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Thread: Boiler Pipes

  1. #1

    Exclamation Boiler Pipes

    Hi folks!

    I'm in the process of remodeling the basement. Few problems.

    Can I move, relocate, raise up the hot water and cold return lines of my hot water heat system? House was built about 1947, black pipe and hang down about 6' off the floor. I've talked to a few plumbers but they just seem to stare and not know whats up. One guy wanted $ 12,000.00! I told him to get the h#$^ out of the house.

    Any help here?

  2. #2
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2004
    San Diego


    We need to know more about your system. The house where I grew up had a one pipe steam system. Gravity was involved, so moving lines was not going to be a good idea.

  3. #3




    Ok. Its a two pipe system, hot water. Either side of the boiler has cold return and the other side hot out.

    About 8 years ago I had an outfit put circulatory pumps on both the hot and cold side. So I'm thinking that if it was gravity fed, it no longer is because of the pumps. ?. Actually one fellow recently was surprised that there WERE 2 pumps and not just one so I'm thinking that is even better. Better in the sense of moving the pipes and not worrying about gravity or air pockets Etc.
    The pumps will compensate for "the lack of gravity with moving the pipes into the joist space.

    Thanks! look forward to a reply.

  4. #4


    Two pumps seems strange and/or overkill (more than one valve on the other hand makes sense, if the system is zoned). Although I am not a professional by any means, working with a hot water (not steam) boiler system would be very similar to general plumbing work. First bit of advice: start in the spring, after you're sure you won't need heat for several months. Second: Most systems I've seen are galvanized iron and I have seen a couple where all or much of the replacement or extension pipe is copper. Copper to iron connections are made the same way they are with water supply plumbing, with corresponding worries about dissimilar metals corrosion. There are generally a lot of pipes in these systems = a lot of labor to move them = nice if you can do it yourself. It would help considerably if everything that needs to be replaced is out in the open, and it sounds like it is. Ask how much you can save if you do the demo -- cutting out the old and removing it at the points specified by the plumber. Then he would just install the new and make the connections. This might work because you can have the system off for quite a long time, assuming the weather is warm.

  5. #5



    Doing the labor on the pipes isn't a problem a don't think. My worries were the whole gravity setup etc. If the pumps are installed as they are i don't think I'd have to worry about water flowing "uphill" and such.

    Normal gravity sytem - hot water flows up while cold water comes down but the pumps were installed a few years back.

    There is 2 zones it seems though. 4 main pipes total. 2 hot 2 cold return.

  6. #6
    DIY Senior Member OldPete's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jan 2006


    That would explain the two pumps then. One for each zone.

  7. #7


    So I guess with the pumps i can start cutting away and putting the pipes into the joists or at least moving some close to an outside wall?

  8. #8
    Plumber plumber1's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2005


    A pump for each zone is certainly not over kill. The only reason I can see is that it's cheaper to use one pump and then zone valves. And when one pump goes bad on the coldest night of the year, you still have some heat in part of the house. You don't need zone valves.

    Most iron jobs aren't galvanized, there done in black pipe.

    Corrosion isn't much of a concern because your not constantly introducing fresh water into the system.

    Forget about gravity and the uphill stuff. Your still need air vents and or purge valves at the boiler.

    I think you mean that it's a two zone system. You gotta have a feed and a return on each zone.

    A good picture would sure help....


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