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Why am I told these valves were not intended for apartment residents to use for turning on/off their radiators or to control amount of incoming heat? The plastic wheel has directional arrows on it and it is positioned for easy access. Is it a bad thing to keep opening and closing these apt valves. We have a 2 pipe steam system.


  • Gordo
    Gordo Member Posts: 754
    Re: Steam Radiator Valves

    In your case, since you have a two-pipe steam system, you may have been misinformed.  The big advantage of MOST two-pipe steam systems is the ability to use the valve to meter the steam flow into the radiator for greater comfort .  The air and water are discharged through another  pipe.  

    However, your radiator valves, if original to the system, may be reaching the end of their useful life.  They may  leak at the packing nut (usually they can be re-packed) or the internal parts may be worn and not meter properly or not  completely shut off the steam if needed.

    On a ONE-pipe steam system, the  valve can only be used to shut off the radiator for servicing because the steam flowing in and the water flowing back out must be allowed to pass each other in an orderly fashion.  A partly shut valve restricts this.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Steam Radiator Service Valves

    Thank you for your informative reply. We are a 106 unit coop replacing our steam heating plant and traps and I am at the bottom of the learning curve on all this stuff. Needless to say we have high fuel bills and poor heat distribution and I want to get these expensive fixes right the first time. Thanks again.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,422
    get to know more about steam!

    there are some excellent books on steam heating in the shop here, and i suggest that you get them all, and maybe some for your installer, who is i hope an experienced "steam mechanic" and not merely the lowest bidder! what is your location?

    while you are at these repairs:

    1. pay attention to maintaining the lowest steam pressure you can. some systems need only 2 ounces. a good low pressure gauge is a necessity [ psi]. a vaporstat will also be of great benefit in maintaining these low pressures.

    2.make sure the air can get out as the steam rises. this is the main venting, and on you 2-pipe system, can take several forms, and the books will explain.

    3.take some pictures of your present boiler, and piping so that if there are any problems with the present installation, our various steam experts may see it before the installers leave.

    4. investigate the possibility that you may have a 2-stage burner [hi-lo-hi]. making that work properly may save lots of fuel.

    5. pay attention to the control system, as i am sure that you will probably not have a simple thermostat. various means are available, which rely on outside temperature to control the boiler.--nbc
  • Steam radiator Service Valves

    Thanks again. We are located in the Riverdale section of the Bronx. I have "The Lost Art of Steam Heating" and I just ordered "A pocketful of Steam problems". Will take pictures of piping. Terrific idea!
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,422
    one more thought

    i also meant to emphasize the importance of the installer following the boiler mfg's installation instructions, especially pipe layout and sizes. sounds simple, but so many problems seen here are the result of not doing so!!!--nbc
  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,566
    can I come and visit?

    steamboat --

    i'd love to come up and visit .. give you some thoughts .. drop me an email contact me directly through link on right or drop me an email [email protected] .. i'm in Queens.
    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
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