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Leaky radiator on enclosed porch

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This past summer we moved into a 99 year old home with

steam heat.  This is my first experience

with steam heat and we are having all kinds of problems.  For now, I want some thoughts about a

radiator that is on an enclosed porch which has vinyl replacement windows on

three sides.  The room measures 11’8” X

9’10” and has 9 foot ceilings.  The

current radiator is 5 feet long, 8 inches deep and 27 inches high. It has 5 pipes.  The radiator has a small leak from a couple

of pin holes in the bottom of two of the radiator sections.  A local guy known for his experience with

steam heat has a radiator that is the same basic length and width but is about

5 inches shorter in height.  Given the above

information, will that smaller radiator be adequate or should I just try to

patch the current one,  just let it leak  since it's pretty minor or wait

until I can find a radiator of the same size? 

Any thoughts would be appreciated.</a>


  • Unknown
    edited December 2009
    Radiator Sizing

    Hi Steve-

       My first thought is since you just moved into the house recently, you don't have knowledge as to whether the present leaky radiator is of adequate size to heat the porch properly, You may want to wait and see just how well the present one works over the winter and that will give you a better idea of whether a smaller unit might be up to the job. I've attached a chart with which you can determine the size of the radiators and then compare the two.

    Since your new to steam heating I would very highly suggest you get a book that is offered on this website called "We Got Steam Heat! "


     It's written for the homeowner, is easy reading, humorous, packed full of info on residential steam heating and in several evenings of reading you'll know far more about your steam system. My copy is probably one of the best investments I've ever made. It has saved me a lot on fuel and repairs plus enabled me to get my steam system running so it is very comfortable.

    - Rod
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,928
    Do get the book --

    well worth the cost.

    As to the leaky radiator, my advice would either be to let it be until at least spring, and see how it goes, or to try and patch the leak.  There is a product called JB Weld which often works rather well.   However, make a real effort to diagnose where the leak is really coming from.  Pinholes in radiators, while they do happen, are a little unusual.  It is much more common for the actual leak to be between sections, and the water then wanders over to some convenient projection and drips off of that, quite misleadingly.  If the leak is between sections there are other ways to handle it quite nicely.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Thanks Rod


    Thanks for your thoughts and the chart.  I have been leaning toward just seeing what

    happens since the leak is pretty minor.  The chart also gives me a good mechanism to decide about the possible replacement if I need to do that. 

    I recently purchased the book you mentioned as well as A Pocketful Of Steam Problems and am working my way through.  Learning about steam heat sure is interesting and challenging.

    Thanks again

  • Thanks Jamie


    I had heard about the BJ Weld and just bought some.  I’ve done the best I can to find the leak and have at least a good idea.  I’ll probably just plaster the entire area with the JB Weld and hope for the best.  I’m leery to get too involved at this point but will give it a shot since it beats just replacing the thing.

    Thanks again

This discussion has been closed.