Bleed screw replacement time, best options?

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Old 05-02-12, 10:41 AM
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Bleed screw replacement time, best options?

With the warm weather almost here, I am getting ready to shut down the boiler and start replacing the bleed screws in my rads.
I currently have ~9 rads with broken bleed screws (heads broken off) and one with a bicycle value (third floor) that I think is letting in air.
Given the care and maintenance the previous owners have shown this boiler system, I'm going to bite the bullet and replace all the bleed screws.

Any suggestions on type or brand of bleed value assemblies I should look for?
 
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Old 05-29-12, 03:41 PM
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Hello Mike,
I should know this from other threads, but what type of radiators do you have?

Peter
 
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Old 05-29-12, 08:12 PM
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For hot water systems with cast iron radiation use manual key vents.
 
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Old 05-30-12, 06:35 AM
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PeterNH,

I have baseboard style rads.
 
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Old 05-30-12, 07:34 AM
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So Mike,
If it is not a mono-flow system. Do you need the bleeder valves with the baseboards? Seems like they are nothing but trouble. Purge the system and with a decent air eliminator, it should stay air free.

Peter
 
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Old 05-30-12, 04:23 PM
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I think these are the ones you want:


image courtesy plumbest.com

If you've already got the fittings on the baseboards, it won't hurt to install new ones. There are several manufacturers of these, I can usually find them at HD or Lowes for like a buckapiece.
 
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Old 05-31-12, 04:46 AM
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Thank you for the picture. I'll be sure to check out HD and Lowes for these.
Every rad has bleed screws, so if I can get them for a bit cheaper at a big box store vs. a specialty shop, that would be great.
These look to be very similar to some of the ones I have, but I don't have the tool shown in the picture. Some bleed screws I have require a standard screw driver, others are ~1/4" wrench. I have two that are a bicycle valve type which I suspect are one of the areas I get air in the system.
What should I use to seal the threads? teflon tap?
 
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Old 05-31-12, 05:44 AM
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Watts has a nice vent that is automatic.
Works nice, though it was a quite odd the first time I used them.
I did not know that they would bleed air automatically until I started to purge the rads and found them all full.

HAV Automatic Vent Valves, Chrome Plated - Watts Canada

This is the link to the watts page.
 
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Old 05-31-12, 05:55 AM
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Thanks TOHeating.

I'll look into these as well as we do have a place in Sudbury that sells them.
What would kill these off the list is the cost though as I have a lot of rads and I'm going to do them all and be done with it. I'm looking at 18-22 rads in total.
 
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Old 05-31-12, 08:29 AM
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An advantage to using the Watts auto vents that TOHeating mentioned is that you don't need a screwdriver/wrench/key to bleed them. Just twist the knob-head with your fingers. No vent heads to strip or break off over time, and no special tools to misplace.

But you have to consider safety, as well. So a Watts-type auto vent might not be the best solution in situations where a lot of curious young children can easily see and reach the vents (like for example, a home that provides day care services, etc.).
 
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Old 05-31-12, 08:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Rockledge
An advantage to using the Watts auto vents that TOHeating mentioned is that you don't need a screwdriver/wrench/key to bleed them. Just twist the knob-head with your fingers. No vent heads to strip or break off over time, and no special tools to misplace.

But you have to consider safety, as well. So a Watts-type auto vent might not be the best solution in situations where a lot of curious young children can easily see and reach the vents (like for example, a home that provides day care services, etc.).
Very good point. I have a 1yrs old and a 3yrs old (who's handy with tools and watches way too closely).
 
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Old 05-31-12, 03:34 PM
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I'm not a fan of any type of 'automatic' bleeder that uses a hygroscopic disc as the operating element. I did use some here and they ALL eventually (after several years) began to 'weep'. No big deal if you can look at them every day but when they are hidden behind baseboard covers, behind furniture... well... you get the picture... weep weep weep... rotten moldy carpet, rotten subfloor... no, thank you.

If not familiar with this 'technology', there is a fiber composition disc inside these valves that swells when wet. When it dries, it shrinks. So you get air under it, it dries out and shrinks, the water comes up and it swells and 'closes' the hole. No, thank you.

There is a problem with the manual type too. If you allow your 'inner gorilla' to over-tighten the bleeders, you will eventually be unable to open them due to breakage. They only need to be tight enough to stop the flow, and with a tapered needle and seat, that's not a lot of torque! Don't Popeye them shut and they'll last forever.
 
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Old 05-31-12, 04:03 PM
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I agree with Trooper. My (limited) experience with the hygroscopic disc "automatic" vents is that they don't vent fast enough when dry and will eventually leak even when wet.
 
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Old 05-31-12, 10:01 PM
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If you allow your 'inner gorilla' to over-tighten the bleeders, you will eventually be unable to open them due to breakage.

Actually, that might explain a few things.....
 
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Old 06-01-12, 05:57 AM
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I am looking to keep things simple really so I'll be sticking with the manual bleed screws. I have 3 autobleeders and I hate them. Will be replacing them for manuals. I also need to keep my costs down as my 'must fix' list is very, very long and my money tree is not producing.

As for the 'inner gorilla'... I think the previous owner had this issue for sure. At last count, I had 9 broken bleed screws because of this.
 
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Old 06-01-12, 01:13 PM
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Just to respond.

If worried about them leaking or kids playing with them just remove the knob from the bleeder and it shuts off completely.
I have not heard of any problems with them and it was many years ago when I used them.
 
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