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Special warning for all newbees

If you open a 65 year old water shut off valve, it will not ever close again without dripping.

If you close a 65 year old water shut off valve, it will never open again without dripping.

If you don't know how to change out a valve and solder a joint be prepared to have leaks everywhere until the plumber comes to fix it. 
73 year old one pipe system with original American standard boiler, oil fired becket, 2 inch steel pipe main, 100 feet long, with 8 radiators above.


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,710
    OK, I'll bite

    what happened? 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    Packing nut

    Did you try tightening the packing nut an 1/8 of a turn? If that doesn't stop the drip replacing the packing should.
  • David07666
    David07666 Member Posts: 9
    That's why NYC is building Tunnel #3!

    One of the big reasons (but not the only one) that New York City is building Tunnel #3 to bring water into the city is because nobody knows whether they could turn off Tunnels 1 & 2 and ever turn them back on again (forget about leaks!). 

  • steam-rookie
    steam-rookie Member Posts: 128
    edited February 2010
    It took 8 hours and 2 trips to HD

    The drain valve on the bottom of my boiler needed to be replaced. The valve was fine as long as it was closed. As soon as I would attach the garden hose to it and open it up it would leak. I wanted to try the tube test that JP had shown me, and I needed to attach the tubing to that valve. Knowing it was going to leak all over the place, I decided to change it out. I let the boiler cool down and drained the water out. I put a wrench on the leaky valve and gave it a gentle turn, hoping it would just unscrew and I would just screw a new one on. Gentle was not working so I added some additional force. One of the solder joints broke. That was only the beginning

    At this point I was now committed to cut the copper feed to the boiler and take off the valve, fitting, tee, everything down there, and replace the whole thing.

    During this process I decided to move the garden hose to a valve that comes out of the heater coil that is in the boiler. My goal was to get all of the water out of the system in preparation for the solder job. As soon as I opened the valve from the heater coil some black stuff came out. It looked like liquid wrench, that I had applied to the first valve the prior night anticipating the first valve replacement. (that obviously did not work). Anyway, upon finishing flushing the coil and draining, that second valve would not close all the way, it was dripping no matter how hard I tightened it. The water was turned off in the house, the system was drained, so I decided to cut the copper pipe that feeds my hot water, and pull that valve out and replace it too.

    2 tees, 4 elbows, 4 fittings, 2 couplings, 4 feet of 1/2 copper pipe, two 1/4 turn boiler ball vales, cut, fit, cleaned, fluxed, soldered. 8 hours later everything was back together and working perfectly.

    Total cost, about 40 bucks. Spending 8 hours with my boiler, Priceless

    I enjoyed every minute of it. (not kidding) I just wanted to warn anyone who is new to all of this that as soon as you touch anything on you 65 year old boiler it is going to disintegrate in your hand.
    73 year old one pipe system with original American standard boiler, oil fired becket, 2 inch steel pipe main, 100 feet long, with 8 radiators above.
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    don't forget

    don't forget to make steam as soon as you add all the new boiler feed water .. and do let us know how the clear tubing exercise goes ..

    i guess it was good that we didn't do the clear tubing on Saturday.
    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
  • malp
    malp Member Posts: 27
    edited February 2010
    stuff happens

    Sounds like an adventure. At least you had fun.

    I drilled into water supply pipes twice while putting down my bathroom subfloor. The first time, there was a geyser. The second time, there was a slow drip until I removed the offending screw. Then there was a geyser. It gave me the excuse I needed to rerun the pipes up an interior wall, so they wouldn't freeze in the winter.

    I used occasionally smell gas in my basement. Just a wiff and only so often. I traced the leak to the offending fitting. I unscrewed and re-screwed all the pipe up to the fitting. No more leaks there except the next fitting upstream was now leaking. I unscrewed and re-screwed up to that fitting. No more leak there except the next fitting was bubbling. I went to my private place to vent, came back, reapplied the soapy water, and no  bubbling. The leaked fixed itself I guess. I still check up on the fitting every other week or so.
  • steam-rookie
    steam-rookie Member Posts: 128
    clear tube test

    That shut off valve really had to be changed to conduct the test. Its done and the tube is on there. I will post a picture and the results on my G2 saga thread.
    73 year old one pipe system with original American standard boiler, oil fired becket, 2 inch steel pipe main, 100 feet long, with 8 radiators above.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,877
    I love it

    Also known as the can of worms phenomenon.  Been there, done that...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    I'm afraid it's not over...

    ...everyone knows a project isn't finished unitl you've made three trips to Home Depot.
  • Polycarp
    Polycarp Member Posts: 135
    2 trip plan

    I've found that a good system is to get everything I might possibly need on the first trip and then return everything I don't use.  Sometimes I still end up with three trips, but I can often keep it down to two this way.  ;)
This discussion has been closed.