Temporary removal of cast iron radiator to retile floor


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Old 06-15-13, 08:20 AM
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Question Temporary removal of cast iron radiator to retile floor

I am remodeling the bathroom and need to temporarily remove the cast iron radiator to rebuild the floor and the wall behind it.

1) I have never done this before so any helpful information, no matter how basic it might seem to you, will be appreciated.

2) Clearly, I need to drain the radiator and stop the flow of water through the system. What is the correct way to do this?

3) Can I accomplish this without turning off the boiler? The boiler supplies the hot water to the house.


Thank you in advance!!!
 
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Old 06-15-13, 10:34 AM
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Yes, you will have to shut down the boiler. You will have to allow it to cool and then drain sufficient water to allow cutting (or disconnecting) the piping to the radiator without initiating a flood. Then you will need to either cap the cut/disconnected pipes or install a bypass pipe depending on the particular system.

Without knowing a whole lot more about your particular system it is impossible to give detailed information. Posting a couple of dozen pictures of the boiler and piping will be a good start. Pictures need to be well-lit and in focus. Posting to a photo-hosting site with the URLs posted here is the best method to use. Do not use tinypic as the forum software rejects tinypic.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 12:01 PM
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Is the bathroom right above a basement? If so, look at the piping from the basement to see if there is any chance you could jack up the radiator slightly to allow the new flooring to be installed. It's probably a long shot.

What type of radiators? Mine are cast-iron baseboards - when laying ceramic floor tile in a bathroom, I was able to slide the tiles under the radiator without moving or disconnecting the rads.

What type of piping - black steel, copper, or what? Breaking steel connections will likely be quite a chore, requiring two pipe wrenches, etc. Be prepared to encounter problems and headaches if you have to remove and reinstall radiators.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 02:06 PM
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Thank you gilmorrie and Furd for replying to my post. Your questions have prompted me to study my heating system piping and my observations make me happy.

The cast iron supply from the boiler transitions to copper which transitions back to cast iron which splits off into several runs. Each run eventually transitions back to copper again. Each radiator is fed by a branch off of one of the runs. The great news is that each branch has a valve on it. And the returns from the radiators appear to all have valves on them as well. The valves on the supply and return to the radiator I need to remove are stop and waste valves.

So, it looks like all I need to do is close the valves on the supply and return of the radiator, then drain the radiator from the port on the supply stop and waste valve. True? This would allow me to leave the boiler on for hot water while I have the radiator disconnected to rebuild the bathroom.

Once drained, I should be able to remove the radiator by loosening the nuts on the cast iron supply and return sides of the radiator.

Question: should I loosen the nut between the valve and the radiator or the nut between the supply riser and the valve?




Thanks for all your help!!!!!!
 
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Old 06-15-13, 02:34 PM
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I would not touch that valve.... They like to break.... Often they dont hold anyway.

Take a pic of the otherside.

Also take several pics of the boiler, and the piping to and from this rad in the basement.

We want to see if this is a mono flo system. If so the copper can be cut and capped and the system put back in service while you renovate.

The more pics the better we can help....
 
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Old 06-15-13, 02:57 PM
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Hi. Thanks for your quick reply!

This is the stop and waste valve that I was going to close to isolate the radiator from the heating system:



I was then going to drain the radiator through the drain port on the stop and waste valve. I posted the picture in my previous post as a reference to my question: should I disconnect the radiator (after isolating it and draining it) before or after the old valve?
 
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Old 06-15-13, 03:01 PM
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should I loosen the nut between the valve and the radiator or the nut between the supply riser and the valve?
Eventually, when we have more info as requested by lawrosa, to remove the rad you will loosen the nut between the valve and the rad, which is a union. But we need to see the add'l photos.

I agree with lawrosa, the chances of that old valve holding are slim. My guess is you are going to ultimately have to take the boiler out of service and drain to a level below the rad.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 03:06 PM
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This is the stop and waste valve that I was going to close to isolate the radiator from the heating system:
That valve looks new enough to hold - but there is another line somewhere leading to the rad. Slow down, and take about a dozen photos as suggested by lawrosa.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 03:24 PM
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Here are a series of pictures of the line from the boiler to the stop and waste valve in the previous post. They are in series from the boiler to the run leading to the valve.







 
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Old 06-15-13, 03:28 PM
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I did close the stop and waste valve pictured in a prior post and turned on the heat. Radiators got hot...except for the radiator in the bathroom. So, I have validated that this valve is indeed on the supply line to the radiator I need to remove.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 03:36 PM
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Oh, I forgot to mention that, for what it's worth, the radiator I need to remove in on the second floor. So, no direct access to it from the basement. However, is seems apparent for tracing the piping that there is a separate feed to every radiator, first or second floor, from the piping in the basement.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 03:48 PM
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Show us photos of the opposite end of the rad. It must have both a supply and a return - both have to be isolated if you want to avoid shutting down the system. I sounds like you have found a valve in the basement for either the supply or the return, but not both?
 
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Old 06-15-13, 04:03 PM
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Yes, that is true. So, I need to open that valve and shut what I believe is the valve on the return, then turn the heat back on, to determine if I have actually found how to isolate the radiator.
 
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Old 06-15-13, 04:49 PM
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IMO I would shut the main water feed to the boiler. Then relieve pressure. Then I would cut the copper where it goes into the floor of the rad and cap. Looks like a mono flo system, but not sure....

Also need that pic of other side of rad..

Take it slow... One thing at a time....

That valve/stop may shut off the whole second floor, but you still have the return to contend with so we need more info....
 
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Old 06-15-13, 05:13 PM
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I opened the valve that I had closed in the previous test, then closed the valve I thought was on the return from the radiator. Turned the heat back on (which is a difficult thing to withstand in June). All the radiators got hot, except for the radiator in the bathroom. So, looks like I have isolated the valves on the supply and return of the radiator.

The valves I closed only isolate the one radiator. As I said, each radiator has it's own "circuit." (The pipes to each of the other upstairs radiators are visible as they run outside the walls on the first floor...it is a very old house....the original central heat was added years after the house was built).

So, if I close these two valves, drain the radiator through the drain port on the stop and waste valve, does anyone see a problem with removing the radiator while the rest of the system remains live?

Again, thank you to everyone who is helping. I hope I can repay the favors!
 
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Old 06-15-13, 10:13 PM
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Otherside of rad pic?
The valves I closed only isolate the one radiator. As I said, each radiator has it's own "circuit."

And...

Can I accomplish this without turning off the boiler? The boiler supplies the hot water to the house.
After further review I guess it dont matter . Just need to keep water in the boiler for HW...

Would like to see boiler pics as a whole to see isolation valves.....

Your pics are pretty crummy IMO and cant tell much...
 
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Old 06-17-13, 02:32 PM
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Thumbs up

Yes, the pics were crummy. My basement is very cramped and there are a ton of pipes (and wires). There was no way to get better pics.

My radiator removal was a success. Closed the two valves in the basement to isolate the radiator, then drained the radiator through the drain port on one of the valves (both stop and waste valves). With two borrowed pipe wrenches, the nuts on either side of the radiator came loose very easily. Piece of cake.

And, there is enough play in the supply and return pipes so there will be no problem reconnecting the radiator after I put in the new floor which will have a higher buildup.

Thanks to everyone for your help. These forums are invaluable.
 
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Old 06-17-13, 04:09 PM
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There was no way to get better pics.
More light would have helped.

Glad it worked out for you though!
 
 

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