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Leak between valve and radiator- what to do asap?!

bipbap
bipbap Member Posts: 191
Hi all,
I got a radiator that is leaking, see photo- it’s at rhe spot where the radiator hooks up to the valve.
It’s leaking a good 1/2 cup a day.
What’s the problem you think?
And until I can get a plumber here, can I just shut off the valve to stop it leaking?
That room is always plenty warm even without the radiator.

It’s weird, this radiator has never had an issue before.
Thanks for any advice!

Comments

  • STEAM DOCTOR
    STEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,940
    Looks misaligned to me. Seems like right side of radiator is lower. Maybe floor cracked or sunk in a bit.
  • bipbap
    bipbap Member Posts: 191
    Nothing really changed.
    Are you saying it could be pitched the wrong way and that could cause it?
  • You may be able to rotate the air vent, which will not allow steam to enter the radiator, to retard the leaking.
    Most valves do not close all the way, so trapping more water inside.
    The Union nut should be loosened, and the radiator pulled back. Then the mating faces should be cleaned of any debris. Finally, only a bit of dishwashing liquid should be put on the faces, and then retightened.
    Do you have a pipe wrench?—NBC
  • bipbap
    bipbap Member Posts: 191
    Ok let me try that.
    It’s just strange because nothing changed to this radiator.

    I am doing work on the lower floor and removed a few radiators while new walls and floors go in.
    Is it possible that this work could affect this top floor radiator like maybe fewer radiators below could put more pressure on this one?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,934
    bipbap said:

    Ok let me try that.

    It’s just strange because nothing changed to this radiator.



    I am doing work on the lower floor and removed a few radiators while new walls and floors go in.

    Is it possible that this work could affect this top floor radiator like maybe fewer radiators below could put more pressure on this one?

    Indeed it could. In fact, if the pipes are shared vertically, it is more than likely that your work on the pipes below shifted something. I agree that the union looks misaligned, which won't do. As @nicholas bonham-carter said, open the union and make sure both mating surfaces are clean and smooth. Then, when you go to put the radiator back, it must be aligned both horizontally and vertically -- not only lined up, but in a straight line. You may have to shim under the radiator to get it to do that -- just make sure that the valve end is lower than the other end (for a normal size radiator, and eighth of an inch is enough) and check it with a level -- don't rely on your eye. You should be able to push the union faces completely together by hand, just shoving on the radiator. Then tighten the union nut.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • bipbap
    bipbap Member Posts: 191
    Nothing on that vertical riser was moved or even anything close to it.
    I was thinking the pressure in the pipes affected it since I removed other rads in the building.
    I don’t believe anything physically moved it out of whack- I think this is how it’s always been.
    Any other ideas?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,934
    There's not enough pressure in the pipes to affect that -- at least I certainly hope not.

    I you don't care for the idea of undoing and reassembling the union correctly -- which I am pretty sure is where the leak is -- I don't have any other suggestions. Take you about 15 minutes to try it...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    adasilva
  • bipbap
    bipbap Member Posts: 191
    Getting 15 minutes is the easy part.
    Getting a really big wrench and not killing my back moving the thing is the hard part.
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 431
    Know anyone with a wrench that would help you?
  • 1Matthias
    1Matthias Member Posts: 148
    @bipbap You can get a wrench at a Harbor Freight for not that much if there's one near you. I think a 24" crescent is not that expensive and would probably work. Also wouldn't ding up the flats on the union.
  • Using a spade, and a block of wood will make the move pretty easy. When you have the valve end of the rad clear of the floor, then rotate the handle, which will move that end of the rad a few inches away from the wall, and expose both surfaces of the valve/union spud.
    Only missing element-the trip to harbor freight, or big box store, for the pipe wrench.—NBC
  • bipbap
    bipbap Member Posts: 191
    Well thank you all for advice.
    I didn’t do anything yet because of the holiday and now it has magically stopped leaking for the past couple days when it had been leaking a cup of water a day previously.
    Aside from a Thanksgiving miracle, any explanation for that?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,472
    bipbap said:

    Well thank you all for advice.

    I didn’t do anything yet because of the holiday and now it has magically stopped leaking for the past couple days when it had been leaking a cup of water a day previously.

    Aside from a Thanksgiving miracle, any explanation for that?

    If it was really cold and the system ran a lot the joint may have stayed hot, which helped it stay sealed.

    It may only leak when things cool down and shrink.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • brandonf
    brandonf Member Posts: 205
    Check the pressure. It's easy. Also doesn't hurt to make sure the joint is straight n clean and throw a wrench on it...
    Homeowner, Entrepreneur, Mechanic, Electrician,

    "The toes you step on today are connected to the butt you'll have to kiss tomorrow". ---Vincent "Buddy" Cianci