Rusty rads along bottom external

My sealed CH system is now a lot healthier. I've cleaned, flushed and inhibited it. The radiator in the bathroom has rusting along the bottom and the white paint is flaking away. It this just cosmetic or do I have a problem looking up? Is it worth the hassle of trying to clean and repaint the rust, or just replace the rad? If it's just cosmetic, then doing nothing is an attractive option.
Dougie
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:-)
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wrote:

Considering that it's in the bathroom, rusting from the outside is not entirely surprising if the paint has failed.
I think you just need to look closely and see if the rust seems to be coming from the waterway areas or the seams. If you brush it away and clean an area, it will soon be obvious if it is due to rusting through or just the surface.
.andy
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wrote:

I'm on my third bathroom radiator in 7 years. I put the first outbreak of rust down to a pinhole leak, then when the same thing happened to radiator no 2 I decided it was the result of a poor paint job and a rust-enhancing atmosphere. (I had Barlo/Wickes units which look for all the world like the paint is sprayed on and the radiators then sat on the floor to dry, leaving a bare edge or one where the paint will peel off when lifted and packed.)
Radiator no 3 is from B&Q (probably of Stelrad origin) and has a far higher standard of finish. So far. Available in a vast range of sizes from Depots.
I considered cleaning and repainting for all of, ooh, 10 minutes.
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As long as that? :)
I replaced my rusty bathroom rad with a chrome towel rail. And had the rest of the bathroom replaced at the same time...
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Having just changed all my TRVs, I've had a close look at all of mine, and no rust anywhere. They're Thermapanels and about 25 years old. I also had to remove all the pipe stubs that the TRVs fit onto as the new ones were different - and they all came out easily. The threads in the rads were bright steel.
They may have been expensive rads, but they're nice looking and have lasted. Dunno if you can still get them.
A radiator rusting on the outside is to me unforgivable. There are plenty coatings available that would stop this - they could even be galvanised. Think you just get what you pay for.
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Ah, that would be before radiators were designed to be consumables. The 45 year old radiators in my parents' heating system have run with no inhibitor in them for the first 40 years, and not one has failed or shown any sign of rust to date. The 20 year old radiators however all failed in this same setup.
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On 12 Dec 2003 10:35:57 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cucumber.demon.co.uk (Andrew Gabriel) wrote:

I'm inclined to think that this may be due to the molecular structure of the metal used for older radiators.
Newer radiators are likely to be made of mild steel, which can (and will....) rust.
Older radiators would tend to be cast iron, which AFAIR does not rust.
Forgive me if I'm wrong about these facts - I remember in the dim and distant past something about laboratory experiments in the science classes at school showing different types of metal and their ability to rust. I thought cast iron was non-rustable :)
PoP
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Cars are made of thin mild steel, and have to put up with much worse than radiators. And properly painted/protected ones will last for a long time before corrosion penetrates.
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Dave Plowman snipped-for-privacy@argonet.co.uk London SW 12
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On Fri, 12 Dec 2003 23:42:24 +0000 (GMT), Dave Plowman

Understood. But radiators are exposed to water on one side, without much protection.
Whereas car metal is not typically exposed to water - it is well protected.
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Exactly. But why aren't they protected?

It gets a pretty nasty mix thrown up at the underside from salt on the roads in the winter, so would rust through quickly if not protected. As used to happen in the '70s.
But the interior of car cooling systems isn't protected and contains a real mix of materials - steel, aluminium, copper, rubber and plastic. And runs at temperatures well in excess of a heating system. And if the correct inhibitor/antifreeze is used will last very well with the exception of the rubber hoses - actual corrosion is non existent these days.
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I think it's cosmetic. I had the same problem, only the radiator in the toilet suffered any rust. I observed that it often had a drip of water beaded on its bottom somewhere, but concluded this was not a leak but water splashed onto the radiator by normal bathroom activity, which then settles at its lowest point. I removed the radiator from the wall whilst the system was drained ( for another reason ) and used wet-and-dry and wire wheel attachments in my power drill to remove the rust ( quite tedious if you're serious about getting back to bright metal. I then repainted the cleaned area with radiator paint ( make sure you get the right colour - I chose white when I should have chosen off-white! ). If you don't want to remove your radiator you may be able to slacken the nuts at either end and rotate the radiator down 90 degrees so you can get decent access to the back - you'll get a slight dribble whilst you're moving it but nothing spectacular.
Andy.
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