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Radiator Valves

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Why would the radiators only get hot when the valves are off? I thought it was the valves so I replaced them but I'm still having the same issue? Help?

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  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
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    1-pipe or 2?

    what type of system do you have? 1pipe or 2pipe?
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • NASEEB
    NASEEB Member Posts: 5
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    Radiator Valves

    It's a one pipe system. Only certain radiators in the house get hot without the valves being on. The others work fine.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
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    what type of valves

    to make sure we are using the same terminology .. what type of valves are we talking about .. floor inlet valves which turn OFF by turning counterclockwise OR radiator mounted valves on the far end of the radiator about halfway up the rad?



    can you post pictures?
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • NASEEB
    NASEEB Member Posts: 5
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    radiator valves

    radiator mounted valves on the far end of the radiator about halfway up the rad. There are 7 rads in the entire house and the 2 farthest away from the steam heater are the ones with the problem. I'll post up some pics in a bit.. thanks.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    Those valves

    about half way up the radiator are vents, which are supposed to let the air out.  Bit hard to say why the radiators would only heat if they are adjustable and closed all the way... but it is possible, as very few vents actually close completely.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
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    please define "off"

    Now that we are talking about the vents .. please tell us what you mean by "off" .. what type of vents are they? Do they have a name and model? Are they adjustable? When you say "off" .. do you mean not installed on the radiator or turned all the way off .. knowing what kind of vents they are would be helpful.



    thanks,



    jpf
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • NASEEB
    NASEEB Member Posts: 5
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    Photo of Valve

    This is a photo of the valve I think is the problem.. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    That valve

    (it is a vent) is making me dizzy -- it should be turned to be straight up, for starters.  Then see what happens.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • NASEEB
    NASEEB Member Posts: 5
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    will try

     Thanks a lot. Will try that tonight and see what happens..
  • mchema
    mchema Member Posts: 37
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    Confused

    I'm confused by the question you posted... Looking at your picture the confusion grew even more. Do you mean when you take the air vents completely off is the only time the rad will heat? If that is the question it's the position, clearly noted by the picture...



    Air Vents (as shown in your picture) respond to heat. As your system fills with steam the air in the system is pushed out the air vent and a float inside the vent forms a vacuum when the steam reaches the vent. When the vent is closed the rad is nice and hot (including that air vent). There are adjustable air vents which yours is not. Your vent is tapped into the wrong location. It's on the high side It should be located about half way up the rad and the vent needs to be pointing upward. Air vents should never used to shut a rad "on" or "off" Although some people turn the vents upside down (kind of like in your picture) so the rad does not heat up if they have a rad that over heats (can't push out the air, can't fill with steam, can't heat the room). I don't know if that's your issue...  There are other ways to fix these issue, like getting a proper sized air vent (slower venting) or balancing the whole system for a more even heat. AIR VENT determine HOW FAST THAT RAD WILL HEAT, basically.



    Some people like the adjustable air vent b/c you can balance your system. You would  use a faster venting setting on the bigger rad and a slower venting setting on a smaller rad.  Personally I don't use adjustable vents to balance my system. I use different sized vents for different room situations. Dan has a Balancing book by Gerry Gill that explains all that but that is a different story.





    Hope this helps. You should get Dan's Book We Got Steam Heat...
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    edited January 2010
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    vent location

    mchema's post got me thinking and analyzing your picture a bit more .. the reason that your vent isn't pointed up is because it is not able to turn past the upper plug .. that's because it is in the location for a hot-water bleed valve .. the vent should be at that little bump on the center tube between the bottom and middle section .. see noted picture here: http://screencast.com/t/YmNhZDU4NTA ... although the location in my picture is the proper place, there is little chance that you will be able to unscrew the screw that's probably in that location right now between the internal rust and the paint .. forget it...



    what you need to do is get:

    a 1/8th NPT Pipe tap (& a tap holder if you don't have one)

    a 21/64ths drill bit,

    a 1/8th" NPT "plug" and

    a roll of teflon tape

    .. since I have 1/8th" plug on the list, this basically means you need to go to a plumbing supply store (not Lowes or Homedepot) or order these online from various sources.

    the entire shopping list will cost you about $10 total .. oh and if you ruined the vent trying to turn it straight up .. better add that to your list :)



    once you have all the above gear in hand, gently drill a hole with your 21/64 bit on a flat section of rad above but "close to" the bump noted in my picture .. then take your 1/8th" tap and screw it into the hole by hand, not using power tool .. then unscrew the tap .. then move your vent from the upper location to the newly tapped location .. wrap about 2layers of teflon tape around the threaded end of the vent before screwing in .. teflon tape the 1/8th plug as well and screw that into the old vent location .. make sure your vent ends up big-end-down .. pointy end straight up .. and you are good to go ..



    whether that vent is still functional or the proper size vent for that rad in that room is a completely different story...



    other options include...getting a 1-1/2" x 1/8th" nipple and an 1/8" coupling and simply screwing that into the existing location giving you some clearance to turn the vent straight and proper... although cheaper and less manual labor  this option is not the "correct" fix..since your radiator will only heat partially (maybe 15-25%) before the vent closes (and you already know what happens when the vent is closed=no more heating will occur)



    the last option would be to get another rad (new or old) that has a tap ready for you in the correct place ... but this will be much more than the $10 list I gave you above .. and probably won't be as pretty as the rad you have ...



    oh and if you have any other radiators with their vents in the same "top" of the rad location (whether or not they are pointed straight up) .. you should really re-tap the rads to move the vents to their proper location .. and you will need to buy a few more 1/8th" plugs :-)



    let us know ..
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • DavidK_2
    DavidK_2 Member Posts: 131
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    NASEEB

    I suspect you have confused the air vent with the radiator valve.



    Usually the valve is located near the floor where the steam enters the radiator.

    (on a single pipe system this valve should always be either all open, or all shut).



    What you have pictured is an air vent.



    I might be wrong, but here is my guess. When you "closed" this "valve" what you were doing is rotating it (the pictured air vent) clockwise until it would not move easily. This probably put the air vent with the pointy part facing up - so you got heat since the vent could work.



    As others have mentioned this vent is not in the usual (proper) place, but that is not necessarily a big problem.



    Do you know about, and have you bought the steam books available on this site? They are money well spent if you will be living with steam heat.
  • HenryT
    HenryT Member Posts: 128
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    question regarding vent location

    Thanks for the valuable info on how to tap and drill a new hole on the radiator JPF321.

    My 1 pipe steam radiator has a air vent that is located on the top of the radiator (like in the picture) but facing up right.

    Dan's book and you suggested that the location of the vent should be in the middle. Since my radiator is silent and heating up completely across, should i bother to re-locate the vent to the middle of the unit? i dont have a 1/8 hole there so would need to tap. Do i need to be that intrusive?

    Please advise.

    Thanks
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