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Need for steam radiator shutoff valves?
We typically call them angle stops in my neck of the woods. I often wonder if we actually need angle stops on steam radiators? I'm talking about your typical house built in 1919 with one pipe steam. I have never owned a home heated with steam, but I've worked in well over a thousand. For those of you that own this type of house, do you ever shut the valve to your living room radiator? How about the bathroom? I realize that in some cases the in-laws show up at your door Christmas Eve and you might sneak upstairs to close the angle stop in the spare bedroom so they don't stay too long.
I often question the need for a angle stop when we're modifying a steam system. I'm sure others will recall how difficult it was tightening that union on the angle stop when the new recessed Sun-rad style cast iron radiator was just installed. On a few occasions we simply used a black malleable union instead of a shutoff valve and things worked out just fine.
With regard to the angle stop, I suppose the brass valve body, union and spud has a little give to it. I suppose the built in ninety degree fitting with union makes some sense since practically every riser we encounter comes up out of the floor. If you have finally decided to have your hardwood floors refinished after a hundred years, I guess you'd be glad you could just shut off the valve, oh wait, it doesn't actually shut off anymore....
Please share your thoughts.