When Plumbing Interferes With Heating Repair Needs: What Happens Next
In really old houses, there are some very strange installations of heating and plumbing systems. This usually occurred as the result of first having indoor heating, followed by the amazing "new" installation of indoor plumbing. All "chicken before the egg" conversations aside, it means that some of the plumbing for indoor plumbing crossed over or under the heating system's components, leaving a very bizarre crisscrossing of heating and plumbing components. If this applies to your very old home, and you currently need heating repair, here is what might happen next.
A Consultation with a Plumber May Be Warranted
If the overlapping plumbing and heating system components look particularly complex, your HVAC technician may decide to call in a plumber to take a look. This consultation is typically just that; a consultation. The HVAC technician wants to know if it will be possible to remove plumbing components to get to certain HVAC components without damaging the plumbing and causing problems. The plumber will examine the weird interwoven installation of these two systems at the juncture that the HVAC technician is referencing, and then provide advice as to how to proceed.
Disassembling the Two Systems
Your water may need to be turned off for a few hours, so avoid trying to run a faucet or washing appliance and avoid flushing a toilet, if you can. From here, the HVAC technician will disassemble the two systems, sorting out what pipes go to which system, and then examine the heating components that seem to be part of the problem.
Repairing and replacing those parts will fix the heat, but the technician may also want to help you further by rerouting some of the pipes so that the next time you need either the plumbing or the heating components in that area fixed, it will not be quite as complex. If there is no way around rerouting these components to separate the complex interwoven installations from the past, then your technician will let you know this. It may be possible to just mark and code pipes and parts to distinguish them from each other, which might help with any future repairs.
Identifying Other Issues
If you have a boiler system, the interwoven pipes of the boiler and your plumbing make this situation even more complicated. The technician has to follow the pipes from the boiler up through the junction where plumbing pipes cross into boiler pipes. The consultation with the plumber can be very useful in this situation.