Help with old (1929) aluminium house radiators - Defender Source
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  #1  
Old February 23rd, 2015, 11:58 PM
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So this bad boy is leaking. A drip every minute or so. Been doing it for probably a decade given the state of the plaster on the other side of the wall. It is aluminium. Any point in trying to patch it? Is 86 years the expected lifetime such that I should replace them all? I really like the radiant heat as opposed to forced air. The thing says "Rome" on the giant nuts where it articulates.

And yes, the rug is as old as the house. And yes, I will take the screw driver off of it.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 12:07 AM
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Hot water. I suppose it could be zinc. How do I tell? Can you make an entire rad out of zinc? A magnet does not stick to it.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 12:10 AM
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Obligatory house porn photo for help.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 03:35 AM
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by weight. zinc is much heavier than aluminum. melting point is also lower. rarely pure zinc but could be a casting alloy.

but there is probably an easy chemical test on google....
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Old February 24th, 2015, 04:24 AM
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Obligatory house porn photo for help.
Wow very cool place !!
I'm jealous
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Old February 24th, 2015, 04:53 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by evilfij View Post
So this bad boy is leaking. A drip every minute or so. Been doing it for probably a decade given the state of the plaster on the other side of the wall. It is aluminium. Any point in trying to patch it? Is 86 years the expected lifetime such that I should replace them all? I really like the radiant heat as opposed to forced air. The thing says "Rome" on the giant nuts where it articulates. And yes, the rug is as old as the house. And yes, I will take the screw driver off of it.
Jb weld her up... I wouldn't even open that system up
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Old February 24th, 2015, 07:04 AM
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Think its going to have to be removed to be repaired. Wait for warmer temperatures. In the meant time start going to architectural salvage type places and see if you can find something similar just in case its not repairable.
Plan B: Allisport?
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  #8  
Old February 24th, 2015, 07:28 AM
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X2. The best option. They might not have the exact one but you could use any period radiator that you like. I would use a plumber to do the work.
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Think its going to have to be removed to be repaired. Wait for warmer temperatures. In the meant time start going to architectural salvage type places and see if you can find something similar just in case its not repairable.
Plan B: Allisport?
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  #9  
Old February 24th, 2015, 10:11 AM
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Like I said before Ron, nice house, great find! (I imagine that this is what the front of Big Tom Callahan's house looked like in Tommy Boy)


Anyway, I'll email that picture to a Plumber I know but something tells me he wouldn't have seen this radiator before. You see some strange regional products (especially in the 'ole days). I think every house built in New England between 1960 and 1980 had a Symmons shower valve, now younger plumbers talk about them like a steam furnace. Likewise, your radiator does not look familiar to this New England Swamp Yankee. Is the system gravity hot water? I don't see a return line (unless its hiding behind the aluminum tray) so thinking it's not forced hot water, also gravity fed systems and steam were the ones using that ductile iron pipe. That's some real stout stuff.


If it makes you feel any better, in fifty years people will probably be moaning and complaining about replacing all the PEX tubing that plumbers are so hot about using these days.


Where exactly is it leaking? from the cooling tubes, collector pipe(?), or union where it connects to the supply? If its leaking from the middle of an aluminum cooling tube, I bet years of hard water have been eating away at the internal metal and if you go to patch it or even move it the matter will only get worse.


Both Jason and Chris have made valid points (wait for warm weather if you can and maybe reconsider even opening up that can of worms unless you're prepared to throw some money at it). Sounds like it functions well enough for now.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 10:36 AM
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That house is awesome!

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Obligatory house porn photo for help.
Nice!!!
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  #11  
Old February 24th, 2015, 09:24 PM
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I got a hold of the plumber who has been working on the house for 30 years and he is coming by on Friday I hope. Too bad Matt is not licensed in Delaware.
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Old February 24th, 2015, 09:49 PM
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Nice house.
As JT said, JB Weld. Back it with that high temp hi pressure hydraulic tape if the orientation works. What do you have to lose?
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  #13  
Old February 24th, 2015, 10:44 PM
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I would remove the whole leaking mess and make a replacement unit out of copper pipe sections looped together made of straight sections joined at the ends with a street and an elbow soldered together.
The difference is the replacement won't have fins, but the heat transfer properties of copper, being better over the old mineral filled leaking aluminum, should work just as well, if not better.
Any future leaks are easily patched and if you want to get fancy you can use silver solder over a tin lead combination in case the same heating hot water ends up being co-mingled with your hot water plumbing.
In that way you won't ingest any tin or lead if the hot water gets consumed.

Don't use JB weld, it is a plastic epoxy and with all the pressure + heating and cooling down, it will eventually leak.

Hope this helps.
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