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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2013
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    Default Shorten baseboard heater

    Hello,

    I'm trying to open up a doorway into my dining room (the current one is just too narrow). I am experienced in taking down and installing new framing and drywall, however there is a baseboard heater that I need to shorten and I'm not sure how. The loss of heat should be minimal. There is another baseboard heater very close by. Do I simply turn off the water supply, remove the metal cover, cut the copper pipe where I want it to end, re-cap the copper pipe, cut the cover so it fits, and then re-attach the cover and turn the water back on? Thanks for any advice.

    Will

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    South*East
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    1,168

    Default Re: Shorten baseboard heater

    You can't just cap it. There is a line connected to it that must be reconnected to the shortened section.
    John

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Dec 2012
    Location
    New London County, CT
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    88

    Default Re: Shorten baseboard heater

    Not only that but you will need to learn how to drain, fill and purge the heat loop. Not hard, but required. I had an L shaped configuration that I removed the short leg on and re-piped it into the loop. After the building addition I reused the short piece in the new bathroom. None of it hard but I needed to go through the drain-fill-purge process twice.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2013
    Location
    The thumb, MI
    Posts
    54

    Default Re: Shorten baseboard heater

    And then there's those pesky aluminum fins on the pipe. I don't think you can remove them to cut the pipe shorter. I've also been told the finned pipe isn't the same OD as regular pipe--only the ends are--so you can't sweat the new fitting on. Maybe someone else can chime in on if that's true.

    In any case I was considering doing the same thing as I remodeled & was told they can't be shortened. You have to buy new sections the length you need.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
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    Default Re: Shorten baseboard heater

    Quote Originally Posted by guy48065 View Post
    And then there's those pesky aluminum fins on the pipe. I don't think you can remove them to cut the pipe shorter. I've also been told the finned pipe isn't the same OD as regular pipe--only the ends are--so you can't sweat the new fitting on. Maybe someone else can chime in on if that's true.

    In any case I was considering doing the same thing as I remodeled & was told they can't be shortened. You have to buy new sections the length you need.
    You're wrong on both counts. The fins can be removed and the pipe is the standard 3/4" copper size. When the tubing is made the pipe is undersized to allow the fins to slide onto the copper. Then an expanding tool is pushed through the pipe to reach the 3/4" copper size and hold the fins in place.
    John

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    66

    Default Re: Shorten baseboard heater

    There's no problem in cutting the copper baseboard pipe shorter, and yes, it IS the same size of 3/4" no matter WHERE you cut it----but THERE ARE several problems that the OP will have to deal with if he tries a DIY fix.

    As John states, the small baseboard near the door is connected to an intricate piping systyem that can be any one of the piping arrangements, as noted at the following site: http://highperformancehvac.com/boiler-water-loops/

    If the piping arrangement happens to be the first choice, which is a single pipe series loop, any cutting and tying off of the loop will STOP THE HEATING SYSTEM COLD, and perhaps dump a lot of boiler water onto the boiler room floor.

    Condoman and John also correctly point out the additional tasks that have to be done on a job like this to do everything right; namely, identifying the correct piping loop that exists in the job at hand to make the right connection, shutting down the boiler, draining perhaps a gallon of water from the system at the boiler drain, not to mention the soldering skills & piping preparation, cutting of the copper tubing, use of emery cloth & soldering paste, care in use of the open torch flame, restarting the boiler, bleeding accumulated air from the system, etc.----most homeowners are perhaps better off hiring someone skilled in doing this work.
    Last edited by dodsworth; 05-20-2013 at 08:53 PM.

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