Question for the plumbers...repurposing radiators.

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CycloneOfRed
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:25 am
Location: Ionia, Michigan

Question for the plumbers...repurposing radiators.

Post by CycloneOfRed »

Hi all,

Hopefully this summer, when I finally finish the parlor, I will start restoring the bathrooms of the house. A few months ago, while perusing our newest copy of Old House Journal, my wife saw an advertisement for towel racks that used radiant heat to heat towels. She thought this would be amazing, but their $500+.

So I had a thought...what if you ran the hot water line for the shower through a smaller antique steam radiator? It'll blend in with the house, it'll warm up when you take a shower so you can just set your towel on it before you get in...seemed clever enough to me. The only down side I can think of is that it'll take an extra 30-45 seconds for the shower to actually get hot.

I know very little about pluming at this point (I learn as I go...and no bathrooms or kitchen remodels so far), so I have come to beseech the wisdom of the many experts on this forum. Is this idea at all feasible? Are there other problems I'm not thinking of?

Thanks!
Kevin
Laws of Home Repair:
1) It will be more difficult than you think.
2) It will take much longer than you think.
3) Murphy's Law is in effect tenfold.

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triguy128
Posts: 708
Joined: Mon Sep 12, 2011 9:41 pm
Location: Keokuk, Iowa

Re: Question for the plumbers...repurposing radiators.

Post by triguy128 »

IF you man you domestic hot water line.... you can't do it. Since hot water can be consumed and used for cooking, it must remain potable. That means all components in a hot water system including any circulation loops for any radiant heating must be compatible materials. SO usually copper, stainless steel, brass, and approved plastics.

Most all radiators are cast iron or steel. The only way it could work is to add.


The only other work around is to use a heat exchanger and have that radiator on a closed loop.
1925 Neo-Classical

Previous home - 1968 single story Ranch/Colonial, 1200sqft - 11 windows
Current home - 1925 2 story Beaux Arts Neo-classical overlooking the Mississippi River, 3200sqft - 48 Windows

Neighmond
Posts: 509
Joined: Sat Dec 20, 2003 11:23 am
Location: NW Iowa

Re: Question for the plumbers...repurposing radiators.

Post by Neighmond »

Make your own radiator out of copper pipe (a few pieces of straight pipe and some elbow bends, so it switches back on itself eight or ten times) and polish the hell out it and lacquer it. Put it ahead of the shower and mount it with fancy cast shelf brackets and maybe some fancy trim pieces, and you'd have about the same thing, only compliant with code. If polished copper ain't your thing it could be painted to harmonize with the room, at a slight cost of heat transfer.
Every man must have a purpose to strive for
A cause to fight for
A dream to live for
Because
A Man without a Dream is Dead

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CycloneOfRed
Posts: 275
Joined: Fri Jan 15, 2010 10:25 am
Location: Ionia, Michigan

Re: Question for the plumbers...repurposing radiators.

Post by CycloneOfRed »

Thanks for the feedback! Being code is something that never crossed my mind.

Neighmond, that's a great idea, but I'm probably just going to skip it altogether. I personally think heated towels is a bit too frivolous and opulent. The only reason I entertained the idea of using the heat register was because I love some of those ornate heat registers, and I liked the idea of incorporating one, that actually had a purpose, into our bathroom remodel.

Again, thanks for the info guys...awesomely helpful as always!

Kevin
Laws of Home Repair:
1) It will be more difficult than you think.
2) It will take much longer than you think.
3) Murphy's Law is in effect tenfold.

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cberhomengarden
Posts: 239
Joined: Fri Mar 13, 2009 2:11 pm
Location: Queens, New York

Re: Question for the plumbers...repurposing radiators.

Post by cberhomengarden »

When we redid our bathroom, we hung a towel rod on the wall above the radiator. In the winter the towels there are toasty.
Anyway to just keep a radiator in there & put a towel rod above it?
Carolyn
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