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How do I remove an air valve that doesn't have enough clearance?

Hello All,

I'm new to the forum and have a question about changing an air valve on a one pipe steam radiator.  The air valve doesn't seem to close all the way once the radiator is fully heated.

The problem is that the air valve doesn't clear the radiator when I try to take it off.  I only get a quarter turn before it hits the radiator.  I'm wondering how the valve even got on in the first place!  It doesn't just hit that bolt thing, but the part of the radiataor that it threads into.

Any ideas on how I should proceed?  I'm tempted into taking the top half of the valve off so I can at least remove it, but then I'm worred I wouldn't be able to get a new one on due to the clearance issue.  

I've attached a pic, so I hope it comes through.  Thanks for any suggestions!


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    removing air vent

    i think that a 1/8 in street ell, when pointed up, will allow a vertically mounted air vent to be put on. either take the existing valve apart [boiler switched off], or use a hacksaw to cut it.

    also check your pressure as if it is above 2 psi, the valve may not be able to close. a new vent would be a good idea in any case.


  • cn30
    cn30 Member Posts: 34
    air vent

    I had a situation like this, and I found that a Gordon would fit and rotate where the taller vents wouldn't.
  • CT_Minh
    CT_Minh Member Posts: 13
    air vent

    Thank you for the suggestions. 

    The pressuretrol is set to .5 PSI, so I don't think that's the problem.

    There's only one plumbing supply place in my area that sells air valves, so I'll see if they have shorter valves before hacking off the old one.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Air Valves:

    Be careful "hacking" anything off.

    The barrel part above the cast part will unscrew. Use two pairs of pliers to get the upper barrel part off. Have a new vent available.

    There is no way the valve was installed together. It was taken apart when it was installed. Someone here may help you with a valve and where to get one. But the upper part is screwed into the lower part with a scratch thread and will come apart. You might even be able to fix it. Though I'd replace it.
  • Steve_175
    Steve_175 Member Posts: 238
    Rad vents

    Try these guys if you cannot get something local. A lot of folks here like Gorton ,that is what I have on my rads.

  • Long Beach Ed
    Long Beach Ed Member Posts: 1,212
    Comes Apart

    As Ice said, that vent is held together by the nurled ring, which unscrews.  Unscrew the ring with a Channel-Loc and the top will lift off.   You may find after taking it apart, that the vent is simply hung up with mung and that it work after cleaning.  Those old Vent-rite vents did last almost forever.  

    The vent's also located in a tapping meant for a hot water vent on a hot water system.  You may find that a steam vent in that location keeps the radiator from filling completely with steam.  There should be another vent boss 1/3 down the side of that end section for use with steam heat, 

    The present position's fine if you're happy with the way the radiator's heating. 
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,846
    I have three that are like this.

    I just loosen the nut on the valve union and yank the thing away from the wall. If it doesn't move far enough I disconnect it from the valve. It's a lot quicker than any other way. If you're nervous about the heat coming on, turn off the valve first.

    By the way, I think your valve is in the wrong place. There should be a boss about halfway down on the other side. If it's heating okay you can leave it where it is, but it might make it easier to change it if you move it.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,902
    edited February 2012
    That vent is definitely in the wrong place

    as Hap and Ed say, on a steam system it should be on the side of the rad rather than the top. If you disconnect the rad from the valve and pull it out, you will see a "boss" that is supposed to be tapped for the vent. The rad will heat better when the vent is properly installed, and the vents will last longer. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • CT_Minh
    CT_Minh Member Posts: 13
    Thanks again

    Hello All,

    Thanks for the info!  Over the weekend I went to the local plumbing supply store to get a spare vent before doing anything.  The counter guy sold me a "Heat-Timer Varivalve".  For some reason all their "bullet style" vents are non-adjustable.

    The old valve came apart just as the previous posters suggested.  It was crudded up a bit, and the ring inside pretty much crumbled apart at the touch.  I cleaned out the vent and put a rubber o-ring inside and will see how it does after a few cycles.  If it doesn't work out, I'll swap it with the spare I bought.

    Anyone know if these are decent?
  • CT_Minh
    CT_Minh Member Posts: 13

    Oh, and the tappings are indeed too high.  I only figured that out after reading "We Got Steam Heat!".

    Oddly, only 2 out of 6 steam radiators in our house use the lower tappings, the rest are near the top.  No complaints so far though.  They do heat up in a timely manner, so I'd rather not monkey around with moving them and plugging the old tappings.
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