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Heating Tech tells me my radiator cannot be shut off, is he correct?

Mco Member Posts: 2
So the house I rent uses the classic giant cast Iron radiators (One of them: http://imgur.com/GJR1Hz9). For a few weeks I have had the one in my room shut off using the valve on the side (This: http://imgur.com/QTwkXfZ) since for whatever reason my room gets extremely hot (like 80* hot, when thermostat is at 68*) when it is on, and is just fine when its off. Last night the radiator started making a bubbling noise and then leaked a ton of water out of the vent on the side. So I had the Heating tech come today and he told me that the valve on the side must always be fully open or it will leak(Same valve pictured earlier). He told me that It cannot be closed even if it is shut all the way. This feels incorrect, why have the valve there if the radiator will leak when it is closed? Maybe I'm completely wrong and it is just for maintenance, but I wanted to get some opinions on here before I accept my scorching hot fate. Is something broken that is causing it to leak?Or should the valve always be open and the radiator cannot be shut off? Any help is much appreciated!


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,692
    He is correct, keeping it closed will result in exactly what happened. It will fill with water over time. The old valves typically don't seal properly anymore so they will let the steam in, but the water can't get out again.

    That being said you can turn the vent on the other end upside down which will not let the air out, which won't let the steam in so you get the results you want. If it was me I would also look into why your system is so imbalanced. How even is the heat throughout the house? Is this one of the first radiators on the main? How is the main venting? How about the radiator vents? Have you looked into balancing the system?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,471
    Old steam radiator valves never work right, if you know it leaks by it has to be fully open at all times. Does the radiator have a air vent on the other side? If it does that could be replaced with a Ventrite #1, if you set that to 1 it will be off and the radiator will not heat beecause it can't get rid of the air.

    Some folks just turn the air vent upside down but you have to be sure the vent has a float in it or it won't do any good. There is also the problem of ending up with worn threads that could let that vent fall out.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Mco
    Mco Member Posts: 2
    Thank you so much all! Im going to try and get the landlord to pay to replace the valve with an adjustable one like you recommended.Room was 85* last night with both windows open. Its a very old house and has not been taken care of well over the years, so it doesn't surprise me that the system is so unbalanced. Also, I read that just taping over the slit on the vent will prevent it from getting as much heat, essentially doing the same thing as closing a adjustable vent. Is this a good idea for the meantime?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
    Yes, you can tape over the vent opening. That will likely keep the radiator from getting hot, at all but you can untape it if/when needed and then retape.
  • DavidK_2
    DavidK_2 Member Posts: 129

    Buy yourself this valve:


    Install it yourself or have the tech install it. Takes three minutes.

    The valve has a dial on it. Adjust the dial for the amount of heat that you want.


    That is a good price. I'm tempted to order one, just in case
  • MilanD
    MilanD Member Posts: 1,160
    If you really want to spend some money, you could also get a trv, thermostatic radiator valve. This you can adjust too, and it will shut off the radiator at preset temp. Search for "trv" or "thermostatic radiator valve". Supplyhouse.com carries them. You'll need 1/8 threaded version.