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Help needed turning off my apartment's radiator. Thank you in advance.

Cash Member Posts: 1


I am looking for some help here.  This is regarding my apartment's radiator (I am not sure if this is steam or hot water).

I want to turn the thing off.  I am afraid to start fiddling with valves because I don't want to start a leak or worse, have hot water spray everywhere.

There are 2, maybe 3 valves, with two pipes going into the wall (I assume these are where the water goes "in" and "out").  Valve # 1 is in a tight position (it is fully moved to the right, judging from the light pressure I put on it).  If I move this valve just a little to the left, water will start to leak out from the valve (as if it is bubbling up from the valve).  As for valve # 2, I cannot tell if it is fully tightened or what.  I know for sure that valve # 2 is a valve, in that I tried tightening it before by moving it to the right, at which point water started coming out through the valve (as if "bubbling up" as with valve # 1).  I am wary of valve # 2 because after turning it all the way (or at least part way), this water started bubbling up and turned into a slow leak that lasted for several hours, and could not be reversed by my turning it back to its original position.  The landlord came and did something to fix it (I wasn't there to see it so I'm not sure what he did ... maybe just turned it back all the way?).  I have a hunch that Valve # 2 is the one that controls whether this thing can turn off or not.


The other valve--valve # 3-- I am not certain even is a valve.  It looks like it could be turn-able: it is a peg coming out from the inside of a large bolt, the tip of which is threaded as if it once supported a knob of some sort (or a bolt or something that could fasten on to it).  This I have not touched at all ... I am not sure if it moves, and if so, if it is in a "tight" or "loose" position.

Does anybody have any sense of which one I can turn to shut off the heat (shut off the steam / hot water supply?).  Also, if a drip / leak occours, is it reasonable to think I can stop the leak by turning the valve back into whatever position it started in?  I don't want to fiddle with something I can't set back.

Thank you in advance,




  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Leave it alone:

    My advice to you is to LITFA.

    I approach things like that with the same apprehension that those guys in Texas have when catching rattlesnakes.

    Your description of righty, thingies, bubbling nuts etc make the back of my neck warn when I know what can happen and I know what I am doing. It's unfortunate that the original installer didn't leave the valve handles inside the cabinet. Now, the heads will be striped. Those nuts with the bubbling are packing nuts to keep fluids from leaking up the stem. It takes an experienced hand and some of us, who are paid to be successful at fooling with this stuff have a set of protocols we do before we go down the path of oblivion. Myself, before I touch anything, I get all the packing's to work. If one starts to leak, and I can't stop it, where do I go to shut the whole system down in an emergency while I stop the leak?

    But before you go trying to take what looks like the easy out, shutting the flow off, the thermostat should stop the flow. If that isn't working, it needs to be fixed. Those valves are there for emergency purposes. You shutting the valves to stop the flow isn't an emergency.

    One of those valves seems to be an air actuated control valve. If yours isn't working, it needs to be fixed. That stuff looks older than dirt. Someone else in the apartment building is having the same problem. Some contractor/service company is well versed in your problem. Let the pros handle it. If I lived in your building, I would hesitate to do what you are trying to do and I know what I am doing.

    Years ago, I saw Walt Disney's "The Sourcers Apprentice". I carry in memory the part about the Apprentice being ordered to carry buckets of water from the well to the top floor in buckets. He soon tired and tried to do what the Sorcerer could do, make something do what he wanted. So the apprentice ordered a broom to carry the water buckets. The broom then started to carry two buckets of water up the stairs to the top floor. And back down for another trip. The Apprentice was so relieved that he took a nap. When he awoke, the brooms had multiplied to an army and there was a river of water flowing down the stairs. The apprentice didn't know a command to stop the brooms. The water was a flood until the Sorcerer came back and ordered a stop. That's what goes through this old mind when I see something like that. "How will I shut it off quickly before there is damage"?

    That's your problem and question.
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