thousand pounds of cast iron...
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:43 PM
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    "Wonder of wonders"

    "some guy two blocks over is selling a whole house full of nice looking cast iron (he converted to scorched air)"

    That guy made a huge mistake, but you stand to gain from it!

    How about a close-up of those "goofy connections"?
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    This post was edited by an admin on April 9, 2013 11:48 PM.
  • mcsteamy mcsteamy @ 11:38 PM
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    Followup

    The picture of the goofy connection is in the second photo.  It's the one with the two pipes coming out of the same end.  After looking at all of them today, I am guessing this was an early trapless two pipe system, and that the second pipe was some sort of condensate return mechanism.  Does this sound plausible?

    Regarding the big 12 footer, this was very clearly an original two pipe steam wall radiator.  It came out of the sunroom.  I'm thinking it would be fine with single pipe, and would work nicely in the basement when if I ever finish it, or else in the garage.   Thoughts? 

    He also had two 6' lengths of cast iron baseboard, and one length of 8'.  I'm thinking about picking this up as well.. Even if it isn't perfect, it seems like it still ought to work on single pipe steam.  Any positive or negative experiences? 

    Most of the traps and valves such would probably have to be replaced.  I doubt I could get away with a two-pipe sized valve on single pipe, correct?

    [So far as the replacement, this was apparently an original two pipe, where one floor was converted over to HW.  There were two boilers, one original to 1916.  I'm guessing forced air probably cost less than fixing the mess that existed.]
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:41 PM
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    I see it

    but there were a bunch of different versions where two pipes ran into the same end of a rad- can you get a close-up of it?
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • mcsteamy mcsteamy @ 7:46 AM
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    I wish

    that I could, but I've just got the photos that he sent.  The only other one I have is the one attached where you can see the single pipe going into a smaller radiator, and the two pipes on the one in the distance. 
  • Dave in QCA Dave in QCA @ 10:21 AM
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    Radiators will work depending on valve size

    Very interesting thread.   Here is a link that relates to the valve setup that is on those radiators that have been removed.  http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/articles/1213/140.pdf
    It is for hot water and allows both pipes to connect at one end of the radiator through a single fitting.  Unusual!

    As for all of your questions regarding adapting these radiators to your one pipe steam, the determination comes down to a few factors.
    1.   The new one-pipe valve size and connection to the radiator must be at the bottom and must be a suitable size for the EDR on one-pipe set up.  According to the chart on page 91 in TLAOSH, 1" is good for up to 20 EDR, 1 1/4" is good for up to 55 EDR, 1 1/2" is good for up to 81 EDR, 2" is good for up to 165 EDR.  I have also heard a number of the Pros on here say that have seen these rules stretched a bit.
    2.   The steam vent connection should be located at the opposite end as the supply and located at a point above the bottom of the radiator that is about 1/3 of the total height of the radiator.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
  • mcsteamy mcsteamy @ 10:21 PM
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    Dave ...

    Thanks for the help!  I looked at the link you sent, and these look somewhat different.  While there is the double connection, there is no valve like the one you linked on these radiators.  The double pipes appear to have no valves.  The single pipes have a standard steam valve. Still, I'm optimistic that they'll work. 

    The pipe sizing information is also appreciated.  I'm eventually going to be adding some more radiators in the attic area, and will have to feed it off of second floor radiators that appear to have some fairly small pipes... I suspect I'll be pushing those limits a bit there.  I'm sure this will be a topic for another day.

    Some of the other rads are going in the rooms where they have been removed in the past.  The kitchen and the back room are *cold*.  They removed at least three radiators at various times.  Dumb.  The baseboard is definitely going to be pushing it on the pipe sizing, but the run outs will be able to be very short with lots of slope, so it might work.  If it doesn't, I can run them two pipe, as the whole system has a drip return on each radiator--there should be plenty of places to get rid of the condensate without having to hack things up too much. 
  • mcsteamy mcsteamy @ 12:24 PM
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    I have a new guess...

    If half of this thing truly was steam and half was truly hot water, I'm guessing the steam was a Richardson vapor setup.  That would explain the apparently lack of anything resembling a trap.  I found the PDF here explaining that system, and it makes perfect sense.  I've seen it installed before in a few other houses in the area as well, and hadn't known exactly what I was looking at.  Now I know.  If it is a vapor system, well .. lucky me.  I would think that would retrofit easily into a single pipe parallel flow setup, yes? 
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