Cutting into existing pipes - Not recommended?


Old 03-13-18, 01:02 PM
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Cutting into existing pipes - Not recommended?

My 2001 gas boiler & hot water heater is in the middle of my basement of my 1910 home (don't know when natural gas was first added). We want it to a corner so that we can finish the basement and get best use of the space. We had an hvac company come out to give us a quote. One of the things I mentioned is that I want them to run new piping in the basement, as we have these old large 1.5" cast iron pipes for it that hang low and we'd have to build chase's in bad locations to cover them up. The HVAC company said "I wouldn't do that. You don't want to cut into old pipes like that. You're asking for trouble. Leaks in the walls, etc. I'd just leave them. If you force me to do it, which I wouldn't recommend, I'd make you sign a contract removing all liability from me and making it clear you're responsible if any issues arise". Instead he wants to run piping from the new location and have them hook up to existing piping where the boiler is currently located. That was very disappointing to hear as it really hurts the space to have the chases. It was also surprising to hear, which is why I came here. Is this true? Am I asking for a world of trouble if I cut the pipes near their entrance at the walls and run new piping? I'm gonna get another quote, but if the next guy says they're fine to cut, I may even be more confused.

Note: there wasn't an analysis of the pipes performed...he just looked at them for 2 seconds and said you shouldn't cut old pipes like that.
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Old 03-13-18, 02:16 PM
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He could be right. I'd get a second opinion from a heating plumber.
The flue would also be a point of concern unless you are considering direct vent now. Posting some pictures of your current setup with the piping would be helpful to the discussion here.

Old 03-13-18, 04:34 PM
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You said that the heating system is hot water. If it is hot water and not steam, you could strip out all the piping in the basement and run it as you like along the walls so it is out of the way. If this is what you choose to do make sure the contractor is well versed in complete boiler systems or you could hire a heating engineer to lay out the piping system with prints that the contractor can follow. You could add zones if you desire to control the temperature settings in different areas of the home .If you hire a good contractor you would not be asking for a world of trouble just a great expense due to the cost of the labor and material to do the job correctly. Whatever you choose to do get 3-5 prices from contractors and ask a lot of questions. A complete system overhaul and re-pipe job is a common occurrence, just make sure you understand the costs and potential risks. If by chance the system is steam, then it's a whole new problem.
Old 03-14-18, 10:03 AM
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" unless you are considering direct vent now. " --> Yep, that's most likely the direction since chimney is center room too. I'd be open to running an exhaust along the ceiling to it, but he said it would need to be direct vent instead.

"If it is hot water and not steam" --> Yep, hot water

Basically what I'd like is to just cut the pipes at the wall/ceiling between the basement and other floors and run new pipes from there to the new boiler location, as the existing piping isn't run between the joists and instead is below it. So what's inside the walls on other floors wouldn't get touched. Just what's in the basement.

"You could add zones" --> Would love more zones as the first and second floor share them, but he said it would be thousands to add an additional zone to break out between the two and would take a decade to recoup the cost just due to cost savings on the heating bill.

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