Replacing a small kitchen radiator with a hydronic under-cabinet heater

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Old 12-19-14, 07:55 AM
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Replacing a small kitchen radiator with a hydronic under-cabinet heater

Hello everyone,

I am about to undertake replacing a small kitchen radiator and install a hydronic under-cabinet kickspace heater. For secondary heat, I will also install an electric under-cabinet heater for supplemental heat on the other side of my kitchen that I am about to remodel.

I have a few questions, since I have never dealt with radiator pipes before. I have experience sweating pipe, but dealing with older radiator pipes is new to me.

Here is my plan, then I'll ask questions.

After I drain the whole system, I'll remove the radiator and I want to install a ball shutoff valve on the feed side and return side--in case I ever have to do maintenance on the kickspace heater, I do not want to have to re-drain all the water from the system.

I know shutoff vales on the feed pipe is common, but will I run into any issues with putting a second valve on the return side?

Should I use copper pipe or pex (pex-al?)? I don't have a problem with the cost of copper, but I do worry about having to solder/sweat pipe in such a tight space.

I believe the radiator pipe is iron, so I hope I won't run into any issues with the pipe crumbling, etc, when I try to do the work.

I am confident about doing the work, just want some input.

Also, the main question I have is what fitting do I use to go from the iron pipe to the shutoff valve to the new pipe (whether it is copper or pex)?

Here is a pic of the radiator pipe. It goes from here up through the garage ceiling to the right, then to a fitting reducer to 3/4" and 3/4" up to the radiator, then return to 3/4" from the radiator feed back to the larger pipe. I'm also planning to take down the garage ceiling and replace with sheetrock (as I know the ceiling is horrible).

Thanks.

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  #2  
Old 12-19-14, 11:54 AM
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I'll start off by admitting I don't have a whole lot of experience with hydronic heating systems... but I'll help where I can.

It looks like there's a threaded coupling/tee. If you can cut the pipe you're removing and get back to a threaded portion of pipe, you can get a threaded ball valve and, using pipe dope, use that as the connection point. I don't see any reason to not install two ball valves. Since they will be open 99% of the time, I can't see any issue with having them. Make sure you get the ones with the drain valve, and install them in the correct direction.

I would rather use PEX-AL than copper, both for the cost as well of ease of installation.

Good luck!
 
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Old 12-19-14, 04:12 PM
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Here is a close up of the pipe that goes up through the floor joists and into the kitchen:

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Here is what it probably looks like at the joist right before it comes into the kitchen (this is taken from another section in the garage where the radiator is for our Dining room):

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Thanks.
 
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Old 12-19-14, 05:18 PM
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Can you take a pic of the rad you want to remove?

I assume you are removing to make space?

Kick-space heaters are problematic and must be installed correctly... I usually advise against it but they have their place...
 
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Old 12-19-14, 05:41 PM
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Yes, I've read that hydronic kickspace heaters can be problematic. I do need the space and did not want to break the bank with a custom cabinet for the radiator. Plus, with my kitchen layout, not having usable cabinet and adequate counter space on that side of the kitchen would be a major loss.

Thinking of the potential for problems is why I hope to achieve putting in two shutoff valves for maintenance and an electric kickspace heather as a backup/supplemental heat source.

Small as in thickness and height.

Thanks.

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Old 12-19-14, 06:47 PM
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I would never part with that rad IMO... But if you are sure thats what you want where would you put the kick heater?

Wee need to know how the rads are piped... Like supply and return. I see no tees so maybe you have reverse return piping>>>>????
 
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Old 12-19-14, 07:14 PM
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I would never part with that rad IMO... But if you are sure thats what you want where would you put the kick heater?
Well, in drawing up the plans to redo my kitchen, I didn't have much of a choice without sacrificing cabinet space. I probably will be relocating the kickspace heather from being in that exact spot to perpendicular wall to the right, under the second cabinet from that spot (because a lazy susan is in that corner), which will be under a 36" wide cabinet. I do like the radiator, but if you see my kitchen with the current layout, you would understand. This decision is mainly by necessity to gain much needed cabinet and counter space.

Wee need to know how the rads are piped... Like supply and return. I see no tees so maybe you have reverse return piping>>>>????
Feed from the right side of the radiator, return on the left. The Tee is in garage and elbows are under the sub floor directly under the radiator.
 
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Old 12-19-14, 07:35 PM
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Feed from the right side of the radiator, return on the left.
Yes but continuous loop? In one rad and out to next rad, etc

Or in one rad and out to the return pipe, in one rad and out return pipe??? Reverse return....
 
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Old 12-19-14, 07:38 PM
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When I was a child we had a rad in a kitchenette my dad built. oh the childhood memories of eating breakfast on a cold winter morning at that table..

Like here... There are many options to keep it IMO...

 
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Old 12-20-14, 06:26 AM
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Or in one rad and out to the return pipe, in one rad and out return pipe??? Reverse return....
In one radiator and out to return pipe. I looked and every radiator is fed from the main feed in the basement/garage and each back to the main return pipe. Sorry, if I wasn't clearer earlier.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 01:13 PM
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I also confirmed that the supply pipe is 1" pipe and not 3/4" as I had thought.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 03:01 PM
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I think I figured out my plan, since I do have to move forward with removing the radiator.

I plan to remove the pipe from the main feed and return pipe in the garage (top picture in post 3), for whatever set is for the radiator in the kitchen. I am not sure which set is which as the other set is for the 2nd floor bedroom that is over the kitchen.

I'll carefully cut through the plastered lath ceiling so I can identify if which set of pipes is for the kitchen radiator, then I'll carefully remove them and install a 1" male threaded to 1/2" brass pex adapter into the main feed and return pipe, and put the shutoff vales in that spot (reducing the pipe as the hydronic kick space heater has 1/2" inlets). I'll run a 90 degree bend, small amount of pex pipe, then another 90 degree bend to run the pipe along that wall and another 90 degree bend to put the pipe up the ceiling in the kitchen where the sink is.

This is a different relocation idea than before, but this due to making it too complicated to leave the pipe where the radiator is now because that is where the lazy susan is going. I'll install a supplemental electric kick space heater under one of the 36" cabinets that is next to the refrigerator.

Hopefully this plan is successful and I can accomplish all of this. The main reason for the change is if I tried to move the supply lines to the adjacent wall to the right from where the radiator is now, I would have to carve out the pipe space in the rear of the lazy susan for the feed pipe and modify the placement of the stove for where the return pipe, which I really can't do.

I wanted to leave the pipes as is so when I remove the radiator, I can add the fittings above the floor and run the pex under the new cabinets as I am getting cabinets with legs and toe kick panels. This was my original plan, but the radiator return pipe is in the way.

Any thoughts on this?

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 05:10 PM
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Your fine with the supply and return and the kick heater should work well. But you must un-thread the existing piping and convert to copper would be my choice. And that is the challenge...

But simple from what I see...
 
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Old 12-21-14, 05:52 PM
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Make sure you provide an access panel to the heat inside the cabinet for servicing. I also believe you should plumb a bleeder on the return side of the heater before the shut off valve. That will make it easier to remove any air from the kick space heater should it become air locked.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 06:08 PM
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Your fine with the supply and return and the kick heater should work well. But you must un-thread the existing piping and convert to copper would be my choice. And that is the challenge...
Hmm, I can do that, what's your idea?

I was trying to minimize sweating pipe because it is in a tight area and because of being next to the old iron pipe, but I can do it.

I looked and found a 1/2" sweat by 1" male copper fitting available at HD. I would like to go 1/2" male to 1" male so I can just install 2 brass shutoff valves (1/2" FPT on each end) and go to 1/2" male to pex to begin running the pex line. I can reduce the pex anywhere, but just wanted to do so from the pipe to keep costs low and since the 1/2" barrier pex is available at a home depot not too far from my house.

I could any combination from 1" MPT down to 1/2" pex, but again, I was hoping for all threads to minimize sweating pipe...
 
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Old 12-21-14, 06:11 PM
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Also, I don't see too many ball valves with drains on them available to me locally. Would this pose a serious risk not to have a stop and drain valve?

Make sure you provide an access panel to the heat inside the cabinet for servicing.
I was planning to carve out the base of the cabinet to give me access.

I also believe you should plumb a bleeder on the return side of the heater before the shut off valve.
I can do this if the kick space does not have a bleeder. What is a recommended bleeder to use?

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 06:47 PM
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OK you want to run pex???

I would rather use PEX-AL than copper, both for the cost as well of ease of installation.
Have you priced the tool and what not? may be a bit of $$$

Ummmm have you determined the BTU required on the rad you are replacing???

What size kick heater?

Can you link to it?

We can show you easier way to pipe...

And bleeder as droo suggests
 
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Old 12-21-14, 07:42 PM
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OK you want to run pex???
I would rather use PEX-AL than copper, both for the cost as well of ease of installation.


That was zorfdt, but I can use either copper or Pex, but I was choosing pex to minimize cost. If copper is definitely superior, then I'll spend the extra money and buy copper.

I used an online calculator and based on the size + 3 windows, I calucalted that I need about 4000BTUs.

HD have a quiet one 7100BTU unit that I was going to buy.

This is the hydronic kickspace heater: Quite One

This is the electric kick space heater I would add to supplement: Perfect Toe

I am in Philadelphia, so I do have some other options locally, but just found those at HD.

I priced the pinch clamp tool locally for around $60.00. Clamps are not too high.

The total pipe run maybe about 15 ft give or take a little (7.5 feet each line from the main feed and return).

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-21-14, 08:21 PM
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How many sq ft is the room>>????
 
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Old 12-21-14, 08:41 PM
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How many sq ft is the room>>????
132 square feet (11x12)

1056 cubic feet (11x12x8).
 
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Old 12-21-14, 09:53 PM
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You need about 4k btu...

Beacon morris IMO 5k BTU.....


K42 - Beacon Morris K42 - K42 Kick Space Heater
 
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Old 12-22-14, 02:01 PM
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You need about 4k btu...

Beacon morris IMO 5k BTU.....


K42 - Beacon Morris K42 - K42 Kick Space Heater
I am fine with this model. It will also save me some money.

Any recommendation on how I should setup the bleeder and what bleeder to buy or just buy stop and drain ball valves?

What is the recommended piping? Is it a problem with pressure going from 1" directly to 1/2"?

I checked and can still run either pipe as costs are very similar, if not maybe even slightly cheaper with copper because I don't have to buy the crimp tool.

Here is a diagram of what I am trying to accomplish. The blue is is shutoff valves for when I have to service the kick space. I am not limited to that position for the shutoff valves, but figured that was the easiest because of ample space.

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The red is the 1" mpt x 1/2 adapter (as of now). The gold is copper or pex. The green is the bleeder on the return side (can be an elbow, in line or stop and drain valve in that section of piping). I found some air bleeders by googling them, but some are not easily available (unless I am searching the wrong terms). I couldn't find what I needed at supplyhouse.com

Is this what I am looking for:
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or:

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I saw this online as well and can't find it to purchase either:

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If so, I am having hard time locating in 1/2".

Thanks.
 

Last edited by supersnake83; 12-22-14 at 02:31 PM.
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Old 12-22-14, 02:45 PM
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Its called a baseboard tee.

NLCBT-080208 - Cello NLCBT-080208 - 1/2" x 1/8" x 1/2" CxFxC Baseboard Tee (Lead Free)

I would install on the other ellbow that goes down to the return...
 
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Old 12-22-14, 03:05 PM
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Great, thanks.

Got that plus everything else from SupplyHouse.

The K42, low temp thermostat, the baseboard tee, taco coin vent, 2 1/2 sweat ball vales with drains and a 1/2 x 1" male adapter.

Looks like I'm going with copper. I'll pickup 1/2" type L tubing locally and will be ready for my project.

Does that piping diagram make sense?
 
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Old 12-22-14, 03:13 PM
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Also, any issue with using sharkbite at the connection to the kickspace heater or sweat all the way?

I am always thinking worst-case-scenario and if I have to replace the unit, sharkbite allows for easier removal.

I could also do a combination of something and add supply lines?

I am probably over thinking all of this. My thoughts should be to getting that threaded iron pipe loose!
 
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Old 12-22-14, 03:29 PM
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I'll pickup 1/2" type L
I use M for heat... Not L.

Does that piping diagram make sense?
Yes. put bleeder on other ellbow IMO though...
 
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Old 12-22-14, 05:47 PM
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I use M for heat... Not L.
What's the reason?

Also, use MAPP gas and Oatey #5 flux. MAPP burns hotter than propane. Oatey #5 doesn't burn out as easily as the other stuff.
 
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Old 12-22-14, 06:34 PM
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I use M for heat... Not L.
What's the reason?
Its the industry standard. I have been using M for residential heating systems since I was a lad... 30+ years. Transfer heat better since thats what finned tube BB is.. Actually the BB may be somewhat thinner.

L pipe was always used for water in all the custom homes I built.

Its second nature to me.

I guess use L if you want but I have never used L for heat. Just how the old timers taught me...

Per the copper alliance and American Society of Mechanical Engineers its the Minimum recommendation...

4.7 - HYDRONIC HEATING PIPING SYSTEMS (ABOVE GROUND)

Tube: ASTM B 88 Type M, hard temper
Fittings: ASME B16.18, ASME B16.22, ASME B16.26, ASME B16.50
Joints: Soldered, Brazed, Flared, Press-Connect or Push-Fit. ASTM B 32 Alloy Sn50 shall not be used.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 09:50 AM
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I am fine with using type M. I just thought L was superior since it had a thicker wall. I read something a while ago that M, being thinner was for better heat transfer, but the same article also said it really didn't matter.

For me, M is fine since it will be both cheaper and easier to work with.

I have some Oatey 5, but was using propane. I can pickup map, it will just set me back $50.00.

For the elbow to put the bleeder on, the correct side is for the return side, right?
 
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Old 12-23-14, 10:09 AM
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Also, is the return side where the piping is fed off the circulator and the supply is where the piping is in the center of the boiler?

Please correct me if I am wrong.

Thanks.

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Old 12-23-14, 02:46 PM
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The supply will be the highest pipe on the boiler and the return will be the lowest. Circulator can be on either.
 
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Old 12-23-14, 02:56 PM
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Also, use MAPP gas and Oatey #5 flux. MAPP burns hotter than propane. Oatey #5 doesn't burn out as easily as the other stuff.

I have some Oatey 5, but was using propane
Took a few pics at work today...LOL..

Also there are solder differences that many are not aware of. I use 95/5. Some people are suckered into the $50 a lb silver solder.. Just saying is all...

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Old 12-25-14, 10:10 AM
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Happy Holidays everyone.

Get ready for a long/picture heavy post.

So, I started some of the kitchen work and I am already running into problems when I started to demo a wall (I just wanted to see what was behind the wall).

I did not posted how the kitchen looked originally here, but I did on another thread.

Here is the original area in the kitchen looks where te radiator is:
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Kitchen with benches and tables and most other stuff removed:

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Behind stove wall:

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Look close to the right...yes, those are the radiator pipes for the bedroom above the kitchen.

Close up of radiator pipes:

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As you look at the close up, to the right in the close up picture is the exterior wall. I don't have much space.

What I plan to do once full demo is completed and I have access to the shell of the kitchen, I plan to re-route the vertical pipe currently in the stove wall to the adjacent exterior wall to the right. However, as you can see, the interior to exterior only has about an inch of space and I have to build it out to be able to safely re-route the pipe and add insulation...was not expecting the wall to be so thin, but this is the fun of DIY kitchen project with a 90 year old home.

The other dilemma is that I ran into is the radiator supply pipe diameter is actually 3/4", no 1" as I thought.

Now, I need to figure out a new plan. The good news is that I'll will know really soon which set of pipes are for which radiator, but my guess just by finding those pipes in the stove wall is that the end pipes from the main supply/return in the garage should be for the kitchen and the second to last set should be for the radiator in the 2nd floor back bedroom. However, it does not matter any more because I will have to remove both sets of pipes to complete this work and can just cut them, remove the leftover from the main supply/return and start fresh with running the new piping.

Here is a new proposal with copper. I could sped the extra cash and get 3/4" pipe for the radiator on the second floor and go from main iron supply with the 3/4" thread to 3/4" sweat, run the pipe up through the walls and a few elbows and 45 degrees (as the pipe more than likely is going around floor joists) back to the radiator with a new radiator valve and new radiator union. Or, I could use flexible 1/2" M copper and go from 3/4" to 1/2" in the garage, run flexible copper up to the radiator and go back to 3/4" radiator valve and union.

I would still use 3/4" copper thread to 1/2 sweat for the toe kick heater and run the pipe as stated above (and possibly use the flex pipe for this supply run as well).

Now, anyone recommend I continue my plan with copper or should I switch to PEX? being that I had to throw the 2nd floor bedroom radiator into the plan to relocate those vertical pipes?

Well, back to demo work for me!!!

Thanks for reading. Enjoy time with your family.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 05:19 PM
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I will use copper.

Have a quick question if anyone reads this. Does anyone have any experience with coil copper?

I can get a 60ft roll of 3/4 L coil copper for 25.00. Just wondering if coil copper is safe to use for the hot water radiator?

I would deal with the thicker wall over M for the saving since I will need about 28ft to repipe the two pipes in the kitchen.

The coil copper would save me time and sweating by eliminating some of the elbows.

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-26-14, 07:02 PM
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Another update:

Here is a close up of the space I am working with for the radiator pipes:

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The joist that the pipe is connect to is about 3, maybe 4 inches away from the brick exterior.

The bottom of the joist is where I would be screwing the sheetrock onto and the wall will be built out to give me 4 inches of space. With 3/4" copper, I could run the copper up the wall close to the brick and drill an inch hole through the joist to give me enough space to pass the pipe through so I can bring the pipe back to its original side and not modify the piping above the floor in the bedroom. Not sure if this is recommended or not because the pipe will be up against the exterior of the house. Also, this could pose an issue with me sweating pipe in such a tight location (increasing the risk of a poor sweat job).

Alternatively, I could lower the ceiling in-between the two windows (like a soffit was there) just to allow the pips to come out below the joist and for me to add the bends to get the pipe back to it's original location.

Second alternative is to run PEX, still drill through the joist and use cinch crimps to make my 90 degree bends and get the pipe back to its original location. I could also do the makeshift soffit with PEX as well.

Also, with either method, will it be a problem with insulation up against the pipe behind the wall?

I am fine with either method, but have to choose soon. I should have the demo done by tomorrow and will be ready to do the framing work and pipe relocating.

Any recommendations?

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 05:16 AM
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Ok, here is another option as I was researching further.

I just purchased 120ft of 3/4" L coil copper for 40.00 (bought two 60ft for the hell of it at 25.00 each and got 10 off 50 at lowes). I'll use this for relocating those two vertical pipes as well as for the kick space heater lines. For the kickspace heater, I'll reduce the size from 3/4" to 1/2" below the floor so I can still use the bleeder elbow on the return side.

I'm gonna throw two stop and drain shut off valves on the relocated pipe as well just in case I run into any problems down the road.

Hopefully this is a solid plan. Any comments if this doesn't sound good?

Thanks.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 07:17 AM
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Any chance of pipes freezing if they are run on the outside wall?
 
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Old 12-27-14, 07:26 AM
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Perfect question. Forgot to mention I was going to use pipe insulation for those two vertical pipes. Pipes now are only about 8" away from the brick exterior, and I will be moving them about 5" closer.

I will be also installing fiberglass insulation and wanted to have something covering the pipes for that as well.
 
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Old 12-27-14, 09:20 AM
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You should really box the pipes out and not put them on an outside wall..

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Old 12-27-14, 10:22 AM
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Since I am further along with the demo, I would still have to move the pipes back a little. They are in the way and if I were to leave them there, I can't get anything on that part of the wall.

Even with fiberglass pipe insulation, still no good for my plan to move them behind the sheetrock as I am imagining?

If I left them boxed out, like building a mini soffit, I would still need to gain about 6" of space.

That spot is where our gas range is going and it is making for a hard reno.
 
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