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what are these valves?

DanT
DanT Member Posts: 21
I have these on the side of my radiators.  I think they might be thermostatic radiator valves.  They say "DOLE" on the bottom and have numbers along the top and you can twist it.  Can I boil these in vinegar or will it damage them? 



also, two of my radiators aren't getting hot.  I just bought the house and this showed up in the inspection.  they are at the end of one of the main lines.  One is on the first floor and one is directly above it on the second floor. 



Thanks,

Dan

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    mystery objects

    they are radiator air vents, which on a 1-pipe system allow the air to escape as the steam is rising from the boiler.they will only handle the capacity of the radiator, and so there are [or should be] also much larger main vents on the pipes nearer the boiler for letting the air out of the boiler and pipes.

    i would not soak them until you are certain that they are not working.

    for the non-performing radiators, look for a sag in the pipe leading to them, which may have a pool of water obstructing the flow of steam/air. of course your thermostat could just be getting satisfied before these rads at the end of the line are getting barely warm. increasing the capacity of the main vents may speed up the steam arrival.

    i suggest you get a copy of "the lost art of steam heating" from the shop here and acquaint yourself with the principles of steam heating. you will probably know more about the subject than many plumbers.--nbc
  • Rod
    Rod Posts: 2,067
    edited October 2010
    Radiator Valves

    Hi  Dan- Welcome to the wonderful world of steam! Those are adjustable radiator vents(valves). They allow the release of air from the radiator but when steam contacts them, they close and keep the steam in the radiator where it condenses and heats the radiator.  They are not TRVS (Thermostatic Radiator Valves)  You can try boiling them in vinegar sometimes that work or just get new ones.

    There is a book offered on this website that you should get. It's called "We Got Steam Heat!"

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/products/Books/5/61/We-Got-Steam-Heat-A-Homeowners-Guide-to-Peaceful-Coexistence

    It's a very good introductory book to residential steam heating. It's written for homeowners,easy humorous reading and in an evening or two you'll jump light years ahead in knowledge of steam heating.

    There is also a lot of good information available on this website. Look in the "Resources" section at the top of this page. Here a good link to start you off:

    http://www.heatinghelp.com/article/11/Hot-Tech-Tips/128/A-Steam-Heating-Primer

    - Rod
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    air valves

    Those are thermostatic air valves. When cool they allow air to flow in and out of the radiator, as soon as steam hits them they snap shut. The higher the number the more air they can vent. If one of these is clogged no steam will enter that radiator.



    They can be boiled in vinegar but sometimes that removes the chrome plating other than that it usually works. Shut the boiler down using the switch and then remove the valve from the radiator. Boil it is a saucepan of vinegar for 30-60 minutes. Then wrap some teflon tape around the threads before screwing them back in place.



    You mentioned the two that didn't heat were at the end of the main. There should be larger air vents on the mains and these do clog up over time. Does the end of the main with the cold radiators get steam hot? If not that air valve might be at fault, I've fixed mine with a vinegar boil.



    If the end of the main gets hot then I'd see if the cold radiator vents are working, can you hear or feel (careful, steam will burn) air coming out of them? Also make sure the supply valve is open, they should be fully open or closed not half way. If the vents aren't working you can try boiling them or replacing them with new vents. When replacing them buy name brand vents (Hoffman and Gorton are good ones but there are others); Home Depot sells cheap chinese air valves that are suspect, I'd only use them in a pinch.



    The other possible cause would be having radiators that are not pitched back towards the boiler so they can drain the condensate back to the boiler. use a level to be sure they are pitched, you can use a shim or quarters under the vent end of the radiator to get the correct pitch. Use a level to make sure the mains are pitched so the condensate can get back to the boiler. This would usually be coupled with the end of the main not getting hot (where the pipe that feeds those problem radiators come off the main).



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • MEK
    MEK Member Posts: 15
    edited November 2010
    I have Dole 1As too

    I noticed a lot of talk about Hoffman and Gorton air vents. How do the Dole vents compare in quality and reputation?





    Update: It seems that the manufacturer is out of business, any idea how old they might be? I have three. On two of them, the top piece with the slot (in DanT's picture above, it is above the numbered dial) is loose, so the dial and that piece both move independently. My other vent has this piece tightened, and I just move the dial (it is tight, but moves) and can change the vent speed. I did the blow test, and they are all venting and I even inverted them while blowing and verified that they close. Is this sufficient to test the vents? I do not know how they react to temperature or drop away pressure...
  • Musky
    Musky Member Posts: 5
    Dole 1A Vari Vents

    What you have is a Dole 1A Vari Vent.  The dial on top controls the flow rate of your steam.  10 being the greatest.  You can rotate the dial (usuall higher for radiators farther from the boiler on larger rooms)

    Moving the dial in small incriments will allow you to adjust the comfort level for different part of the living area and balancing your steam heating system. 



    Attempting to clean these vaves will likely damage them.  New ones are afordable and readily available from a HVAC supply house as well as most ACE hardware stores. 

    www.wallinassociates.com
  • Musky
    Musky Member Posts: 5
    Dole 1A Vari Vents

    What you have is a Dole 1A Vari Vent.  The dial on top controls the flow rate of your steam.  10 being the greatest.  You can rotate the dial (usuall higher for radiators farther from the boiler on larger rooms)

    Moving the dial in small incriments will allow you to adjust the comfort level for different part of the living area and balancing your steam heating system. 



    Attempting to clean these vaves will likely damage them.  New ones are afordable and readily available from a HVAC supply house as well as most ACE hardware stores. 

    www.wallinassociates.com
  • Musky
    Musky Member Posts: 5
    Dole is still available

    Doloe 1A are still available and ver affordable.  They are available through most HVAC supply houses as wqell as ACE Hardware.



    www.wallinassociates.com
  • Musky
    Musky Member Posts: 5
    Dole is still available

    Doloe 1A are still available and ver affordable.  They are available through most HVAC supply houses as wqell as ACE Hardware.



    www.wallinassociates.com
  • Musky
    Musky Member Posts: 5
    Dole is still available

    Doloe 1A are still available and ver affordable.  They are available through most HVAC supply houses as wqell as ACE Hardware.



    www.wallinassociates.com
    maher871
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