steam heat radiator valves help

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Old 12-16-04, 08:46 AM
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steam heat radiator valves help

Hi Alll,
I need some assistance. I have one radiator that won't heat up much at all. It is on the 2nd floor of the house. I have an oil furnace and the old steam heat radiators, the house was built in 1926.

I checked all the valves on the radiators and some have numbers on a dial and some don't.
I bought 2 new valves with the numbers, I have to get 4 more.

Here's my question if I keep the dial on the downstairs valves set to a lower number and I set the upstairs valve to full open will I get heat out of the upstairs radiator? And what setting should I choose for the valves downstairs. (1/8- 1/2 etc.). I THINK, not sure, that the idea is that the downstairs is heating up first and then when the heat reaches the temperture setting on my thermosat the furnace shuts off before any heat can get to the upstairs radiator. My husband always took care of these kind of problems before he got so sick. Now I have to learn these things.

I have my furnace cleaned and maintained every year and I cleaned the glass tube once a week.
Thanks for any help you can give an old lady
Dianne
 
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Old 12-16-04, 05:11 PM
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You are correct in your understanding of the system and what you need to do to get it working correctly. The only thing that may be different from your assumption is that there may be something else wrong with that one radiator. If you adjust the first floor air vents about midway and open the second floor ones all the way, you will be off to a good start. Post back here anytime you have more questions.

Ken
 
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Old 12-16-04, 07:03 PM
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Thanks Ken,
I'm going to buy the 4 valves w/ dials tomorrow and put them in and then I'll see what happens when I turn the heat up, hope it works.

Dianne
 
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Old 01-11-05, 02:18 PM
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steam heat radiator valves help

I did replace all the radiator valves, the downstairs are set at 1/4 and the only radiator upstairs is set to full open and I'm still having problems with the up stairs radiator, if I turn the heat up to 78-80 it will get a little hot but not all the way. So from what Ken says I guess there is a problem with the radiator itself, what should I do.

Than
Dianne you
 
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Old 01-11-05, 03:18 PM
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I'm guessing that there is only one pipe connected to each radiator. If there are 2 pipes on each radiator, please advise. There is also a large vent somewhere that vents the majority of the air in the beginning of each heat cycle. Can you survey the basement to find the area where the pipe comec up to the radiator that is cold and see if you can find a large vent? You may be looking for something that you won't know until you find it. It won't be connected to anything except the steam pipe. It may have a little nub on top where the air comes out. It should be on top of the pipe and may be up in the rafters as much as a foot off the top of the main pipe. It should also be near the end of the largest pipe in the basement. Let me know if you find it or if you find a spot where it may have been.
And hurry up, spring is in the way.

Ken
 
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Old 01-11-05, 03:57 PM
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steam heat radiator valves help

It's a single pipe. I got my trusty ladder and flash light and headed down the cellar all the pipes are wrapped with asbestos. I followed that one pipe and pulled back the insulation (not asbestos) where the pipe joins an elbow it wasn't covered, I checked it good and did not find any vent, nothing at all, I ran my hand over the exposed part of the pipe and nothing, the pipe continues up through the sub floor. I tried looking at the other pipes to see if there where any vents but those pipes are covered with asbestos right up to the sub floor. What puzzles me is that last year and every year before it would get too hot upstairs. Did they put those vents on the pipes for houses that where built in 1928.

I was going to try and get someone to help me take that radiator out of the upstairs and switch it with one from downstairs, could it just be that radiator although I don't see how that could be.
Thank you
Dianne
 
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Old 01-11-05, 06:13 PM
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If you want to try something drastic, turn up the thermostat and remove the vent altogether in the cold radiator. If venting is the problem, the radiator will heat very quickly. If it does not, post back with any new information. If you plan to put the vent back in while steam is coming out, use a glove because it will be hotter than you expect. Or turn the thermostat down and wait a few minutes and then put the vent back in. Don't bother switching the radiator with one of the others. The heat will be in the radiator when there is steam there.

Ken
 
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Old 01-17-05, 09:22 PM
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steam heat radiator valves help

Hi Ken,
I took the valve off the radiator and turned the heat up to 68 and the radiator got red hot with steam coming out the hole. I then replaced the valve and I noticed a small droplet of water coming from the bottom of the valve, where the stem is joined to the main part of the valve, don't know if that matters but I did put another new valve on the radiator.
Now when I first turn the heat up to 68-70 the radiator will get a little hot but not much and then it cools down and then no more heat. Meanwhile the downstairs is hot. I took one of the valves off a downstairs radiator and switched it with the one upstairs and the same thing, no heat.
When the heat kicks on and the downstairs radiators start getting hot I go upstairs to check that one and it's barely warm.
I called in a plumber and of course he checked all the valves on all the radiators and did the same thing you told me to do, he said the valve was probably bad, so another new valve and the same thing is happening, that cost me $125 and I still don't have heat up there. I'm at a loss as to what the problem is. Wouldn't you know the temp here is going to be 9 degrees tonight and wind chills tomorrow will be below zero. Hurry up Spring time please ha.
Thanks
Dianne
 
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Old 01-18-05, 06:02 AM
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Well, you have confirmed that the piping is OK and the problem is not in the radiator. I think you should turn down the vents on some of the hotter radiators and the cold one will probably get some steam. Try that and post back. You may have to turn them down to a vry low setting on the vent. Like 1 or 2.

Ken
 
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Old 01-19-05, 12:59 PM
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steam heat radiator valves help


I had already turned the valves downstairs to the lowest setting, they range from "full open down to 1/8) I had them set at the 1/8.

This has really been driving me nuts so I removed the new valve and brought all the new ones I was using upstairs back to the store. I bought a valve without any dials, just has a hole on the valve. Would you believe it worked, I now have heat upstairs. I can't explain this can you. What really puzzles me is that when I took one of the valves from a downstairs radiator( which was getting hot) and tried it upstairs nothing, no heat.

It's so nice to have heat up there especially since yesterdays temps where 9 degrees and that's not counting the wind chill.

Thanks for all your help Ken.

Dianne
 
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Old 01-19-05, 01:18 PM
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That is interesting and a new one for me. I thought that the valves were identical inside and only the size of the vent hole was being changed by the dial. Obviously that is not quite right. I will do a little research on it, but I am very glad that you resolved it and now have heat. Especially without actually having to move the radiator.

Ken
 
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