Does such a beast exist?

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Our unheated basement used to be warmed by the residual heat from our old furnace. We got a newer furnace and now the basement is somewhat chilly. We have hot water pipes that wrap around the ceiling that provides heat to the first floor baseboard radiators. As a simple fix is there some product that we can wrap around the pipes to take some of the chill out of the basement? Thanks for any advice!
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Keep in mind that the heat you take from those pipes will not be reaching other areas of the house and it could have a detrimental effect depending on the design and zones.
If you look at baseboard heaters, they are finned tubing. Adding anything like that would help remove the heat. It is probably best to have another zone added so you can control the heat the way you want.
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I don't know if it exists or not but is there such a thing as an external secondary heat exhanger that can be added to the flue? I'm envisioning something with a small blower blowing ambient air over fins and tubes that the exhaust gas passes through. Such heat would be "free" excepting the small cost of running the blower (which could be controlled by a thermostat so it only runs when the pipe is hot). Downside would be if you overcool the exhaust you get condensation in the flues and corrosion--might have to accompany this with stainless steel flue piping. And no good if the furnace is already super efficient with relatively cool exhaust. With those caveats in mind this might be a useful product to increase efficiency of existing furnaces--air could be ducted flow into normal return air or, as in this situation, used to heat the basement. I'd bet something like that exists.
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I like this concept!
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I'm not sure this is a good idea. As you mentioned, it wouldn't work in a HE furnace with cool exhaust. However, the HE systems also require a power vent to force the exhaust gases out. Why? Because a non-HE furnace uses that heat to help carry the exhaust up the chimney, where the HE furnace doesn't have the luxury and has to push it out with a blower. If you remove the heat but don't add the blower, you are creating a potentially dangerous situation.
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Your old boiler's jacket must not have been very well insulated. Maybe that's why you had more residual heat. You may want to try putting in a couple baseboard registers and possibly even a seperate zone vale and thermostat.....
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Thanks and I totally agree that new registers and a seperate zone is the proper way to go, I guess I'm looking for a simple low-tech approach for the short term. I've been doing google searches for "pipe heat sinks" or something but can't find anything. How about draping alumimum foil strips over the pipes? Silly idea?
I also neglected to mention that the basement's insulated and the pipes route around the perimeter about 3 inches from the ceiling.
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JessicaG wrote:

Oh...I see what you mean. Hmmm...I don't know if that exists or not. Aluminum foil is probably too flimsy. But go to the home center and something may suggest itself to you. One idea that comes to mind would be the rolls of thin sheet metal used for roofing flashing. Maybe create some sort of radiator surfaces out of that.
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Good suggestion. We had a scrap piece of flashing here and we bent it to drape over the pipe. It seems to get warm so maybe we'll try cutting it into something that resembles the fins on our baseboard. This may be all we need for now, I hope it works.
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JessicaG wrote:

Come again? You want to wrap something around the pipes circulating hot water to the baseboard radiators for the floor above? To increase heat in the basement? You have it backwards. If you wrap insulation around the pipes you reduce the amount of heat given off and the basement will get even colder!
You should talk to your HVAC vendor about adding radiator(s) in the basement (with its own control) that you can use to warm things up in an amount you determine.
Something you could do yourself would be to improve insulation down there. You should probably do both. The heat from new radiators won't be free so insulating will reduce how much is needed. Keep in mind the heat given off from the old furnace wasn't free either.
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I wasn't clear in my first post, sorry. I didn't mean insulate the pipes, I meant is there something I can do to redirect some of the heat back into the surrounding basement air. I'm thinking like a simple heat sink attachment or something.

I agree, that's definately the long term solution.

Good advice, thanks. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy the new furnace is more efficient, it's just that with many older homes the residual heat from the older furnaces was benefitting the surrounding basement area.
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Steve Kraus wrote:

No, she had it just right--she wanted to add some radiator fins to the pipe to add to the heat exchange area in the basement....would undoubtedly add some heat although not possible to control it that way. Depending on the intent (whether to simply make it a little warmer and accept the variability or actually control the temperature as in a living area) it might work just fine after some trial and error to get the right amount.
The house here is pretty much the same way--the cold air returns are uninsulated and large enough to radiate more than enough to keep the basement toasty. (In fact, I've debated the opposite--add some insulation to them to cool it down some but I'm lazy.)
...
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Jessica,
Talk to a heating contractor. Putting radiator fins on the pipes at the ceiling won't do much since heat rises. Plumbing in a couple of baseboard heaters from these pipes might work.
Dave M.
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Warm air rises, but heat also radiates downwards. A 71 F non-foil ceiling with an R1 radiation conductance to a basement slab could keep it 70 F with 1 Btu/h-ft^2 flowing down into R10 60 F soil beneath.
Nick
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Two ideas:
1) Buy a baseboard radiator. throw away the housing. Replace a section of pipe with the finned radiator. But you can't control it and the heat is on the ceiling which is a very poor location.
2) Use a portable heater. Turn it on when needed or use a heavy duty timer to turn it on at a set time. Costlier to run (electric heat is expensive) but effective and you will only use it when you need it. I would recommend the oil filled radiator type. Safer.
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Jessica-
What you're looking for are add-on heat fins I don't know if they still make them
My dad had me put them on the basement hot water pipes (those feeding the first & second floor radiators). It made the basement usable & didn't adversely effect the rest of the house.
I don't know if you'll be able to find them.
cheers Bob
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Yes, this is exactly what we're looking for! Can you tell me anything more about them? What did they look like? How big were the fins? How much pipe did they cover? Thanks so much!
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I seem to recall an episode of The New Old House where the plumbing ace replaced the shroud and maybe the fins too on baseboard heat in a room. I'd check with a plumbing supply.
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Jessica-
I've looked for these bolt-on fins via Google & had no success.
I remember them being about 3" x 3" flat plate with a flanged hole that fit over the hot water (maybe steam) pipe. They were a two piece assembly with two screws that allowed it to be slipped over the pipe & tightened into place.
We installed them about 2" apart over about a 4 to 6' length.
I don't know if they can be had.
In your reply to one of the earlier posts you mentioned taking flashing & bending over the pipes. I think this would be a good sustitute for the fins I metioned
kinda like this pipe / conduit two hole strap; www.mcmaster.com part number 3039T16 Plain Steel Two-Hole Strap for 1-5/16" OD, 1" Pipe, 1/8" Thick
make them out of copper strip ~.025" to .032" thick, about 3/4 wide. Mkae the ears about 1.5: or 2" beyond the fastening screw hole. Form them slightly smaller than the pip OD so you get good contact pressure
9709K73 Alloy 110 Copper Shim Stock Roll .025" Thick, 6" Width X 50" Length In stock at $34.54 Each
home made heat fins!
cheers Bob

Yes, this is exactly what we're looking for! Can you tell me anything more about them? What did they look like? How big were the fins? How much pipe did they cover? Thanks so much!
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Ha. Add another co-axial pipe, 2" bigger, stuff the space between them with steel wool, and force air through that outer jacket.
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