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  1. #1
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    Sep 2012
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    Reflectix insulation behind finned tubes

    My house, brick, 1920s, no wall insulation, has a 1980s hydronic boiler with finned tube radiators below the windows (see picture). The finned tube enclosures have steel metal sides and a steel vented front. I have a few questions:

    1. Were finned tubed radiators in use back in the 1920s when my house was built or is it more likely that the original radiators were replaced at some point?

    2. I am thinking of taping Reflectix insulation to the steel enclosure behind the finned tubes to reduce conductive heat loss through the walls.

    http://www.reflectixinc.com/basepage...&pageIndex=667

    Is this time and money well spent, or is there a better approach? Or should I leave well-enough alone? Insulating the walls is not in my budget for at least several years.

    3. On some of the finned tubes, there is very little clearance between the metal enclosure behind it and the fins. If I use the Reflectix material, is there any potential harm if there is any contact between those rear fins and the Reflectix?

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  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jan 2004
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    PA
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    Looks like the original convectors were removed. Probably due to having frozen and burst a long time ago. And then were replaced with generic convectors.

    Putting reflex behind then won't hurt, as long as you don't block the air flow through the convectors.
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  3. #3
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Looks like the original convectors were removed. Probably due to having frozen and burst a long time ago. And then were replaced with generic convectors.
    Thanks. How can you tell? Not doubting you, just curious.

    Is it possible they originally had column-type steam radiators and then switched to a hydronic system which required replacing the radiators?

    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Putting reflex behind then won't hurt, as long as you don't block the air flow through the convectors.
    I can't see how it would block any air flow through the fins, but it might block airflow behind the fins on some of the enclosures because of how close the fins are to the rear wall. Is that a problem?

  4. #4
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    Jan 2004
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    Original convectors would have been almost as wide as the case was. And would have been multi circuit. Factory didn't double up one on top of the other the way yours are.

    If it would have been originally steam. They still would have been convectors. They're very common in my area.
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  5. #5
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Original convectors would have been almost as wide as the case was. And would have been multi circuit. Factory didn't double up one on top of the other the way yours are.

    If it would have been originally steam. They still would have been convectors. They're very common in my area.
    Got it. What would a multi-circuit convector look like? (Google failed me on that one) Until moving to this house, in older homes, I've only encountered cast iron radiators before.

    Is the walll mounted Reflectix touching the rear of the fins okay?

    Thanks again.

  6. #6
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    PA
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    Touching the fins is ok.
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  7. #7
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by beenthere View Post
    Touching the fins is ok.
    Thanks for the answers. I really appreciate it.

  8. #8
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    Aug 2001
    Location
    Pavilion, NY
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    2,196
    http://www.google.com/images?q=tbn:A...mrZDUAEO4IHIbq


    You can always replace with these
    ...

  9. #9
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by kangaroogod View Post
    I've checked with Slant/Fin and they're slap out of the Dino100 series.

  10. #10
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    Jan 2009
    Location
    Keokuk, IA
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    5,520
    The copper piping is the givaway. Copper wasn't widely used until post WWII. It originally would have had iron pipe. My home originally had steam with large cast iron radiators. I'm not sure how easy a conversion to hot water is, since steam piping isn't sized the same as water. It might have always been hot water. Hot water became more popular starting in the the 80's. I seems like in my area stema was most popular from the 1890's on as new homes were built and/or central heating plants were installed in homes that orignally would have been heated with coal and/or wood fireplaces and stoves.

    A friend of mine has a 1850's home that's going onto it's 3rd system. FIreplace ot steam to now central forced air.

  11. #11
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    Sep 2012
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    Quote Originally Posted by motoguy128 View Post
    The copper piping is the givaway. Copper wasn't widely used until post WWII. It originally would have had iron pipe.
    The piping is copper throughout the heating system, no iron anywhere. Could there have been another reason to replace the convectors and piping other than beenthere's theory that the original ones froze and burst? All the flooring throughout the house is the original yellow pine with no evidence I can see of any prior water damage.

    I checked at a neighbors with the same house design as mine and they still have the original multi-circuit convectors similar to the photo that beenthere provided. Is there any advantage to the horizontally stacked convectors over a single multiseries convector? Or vice versa?

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