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Bathroom heat is unbearable. Looking for solutions.

Merigouldi
Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
I have a steam heat vent in the bathroom that is out of control. Another forum told me that I could simply seal over the holes either with tape or something like cardboard or a foam sheet.

I asked if it was safe and they said it was. I just wanted to get a second opinion on the matter to make sure it won't cause a fire hazard. I've attached a picture of the vent. If I can tape over the holes, is there a particular type of tape that works best?

Also if anyone has a better idea altogether please let me know. I'm open to all suggestions.

Thanks for any help!

Comments

  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,882
    edited March 2020
    Most likely that vent is shot . You can replace the vent with a adjustable vent like a Hoffman 1A . To shut off completely replace the vent with a 1/8" NPT plug .. The steam vent really should be installed in the lower tap , but good luck removing the plug ..
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    BillyOSTEVEusaPA
  • caywltz
    caywltz Member Posts: 10
    Well, you're not ready to remove it, I guess there is nothing dangerous in covering those holes. My aunt has something similar looking with the holes covered by previous residents, 3 years - no accidents. But just in case, you can consult a professional, I don't think it's expensive
  • BillyO
    BillyO Member Posts: 274
    Like HVAC said, that may be a hot water system. don't remove anything just yet
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 12,819
    edited March 2020
    Doesn't look like any vent for a steam radiator I've ever seen. It's way too small..

    Do you have actual steam coming out?
    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
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,907
    As the guys have said -- that's not a steam vent. You have hot water. Yes, you can cover the holes; use something which will take the heat, though. You may also find a valve somewhere on the pipes going to that radiator which you can close.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 5,687

    ...Another forum told me that I could simply...

    You already received bad advice.
    This is the only forum that you need to visit :), where you find the experts.
    steve
    Solid_Fuel_ManSuperTechZman
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 2,917
    I live in a steam heated NYC apartment and the heat is out of control. I have a radiator similar to yours and I covered those heat-outlet holes with blue gaffers tape to help cool my apartment down. It works fine, not fantastically because the radiator still gets hot, but it's fine to reduce the heat output by some percentage. That's the easiest thing to do and it's safe. If you don't have access to a valve or thermostat or don't want to fiddle with the building's stuff, do what I did which seems to be exactly what you've been previously advised to do by others.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, Master Plumber for Consulting Work
    Or for plumbing in NYC or in NJ.

    Or take his class.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,882
    edited March 2020
    That brand valve ,stated it can be used for steam and hot water . They used expandable felt like disks to seal it up. The layers of disks expands when they get wet . , I forgot the manufactures name
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
    HVACNUTSuperTech
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    > @Big Ed_4 said:
    > That brand valve ,stated it can be used for steam and hot water . They used expandable felt like disks to seal it up. The layers of disks expands when they get wet . , I forgot the manufactures name

    That's pretty cool.
    I've never seen that type. Granted 95% of my work is in the basement.

    If its anything like the opening on a hydronic coin vent, there's 12 coats of paint blocking the hole anyway.

    I guess in this case the felt discs are stuck and not able to stop the air flow?
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    Thanks so much for all the advice!
    Big Ed_4 said:

    Most likely that vent is shot . You can replace the vent with a adjustable vent like a Hoffman 1A . To shut off completely replace the vent with a 1/8" NPT plug .. The steam vent really should be installed in the lower tap , but good luck removing the plug ..

    Is the vent the thing sticking out and sealed off with paint? Or is it located underneath the cover with the holes?
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    HVACNUT said:

    Are you sure you have steam heat? Because that looks like a coin vent for a hydronic radiator on a mono flo system.



    Can you post some pics of the boiler, controls, and connected piping?

    Unfortunately I can't because the LL is in Florida (we are in NY) and the boiler is in her basement which we don't have access to. We live on the second floor. You may be right, though. I just assumed it's steam heat but it may not be.
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    BillyO said:

    Like HVAC said, that may be a hot water system. don't remove anything just yet

    I won't. We rent and I don't want to do anything that would cause hundreds (or thousands) of dollars worth of repairs.
    ChrisJ said:

    Doesn't look like any vent for a steam radiator I've ever seen. It's way too small..

    Do you have actual steam coming out?

    No steam, just unbelievable amounts of heat.

    ...Another forum told me that I could simply...

    You already received bad advice.
    This is the only forum that you need to visit :), where you find the experts.
    Duly noted. The advice I've received here so far has been great!
    JohnNY said:

    I live in a steam heated NYC apartment and the heat is out of control. I have a radiator similar to yours and I covered those heat-outlet holes with blue gaffers tape to help cool my apartment down. It works fine, not fantastically because the radiator still gets hot, but it's fine to reduce the heat output by some percentage. That's the easiest thing to do and it's safe. If you don't have access to a valve or thermostat or don't want to fiddle with the building's stuff, do what I did which seems to be exactly what you've been previously advised to do by others.

    I'll probably go this route since it seems like it won't cause a fire hazard and is pretty simple to do. Thanks a lot for the insight!
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    Additionally, if I do cover the holes to prevent the heat from coming in, what happens to the heat? Where does it go? I think I should mention that this is the second floor of a 2 family house.
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14

    As the guys have said -- that's not a steam vent. You have hot water. Yes, you can cover the holes; use something which will take the heat, though. You may also find a valve somewhere on the pipes going to that radiator which you can close.

    The issue there is getting the cover off. Besides trying to figure out how to get it off, there is only about 8" of space in between the vent and the vanity. Tight quarters for sure.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,278
    HVACNUT said:

    > @Big Ed_4 said:

    > That brand valve ,stated it can be used for steam and hot water . They used expandable felt like disks to seal it up. The layers of disks expands when they get wet . , I forgot the manufactures name



    That's pretty cool.

    I've never seen that type. Granted 95% of my work is in the basement.



    If its anything like the opening on a hydronic coin vent, there's 12 coats of paint blocking the hole anyway.



    I guess in this case the felt discs are stuck and not able to stop the air flow?

    Here you go, called Hydroscopic vents or caps. We sell an 1/8" which is both a manual and automatic vent, and a cap for regular vents. The discs do need occasional replacement they are organic cellous material.

    The 1/8 has a small ball check so you can replace the cap without losing pressure or fluid.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    HVACNUT
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,750
    Could you post some pictures of other radiators in the apartment that are not enclosed?
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    That is the vent protruding on the upper right. Just leave it until a pro or building maintenance can replace it.
    If it's a hot water boiler and not steam, the vent is not the problem. It could be a faulty flow check or valve in the boiler room.

    For now, do like @JohnNY wrote. Cover the upper and lower air tunnels. Cardboard and masking tape.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 1,882
    If it were steam heat it would be leaking steam ..If its a hot water system check under the lower cover , there should be a butter fly valve on one of the two pipes you can shut off . Looking at your photo it looks like stuff was built around the radiator ? Is this a Appartment ? In a pinch a sheet Styrofoam would work ....
    I have enough experience to know , that I dont know it all
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,506
    edited March 2020
    If you can show us the piping that connects in to the bottom we can tell you if it is hot water or steam. Like others said, there is likely a valve inside the access panel at the bottom.

    Looks like they built a wall in the middle of it and if it is hot water or 2 pipe steam there may be connections in 2 rooms.
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    JUGHNE said:

    Could you post some pictures of other radiators in the apartment that are not enclosed?

    All of the other radiators in the house look like this. The cover was painted shut but I was able to get through the paint with a utility knife to get the cover off.






    I also took some blind shots of the radiator in the bathroom through the little slots in the bottom. Not sure if they're useful or not.
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    HVACNUT said:

    That is the vent protruding on the upper right. Just leave it until a pro or building maintenance can replace it.

    If it's a hot water boiler and not steam, the vent is not the problem. It could be a faulty flow check or valve in the boiler room.



    For now, do like @JohnNY wrote. Cover the upper and lower air tunnels. Cardboard and masking tape.

    Thanks a lot. I'll probably just do the cardboard and tape and see how it goes. If it's still too hot then I'll take next steps. I ended up being able to move the bottom cover to get some better pics just in case you or someone else in this thread wanted to check them out.
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    edited March 2020
    Also, would duct tape work? I don't have any masking tape in the house...
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,792
    Duct tape will leave the adhesive all over whatever it's used on after you take it off. Painters tape and masking tape would be a better way to go.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,750
    Looking at the picture of the "radiator" with the cover off, that is a hot water convector. The control valve is on the right end and the left end has an air vent.

    Convectors put out heat by the air flow from bottom to top.
    If you block the air flow thru the bottom that will drop the heat delivered. Also block the top if still too much heat.

    Ideally closing down the supply valve somewhat would be the best way.

    Even if you stop the convection of air the front will still be considered a radiator and continue to heat.

    Don't mess with the air vent. If there was air in the unit then the water flow would be less.....what you want.
    mattmia2
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    SuperTech said:

    Duct tape will leave the adhesive all over whatever it's used on after you take it off. Painters tape and masking tape would be a better way to go.

    Thanks, never thought of that. I actually have some blue painters tape that I can use.
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    HVACNUT said:

    That is the vent protruding on the upper right. Just leave it until a pro or building maintenance can replace it.

    If it's a hot water boiler and not steam, the vent is not the problem. It could be a faulty flow check or valve in the boiler room.



    For now, do like @JohnNY wrote. Cover the upper and lower air tunnels. Cardboard and masking tape.

    Here's the final product. Not sure how long it will stick but if it comes undone I'll just redo it. Thanks again for the advice, I hope this works out.

    Grallert
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,792
    I would think that it would definitely help.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,506
    So there's no valve down there?

    If i'm not mistaken, which i could be, that cast iron recessed radiator is going to have a lot more output than those convectors.
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 4,590
    Now check the radiators in the adjacent rooms.

    If radiators are heating when the heat is not on, then there is a problem in the boiler room.
    Either a flow check valve or motorized zone valve is open.

    Chances are another rad is getting hot right now.
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    HVACNUT said:

    Now check the radiators in the adjacent rooms.



    If radiators are heating when the heat is not on, then there is a problem in the boiler room.

    Either a flow check valve or motorized zone valve is open.



    Chances are another rad is getting hot right now.

    Problem is that we have no control over the heat. The controls and boiler are on the first floor with the boiler in the basement so we don't know when it's supposed to be on or not. That said, the heat is usually on when it's supposed to be so I assume the controls are working as they should. The 2 radiators in the back of the house sometimes don't get as hot as the 4 but nothing gets as hot as it does in the bathroom.
    mattmia2 said:

    So there's no valve down there?

    If i'm not mistaken, which i could be, that cast iron recessed radiator is going to have a lot more output than those convectors.

    Here is a video. I was able to get the bottom cover off to get a better view of the inside. I think it'll give you a better idea of what it is.https://youtu.be/K9txCUaUIFE
  • Merigouldi
    Merigouldi Member Posts: 14
    Update: The heat is currently on and the cardboard/masking tape solution is working but perhaps a little too well. I think I'm going to start making holes in the cardboard to adjust the heat a little.

    If this is a bad idea please let me know.
    mattmia2Grallert
  • ratio
    ratio Member Posts: 3,173

    Update: The heat is currently on and the cardboard/masking tape solution is working but perhaps a little too well. I think I'm going to start making holes in the cardboard to adjust the heat a little.

    If this is a bad idea please let me know.

    It's a fine idea.
    Merigouldi
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 5,506
    It is one of these or another manufacturer's version

    https://www.usboiler.net/product/radiant-baseboard-radiator.html

    unfortunately I don't see a valve down there. i don't even see any unions.