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Removing some radiators to do flooring install

bipbap Member Posts: 191
We are having new floors and a new subfloor installed and the flooring guy wants the radiators disconnected and moved out of the apartment while he installs since the floors are getting pulled down to the floor joists.
This is heating season and the other apartments in the building will obviously still need heat so we can’t just turn off the system for a long time.
I know valves aren’t always a perfect seal, is it enough to turn the valve and disconnect the radiator or is there another better way to temporarily cap the pipe to each radiator? It’s a single pipe steam system and we’d need to temporarily pull out 5 radiators while he does the work.
Also does removing 5 radiators suddenly oversize our boiler and cause any lasting issues or damage?
Thank you for your advice.


  • Grallert
    Grallert Member Posts: 664
    Tough time of the year to knock down the heat to an apartment. If you have access to the boiler or are able to have it shut down for a day you can remove the radiators and cap the pipes. You might oversize the boiler depending on how many radiators there are on the system and the system its self. Another thing to keep in mind is the possibility that those valves wont close or come off the pipes with out some serious talking to.
    Miss Hall's School service mechanic, greenhouse manager,teacher and dog walker
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,742
    It's a real "shade tree" suggestion, but I have done this with great success and had radiator disconnected for a couple months.

    I turned the valve off, which obviously doesn't work 100%, but did get it close. After that I used a block of wood and a wood clamp. Put the block of wood on the valve outlet and clamp it in place, just make it snug no need to crush the valve.

    It might leak a bit of steam on a couple cycles, but after it swells up it will seal nice and tight. I did this on mine, but my system runs at a nice low pressure (like it should). If yours isn't well tuned and running nice and low I am not sure if I would recommend this.

    I got this idea from my grandfather. He was in the Merchant Marines as an engineer on Liberty ships in WWII. They used wood plugs to close off leaking boiler tubes on the ship, it was temporary until they could do a proper tube change in port. I figure if the used it in that severe of an application mine should be easy.

    I will pause for the eye rolls and criticism from the pros. ;)
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,479
    Necessity is the mother of invention, never argue with success,

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • bipbap
    bipbap Member Posts: 191
    Does anyone know if this is typically how radiators are handled during this sort of flooring work? He seems sure they need to be removed but the other side is that there should be heat in the house when installed so they acclimate properly.
    My first time installing new flooring...
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,452
    He's right in that the radiators should be removed to install the flooring; it's about the only way to get the flooring done right. However, you are also right in that there should be heat in the house when the flooring (particularly real wood) is being installed.

    Can you get your man to do it so that only one radiator needs to be removed at a time, and then reinstalled? Perhaps removed again for finishing the floor if that's necessary? Otherwise, you my need temporary heat in there.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,077
    I think another concern would be the thickness of the new floor.
    Will you be adding to or decreasing the final elevation of the rads?
    If when it is all done will your radiators line up with the old valves. If you have to pull up the pipes, not always possible, to reconnect then that will work.

    But you would not want to push the piping down as that could invite problems with water hammer.

    And new valves are usually shorter than old existing valves and require pulling up on the pipe riser thru the floor. FWIW
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,633
    @KC_Jones ,
    an old time school custodian in Vermont had a decent sized school with a scotch marine boiler. They only had one boiler. If a tube leaked he would go to the school wood shop and turn a pc of hardwood round and taper it. Take it back to the boiler room and pound it in. Says it worked like a charm.