Leaking Baseboard Bleeder Valve

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  #1  
Old 11-29-16, 06:42 AM
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Unhappy Leaking Baseboard Bleeder Valve

Hi everyone,

So I went into my finished basement last night and felt that a small piece of my carpet by a wall was slightly wet (and started freaking out), after noticing that the entire basement smelled funny and musty. The wet spot is nowhere near the waste line or any other pipes in the basement so I had no idea what was going on. I went into investigative mode and figured out that a piece of baseboard in my living room directly above that part of my basement was dripping water onto the living room hardwood floor and down a small opening where the wall meets the hardwood floor. This water traveled all the way down my sheet-rocked basement wall (doesn't have any wet marks), ending up on my foundation where my carpet sits. It wasn't a lot of water and the carpet only felt slightly damp to my feet. I have put a measuring cup under the leak in the living room baseboard to temporarily stop the problem, and have used towels to get the excess moisture off the basement carpet, ran 2 fans all night and a dehumidifier has been running constantly. This morning the carpet feels dry but the smell is still there (but less strong). I assume the smell is because the water from the baseboard, although technically clean water, has a slight yellow tinge, presumably because the house/baseboard is 50+ years old.

I have posted pictures below of the baseboard and the leaky bleeder valve that is the culprit (based on my google research of the part that is dripping water). Is this a DIY job? If so, how can I go about fixing this myself and getting the slight smell out of my now-dry carpet? If not, will this be a costly repair? Any back-of-the-envelope estimates would be greatly appreciated. I called a plumber this morning that lives 2 blocks away (has a nice size business) that I used in the past for an emergency, and told him exactly what I described above. He told me that it probably isn't a DIY job because he would need to "drain the system to relieve the pressure off the valve, fix the problem, and then start the system again," which in my mind is code for him wanting to take advantage of a new homeowner and bill the #### out of me.

Please forum-friends, help me out! P.S. I am somewhat handy in plumbing (replaced a few faucets in the past).

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  #2  
Old 11-29-16, 07:25 AM
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First, have you tried just tightening the bleed valve to see if the leak stops?

Is this the highest level of the house, or is there an upper floor?

Your plumber described how to do it by the book. Some would take short cuts by not draining the whole system, only shutting down the boiler and feedwater, lowering pressure as much as possible, and swapping the valve quickly before too much water leaks out.

Even doing it by the book should not take very long.
 
  #3  
Old 11-29-16, 07:36 AM
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No, I have not tried tightening the bleed valve yet. I will try it tonight.

The living room where this baseboard is located is not the highest level in the house - I have a second story where bedrooms are located.

Assuming tightening the bleed valve doesn't do it, I'm guessing I can't do this one myself? What is a realistic price to pay for such a simple job? Any strategy as to how to get a plumber to fix this without overcharging (I have no experience hiring plumbers).
 
  #4  
Old 11-29-16, 08:24 PM
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As others have said, the actual bleed valve is a 2-minute fix. Some teflon tape and a new bleed valve and you're all set.

The issue is that the system is full of water and under pressure. If it's something you'd like to learn, it's pretty easy to partially drain one zone, replace the valve, and refill the system. It'll probably take you an hour to do.

It'll take the plumber 20-30 minutes, and cost a few hundred $$. The best way to ensure you're not getting taken for a ride is to get two estimates. You may be able to get an estimate over the phone from a plumber since it's a pretty easy issue to explain and fix.

Best way to find a reliable plumber is from family or friend references.

Good luck!
 
  #5  
Old 11-30-16, 06:05 AM
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Thanks. I think I'll leave this one up to a professional, but will learn how to drain zones and refill the system so that in the future I can take a stab at it if something goes wrong.

I'm a relatively new homeowner, but now I'm getting worried that another bleed valve can randomly go bad and mess up my walls/floors/basement. Is this something I should worry about or should I not worry until something goes wrong. I was thinking maybe I should have someone inspect the integrity of all my valves given how old this house is. Any thoughts?

I decided to go with a local plumber I heard is trustworthy. I was able to text the pictures below and was given a $375 estimate which I think is pretty reasonable. Any thoughts?
 
  #6  
Old 11-30-16, 06:14 AM
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As Zorfdt said, best way to avoid getting taken is to get a couple of estimates; prices vary widely in different areas.

Bleed valves can wear out, but it's not that common. I wouldn't lose sleep that others are going to fail. At least once a year, usually when you start the heating season, you should be bleeding the convectors and can check for any issues then.
 
  #7  
Old 11-30-16, 09:59 AM
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Thanks. I've been in the house since April 2013 and haven't bled anything as of yet Half of my house has baseboard, while the other half has old-school radiators that look like this: https://img.washingtonpost.com/rf/im...ho-howto15.jpg

I assume the radiator-type ones need to be bled too?
 
  #8  
Old 11-30-16, 12:08 PM
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If they have bleed valves, yes; not all do. Don't worry, I suspect most people don't bleed their system. Most properly designed systems with air scoops and sealed expansion tanks will rarely need to be bled. If you find when you do bleed the radiators that little or no air comes out, then you know you don't have to do it often. If you get a lot of air out, then check in a few months.
If you hear a lot of trickling water noises when system starts up, that is usually a sign of air in the lines.
 
  #9  
Old 11-30-16, 01:40 PM
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Thank you for all of your help! Greatly appreciated.
 
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