View Full Version : radiator is overkill for small lavs; are there "fins" for hot water pipes?

11-15-2007, 04:06 PM
There are two small lavatories in my 100 year old Boston-area house. Each has a small radiator (3 fin), but not small enough: the rooms are excessively warm during the winter. I'm wondering whether the two radiator pipes (send/return) in each lav would be sufficient on their own for winter heat (I'd remove the radiators altogether), and also whether there's some sort of "fins" I could attach to the pipes that would radiate a bit more of the heat away (as on computer microprocessors) as the hot water passes through to upper floors. I'd also like to recover the floor space taken up by the radiators. I could just try out the bypass and see what happens, but before I do I was hoping someone out there might have had some experience with this approach.

11-15-2007, 04:54 PM
There are a bunch of low profile radiators available and another thing to consider is to retrofit it with a thermostatic valve. You could make it do double duty by buying one of the hydronic towel warmers. This may provide enough heat for the room, but I haven't checked their output. I have a towel warmer, but it is only 165W (it's electric). Those hooked to the boiler have the potential for a lot more output.

11-15-2007, 05:55 PM
Lots of bathrooms around here, are heated with just the riser - this is on steam systems, though. From your mention of returns, it sounds like you're on hot water?

As far as fins... that's what the inside of modern baseboard radiators look like. You could buy a slantfin tube section (without the housing), and replace a section of pipe with it... but the fins would get covered in dust pretty quicklym, and the edges on the fins can be pretty sharp. I don't think it would be very practical, or safe.

Jadnashua's suggestion is your best bet: look into european-style low-profile radiators and towel warmers. There's a lot of options...


11-15-2007, 06:22 PM
A thermostatic valve is a fairly inexpensive potential fix.

11-15-2007, 08:06 PM
Yes, it's forced hot water and not steam. I was under the impression that closing down the hot water going into the radiator (whether by hand or by thermostatic valve) somehow affected the radiators down the line...but as the pipes continue and the radiators come off of "T" connections, that may not be true. I imagine (if the shutoff were complete) that whatever water remains in the radiator would be, at its hottest, the lukewarm water returning from radiators further down the line...which would be fine. Somehow I don't think the existing valve shuts off the water completely, though...are they meant to?

As for a towel rack, I will definitely look into this for the full bath (these are both toilet and sink lavatories). Thanks for your suggestions.