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Thread: Can I move radiator water pipes into ceiling?

  1. #1

    Default Can I move radiator water pipes into ceiling?

    My son just moved into a house built in the early 40's. In the basement the black steel (iron?) pipes that lead from the boiler to the radiators above run a couple of inches "below" the ceiling board - in full view, and requiring tall people to almost have to duck.
    He wants to know if there's any reason why he can't relocate these pipes "above" the ceiling board so they'll be out of sight? There appears to be enough room between the board and the bottom of the floor above.

    I'm obviously not an experienced DIY'er, so please forgive if this q is ridiculous. We're just not sure why they put the pipe in such a lousy place - maybe there's a code rule or something?

    Also - would replacing this steel (iron?) pipe with PEX, or Copper, be a bad idea?

    Thanks,
    Donk

  2. #2
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    It can be done, but it won't be easy. Black pipe is built from one end to the other. If you cut it, you need special fittings to insert a section since screwing the pipe into one end would loosen it in the other. Dealing with old pipe is also asking for problems. It could be in great condition, but touch it, and things could start leaking or breaking, too.

    The only disadvantage to putting it in the ceiling is if it springs a leak, you may not notice it for awhile. Or, if it crosses the joists - you'd never get it up there.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  3. #3
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    If it's a steam system you absolutly can not change anything unless you know what you are doing.

  4. #4

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    No, I'm fairly certain it's hot water and not steam. What about using PEX tubing to replace the black iron pipe? The manufacturer says PEX is rated up to 200 degrees F. But would it be as reliable as the iron pipe?
    Thanks

  5. #5
    Master Plumber nhmaster's Avatar
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    Pex is fine but it has to be properly sized. If the existing piper are 1 1/4 you're going to have a hard time finding the pex and the right tools.

  6. #6
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    There is no way for us to tell you if there was a particular reason for installing it that way, or if you can relocate it without causing major problems. PEX might not be the best idea, depending on what kind of a system it is, and the operating temperature which could be at 200 degrees plus/minus.

  7. #7

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    My parent's house is about the same age as yours and sounds like it was piped the same way. Long story short, they were adding a room in the basement and had some of the piping replaced with copper to get it up as high as possible. This was 15 years ago so copper was alot cheaper, but I don't recall it being difficult or resulting in any major problem. I think they (plumbers) can re thread the old pipe if it breaks.
    -rick

  8. #8
    Plumber krow's Avatar
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    The only thing I would suggest, is NOT to use plastic (pex) tubing or any other facsimilli to plastic tubing in your hot water heating system.Copper piping is your best alternative to iron pipe (Iron pipe is the best idea),

    There is no reason it cannot be moved, as long as you do not leave any air locks in your arrangement. The air needs to flow as free as possible to the rads into the upper floors for easy bleeding.

  9. #9

    Cool plumbers

    hey,
    I'm not sure if this could help you, but here is a list of plumbing companies to answer your questions.

    http://www.myprimebuyersguide.com/ca...ntractors.html

    good luck with your plumbing problems!

  10. #10
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lovelee View Post
    hey,
    I'm not sure if this could help you, but here is a list of plumbing companies to answer your questions.

    http://www.myprimebuyersguide.com/ca...ntractors.html

    good luck with your plumbing problems!
    And what good is a list of Alameda County plumbing contractors to someone that you have no clue of where they live?

  11. #11

    Default

    Hee hee...
    I was thinking the same thing. In fact I'm on the "right" coast - about as far away from Alameda County as you can be.
    But I do appreciate all the responses I got. My son is taking them into account and will decide what to do soon.
    This forum is great!
    Thx,
    Donk

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