Posting a message to the forum will remove the above advertisement
  1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Checkout our Plumbers Insurance area - heavily discounted Public Liability Insurance and Van Insurance specifically designed for plumbers.

Discuss Radiator emitting strong odor when heat goes up in the Central Heating Forum area at

  1. John93

    John93 Member

    Thank you Gasmk1. Is there any danger of this valve springing a leak if I turn it on, then back off if that valve is failing?

    I see that it has gone from being able to be shut off. To then emitting a low heat, and 2nd time turned off the heat is low but higher than the 1st time it was turned off. Meaning it seems to emit more heat with every successive turn of that valve after it is put in the closed position.
  2. John93

    John93 Member

    Greetings everyone,

    I have a question regarding which type of moisture barrier to use behind this base board water rad. JTS mentioned that the black paper moisture barrier needs to be replaced. I have had 3 plumbers who do heating come out and give quotes. For some reason none of them are aware of the moisture barrier. I have one plumber who says the only thing they use here is a paper with a reflective surface on one side and card board on the back. He claims it is dual purpose. I don't think he is telling me the truth. As the moisture barrier I had in my rad before I blew it out, was a combination of silver foil, and behind it black paper which acted as a moisture barrier. But werer separate sheets. Could someone provide feedback in terms of what the correct moisture barrier to use for this kind of base board water rad that I have? I do notice more dampness in that room now that there is no moisture barrier. The only plumber who knows anything claims the only one he could find was this card board reflector, which is silver on one side and paper on the back. But I am not confident that this will act as a moisture barrier. Thank you in advance.
  3. John93

    John93 Member

  4. Gasmk1

    Gasmk1 GSR

    what makes you think it was a vapour barrier if it was it would be all the way up behind the plaster, try a builder rather than a plumber to ascertain what it was also is there not some behind one of your other radiators
  5. John93

    John93 Member

    Hi Gasmk1,

    As a point of reference I am using both what came out when I blew out the bedroom rad. And also what is currently present in the living room rad which is in tact and was not blown out. The living room rad has a silver sheet of foil. And behind this a piece of black cardboard paper. JTS said this is a moisture barrier. The link I provided above to the home depot lists a reflective insulation. Some people apparently use this in the back side of the recess where the base board rad fits.

    You're right in that a moisture barrier would be all the way in the wall. But jts said this black paper served a functional purpose to prevent dampness from getting in. And to make sure this was replaced when the rad was installed.

    My issue is that the plumber is saying to just use a cardboard silver reflector to push out the heat. I am concerned this is will not keep dampness out. The reflective insulation I found at home depot seems to act as both a reflector and barrier. I'll add the link again. Any thoughts in terms of which is best to use? A cardboard silver reflector, or the silver insulation foam I found?

    Reflectix 16 in. x 100 ft. Double Reflective Insulation with Staple Tab-ST16100 - The Home Depot
  6. jtsplumbing

    jtsplumbing Plumber GSR

    I would use the second one, as you are a Timber frame building, you need to keep the heat in as well as keeping the moisture out, the reflective foil is ok if radiator is mounted on a outside wall, but then it depends on the level of insulation in the building, and from your past posts it doesn't sound if it is very good.
    • Like Like x 1
  7. John93

    John93 Member

    Hi jts. Good to hear from you. I went ahead and made contact with a builder's forum. Gasmk1 said to get a builder involved. Builder forum made sense. One person there identified this black paper as tar paper.

    I saw some vids where they use this in basements and other applications. So what you initially said about keeping moisture out. This seems to be the exact reason behind putting this tar paper back there. I will include a pic, and if someone can confirm whether this is tar paper. It will make things easier to then apply the same materials that were there to begin with.

    jts one thing I did notice since I removed the tar paper and silver foil. Is now that the heat is mostly off. That bedroom is more humid than the rest of the apartment. It was not this humid prior to my removing this tar paper during previous years. When the heat was on, no change in humidity. But with the heat off, it seems humidity is a factor now as it is basically an exposed cavity with no barrier.

    The building has agreed to go ahead with replacing the rad. They are waiting for the heat to be completely shut down, as they still have it on for night time. So within 1-2 weeks we should be able to go ahead with the replacement rad. If I know the materials and can name them. I can then communicate this to the plumber doing the rad replacement. Some plumbers I spoke to did not want to deal with that at all and said they are only there to replace the rad.

    So if it is just tar paper. I can buy this and staple it on the backside of the rad. As for a reflector. I saw some reflective materials that are sold at home depot and online. I guess the best ones would be something without a glue or adhesive so that does not give off any smell.

    Am I on the right track here? I recall what you said jts to take a good look inside once the panel is off. They will be doing that for sure. But if that is clear, I would think the next step would be to duplicate the materials used prior to my removing them. Which seems to be tar paper, and then a silver foil to act as a reflector.

    I wonder why no one here identified this black paper as tar paper? Would have made things much easier knowing what the material actually is and then procuring it. Thankfully the builder's forum identified it, so I have some logical path to follow. Plus all the pointers I got here from jts and gasmk1 and others.

    2018-01-31 10.29.16.jpg
  8. Gasmk1

    Gasmk1 GSR

    thats why i said get a builder involved. reason no one said tar paper is because it is something we dont use or have its an american/canadian thing. just put back what was there in the first place.Novia Reflex Reflective Breather Membrane probably the modern equivalent
  9. John93

    John93 Member

    Thanks for the link and viable alternative Gasmk1. Much appreciated.

    If you've worked with this material before, do you know if it can be used inside of a rad? I imagine it can stand up to some very strong heat if used in roofing. But I think rad temp may be higher. My main concern being no emission of any smells.

    Also, what is the best way to mount that material inside? Staples or screws? I see double sided tape on a lot of sites. But with this being a radiator, tape or glue probably are not suitable.
  10. Gasmk1

    Gasmk1 GSR

    no necer used so i have no idea.
  11. John93

    John93 Member

    Greetings gentlemen,

    I have a significant update. A plumber came out today and replaced my old cast iron baseboard rad with a newer slant/finn 30 model. It is much smaller than the old rad, and I have some concerns as to whether it will be strong enough to heat that room sufficiently.

    I called the plumber and asked why he didn't install a model that was larger? The slant/finn 80? He said there would not be any increase in btu's as the pipe is only 1/4". I am not sure if he is being honest or just tried to install the cheapest model to pocket more cash. Claims there would not be any increase in BTU's given the pipe size.

    This is a link to the slant/finn 30 manufacturer. They have the specs there. I measured the inside of this new rad, and it is a pipe with fins running along the entire length. I measured 5.5 feet from fin to fin.

    Fine/Line 30 Baseboard

    Do you gentlemen know if this type of rad would be strong enough to heat a room that is 10 feet wide by 11 feet long. 8 foot high ceiling. Bedroom with a double frame window, size 57"x57". Only one exterior wall.

    I used a the slant/finn calculator they have on one site, and it said I require 8 feet. This guy only put in 5.5 feet of actual fins, which would emit heat.

    I will contact him tomorrow. But he is not entirely keen on my questions, and I can't shake the feeling that this guy may have installed the cheapest rad, and did not get the sizing right for the proper BTU's.

    Would really appreciate some feedback at this point. So much work has gone into arranging this with my building. I had plumbers come out. And now this guy, who claims has done many high rises here in Toronto. I am very suspicious as this new rad is much small and I can't see it being as strong as the cast iron base board panel that came out. I understand that he does many rad replacements. I could see how efficiently he worked. Highly skilled. So it stands to reason that he would put the right size in, if only to avoid call backs or complaints of insufficient heat. I do have that in mind. And yet I wonder how a smaller rad, can produce the same heat that my old rad produced.

    I really hope this guy this did not screw me over. JTS had expressed some concerns about what may be behind that panel. Panel came off, nothing was in there. The wood backing was in very good shape. No rot of any kind. So that part is fine. He mounted this new rad quite nicely and the piping and fitting work was excellent. I just really have serious concerns about the output of this slant/finn 30 model , and whether it will heat a room 10x11. 8 feet high.

    Thank you gentlemen,
  12. gmartine

    gmartine GSR

    Seems low for that size of room but depends what else is on the circuit and the heat loss calculations if any were done but I'd have thought 1/4 inch could carry 900btu or 260w which is the output of the 8ft, your 5.5 ft rad is obviously rated at a lot less (approx 175W).
    • Agree Agree x 1
  13. John93

    John93 Member

    Thanks for replying gmartine. I agree that based on all the online calculators and also some calls I made to a few plumbers. The consensus is that 5'5" is not enough.

    When I contacted the plumber who did the installation, to ask how he calculated the rad size, he blew up on me and started to yell and insult me.

    I did not want to escalate the matter as I did not have a clear picture of what needs to happen. Did not want to burn any bridges preemptively.

    If I report this to the building, they may or may not side with me. And they may or may not go after him legally. The management here are one of the reasons I wish to leave in the near future. They are part of the problem and have repeatedly screwed me over on this rad issue, until I got a lawyer involved.

    I would go after him, but the building paid for the rad replacement. And I am not sure what the best course of action is. As they may decide to see how much heat it actually outputs. Before taking any sort of action.

    Any advice from anyone who has been through something similar? Should I press the matter? Or wait until winter to see if the room will be at a reasonable temperature?

    Would the room be unbearable? The thing should put out some level of heat even at 5'5". I wonder if opening up the valves to fully open, could help? Other factors here. Double pane windows. Good insulation. One outside facing wall. Any chance this could be passable?

    When the plumber blew up and started to insult me. He threatened that he would just come by and remove everything and not take any money. But the pipes are so old and brittle, the last thing I want is for this guy to come back in an angry state, to either change the rad to a stronger model or tamper with the valves. Which he did a very good job in handling. It's just a bad situation. I trusted that this guy would have enough sense to replace the rad with an equivalent model. He swindled me and now to fix his error, I literally have to go to war and involve all kinds of people in this building. Not sure what the wisest approach may be.
  14. gmartine

    gmartine GSR

    You're possibly over-reacting as the length of this thread indicates, you didn't pay so you really haven't been swindled. Building management should have ensured the correct size radiator was installed and if it isn't you need to tell them so contact your lawyer if you can't deal with them face to face. If they fail to act you may need an official report saying the radiator is undersized (if it is) and take it further. If the original installer needs to be called back then do so, his mood and the condition of the pipework should not be your concern if he's made a mistake or knowingly undersized the radiator.
    • Useful Useful x 1
  15. John93

    John93 Member

    Thanks again gmartine. I went ahead and advised the building what the plumber has done. I relayed all the pertinent points. Hopefully they will investigate and take corrective measures to have this rad replaced.

    If they decide to not replace it, and instead see how much heat will actually be generated. Do you have some rough idea of what temperatures I can expect? The room is well insulated. Double pane windows. Rooms above and below are heated. There is carpet in that bedroom.

    Is there any chance that a 5'5" rad can heat 110 square feet? I don't need the room to be perfect. Just some reasonable temperature would suffice.
Similar Threads - Radiator emitting strong Forum Date
Water flow path through radiator Central Heating Forum Yesterday at 9:50 PM
Potterton boiler radiator problem Central Heating Forum Yesterday at 8:56 PM