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Cast Iron Radiator Project

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Eric Johnson, Oct 29, 2007.

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  1. Mmaul

    Mmaul Minister of Fire

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  2. senorFrog

    senorFrog New Member

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    Yeh. I pulled em and hauled em over. Sorry no pics. I'd use my cell's camera, but it wouldn't have the detail you'd be looking for. These ones are much shorter than yours and don't have the fancy design work. My heating system is forced hot water.

    They came out nice though. They guy has 13 foot whatever (furnace?) for powdercoating. I have an old antique cast iron street lamp, like 14 feet if you count the latern, I might pull and bring over.
  3. Mwatatu

    Mwatatu New Member

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    Hi All,

    New to site. Have cast iron radiator heat. It is the best. Looking to add two more to a converted attic. The two radiators where steam. Prior owner removed valves and now I need to find "nipples" or "plugs for the holes. I am wondering if anyone knows where I could get a hold of 2? I would love to find ones that have the turn key so the air can be released when loosened. I do not know the specs. Yeah, I know, shot in the dark. Any help out there?
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It's a standard thread, maybe 1/4-inch. If you go to Home Depot or Lowe's, look in the compressed air section, as I think it's a commonly used thread with that. You can get bleeders in that size (it's the standard size for bleeders), but you wouldn't want those halfway up the radiator.
  5. tug hill rook

    tug hill rook New Member

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    I AM BUYING A NEW WOOD BOILER AND I AM GOING TO RUN A EXTRA ZONE, TO HEAT MY CELLAR. (ALSO FINISH DRYING MY FIRE WOOD) CONSIDERING LOOKS DON'T MATTER, AND THE WALLS AND FLOOR ARE CONCRETE , WHAT COULD I USE BESIDES BASEBOARD. CAN YOU BUY ANY KIND OF INEXPENSIVE UNIT FOR THE JOB? THANKS, (VERY GLAD I FOUND THIS SITE) TUG HILL ROOK
  6. sparke

    sparke Minister of Fire

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    Damn you Eric, now I want some radiators!!! :)
  7. Ncountry

    Ncountry Member

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    [quote author="Eric Johnson" date="1193691480"]You and your high-tech approach to everything, nofossil.

    I'll bring the beer because anyone who knows and appreciates Old Smuttynose has gotta be alright in my book.

    But I took a decidedly low-tech approach involving muscle, which I seem to have in greater abundance than brainpower on occasion. Case in point: that shutoff valve doesn't have to be on its side like that, but I didn't realize that the bleeder works just as well in the vertical position (!).

    Anyway, first thing you do on each side is pipe in a union and a self-bleeding shut-off valve, as shown in the photograph. You disconnect the unions, turn the radiator upside down and fill it by hand. Then you close the valves, turn the rad back over and reconnect the unions. Then you pressure it up and open the bleeders on the valves until they squirt water. Then you open the valves and you're in business.]

    Thats funny eric, and I thought I was alone in solving problems this way. Question is did you try to bleed it before or after initial charging of the system. "I can't remember" but it seems like I may have waited till after
  8. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    It's kind of a funny story that typifies my el cheapo approach to things.

    I found a guy over in Albany on some online classified listing that had two of these radiators for sale. Since the one was exactly the right size (those short radiators are getting harder to find), I drove out there and picked it up for around $40. I was really pleased with my score, got the radiator home, unloaded it into the garage, then noticed that it didn't have a top pipe. I'm wracking my brains trying to figure out how I'm going to bleed it. I finally gave up, figuring I could get my money back by selling it to a local place that sells old rads. I think they wanted to give me $10. That really ticked me off, since they get $100 for any one you want to buy. So I spend a couple of days trying to figure out how I could use it anyway.

    On the bleeding--I used shut-off valves with built-in bleeders. So after you fill the radiator, shut the valves, turn it back over and connect it to the system, you pressure the piping back up and then open the bleeders until they squirt water. Then you open the valves and you're in business. As far as air accumulating over time, it hasn't been a problem, mainly because that zone has two ci rads piped in series, and the one ahead of the steam rad is a conventional hot water rad with bleeders. Any air migrating up from the boiler gets caught there first, and can be bled out manually.

    Tug Hill: Welcome to the Boiler Room. No need for all caps around here. I think a cast iron radiator would be perfect for a basement application. Perfect place to dry your boots.
  9. Ncountry

    Ncountry Member

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    Yeah, thats how I ended up bleeding mine too. By the way are you involved w/Woodsmans day in Boonville and do you know if there are going to be any gasifiers there?
  10. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Other than buying a booth there, I'm not involved. But there probably will be some gasifiers there. Last year at our show in Maine there were none, but we'll have at least four at the show this May in Vermont. So I think it's catching on, especially in Vermont and Maine, where new regs will impact the OWB business beginning on March 31. Considering the rising cost of fuel and the new state restrictions, it's an interesting convergence that you'd think would help the guys selling gasificiation boilers.
  11. bullreed

    bullreed New Member

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    After disassembly and cleaning, what do you use to seal the sections back together?
  12. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I've never had to do that. They're held together with steel push nipples, but you don't want to take them apart unless you need to take out a damaged section or make the radiator smaller. Any good used radiator should hold pressure or there's not much point in fooling around with it. Radiators used in properly maintained hot water systems shouldn't have any corrosion or other crap in them. They should be good to go after a good pressure test and flushing. I use a garden hose to pressure-test them. Old steam rads tend to have rust and other junk built up in the traps, which are located at the bottom inlets and outlets. Try to scoop out what you can and flush them out really good. I think a pressure washer would do a good job. Around here they go for around $100 each, but you can sometimes get them free for the hauling.
  13. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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    good read eric!
    i just picked up 7 cast iron radiators for $175 ($25 a piece). i think thats a good deal?
    if interested i can take pics, they are always fun!
    i still never figured out how to find the BTU's these put out?
    im going to run 6 in the cellar and 1 in the kitchen.
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    You can look it up, but I've forgotten where exactly. You might go over to heatinghelp.com and ask. I'm sure one of those heating pros can point you in the right direction.
  15. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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    Hi Eric-
    I miss the old rads we had in the last place. It's like you said, they're like having a little woodstove in every room.
    Now we're in an older place. It's a gorgeous old medina sandstone with mostly original doors, windows, etc..
    I'm trying to tighten it up the best I can while maintaining it's originality.
    The baseboard just can't keep up and I've often thought about replacing them with radiators.
    Crazy idea?
    Thanks-
  16. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I think that's a great idea. If you already have 3/4" baseboard plumbed in, it's no trick to tear out the baseboard and put in cast iron radiators. We did that in our kitchen, and now instead of being kind of a place nobody wants to sit, it's the most popular room in the house. As it should be. I wouldn't hesitate to do it. And I think an old place deserves radiators. Baseboard is pretty hideous by comparison, when you get right down to it.
  17. magnumhntr

    magnumhntr New Member

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    Strange coincidence this post was resurrected. A friend of mine and I were talking about installing some radiators in our houses/shops instead of baseboard. He is originally from England and that is all they use over there. He talked to a plumber in England last week and is trying to get it set up to have some radiators shipped over. Is there a place in the US we can pick up some radiators instead of having them shipped over?

    Thanks!

    Chris
  18. danmitchell9

    danmitchell9 New Member

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    I'm with you all the way on the cast radiators. We just took finished the swap-over in our old house from fintube to cast when we got the new wood boiler this fall. They just LOOK a lot better...and you can do some nice baseboard woodwork. I like the idea of having more water volume in my hydronic system. Hopefully I'll get some water storage in the basement sometime in the future.
  19. danmitchell9

    danmitchell9 New Member

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    We got the 9 radiators for $250. It's still possible to get them cheap up here in Maine, but I've noticed that many people are starting to charge a fair amount for them ($100/ea.).
  20. danmitchell9

    danmitchell9 New Member

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    As for painting...we just wire brushed, primed, and finish coated them Rustoleum. They peel a little, so what. Just like cracks in plaster, there's nothing you can do. Do watch the lead chips with kids around though.
  21. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    $100 each is still pretty cheap, all things considered. Of course, you can often get them for free in exchange for hauling them off. Just make sure that they hold pressure, or you're going to be in the scrap business. They are rather fragile and can't be tossed around too much. To find a supply locally, I would suggest checking with:

    A local plumbing/heating supply place;
    Demolition contractors;
    Scrap yards
    Antique/salvage businesses.

    If you have a bombed out section of town with abandoned houses, you might nose around and see if any have ci rads. Many old houses in the Northeast do. Find the owner and try to negotiate a deal.

    I've seen the English radiators on Ebay and they're not cheap. Add the cost of shipping them across the Atlantic, and I bet they're pretty expensive.

    There are also several places that restore and resell old cast iron radiators. There's a place up in Montreal and one near Boston. Both have websites. You'll pay a premium, but they've been sandblasted and professionally painted, plus pressure tested, so they're ready to go. You can even specify the color.
  22. djblech

    djblech Feeling the Heat

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    I got onefor free about a month ago and plumbed it into the return line in my shop. I had thought to use it as a heat dump if I need one. It really heats nice. Be very careful with the paint as it will be lead. Sandblasting is bad because it creates lead dust. Should be a wet blasting process, keeps the dust down. I am a lead abatement supervisor so I have to get trained on this yearly.

    djblech
    Greenwood 100
    stilh 170 and 360
    kioti dk45 tractor and dump trailer
    120 acres of woods 3 miles from home
  23. kenny chaos

    kenny chaos Minister of Fire

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  24. 88rxn/a

    88rxn/a Member

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    WOW! thats really nice!
    i wish mine had the detail like that!!

    as you can see, GANDER was just as excited as i was getting these...

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  25. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Very nice radiators.

    I was at the Jerome Hotel in Aspen CO a few years ago and saw these beauties. They were stripped and clear coated; they look a lot like Kenny's.

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