How 2 fit new towel rail with different standoff to existing


Postby GazK » Sat Mar 07, 2009 12:36 pm

I am a noob to this forum, a competent DIYer, but have no plumbing knowledge.

I have an existing towel rail in the bathroom:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2518.JPG

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2518.JPG

Which is corroding at the joint with the tail:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2519.JPG

I know I need to replace it, so I bought the nearest thing I could to my existing towel rail, thinking it would be a like-for-like (ish) replacement:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2523.JPG

I had done my homework and was confident to do the replacement to the existing valves. However, now I am assembling the stuff I need to do the swap, I have realised that the existing rad tails are positioned 40mm off the wall:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2522.JPG
http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2520.JPG

and the new rad comes with plastic brackets which allow it to stand a minimum of 75mm off the wall:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2524.JPG

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2525.JPG

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2526.JPG

In other words, the new rad, as supplied, wont connect to the existing valves:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/PICT2521.JPG

Could someone explain the options to me? If the only option is to reposition the incoming pipes, then I'm into a system drain-down and soldering, and hopelessly out of my depth. As I see it, the options are:

1. Reposition pipes. Not good, requires me to pay someone

2. Cut plastic brackets down to 40mm.

Pros: I can do it myself.

Cons:
- Will only leave 15 to 20mm of support zone in bracket - may compromise strength of support
- puts the towel rails quite close to wall, may compromise efficiency of rad?
- heat may affect paintwork?
- may not be able to get in to fit retaining screws in bracket
- if I get cut-down wrong I have to buy new brackets

3. Fit some sort of dog-leg pipe above valves to get 75mm standoff

Pros: Rad will be fitted as intended
Cons: No idea if such a beast exists, extra joints might leak?

4. Return rad and buy a like-for-like one

Pros: Will work
Cons: Can't find a rad with same pattern anywhere - already tried!

Can anyone advise on the best course of action?
GazK
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Postby stoneyboy » Sat Mar 07, 2009 5:22 pm

GazK,
Suggest you buy a couple of chromed compression elbows and new rad valves with a bit of chromed pipe. Drain the system and assemble to suit the new towel rail.
end
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Postby plumbbob » Sat Mar 07, 2009 10:50 pm

There is no reason why the radiator shouldn't be closer to the wall than the existing brackets allow for other than the difficulty of getting towels behind the gap. I have cut down the brackets in the past with success, but prefer to move the pipes.

Actually, you have purchased a slightly different radiator to the design you already have which is causing the problem. Try looking at

http://www.awin1.com/awclick.php?mid=12 ... -x-1100mm#

which is a more similar design and should overcome your problem. Go to any plumbers merchant who has displays and see what distances can be achieved.
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Postby rosebery » Sat Mar 07, 2009 11:52 pm

"Suggest you buy a couple of chromed compression elbows and new rad valves with a bit of chromed pipe. Drain the system and assemble to suit the new towel rail."

Good advice. Of course depending on the way the valves are oriented you may need chromed couplings rather than elbows. Both available from Screwfix.

Cheers
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Postby GazK » Sun Mar 08, 2009 10:09 am

[quote="stoneyboy"]GazK,
Suggest you buy a couple of chromed compression elbows and new rad valves with a bit of chromed pipe. Drain the system and assemble to suit the new towel rail.
end[/quote]

Thanks for the quick response.

OK, I'm going to do a couple of things then:

- read up on draining the system. I have read this article - http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/drainch.htm - and it seems simple enough.

- check that the system is open vent. Time to root around in the attic!

- sketch up your proposal and then post it here for a sanity check, if thats OK.

I have a few questions about this proposal - do you mind helping with them?

Can I ask why they need to be chromed? Just for aesthetic reasons? The existing pipes are painted copper, so I'm quite happy to replace like for like.

Can I use the push-fit copper elbows instead of compression ones? Do they have a good rep?

Whats the best way to get the 19 layers of paint off the existing pipes?

Also, can I reuse the existing valves? They look in good nick, but is it better to be safe than sorry? Also, using new would allow me to accurately assemble the new legs before draining the system, so they're ready to go.
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Postby GazK » Sun Mar 08, 2009 1:26 pm

plumbbob: thanks for the advice - I agree that a pipe move is better, and unfortunately I have the new radiator already, and I can't get a refund. Hindsight and all that :-(

I've checked, and my system has a tank in the attic with an incoming expansion pipe and a ballcock. So it is open vent, correct?

rosebery - I went a bit mad and did a 3D model of what I want to do in CAD - its the railway engineer in me coming out. This is the pipe arrangement now:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/existing.jpg

and this is what I propose to do:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/new.jpg

and here is existing (green) and new (red) overlaid:

http://www.railwaysarchive.co.uk/temp/both.jpg

Is this plausible? It will leave the radiator at around 100mm standoff, depending on the exact radius of the elbows.
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Postby stoneyboy » Sun Mar 08, 2009 5:07 pm

GazK,
You could use brass and paint them. If you want to use push fit you will need to scrape all paint off the existing pipes and get them nice and smooth with emery to get a good seal. Yes you can re-use the existing valves but by the look of them you may have trouble getting them out the old towel rail.
end
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Postby rosebery » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:01 pm

- read up on draining the system. I have read this article - http://www.diydoctor.org.uk/projects/drainch.htm - and it seems simple enough.

You will NOT need to drain the central heating system if the towel rail is on the primary circuit of a vented system which is normal.


Can I ask why they need to be chromed? Just for aesthetic reasons? The existing pipes are painted copper, so I'm quite happy to replace like for like.

Looks much better - up to you.


"Can I use the push-fit copper elbows instead of compression ones? Do they have a good rep?"

Yes you can if you really want to but I've not seen them in chrome.


"Whats the best way to get the 19 layers of paint off the existing pipes?"

Wire wool


"Also, can I reuse the existing valves? They look in good nick, but is it better to be safe than sorry?"

Yes but change the olive!


"Also, using new would allow me to accurately assemble the new legs before draining the system, so they're ready to go."

Youll save very little time in truth.
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Postby GazK » Sun Mar 08, 2009 7:56 pm

[quote="rosebery"]You will NOT need to drain the central heating system if the towel rail is on the primary circuit of a vented system which is normal.[/quote]

Can I ask you to elaborate on this? Are you saying that the towel rail is on a different circuit to the other rads? Surely whatever the circuit is, it needs to be drained before I can remove the existing pipework?

Thanks for the advice on elbows, paint etc.
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Postby rosebery » Mon Mar 09, 2009 12:29 am

With an unvented system and a three port valve the primary circuit goes from the boiler to the cylinder and back to the boiler again. It is normal (but by no means universal) for the towel rail to be on this circuit. The 3 port valve also on this circuit (as is the pump) only diverts hot water to the heating circuit when the programmer says so and the room stat calls for heat.

If your system is configured in this way you do NOT need to drain all the radiators to work on the towel rail but , yes you do need to drain the towel rail. Also you only need to drop the level of water in the system below the valves of the towel rail.

HTH

Cheers
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Postby GazK » Mon Mar 09, 2009 6:43 pm

[quote="rosebery"]With an unvented system and a three port valve the primary circuit goes from the boiler to the cylinder and back to the boiler again. It is normal (but by no means universal) for the towel rail to be on this circuit. The 3 port valve also on this circuit (as is the pump) only diverts hot water to the heating circuit when the programmer says so and the room stat calls for heat.

If your system is configured in this way you do NOT need to drain all the radiators to work on the towel rail but , yes you do need to drain the towel rail. Also you only need to drop the level of water in the system below the valves of the towel rail.

HTH

Cheers[/quote]

OK, thanks, I understand now. Is there a simple way to check whether the towel rail is on the hot water circuit? Presumably if the central heating is on, and the hot water is off, the towel rail would be cold, and vice versa?
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Postby rosebery » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:39 am

Yes - thats right.

Cheers
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Postby GazK » Thu Mar 12, 2009 7:50 pm

[quote="rosebery"]Yes - thats right.

Cheers[/quote]

OK, thanks, I'll check it out in a couple of days, when I've finished building the greenhouse :-) Let you know how I get on
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