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Radiator won't turn off

Hello Heating People!

This may have been answered before on the forum, so I apologize if I haven't already found the answer.



We live in an older building that has steam heating. Being as it's gotten much colder in Seattle lately they have turned on the steam heating unit in the building. This has resulted in each unit (I've talked to the neighbors) becoming extremely hot. We have radiators in each room that are definitely all active and generating steam heat (blitzkrieg bop). However, the main problem is that we cannot turn off ANY of the radiators. As such, the unit becomes absurdly uncomfortable to the point where we have to open all windows and even resort to placing a fan in the window to help regulate the heat.



Each radiator has a one pipe on each side of the radiator (see pics). There is a singular valve on the bottom of the radiator. I'm no expert, but I'm assuming the valve on the bottom turns the radiator on and off. I have experimented with turning the valve completely one way leaving it to see if the heat turns off (no go) and then turning it back the other way and leaving it to see if it will turn off (no go).



Should I be able to turn the individual radiators on and off to regulate the heat? Or do I need to remodel my place in the style of a sweat lodge and just deal with it?



HELP.
scottredhanded

Comments

  • scottredhanded
    scottredhanded Member Posts: 6
    experimenting with the knob

    So, when I've turned the knob to both positions, I've actually left in those positions for hours at a time as I knew it would take awhile for the heat to dissipate from the radiator.



    Is there any way to confirm positively what type of heating the building has based on the radiator or is getting access to the basement the only way?
    scottredhanded
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,457
    ibelieveican is right

    that's a hot-water system. And it's wasting a LOT of energy.



    How do they control this system? Ideally they should have an outdoor-reset control that will regulate the water temperature according to how cold it is outside.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • scottredhanded
    scottredhanded Member Posts: 6
    Outdoor control

    I'm not sure what it would look like, but I'll take a look around the building. However, going back to the original problem, should these valves on the radiator turn these things off? If they don't what could the problem be.



    My landlord is going to try and do everything BESIDES fix this. There are laws here in Seattle that maintain that they have to provide a minimum temperature but NOT a maximum temperature. I realize that it falls under maintenance of heating appliances, but I'm trying to arm myself with some knowledge as I know he'll drag this out if I just say... "heat broke, please help."
    scottredhanded
  • scottredhanded
    scottredhanded Member Posts: 6
    Is this it?

    This is the only thing that looks like it could potentially be it and honestly I think its the electricity meter.



    Thoughts?
    scottredhanded
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,457
    It depends

    most valves on hot-water radiators don't shut the rad completely off, because if someone opened the windows and shut the rad off completely it could freeze and burst.



    But your issue is less with the valves than it is with the way the system is controlled.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Can you

    get a picture of the thermostat?  Was there any construction done in the building this summer?  Is it possible that the thermostat wire got mangled?
  • scottredhanded
    scottredhanded Member Posts: 6
    ?

    I'm not sure what you mean.
    scottredhanded
  • scottredhanded
    scottredhanded Member Posts: 6
    Hrmm

    I'll see if I can find it in the basement. I'll snap some more pics when I find it.
    scottredhanded
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    edited October 2012
    I don't think

     the thermostat will be in the basement.  A thermostat (it) is normally found up in the living area.  It should be mounted to an inside partition wall, about 50 inches from the floor, and will have some way to measure the temperature.  The way it works is you set it to say 68 degrees and when the temperature gets to 68, it shuts off the boiler so that the residents don't get too hot.  It might be located in one of the apartments.  Here is a picture of one type of thermostat. 



     
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,355
    Apparently our friend thought you were having him on.

    You've posted a picture of a gas meter.



    We take things for granted sometimes, like the possibility that some of our visitors have busied themselves in pursuits other than identifying hardware. The varieties of human experience are profound indeed and often surprising, and surprise sometimes elicits disbelief. I hope you were not offended by his understandable reaction and that you won't be hesitant to continue asking questions.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,355
    It happens

    Thankfully it hasn't happened here yet, at least as far as I know, and this fellow really seems earnest.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,470
    OK

    I think his name is Scott, not Ernest.......Just Kiddin'
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,764
    hot water system

    As has been stated, you indeed have a hot water heating system.  It must surely be regulated by a thermostat that is located somewhere in the building, hopefully in a space that is heated, such as one of the apartments.  The first thing that needs to happen to control the amount of heat is for that thermostat to be set for the temperature that is desired and at the same time, the windows must be closed for the space where the thermostat is located.  This should get the heat and the rediculous waste of energy under control.

    Your valve looks like the typical sleave type valve that was used on gravity flow hot water systems. Your system most likely has a pump on it and so the valve will not completely stop the flow of hot water.  Now, if the thermostat is cranked up or is next to an open window, the boiler and pump are going to run continuously.  Even a little bit of leak though will allow the radiator to heat up considerabley.  Once the boiler and pump are running according to demand, the valve may be more effective at cooling a given radiator or room down.  Turn the valve clockwise to reduce heat and counter clockwise to open the valve fully.



    Of course, you might also want to contact the owner or manager of the building and let the know that everyone in the building is way too hot and everyone has resorted to opening windows.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
    http://grandviewdavenport.com
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