View Full Version : Heating pipes in basement shop

Dan Karachio
11-18-2010, 5:06 PM
I have an old house with a low ceiling in the basement. I can live with that, but a big area is even less useful due to low hanging galvanized pipes running from the furnace. I imagine the old coal furnace of days long ago required gravity to have the water recirculate from the furnace to the radiators. Of course now the house has a more modern furnace with a recirculating pump. Replacing all these pipes would cost a fortune, but it seems doable economically from a small section from the furnace where the pipes run the lowest (like 5 feet off the floor!). This would open things up and give my poor head a break from knocking it on these things at least once a week.

Neighbors had all their pipes replaced with very large diameter aluminum lined pex (at $6k ten years ago!). I am wondering if I could replace this section with pex like this, but in doing so, the "grading" or angle of the pipes back to the furnace would be lost. My question, with a circulating pump, is this even a problem? Perhaps up a foot then back down over a beam. Plumbers give me different opinions.

Dan Hintz
11-18-2010, 5:42 PM
If you have a decent pump, this won't be a problem. Pex is about on par price-wise with copper, and in some cases can be a lot less. I would look into it, but you're biggest savings is going to be with long runs as it's the connectors that can add up really fast.

Jim Finn
11-18-2010, 6:45 PM
[QUOTE , the "grading" or angle of the pipes back to the furnace would be lost. .[/QUOTE]
The grading of pipes back to the boiler is a left over and outdated installation from "one pipe" steam boiler systems. They were obsolete in the 60's. The pump should easly overcome most any change you would make.

Brian Elfert
11-18-2010, 7:55 PM
PEX should be significantly less than copper as the material cost is less and labor costs are less. PEX can be run in ways that eliminates many elbows. There are different ways PEX is produced and some PEX is more flexible than others.

Dan Karachio
11-18-2010, 9:31 PM
Thanks guys! Really this would only need to be a short run of 7' or so and connect to just one radiator. Any longer doesn't really need to be done for the height issue and would also add connecting to many more radiators.