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!
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.)
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.
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.
What you're looking for are add-on heat fins I don't know if they still
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.
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;
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
Alloy 110 Copper Shim Stock Roll .025" Thick, 6" Width X 50" Length
In stock at $34.54 Each
home made heat fins!
Yes, this is exactly what we're looking for! Can you tell me anything
about them? What did they look like? How big were the fins? How much
did they cover? Thanks so much!
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