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I'm permanently removing two radiators as part of a reno project (bathroom replacing with radiant floor heat). I know that the ideal situation is to remove and cap the pipes as close to the trunkline as possible. However, I'm afraid that the trunkline is covered with asbestos pipe wrap. I'm going to get a test kit to verify, but my plan B is simply to cap the pipes before they enter the basement area to avoid the asbestos situation entirely. Unfortunately this will leave "dead legs" in the system.

Thoughts? Do you think this is a good tradeoff to avoid the expense and hassle of remediating the asbestos?

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Clearly remediating the asbestos and capping close to the trunk/manifold is the best option. However, leaving dead legs in a sealed, non-potable hydronic system may be OK as long as:

  1. You're willing to accept the risk of a harder-to-diagnose leak later on.
  2. The legs aren't positioned in a way that might need them to be re-filled with water after the system is drained. You won't have a bleeder valve.

These are significant disadvantages, so considering that you may only need to remove a small amount of asbestos to properly resolve this you may want to at least price out the abatement.

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A dead plumbing leg is only an issue if it's in the potable water system, since legionella can grow in the stagnant water then work its way back through the water and be piped into the drinking water.

Unless your radiator system is directly plumbed into your drinking water system, you have nothing to worry about, health wise. As noted in another answer, it's that many more places for leaks to develop over time.

Before you begin worrying about how to work around the asbestos problem, be sure that you actually have an asbestos problem. It might be that you're making plans for nothing.

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