Convector Question


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Old 01-18-10, 10:09 AM
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Convector Question

I'm currently doing a kitchen remodel and the height of our floor is going to be raised by about 1/4". I have two (what I used to call radiators) old school convectors on either side of the kitchen. The copper and coil should not be affected by the new tile flooring, but I'm almost certain that the covers will no longer fit. Do you guys think I can just trim the bottom "legs" with tin snips to accommodate then new height? Also, I called a local plumbing/heating place and they mentioned that this is an old school method of heating and that they couldn't replace the covers with something else. Really?? I'm hoping the tin snips will work... if not, what are my options?
 
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Old 01-18-10, 03:41 PM
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Convector type radiators are still being manufactured.

If you are doing a remodel on the kitchen, you might think about 'modernizing' the radiators... the newer ones are a bit more 'stylish' than the old boxy ones, but still basically the same thing.

How about 'Panel Radiators' ? Sleek modern look, etc...

But I don't see any reason why you couldn't trim the bottom of the cabinets... other than the raw, sharp edge that will probably rust the first time the floor is mopped... look for some way to 'finish' the edge... maybe pieces of 'push on' type automotive trim, or something like that?
 
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Old 01-18-10, 04:09 PM
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Why can't you raise the convectors?
 
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Old 01-18-10, 04:16 PM
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what kinda stinks is that the convectors and copper feeding them are reset into the drywall. Looks like those panel radiators are set flush to the wall... i'd have to have the copper relocated and patch up the wall. I mean I AM doing a remodel, but trying to keep costs down. Thanks for the suggestion.
 
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Old 01-18-10, 04:20 PM
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Originally Posted by drooplug
Why can't you raise the convectors?
I thought about that. Since they are recessed into the actual drywall, I guess I'd have to cut the drywall, remove and reattach the part of the cover that is fixed to the wall. I've never done it, but I image it's just screwed into the drywall and it could be raised up. Good idea.
 
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Old 01-18-10, 04:39 PM
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Take some pics... maybe if we can see, some better ideas will pop into our haids...

free account / Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket / upload there / place link to album here.
 
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Old 01-18-10, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper
Take some pics... maybe if we can see, some better ideas will pop into our haids...

free account / Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket / upload there / place link to album here.
Good call. Here's a link to the kitchen remodel album. There's a front and side view of one of the convectors. You can see how it's recessed into the wall on the side view. Any ideas you have are most appreciated. Thanks again.
 
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Old 01-18-10, 07:44 PM
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Are you sure those walls aren't plaster? rather than drywall? I bet they are... you try cutting that and yer gonna make a big mess for 1/4" of movement.

Do the lower two corners on the cover have a 'knob' that fits into a 'slot' in the rear part of the cabinet? Are the knob and slot high enough off the floor to allow you to cut the bottom edge?

If so, I see no reason why they can't simply be cut shorter. I don't know that I'd use tin snips though, I would probably get a good sharp metal blade in my sawzall... file down the rough edge... then when yer done, get some paint stripper and take the ten coats of paint off... sand, prime, topcoat... I would install some nice moldings around the cabinet to hide the funky 'caulking' job...
 
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Old 01-18-10, 08:54 PM
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I agree with Trooper except that I'd use a cheap pneumatic cutoff tool (rotary abrasive blade) instead of a sawzall or tin snips to cut the bottom off the covers. Strip off all the paint (maybe take the covers to a place that has dip tanks) and then one coat of metal primer followed by two coats of high quality enamel.
 
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Old 01-19-10, 04:59 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper
Are you sure those walls aren't plaster? rather than drywall? I bet they are... you try cutting that and yer gonna make a big mess for 1/4" of movement.

Do the lower two corners on the cover have a 'knob' that fits into a 'slot' in the rear part of the cabinet? Are the knob and slot high enough off the floor to allow you to cut the bottom edge?

If so, I see no reason why they can't simply be cut shorter. I don't know that I'd use tin snips though, I would probably get a good sharp metal blade in my sawzall... file down the rough edge... then when yer done, get some paint stripper and take the ten coats of paint off... sand, prime, topcoat... I would install some nice moldings around the cabinet to hide the funky 'caulking' job...
Yeah, it's plaster. I'm gonna be doing A LOT of patching because of some electrical work, so I didn't think a little extra would be a big deal. Not sure about the slots you mentioned. The pull chain is supposed to open and close the damper, but it doesn't work... most in the house do. These things are ugly no matter how you slice it. I may have a heating/plumbing company show me what my options are for replacing them. The only place I called mentioned that they would put baseboard heating in it's place, which I do not want. I have to believe that someone in town has a better option. If I can replace 2 of them for less than 1k, I may just do that. Thanks for all the great suggestions guys.
 
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Old 01-19-10, 02:50 PM
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You would need 8-10 feet of baseboard to match the output of those convectors...

The thing about raising it is that there are two metal brackets on either side of the element that hold it all together... so if you raised the cabinet, you would have to raise the element as well...

Here's a company that manufactures a bunch of different styles of convector cabinets... (there are of course others)...

Beacon/Morris Residential, Heat, Kickspace Heaters, Commercial, Steam, Hot Water, Gas, Hydronic, Oil.

Click on 'catalog' on the right side to see all the styles.

One thing I noticed is that the one you pictured isn't even straight in the wall... and in a newly remodeled kitchen, that's gonna stick out like a sore thumb.
 
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Old 01-19-10, 04:27 PM
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Panel radiator.

mysoninc.com

runtalnorthamerica.com

are just a couple.
 
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Old 01-19-10, 06:33 PM
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Could the metal cover be removed and replaced with a custom made wooden one? Something with decorative tin for air circulation? Something akin to a traditional cast iron radiator cover. If you can do that, you could definitely make something that looks real nice.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 05:43 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper
You would need 8-10 feet of baseboard to match the output of those convectors...

The thing about raising it is that there are two metal brackets on either side of the element that hold it all together... so if you raised the cabinet, you would have to raise the element as well...

Here's a company that manufactures a bunch of different styles of convector cabinets... (there are of course others)...

Beacon/Morris Residential, Heat, Kickspace Heaters, Commercial, Steam, Hot Water, Gas, Hydronic, Oil.

Click on 'catalog' on the right side to see all the styles.

One thing I noticed is that the one you pictured isn't even straight in the wall... and in a newly remodeled kitchen, that's gonna stick out like a sore thumb.
Will a panel radiator match the output of my convector? I like the look of the panel radiators. And it seems like I could just patch the wall up completely since these don't appear to be recessed into the wall.

Could the metal cover be removed and replaced with a custom made wooden one?
I would think so, but I doubt that I could pull off making a nice cover for it. I'm an avid DIY'er but definitely no carpenter.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 08:03 AM
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Just curious. It looks as though you have a 1/2" copper pipe coming up through the floor on the front view of the left hand side of the photo. If it is a pipe isn't that one of the pipes to your convector or is it just a shadow in the pic.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 08:08 AM
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Originally Posted by spot8
Just curious. It looks as though you have a 1/2" copper pipe coming up through the floor on the front view of the left hand side of the photo. If it is a pipe isn't that one of the pipes to your convector or is it just a shadow in the pic.
There's copper coming up through the floor on both sides of the convector for supply and return. I don't think it's 1/2" though.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 09:37 AM
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I posted more pics with the cover off if you guys are interested. Trooper was correct... Looks like I won't be able to raise it without raising the coil and copper. Do you think I can just pull the metal frame out and replace it with some nice wood with a metal grated front, similiar to what drooplug suggested? The only thing that concerns me is that the metal cover had a "damper" or basically a panel that aimed the hot air in towards the room. That'd be the only thing that might be tough to reproduce. Is there any risk to the wood getting too hot if I replace the metal with wood? I like the look of custom radiator covers. Could be a fun project.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 09:59 AM
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I would consider removing the unit entirely, walling up the space, and installing a new baseboard unit. I think it would be just as effective and give a better appearance.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 04:11 PM
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OK... so really stupid question. Can you mix panel radiators in a loop of convectors like I have? These things apparently have their own temperature controls? Forgive my ignorance.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 04:28 PM
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a "damper" or basically a panel that aimed the hot air in towards the room.
The damper isn't really for 'aiming' the heat... it's for partially or completely shutting down the heat from the unit...

Those actually look in pretty good condition... not all beat up inside... fins mostly straight, etc...

A couple thoughts I had:

Are these on an outside wall? If so, with them being recessed into the wall, there's probably almost nothing between the back of the cabinet and the outdoors. There will be a pretty huge heat loss if this is the case. Another reason you might consider walling it up and insulating and installing something else.

A lot of your planning should/would depend on how your system is set up... are all the convectors in a 'series loop' ? in other words, pipe comes in one end, goes out the other end to the next unit... OR ... are both pipes from each convector teeing into one single pipe? Like this:

 
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Old 01-20-10, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper
The damper isn't really for 'aiming' the heat... it's for partially or completely shutting down the heat from the unit...

Those actually look in pretty good condition... not all beat up inside... fins mostly straight, etc...

A couple thoughts I had:

Are these on an outside wall? If so, with them being recessed into the wall, there's probably almost nothing between the back of the cabinet and the outdoors. There will be a pretty huge heat loss if this is the case. Another reason you might consider walling it up and insulating and installing something else.

A lot of your planning should/would depend on how your system is set up... are all the convectors in a 'series loop' ? in other words, pipe comes in one end, goes out the other end to the next unit... OR ... are both pipes from each convector teeing into one single pipe? Like this:
I'm at work at the moment, but will get you a pic... and will also try to explain it. There's a very large copper pipe (I believe 3/4") that feeds all the convectors. It's hung around the perimeter of the house. At each convector location 2 smaller pipes (I believe 1/4") are extended off of the main pipe and connect to either side of the unit. The path of the water is not forced to go through the unit though. In other words, the main pipe is completely intact around the entire perimeter and each subsequent pipe for supply/return for each unit just extends off of it. Pretty much exactly like the pic you posted. I'd imagine the panel radiator would work in this configuration? Hope so... the more I look at them the more I like them.

Both convectors in the kitchen are on internal walls and they always seemed like overkill. If it works out where I can put a panel radiator into my existing setup, I may eliminate one of them altogether. Yes, you're right... internally they appear to be in great shape... they're just ugly as heck Not to much the floor height issue.

Thanks again for all your advice here. It's VERY helpful.
 
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Old 01-20-10, 10:42 PM
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I like these wooden ones which can be surface or recessed:
Preview - Building Wood Baseboard-Radiator Covers - Fine Homebuilding Article
 
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Old 01-21-10, 04:52 AM
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Here's a pic of the pipes below the convector.
 
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Old 01-21-10, 03:26 PM
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Yes, you have a 'monoflo' system, and yes, you should be fine to use a panel radiator.

You want to think carefully about removing one though... before doing so, a heat loss calculation should be done on the room to make sure you would still have enough BTU output to heat it...

If you elect to build wooden covers for the existing (still not a bad choice!) you would want to leave the original covers in place and build the wooden one on the outside. If you _did_ remove the front cover, you want to make sure that the new wooden cover fits snug against the front of the heating element... you want the air going THROUGH the element, NOT around it.
 
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Old 01-24-10, 11:32 AM
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Thanks for all your help guys. I ended building a rad cover to hide my ugly convectors. See pic below. The bottom will get a coat of paint... the top will be stained to match the new kitchen cabinets.

 

Last edited by NJT; 01-24-10 at 11:57 AM.
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Old 01-24-10, 11:58 AM
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Who was it said they didn't have the carpentry skills to pull that off? Hmmmm?

Maybe paint the metal cover inside flat black to make it 'disappear' behind the grille...

nice job!
 
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Old 01-24-10, 05:13 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper
Who was it said they didn't have the carpentry skills to pull that off? Hmmmm?

Maybe paint the metal cover inside flat black to make it 'disappear' behind the grille...

nice job!
Thanks. If it werent for Tom Silva and This Old House, I would have never been able to pull it off. Difference is it took Tom like 45 minutes... mine was more like 7-8 hours, lol... and some gray hairs. All in all though, I really like it. I think I'll be covering the rest of the convectors throughout the house with these. I like your idea of painting the grill black.
 
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Old 01-24-10, 07:22 PM
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May I suggest a design change?

You will probably get more than enough air flow as-is, but future models might benefit from moving the grilles a bit higher up on the front of the cabinet. Remember that these are 'convection' heater, and with the grilles lower on the front you may end up blocking some of the air flow.

How are they attached to the wall?
 
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Old 01-25-10, 05:37 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper
May I suggest a design change?

You will probably get more than enough air flow as-is, but future models might benefit from moving the grilles a bit higher up on the front of the cabinet. Remember that these are 'convection' heater, and with the grilles lower on the front you may end up blocking some of the air flow.

How are they attached to the wall?
Good call. I was hoping that the end floor height once I'm done the remodel will raise the it up enough. It's kinda deceiving though too... the angle at which I'm taking the picture makes them look lower than they really are. In this pic it's just sitting there unattached. I think I'm just going to take some L brackets (not sure of tech term) and screw them to the wall. Should work.
 

Last edited by sinTAKS; 01-25-10 at 05:54 AM.
 

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