Valves on steam radiators leaking. Easy fix? Gasket?

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Old 12-22-10, 11:02 AM
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Valves on steam radiators leaking. Easy fix? Gasket?

hi all, this year i took ownership of an 1890's victorian single family home with steam radiator heat. the boiler is brand new, less than 1 year old, and the pipes are apparently in good shape. however....

the rotary valves that turn on and off each radiator leak in almost all of the rooms. some of them are pretty bad, almost a cup a day of water. as i refinished the floors before moving in this summer, i really want to take care of this asap, to avoid floor damage.

im guessing that if i unscrew the valve assembly, there will be a gasket somewhere, but i've never had radiators, or steam heat, so i want to be SAFE, as well as have an idea of what im doing. suggestions? do you think i can find the parts at my local lowes or home depot? thanks for the help!
 
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Old 12-22-10, 12:00 PM
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Where is the leak - around the stem? If so, you can try tightening the packing nut and/or repacking the gland. Or, open the valve all the way and try to backseat it. These are pretty much temporary fixes - ultimately, I think you'll need to replace all those valves once and for all.

If nothing else works, you'll need to replace the leaking valves - which will involve cooling down the system. Don't try to disassemble the valves - other than the packing, there's nothing for you to replace.

Photos would be a big help. http://forum.doityourself.com/electr...your-post.html
 
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Old 12-22-10, 08:38 PM
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I'm self-confessed 'steam stupid', but if this is a steam system, why are the valves leaking water? Is it the steam leaking and condensing to water outside the valve and dripping?

Also, I'm going to ask some questions that I think the steam heads might want to know the answers to:

There are ONE pipe and TWO pipe systems... which is this?

Are you attempting to regulate the heat to the various rooms by 'modulating' the valves?

(If they leak, they leak, but these answers might help someone diagnose)
 
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Old 12-23-10, 03:34 PM
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The valves leak

The valves may be leaking not only because the packing glands [nuts] are loose, and or the packing is shot, the valves may be nearly closed. The valves on steam rads should always be fully open because the condensate must be able to freely flow back down through the same valve especially on a one pipe system. The way to balance the rads on any gravity system is by using different sized air valves. Sometimes people could find adjustable air valves with several sized air vent holes to chose from. Also check to be sure that the rads are slightly pitched down towards the steam valve so the condensate can drain easily, I used to use large machine nuts as they would match the legs, but you can use anything to lift end that has to be lifted. And as in the previous posts, try tighten the packing nuts, and maybe squirt a little liquid wrench or whatever you have around, it wont hurt anything and it will cook off on the first heat cycle. Happy steaming.
Sid
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-23-10 at 05:21 PM. Reason: thanks Sid! added BOLD
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Old 12-23-10, 05:29 PM
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One can not mention 'new homeowner with steam heat' and not be told to BUY THIS BOOK!

Heating Help

It will prove invaluable to you, I guarantee...
 
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