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My tenants won't quit messing with the radiator valves and I have had it! I want to take them out!

Ok. I have a one pipe steam system in a old downtown building and all the rads have the big brass off/on valves.
Problem is they are all real old and need replaced. And they are not cheep when you buy as many as I need.

I have repacked them and told the tenants that this does not adjust your heat. They still mess with them. I put the boiler in manual fill mode from time to time so I can see what's going on and time after time the valves are leaking because someone has messed with them.

Here is my question. Why do I even need them? If I have to remove a Rad I won't do it on a live system. All the rads have Danfoss thermostatic valves. Why don't I just take those suckers out?

Just wanted some feed back from you guys before I get sporty with it.

Thanks. Randall.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,573
    The only reason I can think of to not take them out is that it can be a little tricky to match the spud on the radiator -- which is half of a union -- to a regular pipe. I dare say it can be done, though. The valves really serve no function other than to be turned off for maintenance.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • randallkc
    randallkc Member Posts: 38
    Just drives me nuts. I may just make sure they are wide open and pack the crap out of them. I really don't care if the handle turns.
  • jonny88
    jonny88 Member Posts: 1,139
    Excellent ? a member on this site actually advised me on this same topic.We are currently in the process of trying to balance a old (1895) house.A rad in the foyer wasnt heating up.He told me to take of valve and put in a tee with a vent as rad was on a long run out with no venting.Rad is about 5'long.Did this and now works like a charm.I never heard of this before he told me but what Jamie says echoes what he said.Be careful when cutting out old spud from rad its only brass so dont attack it like a maniac .
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,575
    edited November 2015
    Taking the handles off may help here, or by removing the disk from the bottom of the stem, (accessible by removing the bonnet).
    Why are the tenants wanting to close off the steam valves? Is your system properly balanced and controlled? Is steam arriving at all rads simultaneously?
    I suspect the areas where steam arrives first have a tendency to overheat, and that is where the tenants close the valves.--NBC
    Jean-David Beyer
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,435
    If you have TRV, why do they feel the need to adjust the wrong thing? The TRV's do work? You need to make sure you are running at low pressure and cycling the boiler off for those to work properly. Also if the vent on them is too big they might not work very well and still over heat. Also what does them turning them have to do with packing leaking? That sounds like the issue you are having by your description.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Probably the closed off rads will collect condensate and eventually starve the boiler.--NBC
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,573
    KC_Jones said:

    If you have TRV, why do they feel the need to adjust the wrong thing? The TRV's do work? ...

    Ever had a tenant, KC? Some tenants are just plain weird... (not all, I hasten to add!)

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • gerry gill
    gerry gill Member Posts: 3,072
    I would tighten the packing nuts so tight only God would be able to move those valves.
    Serving Cleveland's eastern suburbs from Cleveland Heights down to Cuyahoga Falls.

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,801
    Removing the valves is a very simple job,don't even have to be a steam guy...If you do decide to remove them and someone gets pissed they may break off the vent by messing with it it on purpose ....then when they call to complain they won't be able to shut off the radiator....would not want to be the owner should some one gets burned by hot steam..the valves could be.considered a safety item by the court....Me I never wanted to own property , I have in my days seen the tennents from hell....and in the end they always win...jmo....also on the other side I have seen horrific landlords......I am sure your a good one otherwise you wouldn't be here with your concerns.....consider a techmar control unit to maintain building temps..they are great....show the tennents your concerned
  • randallkc
    randallkc Member Posts: 38
    I don't know why they mess with them. It's a boarding house so we are not talking about the best tenants here.

    We are going to convert it into a bed and breakfast but that will be a while.

    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,804
    If your valves are the type that the stem/handle rises when opens and lowers down when closing then would it be possible to open them completely as you want them and remove the handle and slip a piece of copper pipe over the stem just long enough to not allow the handle to lower. This would avoid having to dissemble the valve to remove the disc on the bottom. If you needed to operate the valve then remove the handle and "stop tube" and close with the handle.

    I have cracked packing bonnet nuts by over tightening and this as you can imagine adds to grief as then the entire valve would need replacing. (though I confess to putting a SS hose clamp around a packing nut for a steam valve..still holding)
  • randallkc
    randallkc Member Posts: 38
    Oh that's a very good idea!