Hole In Cast Iron Radiator

tombijakMarch 13, 2009

I did a big flub and drilled a hole in a client's C.I. Radiator. The water damage now controlled and pipes capped by plumber, but need a solution to repair the 60 year old radiator. Worse case scenario is I buy new radiator to replace, but client wants old one fixed because it matches other rads. in house.

There is a hole in the radiator about 3/8" diameter right in the center of a fin. I don't want to try something like J.B. Weld in case it failed-- water would damage a lot as on second floor.

Questions: Can parts be found to repair such an old radiator? I could take out the damaged section and shorten the radiator-- no problem as we could trim out the area around the radiator and move the supply pipes to line up. I don't know if I can find the right size nipples or whatever they're called to put the radiator back together.

I live in the Washington, DC area. Any suggestions appreciated.


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Cast iron can easily be brazed, but the
area to be brazed needs to be 'extremely'
clean. Also, a slow cool down is important
to prevent cracking.

    Bookmark   March 14, 2009 at 11:20AM
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I've heard it's a pretty tough and often unsuccessful job getting radiator sections apart. There is one company that still supplies push nipples though. If you post a question on heatinghelp.com you might get some more complete info, there are a lot of heating pros there.

I wonder if you just couldn't try threading the hole and getting a plug that would fit?

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 3:47PM
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Until you know what size nipple the radiator needs it may be hard to locate one. Some were 1" and some were 3/4". Burnham Hydronics still sell Cast Iron radiation but it may not look like what is there, They have column type, tube type, radiant type and classic rad types.
See link

    Bookmark   March 15, 2009 at 4:13PM
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I'm not even going to ask why or how you drilled a hole in a cast iron radiator...

I've used JB Weld to successfully and permanently fix cracks in radiators, both hot water and steam, but nothing quite so dramatic as a 3/8" diameter hole.

Your best bet, I would think, would be a mechanical plug.

Go to a heating supply store that handles goodies for radiator systems and see if they have tapered plugs used to cap holes in radiators that have been either moved or renovated or converted from steam to hot water or vice versa.

My guess is that you're going to find something that will work.

You'll have to ream a tapered hole to match the plug and then tap threads into it.

All in all a pain in the butt, but a LOT easier than trying to braze it.

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 5:37AM
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I agree with kframe19.

Tap out the hole for the nearest large enough IPT plug you can find.

The IPT taps are available from MSC (along with the needed reamers).

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 3:19PM
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Yes and use hardening pipe thread sealant on the threads of the plug (recessed with allen head work well)

    Bookmark   March 16, 2009 at 4:06PM
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