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Posted by joe on May 19, 2006 at 10:17:57:
In Reply to: Re: Gas Steam Boiler posted by Steve Kelleher on May 19, 2006 at 06:50:50:
You can cut out the old radiators with a sawzall, if you mean are they hard to remove.
If you mean are the plugs hard to remove to use as a connection for hot water, the answer may be no. Prior to yesterday, I just listened to what other local heating guys told me about the difficulty in removing the plug. Yesterday, after seeing Heatpro's comments about using cast iron radiators at a lower water temperature, which is preferable for a condensing boiler, I was able to remove a 100 year old plug in the radiator with easy. I disconnected the radiator with the use of a 14" wrench and long steel pipe put onto the end of the wrench to extend the handle of the wrench (this is called a pipe lever). The radiator disconnected easily at the union of the radiator valve. I laid it on the ground to provide resistance from the floor to offset the force I would put on the old plug to remove it. Again, I used a 14" wrench on the old plug, and put a 6 foot pipe lever onto the wrench and gently pushed down. After a little force, I heard a "crack" and the plug turned. I then removed it. It was actually easier than the way the local guys were telling me: saw it out without nicking the inside threads of the radiator, heat up the plug with a propane torch until it is red hot and then remove it (after spraying flammable WD40 at the threads first!), etc. To remove the radiator valve to provide for the other connection will probably unfortunately have to be removed with a sawzall, and very carefully. First cut the straight portion of the valve coming out of the radiator leaving about 1/4" to 1/2" of straight pipe coming out of the radiator. Then take the sawzall and position it at a 90 degree angle to an upright radiator (it is need not be upright). Place the sawzall into the radiator through that little pipe that extends from the radiator at the connection and cut the pipe from the inside of the pipe up to the radiator, without nicking the treads. I may not have to be cut all the way thru. Make another cut about a half inch to an inch away from the other cut, preferably at the top of that pipe (top meaning at the top if the radiator is lying down). After your two cuts are carefully made, then take a screwdriver and a hammer and gently tap out that little peice of pipe. Then you can bang onto the rest of the pipe to separate it from the radiator and then remove the pipe with a wrench or by hand. You can also make more than two notches in the pipe, but be again you must be careful of nicking the threads. I may not have explained it right, and maybe someone in this forum can explain it to you better. The time it takes to remove the radiator valve is about 15 minutes. After a few times, this is actually very easy. If you nick the threads , it may not be a problem if you use teflon tape when you screw in your bushing (a reducer to make the opening smaller) into the radiator for your water connection.
You may want to consider reusing the cast iron radiators because of what heatpro said about the optimal water temperature of 140 F. All the baseboards and compact convectors I found are not even rated at 140 degrees. I am not even wasting my time with more btu calculations either. If the radiators worked in the room with steam, which they did, I will assume they are sufficient for hot water. I will set my temperature at maybe 150F to start, and test out the system. If the water temp can be lowered by 10 degrees I will do so. If the heat is somewhat insufficient, I will just raise the water temp to get more heat.
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