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Pipe dope for steam heat fittings?

RonABC_2 Member Posts: 24
Thanks Nicholas, Ed, et al. I'm glad I asked. Looks like pipe dope plus cleaning the surfaces and reconnecting is the way to go.


  • RonABC_2
    RonABC_2 Member Posts: 24
    Pipe dope for steam heat fittings?

    I recently bought a house that has a one-pipe steam heat system. It was a vacant bank-owned property that I bought as-is, and I will be renting the property out. I never had steam heat before. The heating system works well but two or three of the radiators have a very slight drip where the radiator valve connects to the radiators. I just noticed it today when I moved the radiator covers to paint them.

    I briefly tried tightening the fittings with a pipe wrench, but that didn't seem to work. I'm thinking the next thing I'll do is turn off the heat, loosen the connections that are dripping, clean them to make sure there is no grit or dirt on the threads and contact surfaces, and then tighten them again.

    But, I am wondering...,

    Would it also help to try adding a little bit of pipe dope to the fittings to try to help assure that they will seal
    completely? If so, is there any special type of pipe dope to use that is better for steam heat fittings?

    My hunch is that no pipe dope is required or recommended, but I thought I'd ask.

    P.S. I bought the book called "We Got Steam Heat!" (which is very good), but I am only up to page 31 so far so I don't know if this question is answered later in the book.
  • ed wallace
    ed wallace Member Posts: 1,613
    pipe dope

    rectorseal or any good pipe dope will work
  • leaking spud

    make sure the mating surfaces of the union are very clean and smooth [ maybe rubbed with fine steel wool ] and then pipe dope or a little dish washing liquid [to lubricate the surfaces as they slide together.--nbc
  • RonABC
    RonABC Member Posts: 2
    Pipe dope -- followup -- it worked.

    Thanks all. I took the fittings apart, cleaned them, used pipe dope with Teflon in it, and reconnected them. Worked perfectly -- no leaks.
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