What is this part on a steam radiator?

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Old 03-08-15, 02:06 PM
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What is this part on a steam radiator?

I am getting a leak from this part on a boiler. I've removed it, taped the threadings, used pipe dope and reattached it snugly but it still drips, maybe one drop every ten minutes. I'm starting to think there's a tiny crack somewhere in the part itself. There is a springlike contraption inside of it. Any suggestions on what it is or how to fix it? Thanks in advance.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/qgm5edh0c8...549_1.jpg?dl=0
 
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Old 03-08-15, 02:10 PM
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Sorry, I wrote boiler but meant radiator.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 02:14 PM
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I fixed the title... but I'm sorry that I am not sure what that thing is. Maybe a 'steam trap' ?

I hope one of the steam heads will respond.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 02:15 PM
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Yes, that's what it is... quick google and voila!


Radiator Steam Traps , Watts Radiator Trap , Watts 1 GAP Trap - SupplyHouse.com

Something tells me that's incorrectly installed though.

I believe that hex head has to be UP.

The install PDF that supplyhouse has on their website is the wrong one.

Note that every single picture in this PDF shows the hex on top.

http://www.eprinc.net/client_images/.../Series17C.pdf
 
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Old 03-08-15, 02:24 PM
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You have TWO pipes on each radiator, don't you?

You generally don't need steam traps on ONE pipe systems if I recall correctly.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 02:50 PM
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E,
That is a steam trap and it is installed wrong. That nut should be facing up. The part that's going into the rad should be installed on the pipe coming into the rad.
What that does is to keep the steam in the rad until it cools and turns to condensate and the goes back down the return line to the boiler.
It's probably full of water due to the installation when it should be draining.
Does that rad heat all the way across and does it make any noise like when the steam hits the water in that trap.
That trap is made for a pipe that comes up from the floor.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 03:00 PM
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Wow, thanks guys! So it's installed backwards, basically? That's odd, wonder how that happened...it's always been this way.

Yes there are two pipes going to it. The other side has a pipe with the valve on it.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 03:07 PM
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https://www.dropbox.com/s/ry3qzaa4di...G0550.jpg?dl=0

I've attached a pic of the trap removed. It can't be installed any other way, the hex nut is attached to the pipe coming from the radiator and won't come off...
 
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Old 03-08-15, 03:31 PM
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Also yes it heats all the way through, although it does tend to bang quite often.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 03:51 PM
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That's odd, wonder how that happened
Easy! Someone didn't read the instructions, or thought they knew better than the engineers that designed it...

All the radiators the same way? Trap installed wrong?
 
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Old 03-08-15, 03:55 PM
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Of course it can be installed correctly, but would require some repiping.

You would install the union nut on the pipe and the trap threads into the radiator, but like Spott said, that one is designed for the pipe coming out of the floor. There are other types that would work better with your setup.

Like this one for example:




http://www.supplyhouse.com/Hoffman-4...rmostatic-Trap
 
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Old 03-08-15, 05:13 PM
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E,
The one that trooper pictured is the correct one for the job.
That one you have looks like a real oldie.
To get that piece out of the rad there is a special tool which is pictured on the the same page to the left of where trooper got this valve. You need that tool to install new ones.
Those valves are brass and there are little pieces inside that stem in the rad that are too soft sometimes and snap off when trying to back off an old fitting like yours.
The only other way is to hacksaw the brass nut to get it off the stem and then with your pipe wrench unwind the stem.
I wouldn't go through all of that unless you are going to replace it.
When you're redoping don't put any on the round piece where the nut is. That must be clean to make a good seal.
That will mate to the threaded part on the steam vent.
That tool is called a spud wrench to install these steam traps and remove that piece.
Good Luck,
 
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Old 03-08-15, 06:02 PM
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25011 - Webstone 25011 - Radiator Valve Spud Wrench

......................................................
 
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Old 03-08-15, 07:00 PM
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Looks like I've got a lot of work ahead of me...thanks so much for your help, guys! Her house is over 90 years old so there's a lot of outdated stuff there. And the setup is the same on the other radiators in the house so it looks like they're all done wrong.

Thanks again for all your helpful replies. I'll come back if I have any more questions.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 08:00 PM
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E,
I just want to say one thing.
I knew those had to be very old because I had never even seen one like that before but if your system is working I wouldn't go crazy replacing them. By today's standards they are installed wrong but the steam guys back then were true craftsman and maybe those valves were designed to be installed that way. I don't know so I won't knock them.
They have worked for 90 yrs. but we have different products today. If they're all installed that way then that's the way is was done back then.
Another thing it isn't very common to see 2 pipe steam in residential housing. Steam tradesmen were a breed all their own. Remember, steam travels by gravity and it's the installation expertise that decides if that steam reaches it destination or just sounds like a constant sledgehammer banging on the pipes. There's nothing that makes steam go up those pipes except the installer.
My whole point is I'm very hesitant about saying anything negative about 90yr. old steam installations.
 
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Old 03-08-15, 08:17 PM
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Thanks for your thoughts, spott! So I guess I'm back to square one...unless this particular trap has a crack in it... I can't seem to figure out how it's leaking.
 
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