hot water radiators


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Old 01-08-04, 02:39 AM
oldhome
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Question hot water radiators

I own an antique home that has hot water radiators. It's all one zone. I have been told it would be difficult to create more zones. The second floor gets very warm, while the first floor, where the thermostat is, is cooler. One problem is that some of the valves(?) to adjust the flow to the radiators do not turn. What's the best way to free them up, WD-40?

Also, heat to a small addition (9 x 20) is provided via hw baseboard hooked into the radiator system. Flexible tubing (gray) was used to connect the hwb to the main system. A valve in the flexible part started leaking, so it is turned off, and the area is quite cold. The first plumber I asked said there would be no problem replacing the valve, and I should wait until the heating season was over , drain system, etc., but he retired before I asked him to do the work. Others either do not have the valve or think the system will not work, anyway, with the combination of radiators and hwbaseboard, and suggest replacement of flexible with copper return and creating a separate zone, which would be difficult due to access issues, and somewhat expensive. There is a crawl space underneath the addition, but no way to get in there. I know the system worked for the previous owners. Any suggestions?
 
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Old 01-08-04, 02:19 PM
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The only way I know of to get those old valves to turn is to get them to crack loose and then work them back and forth gently until they turn fully. Be sure you know how they work because some only turn 1/4 turn and others turn several turns. Look carefully under the handle and you will see if there is a stop built into the valve that would limit the turn to 1/4. All you really need to do is partially close the valves on the second floor.

As for the addition, I would not mix cast iron and copper radiation. ZThey will both give off heat but you will not be comfortable. The addition shoul dhave been put on its own zone. There is nothing wrong with pex tubing but it doesn't sound like you have pex tubing. It might be wise to have the tubing replaced with pex and add a zone valve while you are at it and be comfortable. You will spend a few hundred dollars, probably several hundred, but you will never have control over the addition without zone control.
 
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Old 01-08-04, 11:28 PM
oldhome
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Thanks. There are some of each type re the valves. I was afraid to try forcing them, but I will do so.

Re the addition, it was created by knocking a wide hole through the 14-inch brick wall at the back of the house. It may have been a porch before. It is now connected directly to the kitchen area. The long wall, west exposure, is mostly casement windows, and there is a metal clad door that transmits cold. I do not think there is much insulation in the walls. I believe I see some sheathing that would have been put on when the vinyl siding was put on long ago, but no roll insulation.
I agree re the zone. I have been pondering whether to utilize the hwbaseboard that is in place, but difficult to access under the floor (see orginal message), have a radiator installed, radiant heat in the floor or wall, small woodstove,or some other idea. Any ideas would be appreciated
 
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Old 01-09-04, 01:02 AM
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Hot Water Radiators

Hi,
Another way is to fit thermostatic rad valves on the flow of every rad and fit lockshield valves on the return.
The object of the lockshield valves to allow balancing of the system, What you want to achieve is a drop of 20 deg over the rad from flow to return, Usually pays to leave one or two rads without controls in say the bathroom so you don't get dead ending the pump if all the thermo valves should happen to close at the same time like say in mild weather.
To balance leave the thermoheads off and try and adjust the lockshields on each rad to get the 20 deg drop in temp..
With thermo valves there is a tendancy for the rad to have a cooler return as the valves gets close to it's set point.
This way you can set each room to the requred temp. If you cann't get every room up even with the rad at it's 20deg drop (180 in and 160 out) then the rad is too small for the room ie the
heat loss is greater than the rads output.
If the boiler is unable to get to it's thermostat setting 180-185 degs then the boiler is not putting out enough heat, (too small, burner needs work, boiler needs work etc?)
If the boiler can get to it's temp and the water is not able to be circulated fast enough then try boosting the pump (speed?).
Rads should always be fitted with valves at the top and bottom to enable
removal for redecorating, or maintenace.
 
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Old 01-09-04, 06:50 PM
oldhome
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Thanks for the info. I have seen the thermo valves on TV home improvement shows, but did not know much more about them.
 
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Old 01-10-04, 10:21 AM
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Narroc's idea is a good one but will require some medium level skill in pipe work and fitting knowledge. You will probably need to order the right size valves for each radiator and be ready to wrestle with the old spude in the radiator. It makes a wonderful way to heat each room though and is probably worth some serious consideration.

Ken
 
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Old 01-11-04, 05:39 AM
oldhome
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Either Narroc or KField. I would need to hire someone to install the thermovalves. I have considered installing them in at least the rooms that get too warm, hoping to even out the temp in the house. Would that work? Also, can you give me an idea of the cost (range) per unit?
 
 

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