Central Heating Radiators – drainage

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    • #273378
      Avatar photoaristotle tejero


        First of all,I’m not a plumber, master or otherwise!

        My question is about Central Heating Radiators. Can anyone tell me whether it’s possible to get radiators with a properly designed drain system? This problem comes up every time we have to remove a radiator, say to decorate a room. After isolating the rad, we then disconnect the feed pipes at either end, then we juggle about with the damned thing, trying to get a pipe on the end (they never fit properly), to empty the radiator, or we drain it into bowls, buckets etc. This seems absurd, and could easily be remedied by adding a drain valve with aspout for the connection od a draining hosepipe. Are such rads available.

        Maybe I’m missing something, but it seems to me that the ability to drain a rad in these circumstances should be a basic part of the design of systems. I’ve never come across such a thing in the UK, though.

        Advice much appreciated. If replies could be copied to my email address (mailto:[email protected] ), I’d be grateful.



      • #287500
        Avatar photoSylvanLMP

          Hi Andy, I yet to find any radiators steel Or cast Iron that drain 100%.

          Most radiators have what is known as “push nipples” between sections and this causes a slight hump between sections.

          This hump is what allows the pockets of either condensation OR hydronic residue to remain even when the system is supposedly completely drained.

          You could possibly try a strong WET DRY vacuum to possibly suck out this filthy water prior to moving the bloody thing.

        • #287501
          Avatar photoHarold Kestenholz

            I think Sylvan-the-LMP answered the question sufficiently. I just wonder at the preference of Eurasia for radiators. This problem is non-existent for baseboard-heated homes. It is just the tradition that prefers a large box on the wall instead of a base-board? I know the comparative expense of radiant, so I don’t need to go there.

          • #287502
            Avatar photoSylvanLMP

              Harold, granted this problem is non existent in baseboard heated homes UNLESS of course the folks had Quality Cast Iron Base Board as opposed to CHEAP, noisy, give up the heat faster copper fin tube.

              Cast Iron holds the heat longer,
              cast Iron doesn’t have that creeping or pinging sounds CHEAP fin tube has.

              Cast iron comes in some very fancy embossed radiators.

              Cast Iron is not as prone to erosion as copper tubing, especially with the higher temperatures found in heating systems.

              At 180 degrees Fahrenheit, the
              velocity should be down around 2 – 3 feet per second (fps).

              Oh well its all relative.

              Just as long as folks don’t mix Cast Iron and copper heating elements in the same zones all should be alright.

              Harold please read this article about under slab heating


              Have a great one and thank you for posting Hey if you wopuld ever like to join my plumbers discussion list feel FREE to E mail me.
              Not for the thin skinned

            • #287503
              Avatar photoandy

                Thanks for the replies folks..Funny you mention the stuff about the advantages and disadvantages of having cast iron thingummies on the wall, we were only moaning today about the restrictions they place on reorganising a room. We came to the conclusion that everyone in the US has timber frame houses with warm air ducts. Is this true?

                Back to the draining board ;-)…None of our rads have any drain trap on them. You just have to disconnect the rad from the feed pipe and watch the water spill…Next time I do it, I’ll take a photo and post it on the web just to give you all a laugh.

                I assume it’s one of those quaint English “why design it properly when you can botch it cheaper” things.

                BTW, My dad was a plumber. Maybe it’s in the blood (not).



              • #287504
                Avatar photoHarold Kestenholz

                  SylvanLMP, Thanks for the invite. I am not sure if I should join your plumber’s discussion because I make no claims to being a plumber. I do know the difference between a stack vent and a vent stack because I read the code manuals. But that does not qualify me to do plumbing or sanitary engineering for customer protection. I always encourage the readers to consult a licensed tradesman for reasons of safety, efficiency, and common sense, aside from years (or lifetimes) of knowledge.

                  I do however, know heating and cooling as a Licensed (and practiced) Stationary Engineer, New Jersey Heating and Refrigeration Teacher’s License, former Superintendent of Building and Grounds, Lennox Heating and Heat Pump Residential and Commercial Contractor, Fedders Director of Field Education, Director of Education for IBR Schools, wholesaler HVAC sales specialist, Chairman of Education for NOTA of the Energy Industry and webmaster of the Hydronic Network.

                  Even with these qualifications, I will not claim to know plumbing, but will answer questions in my purview. I invite you to look through my website at http://www.hydronic.net to critique anything that you might think could be added. The content is part of the courses I spent the last 15 years (of my 40 years of experience) delivering to the Plumbing and Heating Industry. The information is free to whomever wishes to learn the hydronic heating field. I look forward to improve education in our mutual fields and consider your input valuable.

                • #287505
                  Avatar photoSylvanLMP

                    Dear Harold, YOUR still more then welcome to join our list. We even have a full fledged chemist on board PLUS an MBA with over 25,000 employees in the medical profession working fro her.

                    We discuss everything from hight pressure steam stations with pneumatic and other type of controllers to gun ownership rights.

                    We could use a resident heating master (Its lonesome at the top) LOL

                    Harold seriously your more then welcome to just sit back and join in any time you want.

                    we do have several manufacturers in the wing if that helps?

                    This is what this list is all about
                    read below

                    The “Politically Incorrect P.D.L. is a
                    community of Plumbers who disagree with some of the ideas touted on the Plumbers-L discussion list. Members here are free-thinkers who reserve the right to tell it their way. Conversations may vary, and sometimes a thick skin may be required, since those here are not afraid of telling you exactly what they think. So get ready for some great education, conversation and fun.

                    This the way we really are VERY relaxed and always learning.

                    It isn’t for everyone. Try it you just maybe pleasantly surprised. Respectfully Sylvan

                  • #287506
                    Avatar photoSylvanLMP

                      Wow Harold we have a lot in common after all. I knew I liked your style right off the bat.

                      Before getting my very 1st master plumbers license or my Master fire suppression piping license I was a stationary engineer also.

                      I worked on high pressure steam stations and central absorption at 90 Church Street in Manhattan (brine solution)

                      Having been both a stationary engineer and a LMP I will take EASY PLUMBING any time of HVAC.

                      The electronics and mechanics of compressor, condenser, metering devices and evaporators made me very dizzy trouble shooting the electronics whetstone bridges, diodes (check valves) holding contactors etc.

                      If anyone can learn environmental control properly they would fly through any plumbers exam.

                      I went to Oklahoma University (OU) several times for industrial electrical service as well as a half dozen other courses relating to HVAC like Johnson controllers

                      Master sub master electronic pneumatic and electric actuators.

                      This kind of education boggles the mind when compared to simple plumbing.

                      I was in awe of the electronics and mechanical devices that HVAC personal encounter LUCKILY I had a fantastic staff under me who made me look like a star in this field of work.

                      About heating I went to OU for a crash course in ASME section IV and the national board of Boiler inspectors (NBBI) and became a certified low pressure boiler and unfired pressure vessel inspector as a stationary engineer.

                      The problem I found about all this high tech stuff If I was to go on vacation more then 3 weeks I would need more training as YOUR fields are ever changing over night.

                      What got me interested in all this stuff was I was in the Navy (US) at 17 and was fortunate enough to work on very high pressure boilers 1,500+ PSI so I learned at an early age to respect heating systems and plant operating equipment.

                      Harold seriously I think the PIPDL could be a lot of fun as we can trouble shoot lots of professional questions back and forth. Just something to think about.

                      I will put your web site on my favorite places. thank you again Sylvan

                      See I can be serious also

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