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Can cracked/leaking Governale Gov Board cast iron radiator be repaired?

DaveDave Member Posts: 251
We have a Governale Gov Board cast iron baseboard radiator in our apt. It is only about 5 years old and is cracked and leaks at the edge of the oval opening. Crack is about 1.5" long. Interestingly, this is exact spot where old one leaked.

Is it possible to bring this to someone who can weld it or otherwise repair it?

If not, does it come apart easily? Mine has 2 sections that look like they are bolted together in the back.

I have enclosed a photo of the crack. I have the radiator disconnected presently. Thanks



  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    edited July 2013
    Cracked Radiator

    Hi Dave- Your post mentioned that this "radiator is in our apt."  I'm not sure whether that means you're the owner or tenant. If you're the tenant, you should leave the decisions/fixes on the heating system to the owner. If you're the owner then here goes.First of all I'd contact Governale www.governaleindustries as I would think being only 5 years old, it may be covered under warranty.

       If it isn't covered then you might try using JB Weld which is available in most auto parts stores. The success or failure depends a lot of proper preparation. I would use a die grinder or a Dremel tool with a small carbide burr and clean the crack so that the edges of the crack are bare shiny metal and there is a very slight "V" along the crack line. Position the radiator to where the crack is face up so the JB Weld will flow into the crack when applied. 

    Trying to weld cast iron usually isn't successful. Using the JB Weld is sort of a last ditch effort to try and save this radiator. Some times the JB Weld will work and sometimes it doesn't,again the key is doing good prep.

    Good Luck!

    - Rod
  • DaveDave Member Posts: 251
    Thanks Rod

    I am the owner. I called Governale, and they said it is only a 1 yr warranty. I will try JB Weld. I guess it is worth a shot.
  • RodRod Posts: 2,067
    edited July 2013
    Cracked Radiator

    Hi Dave- Just saw your reply. I've been trying to get the Governale link to work without much luck. Additional thought - Use clear plastic packing tape to mask both sides of the crack to keep the JB Weld from getting spread all around. The JB Weld won't stick to the tape and using the tape results in a much cleaner looking job.

    - Rod
  • DaveDave Member Posts: 251
    So I hooked radiator to garden hose and plugged other end.

    Found three tiny pinholes in the crack that I had noticed. Filed down a channel, cleaned with acetone and patched with JB Weld.

    Today, about 30 hrs later, I filled radiator with water and left hose on. water pressure is between 50-60 psi.

    I checked radiator several times and saw no water. After 15 minutes, when I went to shut off water at hose bib, I noticed one small drop at base of where crack had been Again, this was at 50-60psi for 15 minutes.

    We will be running low pressure steam through radiator. What do you think?


  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    Leaking rad

    Make sure the steam pressure is low, like 2 ounces, and your fuel bills should also remain low.

    In a condo regime, I believe the common steam or hot-water heating system should be part of the common structure of the building, and not left up to each owner to make some sort of change which may adversely affect everyone in the regime.--NBC
  • DaveDave Member Posts: 251
    We live in a coop in NYC (essentially a condo).

    The steam pressure would be set by building. I'm just wondering whether i should try to fix the crack a little better. As I had mentioned, I had water under about z50-60 psi in radiator for close to z15 min before I saw a drop of water. I assume steam pressure would be much lower, but old we see a leak in present situation? Thanks
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    Check with the super

    Most likely, the pressure is too high, and you are all paying more for extra unneeded pressure. See if he can verify what pressure is attained.

    You will need 1 ounce per floor for your building, to avoid paying extra for fuel. He may not agree-what does he know? In my 55 radiator system with one mil btu, I will only need a couple of ounces of pressure to give everyone even, and quiet heat. In a downswing of temperature, the system may go to it's maximum of 8 ounces, but only when it is zero degrees!--NBC
  • DaveDave Member Posts: 251
    I'll mention it to him. It is a 12 story building with about 200 apts.

    But, what does this say about my repair? is the repair adequate, or will I get a steam leak? It held at 50-60 psi of water with what looked like one small drop at around 15 min. I then left hose attached and water off and did not see any steady drops.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 6,535
    Fixing steam leak

    Make sure your shutoff valve is in good repair.

    As the season starts, the expansion and contraction may loosen your patch and show you whether it is going to leak or not.

    Is that radiator subject to any water-hammer?--NBC
  • DaveDave Member Posts: 251
    Shutoff works well.

    Last winter, i heard a sputtering sound and saw little jet if steam and specks of water coming out of crack. I shut off valve, and we had no water coming out. I may add more JB Weld at lower end of patch to reinforce it and hope for the best.
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