hot water heating system

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    • #275128
      MasterPlumbers
      Keymaster

      Thank you in advance for your time. I own a brick home in Washington, DC. It was built in 1932. It has a hot water heating system with a radiator in every room throughout the two story house. All of the plumbing for this system is original (almost 70 years old). Replacing this plumbing would require tearing up a lot of ceilings and walls. It appears to be black iron. The sections of this plumbing that are visible in the basement look very good (no evidence of rust or leaking at the joints). I have a few questions: 1. How long can I expect the plumbing for this system to last? 2. I am in the process of tearing out the upstairs bathroom and so some of this plumbing is now exposed–should I replace what is exposed before I cover it up with new tile? 3. Does the hot water heating system use “special” distilled, conditioned, or treated water–and if so, should this be changed and the system flushed ever?
      Thank you again, delviento

    • #291159
      Guest
      Participant

      After fresh water is added to a sealed system, the oxygen in the water corrodes the ferrous metals until there is no oxygen left. The water is then no longer damaging to steel until free hydrogen in the water makes the water somewhat acid. This means that a small sample of the water in the system should be tested every few years to see if the water is acid and needs a little neutralizing solution added.

      This also means that every time you flush the system, you add oxygen to do new corrosion, so flushing regularly damages the pipe. If the water has been left sealed in the system and no new water had to be added to make up for leaks, hot water system steel pipe will last hundreds of years.

      A steam system is open to air all the time, yet pipes are still there after 50 years. A water-filled system has far less corrosion.

      If you will worry that the system will have a leak, then changing pipe while the walls and floor are open will ease your mind.

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