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Do I need to have these valves changed?

binarybinary Posts: 4Member
edited November 2018 in Strictly Steam
Hi all,
When the plumber was here he pointed out that most of my steam radiator's valve needs to be changed.
To me, short of missing a turn cap on it, I didn't see anything bad as from what I read here we should avoid changing them unless they leak. (Am I correct?)
Let me know what you think. Attached are some pictures. Thanks.

edit: reattached pictures.

Comments

  • ImYoungxDImYoungxD Posts: 116Member
    If they aren't leaking, I don't see any reason to change them. The missing cap is not a big deal since it's not recommended to close the valve if you want the heat off.

    No pics
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,024Member
    If it ain't broke, don't fix it. In this case, if the valves themselves aren't actually broken, don't even try to change them. And I do mean actually broken. If they are just leaking a little, that can be easily fixed. If the knob is gone, that can be replaced.

    Your plumber is looking for several days of good well paid work -- which doesn't need to be done.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,053Member
    I would have pressed them on the reason for replacement and after they gave some ridiculous answer I would have asked them to leave and not come back again.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • binarybinary Posts: 4Member
    thanks for the feedback so far. for some reason when i did the original post from mobile the pictures did not get uploaded. I have gone back to the original post and reattached the pictures.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,024Member
    Well, someone didn't do you any favours by taking the knobs off -- but I don't see evidence of any other problems. And you don't need the knobs much, anyway -- one pipe steam valves are supposed to always be open.

    Tell the plumber to find other work...
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 557Member
    Those are the ugliest valves I’ve ever seen, but I love them compared to my two that are currently leaking!
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,024Member
    They are kind of ratty looking, aren't they? But with some elbow grease and a good steel brush (small) and perhaps some paint remover, I'll bet they'll clean up OK. You should be able to find some replacement knobs too, though that might be a little trickier. But the main thing is that I don't see any leaks showing up, so be happy.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,356Member
    Most likely wood knobs that just broke apart
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,053Member
    edited January 8

    Several days work? Thats funny. So based on one confused persons question, its ok to bad mouth a plumber that you know nothing about

    Then please enlighten us as to why a valve that is obviously not broken needs replaced?

    And please tell me how the OP is confused, they conveyed the exact words of said plumber and asked if it sounded reasonable. I see no possibility of confusion there.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
    https://www.facebook.com/media/set/?set=a.10202744301871904.1073741828.1330391881&type=1&l=c34ad6ee78
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,691Member

    I see reading comprehension is the issue here okay I thought you guys were just bad-mouthing plumbers my bad but while I'm here let me ask you something if you were going to lighten somebody's wallet if you thought that that was what it was necessary is that what you would choose to do change every radiator valve in her house and I would also like you to point out at a plumber in this country he needs to make up work they don't exist there ain't enough plumbers in this country

    "Lighten up, Francis"
    No one insulted you or any other specific plumber.
    You've gotten pretty worked up in the 5+ hours you have been a member. Sit back and relax. All friends here ;)
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 360Member
    My experience with plumbers and floor valves is 15 years ago they were all about saving the customer some money and repacking the valves with graphite rope. Now, most if those guys are retired and if I call a plumber, tried four different ones over a couple of years, to look at a valve with a loose spindle they say it needs to be replaced and they don't repack them anymore because it doesn't last. I started repacking them myself, it's not rocket science and if I have to redo it in 10 years or so it's still much cheaper than replacing the vent and potentially misshaping the pipe.

    In Boston I think most contractors, not just plumbers, assume their clients don't understand anything because so few of them actually know how to use their hands or tools. As soon as I start asking contractors why they are doing something like that instead of like this and my way is cheaper and will work it is remarkable how the bill or quote comes down. Most of them also work for large outfits and are doing what they are told to do by the office, very few independents anymore.

    There are still some really good tradesman out there but they are getting harder and harder to find.
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Posts: 10,024Member
    To recap here. In the initial post, the OP said "When the plumber was here he pointed out that most of my steam radiator's valve needs to be changed. ". The OP was also kind enough to post some pictures of the suspect valves. I then replied "If it ain't broke, don't fix it. In this case, if the valves themselves aren't actually broken, don't even try to change them. And I do mean actually broken. If they are just leaking a little, that can be easily fixed. If the knob is gone, that can be replaced.

    Your plumber is looking for several days of good well paid work -- which doesn't need to be done.
    "

    By which statement I still stand. I had and have no intention of bad mouthing anyone, and I'm sorry if it sounded that way. To perhaps make the point a bit clearer: valves of that type do not wear or break, and very rarely need anything beyond repacking. They certainly do not need to be changed -- therefore, if the OP quoted the plumber correctly, I am obliged to state that the plumber was flat wrong. Since replacing a steam radiator valve can rarely be done in less than an hour or two -- minimum, if all goes well -- I feel that an estimate of several days of work to replace the lot of them is not amiss.
    Jamie



    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.



    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • Steamer1928Steamer1928 Posts: 24Member
    Definitely agree. Speaking from the prospective of a homeowner who has changed 2 radiator valves, it is not something you want to do unless you are ready to swear a lot and have your patience tested to the limit. There are many variables that come in to play based on the level of corrosion, the height differences, and softness of the brass or iron. Unless you're losing a bunch of steam/condensate, leave them alone and re-pack the stem as needed. Nothing in the photos indicates chronic leakage.

    IF they were leaking and all needed to be changed, a plumber could justifiably drop a good sized bill on you. Not easy work.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 360Member
    @Pipeslayer, I don't think @Jamiehall meant to defame this particular plumber in any way. He was pointing out that yes the valves are old and dirty but there is no evidence of active leaks, i.e. rusty masses of evaporated water covering the valves, the OP made no mention of hearing steam whistling from the spindle or loosing water from the boiler. The valves are old, dirty and could use some cleaning and a fresh coat of paint, but since they are likely much better quality than anything you could buy today, there is no reason to replace them, if they are leaking they can be repacked and the knob can easily be replaces.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 4,691Member

    So Jamie then your anti plumber you are against the plumbers okay well at least I know what side you're on I mean say it say my name is Jamie and I hate plumbers

    You and I both know no plumber would ever say all the valves need to be replaced

    You tell the plumber to go look for work somewhere else when there is work all over the place I mean what's that mean the guy is such a bad plumber he can't even get any work I get even if you own hey hammer these days people want you to work your phone will ring off the hook if you know how to use the screwdriver that qualifies you to work 80 hours a week and you know it

    @Pipeslayer,
    Please stop your tirade.
    If you spend some time reading the posts on this site, you will see that folks don't talk to each other that way. If you are looking for a place to vent your frustrations please go elsewhere.
    Read the posts, learn what you can and contribute when you like.
    No one insulted you in any way, so let it be....
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 360Member
    Eric,

    I understand what you are saying but I think what you will run into on this forum is that there are a ton of us who are trying to help each other out trying to make our hundred plus year old systems run efficiently. We also understand that many of the parts that are to our systems are much superior to anything made today and to be maintained we need to do things like repacking and at times reproducing pucks for the floor valves.

    The problem we homeowners of old buildings continuously encounter is new tradesman are trained to replace anything old with something new because new has to be better. It's not their fault, that is how society is today. There aren't enough old timers left to pass down the knowledge of our old systems because we lost each generation after WWII due to our society's focus on sending kids to college for liberal arts instead of the trades where they could earn a good honest living, provide a service and raise a family comfortably. Now we have generations that can regurgitate historical facts but can't figure out how a screw driver works and has to call a plumber to change out a shower head.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,733Member
    @Pipeslayer , I don't have a dog in this fight but I have to believe there is more going on here than meets the eye. Why, on earth, can't you let go of this topic. No one hates all plumbers, steam guys, FA installers, oil Specialist or any other groups in the trades. Having said that, and obviously contrary to your thinking, yes, there are people out there that aren't the Pro we want/need them to be when we need to hire a Professional. I think you are new here. Just wander around here and read some of the horror stories and look and some of the examples where a "Pro" executed what he/she supposedly specialized at doing. Also, then take some time to read other posts where everyone here praised the quality of a job well done.
    Once you've done that, Let it go. We are here to do our best to help people with problems, mostly on their mechanicals. Your comments are an example of exactly what you claim to want people to avoid doing. It can be productive to take exception of how/what a person might say, once. To continue to harp on it is counter productive.
    If, by chance you are the plumber that suggested this OP replace all his/her valves and you take offense to some of the comments, say that and move on. If the OP misrepresented what you said, say that as well and again, let's move on. There are no "Sides" here.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 441Member
    Hi there binary.
    Look at supplyhouse.com
    They have a type of universal replacement steam radiator valve handle that might work for you.
    Some small hardware stores and plumbing supply houses might have handles too.
    Give them a look. Could be a simple DIY handle attachment project.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,456Member
    Jamie, could you send me your resume?
    I am on the board of a fledging museum in the far mid west.
    BTW, I did try to use all these punctuation keys correctly. ;) ;)
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 360Member
    @Pipeslayer, @JamieHall is one of the most knowledgeable contributors to this site. He is a gentleman and gives his time and knowledge to us free of charge. There is no reason to be disrespectful to him.

    If the plumber in question did tell the OP that all of his valve needed to be replaced and by your own statement at 6:30 acknowledged that they don't need to be replaced you agreed with @JamieHall. If a contractor of any kind tries to take advantage of a uneducated consumer and they are caught they should be sent on their merry way.
  • gfrbrooklinegfrbrookline Posts: 360Member
    @binary sorry someone hijacked your post. We are usually a very civil bunch and there is much knowledge to be gained here.
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,280Member
    Yikes!!

    Some people are much too sensitive. We all have opinions and can respectfully disagree. In general most on this site are respectful.....there are always exceptions
  • YingYing Posts: 58Member
    edited January 9
    No need to change unless they leak. Old valves usually means old radiators with old connections and weak threads. They will have rust and weak spots. Taking one thing apart might break another.

    That happened to me last month. Replacing a valve turned into replacing the whole radiator.
  • Erin Holohan HaskellErin Holohan Haskell Posts: 920Member, Moderator, Administrator
    @binary - I'm sorry your post took a turn. We do not tolerate abusive behavior here and that user is no longer welcome on this website.
    President
    HeatingHelp.com
  • SteamheadSteamhead Posts: 12,727Member
    Thanks, Erin.
    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
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,454Member, Moderator, Administrator
    Thanks, Erin.
    Retired and loving it.
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,927Member
    Throw away society. I've been retired for a decade now and I walk a little over an hour everyday down the street and out to the beach. I try to vary the route to make it interesting.

    In my travels I come across some interesting things. Last spring I found a maglite D cell flashlight sitting in a box of junk, I brought it home and the batteries were fine, it just needed a new bulb. Last spring I found an all in one 23" computer that I hauled home thinking I could scavenge the memory from. When I plugged it in it came up fine but would not keep the date and time if it was unplugged. The screen was perfect and it had an i3 processor so it wasn't all that old. A $1 cmos battery fixed that, I gave that machine to a neighbor.

    People just throw stuff out without attempting to see if it can be fixed, they were never taught the value of money. Last week I found an 8 foot oak banister that was brand new on top of a pile of trash.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • FredFred Posts: 7,733Member
    Thanks @Erin Holohan Haskell . It was getting a little scary :(
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