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Old radiator valve leak + first timer = HELP!

chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
Hi,

I have a leaking radiator valve. I pulled the valve with the idea of using packing for a seal but when I screwed everything back together the knob just keeps spinning. I can't see into the valve body to see what's going on but I'm obviously missing something. Any help will be much appreciated

Comments

  • GordoGordo Posts: 676Member
    I am sorry to say that it appears the valve has reached the end of its useful life.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    Most valves you can take the top off and get to the disk which pushes down into the seat. That must have come apart and the only to reconnect it is to remove the valve.....I would just replace the valve. You have to also replace the "spud" that screws into the radiator. New valve comes with new spud.....they are a matched set.....very slim chance your old spud threads would match new valve.

    Now it looks like the only thing holding the stem handle in the valve is the packing nut. That could eventually work out and produce a major steam fountain.
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    Thank you JUGHNE and Gordo, any secrets on getting those painted-on valve nuts loose?
  • GordoGordo Posts: 676Member
    Well, I would try and tediously scrape way at the paint on that union nut and spud first, then use a good crescent wrench to loosen the nut. You'll need a radiator spud wrench to extract it from the radiator. Is this a hot water system? Or steam?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/all-steamed-up-inc
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    For me most of the time the spud wrench just broke off the brass nubs inside of the spud pipe......but I always try it and have been pleasantly surprised a couple of times.
    Then I try the internal pipe wrench if I have the size.
    Most of the time it has been the saw & chisel.

    The next challenge is the valve on the pipe itself. Some just saw the brass down to the iron pipe threads....but not farther ...and then split it open and it will unscrew.
    One valve screamed all the way out, using 3-4' cheaters, once off it looked like the iron pipe threads were brass coated from being one with the valve for only 60 years.
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    This is a hot water system. My question is do I need to drain the system before attempting to replace the above valve? Also, I'm assuming I just need to remove the valve and bring it in to find the exact replacement and screw it back together? Any tips and or things i'm missing? Any and all advice/ guidance much appreciated.

    Thanks in advance,
    Charles
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,318Member
    You will need to take the pressure off the boiler to 0, then a few gallons more so you don't take a bath.

    Remove the valve and the radiator side of the union as well.
    Take it with you, and see if you can get a match.

    You might need to move the rad a little, or raise or lower the vertical pipe to get a good fit.

    Now is also a good time to check/replace all the rad vents.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    You may have to drill some holes around that riser, to give yourself some clearance. It can be covered with an escutcheon. They make a clamshell variety that will work nicely. Depending on the valve you wind up with, you may need to do the same with the other pipe. If it's in a room, that you'd like to have more control of the heat, now's the time to think about a TRV.
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    Besides a monkey wrench, is there anything else I will need for this job?
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    Spud wrench, sawzall, hammer, cold chisel, cheater pipe, drill, bits, hand truck ( to lay the radiator down), moving blankets to protect the floor and a prayer book to repent for the expletives that will come out of your mouth. DIY plumbing is such fun!
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,318Member
    > @Paul48 said:
    > Spud wrench, sawzall, hammer, cold chisel, cheater pipe, drill, bits, hand truck ( to lay the radiator down), moving blankets to protect the floor and a prayer book to repent for the expletives that will come out of your mouth. DIY plumbing is such fun!

    He's replacing a valve, not building the space shuttle.

    You'll need 2 pipe wrenches. One to hold back while you loosen/tighten.
    And pipe thread compound. But you knew that already... I hope.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    OK.....and the spud?
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    He'll need the things I listed, and 3 or 4 times that much. There's a reason pros have as many tools as they do. Without them, things tend to go horribly wrong. Trying to start that job with 2 pipe wrenches would be a huge mistake.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    @chaznied
    I'm not trying to discourage you. I'm just saying, it can be a piece of cake, or a nightmare. Heck...it's much easier to put the tools away, you didn't need, than it is to start the job, and not have the tools.
  • HVACNUTHVACNUT Posts: 2,318Member
    @Paul48. Yes, a Spud wrench, of course. Sorry.
    A little shimmy here and there and I don't think it'll be much trouble.
    I have a feeling the Plumbing God's will smile upon him.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    I hope he comes back and tells me I'm an idiot. That means they surely did smile upon him.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    I would suggest to get the new valve first so that you understand how the spud/union works in relationship to the project.

    Loosen the old union and you will know if you have the system drained down enough....be sure to shut off the auto fill valve.

    Then size up the height of new valve compared to old.
    The old riser pipe might pull up (carefully) enough to compensate for the perhaps shorter height of the new valve.

    Then always use 2 pipe wrenches to remove old valve. Some PB Blaster or Kroil soaked into the lower threads is a good idea. The aroma of either will tell everyone you are at work.

    The pipe wrench on the pipe needs to have 3 point contact with the pipe......that is the back side of the jaw is to be in contact with the pipe. The other 2 contact points are the jaws themselves.
    Twisting the lower riser pipe may cause a lot of problems you don't want to know about.

    That is step one then the spud removal is next.

    What type of fitting is on the other end of the radiator?
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    @JUGHNE - not sure the type of fitting, can you tell from the pics?
  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    edited September 2017
    Can you take a pic of the other side, the outlet pipe on that rad? You may have to remove that union too to have an easier access to the spud on the valve side.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    How about close pictures of both sides with Quarters ($.25) lying in front of the pipes? This gives a good sizing guide to us.
  • Danny ScullyDanny Scully Posts: 1,191Member
    Where are you located @chaznied?
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,914Member
    @chaznied , no disrespect intended but this job will be a challenge to a first time homeowner
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    @JUGHNE @Danny Scully
    I'm in Port Richmond(Philadelphia)
    The pics are below. My radiator is actually on my floor, I'm assuming that'll make it easier? And yes I am a first time homeowner and from California where these things don't exist so I have zero experience with this entire system. I don't want to do this if it means risking no heat all winter. I went last winter with this radiator not working, cold room but everything else was warm. So i'm considering holding off until next spring so If I do fudge this up i'll have time to try again and/or call someone.

    Thanks in advance again




  • MilanDMilanD Posts: 1,107Member
    On an old water system, there is a lot that can go wrong when replacing rad valve, spud, pipes cracking, lining the rad back up... Not to mention having to drain the system above and including the rad and then refill it. Depending on the age of water in the system, new water quality may also need to be considered... Imho, best left to the pro to do.
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    Hello again,

    I FINALLY got a guy in to replace this valve and I wanted to get some opinions about what he's done. He cut off the valve and replaced it, below are images of the new set up, not working yet. When he filled the system back up, he said the other side of the radiator busted open and that he's going to have to replace the other side now too the same way he replaced the original broken valve.

    This radiator has been empty for 3 years.

    1. How does the new valve look?
    2. Should I be suspicious about the second valve breaking? I didn't see it break, water coming out of it, all I know is when I went down to check on him there was water everywhere and this was his explanation

    Thanks in advance,
    Charles




  • JakeCKJakeCK Posts: 72Member
    edited August 22
    He's a hack. He didn't replace the spud. You'll be so lucky if it doesn't leak that you had better play the lottery... Or play every lottery. Post a picture of the other side. I replaced the valves and union elbows on my downstairs bath and kitchen radiators when I painted and relocated them. It took me about an hour each start to finish. But I did have to cut the union nut off carefully because the little nubs just split off inside. Once the nut was off a pipe wrench was able to make quick work of it. Granted that brass was no longer round when I was done. To be expected after 90 years. But Seriously don't pay this guy until both the spud and valve is replaced. And if he F#&$s the radiator go after him.

    Here are some pictures to guide you.
  • JakeCKJakeCK Posts: 72Member
    edited August 22
    Also I don't see any pipe dope on those threads.
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    Thanks JakeCK,

    Below are pics of the other side that i'm told needs to be replaced.

    How can you tell he didn't replace the spud? And is not replacing the spud ever an option?

    Thanks again in advance,
    Charles




  • JakeCKJakeCK Posts: 72Member
    The spud is the back half of the union radiator valve that mates up to the front half. It threads into the hex bushing in the radiator. Its held together by the brass nut.

    In order from the floor: Black iron pipe, brass valve body with handle, brass nut, brass spud, iron hex bushing, cast iron radiator.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,778Member
    Is there a pump on the boiler in the basement??

    IMO, There would have been water pressure on the right hand side if the pipe was connected to the system.
    Just no heat because you had the old left valve turned off and not allowing the water to flow thru.

    The right hand side is just a fitting...not a valve.
    He could have loosened it and cracked the union nut when tightening it back.
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    I told the guy how did this I no longer needed his help, paid him for his work and called another guy who has many great reviews

    He's coming Thursday, Sept, 19th

    Meanwhile, the radiator is now hissing! not from the air valve but sounds like it's coming from inside? The system is off, I tightened the air valve anyways, made sure the valve was closed

    Not sure what to do? I assume this isn't an emergency since it's either air or water right? and I don't see any water anywhere

    Any advice?

    Thanks in advance,
    Charles
  • GrallertGrallert Posts: 326Member
    I'd be concerned with the hissing. Could it be that the boiler is filling with water and forcing the air out of the leaky valve union and return union? seems unlikely unless you've just now opened up the pressure regulating valve. Make sure you're not inadvertently filling the boiler. Where's the hiss coming from exactly?
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    I haven't touched a thing

    I made sure the system was off and that the valve to fill the tank was off

    The sound is coming from within, I can't pinpoint it other than inside,
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 777Member
    Sounds from leaks like this can be tricky to locate. A new leak could be coming from below the floor?
    (I hope it isn't.)

    If you can, place your ear against the rad. at different places on the rad. itself to possibly get a better idea what this new noise is and where it is coming from. Also, try the same thing on the wall and floor.
  • chazniedchaznied Posts: 31Member
    It sounds like it’s coming from somewhere between the wall and rad

    I can’t pinpoint it

    It has to be air right?

    Thanks
  • neilcneilc Posts: 680Member
    it's air until the water shows up , , ,
    you can try and use a long screwdriver, or wood dowel, as an stethoscope, one end to your ear, the other end up against(touching) the radiator, pipe, (might work to the wall), and try to pinpoint where the hissing is coming from.
    Also, at the boiler, if it's not running for heat or domestic hot water, shut off the boiler and shut off the makeup water supply unit the pro shows up, see if the hissing stops and prevent possible water damage.
    or do you have a bees nest in that wall ?
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 777Member
    chaznied said:

    It sounds like it’s coming from somewhere between the wall and rad



    I can’t pinpoint it



    It has to be air right?



    Thanks

    Air at first. Then water, replacing the air.

    In your case it may be water only, as this is , if I read correctly, that this is a hot water heating system and not steam ?!

    Eventually, a stain or puddle of water should begin to show.
    Have you spoke with your neighbors about hearing the same noise?
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