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Removing a stubborn steam plug

branimalbranimal Posts: 68Member
I’ve got an extra steam radiator that I’d like to install where one was installed at some point. The steam pipe is plugged with a 1/2 plug. I’ve hit it with heat for 1 minute and tried to open it with my wrench, no luck. I’m afraid to break the plug. Any suggestions?

And what is that bell shaped thing below the plug?

My replacement plan is a 1/2 close black nipple attached to a 1/2” female x 1” male fitting. That’s the best I could find in my hardware store. My radiator valve is 1” female.


Comments

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 557Member
    Try a good penetrating oil, applied several times over a few days. The bell thing looks like a reducer, maybe the pipe is the same size as the one next to it?
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • branimalbranimal Posts: 68Member
    Thanks I’ll hit it with some pb blaster
  • SailahSailah Posts: 785Member
    You need bigger tools than a pair of channel locks. Heat the outside to get thermal differential working for you, then ice down the plug to shrink it. That differential shock helps break the rust bond. Then hit it with Kroil/PB Blaster when it is still warm to draw the oil in. Keep at this for a few cycles. Then on the last, shock it and lean into it with a couple big wrenches.

    I find impacts to work better in these situations but you'd need a square socket and a big impact. My 18V 1/2" anvil Makita buzzes those things out like they weren't even stuck.
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • branimalbranimal Posts: 68Member
    I tried with a 12" pipe wrench.

    I'll use your heat/cool/oil method with an 18" pipe wrench.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,459Member
    Assuming this is one pipe steam.
    IMO I believe you need to remove the reducing coupling and use the full size pipe. Adding the 1/2" nipple and then increasing to valve size will create a bottleneck (actually an hourglass) to cause water hammer.

    Do you have access to the riser below?
  • KC_JonesKC_Jones Posts: 4,053Member
    @JUGHNE has it. Ignore that plug, the bell reducer needs to come off as well. 1/2" piping doesn't belong on a 1 pipe system. They probably did it that way because the fittings were laying around so they used them, I only suggest that based on my past experience doing just that.
    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
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Posts: 5,285Member
    edited January 11
    As @jughne & @KC_Jones mentioned the reducer needs to come off. They didn't have the right size cap so they put a reducer on and plugged it.

  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 446Member
    branimal.
    Do you have two PIPE WRENCHES? 18" or greater in size will turn that reducing coupling. Or larger if you can get them. But you should use two. One as a backer the other to loosen.
    Can you pull the fitting reducer up off the floor by hand?
    If you can, place one wrench between the fitting reducer and the floor on to the pipe, the other wrench on the fitting reducer.
    If you can't pull the reducer up a little from the floor, hopefully you can access the pipe from below . You will need some help.One person holding one wrench from below and the other loosening from above.
    If those things don't work, you can try turning with just one wrench from above as a last resort. This can turn the pipe in the floor that is not exposed and create more problems so hopefully you can get it from the other recommendations.
    ("lefty loosey righty tighty").
    Good luck. Please post your end results.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,778Member
    What about cracking the fitting with 2 big hammers, or making lateral cuts in it to relieve the hold on the threads.
    Put a big pair of vice-grips on the pipe in case it wants to fall down the hole under the floor.—NBC
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 446Member
    Doesn't look like a BCI fitting. Looks malleable....?
    Would be better if it's black cast iron.
  • PumpguyPumpguy Posts: 343Member
    One useful trick not mentioned is to hit the plug a few good whacks with a hefty hammer. The impact shock is frequently all that is needed to loosen things up.
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  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,459Member
    Probably cast iron swing 90's under the floor.
    Those would "whack crack".

    I did crack a CI tee unscrewing a nipple. Didn't show up until I tried to reuse for new nipple.
  • branimalbranimal Posts: 68Member
    Yes its a one pipe system.

    I cannot pull the reducer fitting up. Won't budge.

    I can ask my tenant below to access through his ceiling.

    I've got a 12" and an 18" wrench. I'll give that route a try.

    I recently moved a 2" CI steam pipe and I needed to put relief cuts in the couplings and hammer and chisel it out. The pipe threads were in good shape afterwards.

    Regarding the water hammer... i disconnected a radiator yesterday and it had maybe 30 ounces of water in it because the pitch was terrible. But it never hammered. I thought water in the radiators made them hammer?
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 557Member
    edited January 12
    It _can_, but I’ve given up being sure about such things 😂
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,778Member
    edited January 12
    Have you described your main steam boiler piping, as that can throw up a lot of water, if it is not correct, especially if the pressure is too high, and the main venting is inadequate.—NBC
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 446Member
    Use the 18" to loosen and the 14" as your backer below the floor if thats possible.
    Hope that you do not need to cut the fitting as you had before.
    Maybe put a cheater bar/long piece of pipe on the 18 to extend the leverage and make your turn.???
  • BobCBobC Posts: 4,929Member
    A few years back I replaced the anode rod on my gas hot water heater. It took a 24" breaker bar with a 1-1/16" six point socket and a four ft cheater on that 24" breaker bar. I ilso had a buddy trying to hold the tank but I still moved it.

    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
  • kcoppkcopp Posts: 3,324Member
    I would just cut it w/ a good Sawzall blade and after you get 7/8 through the fitting split it w/ a cold chisel.
  • branimalbranimal Posts: 68Member
    Sailah said:


    I find impacts to work better in these situations but you'd need a square socket and a big impact. My 18V 1/2" anvil Makita buzzes those things out like they weren't even stuck.

    Bought a square socket from amazon and borrowed my brother's cordless impact wrench. The plug came right off.

    I'm going to temporarily use a 1/2" nipple along with 1/2" x 1" bushing to hookup the radiator. In 3-4 months I'll be gutting this apartment and I can upgrade to 1" fittings so there is no bottleneck.

    Thanks guys.
  • SailahSailah Posts: 785Member
    Nice!! Everyone that tries mine is:

    "Huh, that's pretty awesome. I should get one. Or I could always borrow yours right?"

    :#
    Peter Owens
    SteamIQ
  • branimalbranimal Posts: 68Member
    Sailah said:

    Nice!! Everyone that tries mine is:

    "Huh, that's pretty awesome. I should get one. Or I could always borrow yours right?"

    :#

    While I have the impact wrench I'm going to attempt to remove my water heaters anode rod!
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Posts: 1,417Member
    Hi, That's a good idea! Best if you use a 1-1/16" six point socket, and grind down the face of the socket so it's flat. This gives the best bite on the head of the anode. ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 446Member
    Good to hear @branimal . Thanks for posting your results.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,459Member
    I am curious to hear (perhaps literally ;) ) how that rad works with the bottleneck/hourglass. Good experiment I think.
  • Intplm.Intplm. Posts: 446Member
    Remove the anode rod !? Have a helper put a bear hug on the water heater !🔩
  • 71montess71montess Posts: 1Member
    That’s a 1x1/2 Black malleable coupling, remove it completely and connect to radiator. Use an 18” or 24” wrench.
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