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Sagging radiator

whitwo
whitwo Member Posts: 50
Single pipe steam system. I've got a radiator that has a sag of about .25" in the middle when I put a level on it. This has made it difficult to slope towards the steam line and I notice lots of clicking noise/small tings when it heats up that I assume is the water that did not drain making small hammers.

I also need to replace the angle valve. The union nut is stripped and leaking. I'm debating if I go through that work with a radiator that has a sag or is it time to replace the 100 year old radiator.

The radiator is about 24" tall, 5 posts wide, and has 29 blades.

Thanks!

Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,332
    You could add another 1/2" or so shim on the end opposite the valve end, see if that corrects the noise which could just be expansion noises. Milk jug pieces have been slipped under legs to allow easier expansion by reducing friction of the legs.

    If you change the valve you must also change the rad spud,
    sometimes a challenge.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,913
    If it's sagging I'd be concerned about it developing leaks.

    Can you share some pictures?
    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
  • Intplm.
    Intplm. Member Posts: 1,419
    @ChrisJ makes a good point. And @whitwo your thought of changing the valve is probably a good idea. Maybe change the rad. too.
    Post a few pictures so we can better understand what you're dealing with.
  • whitwo
    whitwo Member Posts: 50
    I've put milk jug pieces around the pipe coming from the floor and sliders around the feet which helped, but never fully went away. now that it's leaking at the union and the nut can't be tightened anymore without splitting I'm in for at least replacing the valve and spud.

    See attached for pictures.
  • Have you tried putting a little pipe dope on the mating surface of the valve and spud? That's the last thing I would try before changing the valve.
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hourTwo btu/ per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,332
    That is really a big boy, often they have feet in the middle of the rad. I can understand the sag.
    I would be reluctant to raise the other end much without adding a permanent center support. And I would not try to correct the sag either for fear of creating a leak between sections.
    kcoppGrallert
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,541
    Wow,
    That's a long radiator. It may have had that sag in it for the last 90+ years. I think it should have a set of legs/brace placed under it, in the center to help support it but I wouldn't assume it needs to be replaced. I'd go with a valve and spud replacement, if it looks like they line up and will mate like they should. If the alignment (or misalignment) appears to be the result of the sag, your options are limited.
  • whitwo
    whitwo Member Posts: 50
    edited February 2020
    Closer look at the nut. It's splitting. So now the question - replace the rad at the same time?
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,332
    IIWM, I would replace the valve.....even if you get another rad you will need one.
    Depending upon where your located getting another replace of nearly that size might be iffy.
    And just thinking of moving it makes my back hurt.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,525
    That is really sad. Someone must have decided that tightening the union nut on a misaligned union would help...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • whitwo
    whitwo Member Posts: 50
    > @Jamie Hall said:
    > That is really sad. Someone must have decided that tightening the union nut on a misaligned union would help...

    The guy that tightened it said that the threads were stripped and he was getting it as tight as he could without cracking it. It held for the last 3-4 months, I'm guess the stress finally did it in.
  • whitwo
    whitwo Member Posts: 50
    > @JUGHNE said:
    > IIWM, I would replace the valve.....even if you get another rad you will need one.
    > Depending upon where your located getting another replace of nearly that size might be iffy.
    > And just thinking of moving it makes my back hurt.

    I'm in NC so I don't have a lot of options. I would most likely be looking at an architectural salvage. No way would I attempt to move it myself!
  • whitwo
    whitwo Member Posts: 50
    I'm going to replace the valve and keep the radiator I have (at least until the season is over). Any tips on removing the valve and spud? I've seen 2 methods - on that just uses pipe wrenches and another that cuts the valve and spud to make it easier. Any advice?

    I also don't have a rad spud wrench. Is there a way to do it without or do I need to get one?

    Thanks!
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 420
    Easiest way is to VERY VERY CAREFULLY cut the valve and spud WITHOUT DAMAGING THE THREADS ON EITHER INSIDE OF THE RADIATOR OR THE OUTSIDE OF THE SUPPLY PIPE. Sometimes more than one cut is needed and then a chisel or punch to pry or knock out the cut piece. Wrenching is possible, but sometimes not and always very difficult.
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,983
    edited February 2020

    Easiest way is to VERY VERY CAREFULLY cut the valve and spud WITHOUT DAMAGING THE THREADS ON EITHER INSIDE OF THE RADIATOR OR THE OUTSIDE OF THE SUPPLY PIPE. Sometimes more than one cut is needed and then a chisel or punch to pry or knock out the cut piece. Wrenching is possible, but sometimes not and always very difficult.

    I remember seeing a guy on YouTube that shows you how to exactly do that.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3u1J0hDWJJo
    steve
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,332
    You want to get a new valve designed for steam that is the closest height to what you have now. Many new valves are shorter and require the riser pipe to be pulled up to match the new rad spud.....not always possible.

    Many Utubes for this. However for this rad I would want to move it the least amount. Wouldn't lay it down as some show and certainly add center support before wrestling with it.
  • whitwo
    whitwo Member Posts: 50
    Got the rad spud out. Waiting on the valve until I can pick up a replacement.

    Is there a way to get the new spud in without a spud wrench?

    > @Gary Smith said:
    > Easiest way is to VERY VERY CAREFULLY cut the valve and spud WITHOUT DAMAGING THE THREADS ON EITHER INSIDE OF THE RADIATOR OR THE OUTSIDE OF THE SUPPLY PIPE. Sometimes more than one cut is needed and then a chisel or punch to pry or knock out the cut piece. Wrenching is possible, but sometimes not and always very difficult.
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 689
    I had the best luck removing the spud in the rad by first cutting off the union nut. Then with the help of a 2nd person use both a spud wrench and a 6" pipe wrench with a "cheater pipe". Put some pressure on the spud wrench and most pressure on the pipe wrench you should be able to remove the spud piece. If you break off the spud "tits" you will be left with just the 6" pipe wrench. You may also be able to grab the larger diameter spud taper piece, after cutting off the union nut, and using a larger pipe wrench. I would try these ideas first before I would try cutting off the spud and slitting the piece left in the rad as the video shows. If you cut too deep you will damage the rad threads.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,235
    > @whitwo said:
    > Got the rad spud out. Waiting on the valve until I can pick up a replacement.
    >
    > Is there a way to get the new spud in without a spud wrench?

    They are so cheap, I recommend just get one: https://www.supplyhouse.com/Jones-Stephens-J40030-Radiator-Spud-Wrench
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787
    The trouble is, the cheap spud wrenches have rounded corners, and along with the rounded edges on the drive ridges in the spud, you don't get a good grip, and the spud wrench can end up pushing the ridges out and cracking the spud, so you have to be really careful not to apply too much torque. If you're using either a PTFE pipe joint compound or regular compound and PTFE tape, it shouldn't take much torque to get it tight enough.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,235
    edited February 2020
    OK I'll bite @Hap_Hazzard. What's your favorite non-cheap spud wrench. I've never come close to wrenching hard enough on them to crack a spud I'm pretty sure.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,332
    I have used the "cheap" 10-14 dollar spud wrench to actually remove some 70 year old spuds.
    The ones it did not remove broke the internal tabs off inside the spud......then out comes the saw etc.
    ethicalpaul
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787

    OK I'll bite @Hap_Hazzard. What's your favorite non-cheap spud wrench. I've never come close to wrenching hard enough on them to crack a spud I'm pretty sure.

    The cheap spud wrenches are okay for installing spuds, as long as you're careful, but when it comes to removing them, I either make a tight-fitting wrench out of chromoly tubing or just cut off the nut and take it out with a pipe wrench. I've broken every single one I tried to remove with my cheapo wrench.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 4,235
    OK yes I've broken off every pair of little tiny tabs when trying to remove spuds...but in this thread the poster had stated he already removed his spud and he was talking about installing the new one without a wrench.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787

    OK yes I've broken off every pair of little tiny tabs when trying to remove spuds...but in this thread the poster had stated he already removed his spud and he was talking about installing the new one without a wrench.

    Yes, I knew that. I was just advising caution when installing the new spud, because too much torque can damage the spud when you're installing it too. You can crack it without even knowing it, and then you wonder why you're losing water.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • tencortos
    tencortos Member Posts: 1
    That's a Corto radiator, made by American Radiator Co. in the 1920s. I have ten of them in my house, also single-pipe steam. They are great radiators. Very cutting edge design for the time. Even with the sag, I'd try to save it if you can. Good luck with the valve replacement.
    Grallert
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 13,913
    > @tencortos said:
    > That's a Corto radiator, made by American Radiator Co. in the 1920s. I have ten of them in my house, also single-pipe steam. They are great radiators. Very cutting edge design for the time. Even with the sag, I'd try to save it if you can. Good luck with the valve replacement.

    Cutting edge in what sense?
    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
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787
    edited February 2020
    ChrisJ said:

    Cutting edge in what sense?

    According to an advertisement in the October, 1919 Journal of the American Society of Heating and Ventilating Engineers (Volume 25),
    This new French design occupies thirty percent less space. It has larger heat-radiating power for its size, responds quicker and weighs twenty-five percent less. Use the CORTO for your work in which quality, high efficiency and artistic appearance are desired.

    The Corto was designed by French engineer Louis Courtot, who developed a central heating system using radiators and boiler, and established a foundry in Dole that was acquired by American Radiator in 1898.
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • Hap_Hazzard
    Hap_Hazzard Member Posts: 2,787
    Just another DIYer | King of Prussia, PA
    1983(?) Peerless G-561-W-S | 3" drop header, CG400-1090, VXT-24
  • whitwo
    whitwo Member Posts: 50
    Thanks for the identification. Valve replaced and working well.

    Any suggestions about how to add support to the radiator? Even if just to stop further sagging.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,525
    I would suggest wooden supports at the approximate 1/3 points -- say 10 sections in from each end. Make them paired wedges -- very little slope on the wedge surface -- so you can adjust them. But do NOT try to get the sag out! Just enough support to hold it where it is. It's happy, and it's not leaking. Don't poke the bear...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Hap_Hazzardkenlmad