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Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

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  • Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

    I have baseboard heating in my home. One zone tends to freeze where the pipe runs through a raised fireplace hearth. This usually happens when the outside temps reach single digits (like last night it was 4*). I want to add some antifreeze to the system, but have never dealt with antifreeze in a heater before. I figure there are about 600 feet of 3/4 copper pipe (including finned) on 4 zones. The boiler is oil fired with "tankless" coil for hot tap water.I have these questions:- How do I calculate how much antifreeze to use?- What is the best method of adding it? - Will antifreeze noticeably reduce the heating efficiency?Thanks,Mark
    sigpic 1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<



  • #2
    Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

    How do I calculate how much antifreeze to use?
    You'll need to calulate the Gallons in the System.........(mathematician I'm Not) You'll want a nearly 50/50 mix......
    What is the best method of adding it?
    I did it with a Barrel Pump that had a "Hose" thread on the end of the spout......A washing machine connecting hose to connect the pump to the Drain Faucet on the Boiler(Female connectors on Both ends)........Drain the system down.... pump the antifreeze from it's 5gal. pails Into the drain...... Then close it up,+ allow the automatic pressure feed valve to "Top-off" the system.....'Course, You'll still have to bleed the air vents in the Whole House........
    Will antifreeze noticeably reduce the heating efficiency?
    Not at All.......It's Still water..... it just Doesn't Freeze...........Does your car Overheat, just because you added New Antifreeze ??????BTW, I'm Not a HVAC Tech.......... Just a "Master Jack"..........
    Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

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    • #3
      Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

      Thanks Bondo!Especially for the pump info. Right now I have a fire going to try to warm up the hearth to thaw out the pipe. Tried heating it from each end with propane torch, but after two hours it is still frozen. Making a fire has worked in the past, but it is still only 6* outside, so this will be a struggle.Mark.
      sigpic 1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<

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      • #4
        Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

        You have got to find the source of the air infiltration and seal it off. You can use expanding foam to seal it off if you can find the source of the air flow. There is a small possibility that the domestic water can get contaiminated with the glycol, all it will take is a pin hole in the coil and you would never know that you are slowly poisoning the family. I personally would not add glycol to the system.That would be my first plan of attack, fix the source of the problem first.20+ years of experience in the industry.

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        • #5
          Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

          Hi Elk,I would not be using regular auto anti-freeze, the plumbing supply carries an anti-freeze that is safe to use in boilers that have hot water coils.The problem with the pipe freezing is that the pipe runs against an outside wall and also passes through a raised hearth that is 1' x2' x 8' . That puts about 16 cu ft of masonry between the pipe and the inside temperature, but only 6" of house wall between the pipe and the outside. Just a really bad place to run a baseboard heat feed. The pipe has foam insulation on it before it was encased in masonry. I will try snaking a pipe wrap heat wire along side it for now. I have to add another zone for the basement project I have going now, after purging the system for the new zone, I'll add the antifreeze. Thanks,Mark.
          sigpic 1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<

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          • #6
            Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

            Mark, yes you can add antifreeze but it has to be non-toxic. You cannot add auto antifreeze.The reason is that is is corrosive to gaskets and if it ever did make its way into your domestic water supply you would be in a mess. You dont need to worry about it comming through your coil. If you did have a pin hole leak the domestic water pressure is so much higher than your boiler pressure that water cant flow from a lesser pressure to a higher one. You do however need a backflow preventer on your boiler supply. Only if you had a major pressure drop say from a water main breaking would there be a chance for boiler water to enter the domestic piping, thats what the backflow preventer is for. I suspose if you had a pinhole in the coil it could leak back if the water main burst. A pump is the best way to get it in, with out knowing what you have 10-15 gal will most likely do it. In a perfect world you would add it gradually and test it till you have the amount you want, they have test strips that tell you what temp you are good for.

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            • #7
              Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

              Temps went up into the high 40's today and the pipe thawed out. I have changed the programable thermostat for this room to keep it warmer than the rest of the house by 3 degrees at all times. Hopefully that will keep the system from freezing until I get some antifreeze in there.
              sigpic 1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<

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              • #8
                Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                Well the R value of rock, cement or masonary is nearly non exsistant! If you can insulate the pipe in that space and close off all minute drafts you will win. A pencil size hole or crack in a wall near a pipe will freeze it right up. Remember from science class that hot water freezes faster then cold. Insulate it and you will win.Bob
                This is a great link to boat specifications http://boatspecs.iboats.com/
                Please, shop iboats first!!

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                • #9
                  Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                  Urban legend - hot water freezes faster than cold.

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                  • #10
                    Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                    Im with you boat buoy, it is physically impossible for hot water to freeze faster than cold. Einstein probably turned over in his grave when he heard that one.... in any case, Mark, use a hydrometer to check to see if you have enough antifreeze in the system, it should work..
                    The Devil to pay, and no pitch hot!

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                    • #11
                      Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                      Just a quick update... Found I have an old submersable pump that has a garden hose thread on the output side. Also found a new cloths washer hose in the basement, so the double female hose will connect the male pump to the male spigot on the furnance. I figure to fill a 5 gallon bucket with antifreez, drop in the pump in it and let it pump the antifreeze in one zone at a time until I have 5 gallons of anitfreeze or protection to -20 on my tester. Wish me luck!Mark
                      sigpic 1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<

                      Comment



                      • #12
                        Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                        sounds like a good plan Mark, just turn the system on and it should do all the mixing for you....Hava a warm Christmas
                        The Devil to pay, and no pitch hot!

                        Comment



                        • #13
                          Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                          mark; " IF " you do put glycol into your sys.as a precaution install a back flow preventer (stops the flow from going back into the main h2o supply)most plumbing codes req. this today reguardless.

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                          • #14
                            Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                            My system took 15 gallons........5 doesn't sound like enough......
                            Any Grease is Better,..... Than No Grease at All.......

                            Comment



                            • #15
                              Re: Baseboard heat pipes freezing.

                              Added the antifreeze today. Went real smooth. No problems. Put a pump in a 5 gallon bucket and filled with antifreeze, shut off the water feed and let some pressure off the system. Then pumped in a total of 6 gallons of antifreeze. Will probably add another 4 gallons, but this means that I will have to loose 4 gallons of mixed freeze from the system to fit it in. I did notice that with all 4 zones open (manually), the circulator motor just couldn't push water through all zones at once. One of the circuits was not getting any circulation to speak of. But rarely if ever are all 4 zones operating at once, so I never noticed that one area of the house was cold. I will be adding another zone as part of the basement finishing project. (more antifreeze!) At that time, I will add a second circulator and split the zones between the two circulators. I looked at the control box and it has connections/relay switches for two circulator motors, so I should be OK. Will probably need another 40va transformer as well. Probably taxing the existing one with 4 Taco zone valves (570 model). I don't know why some folks don't like the Taco products. My house is 14 years old and none of the Taco products has ever failed. Keeping my fingers crossed!!!
                              sigpic 1985 Bayliner 1600 Capri Cuddy, 1965 MFG Niagara Custom. >> MFG Video<<. >> MFG Project<< >>Bayliner Hard Top Project<< >>Bayliner Repower Project<<

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