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Leaking valve - updated with image

toraziyal Member Posts: 8
edited September 2020 in Strictly Steam
I think this valve is leaking because the joint isn’t aligned properly. It's really tight to lift that valve out of the floor to connect it to the radiator.

Any tips to get better alignment? We do have access to this pipe from the basement. Should we try to trap the pipe to the basement ceiling?

Here’s the image:


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,323
    It does look as though the union is misaligned. Unions aren't meant to take up misalignment, either it lateral or vertical or in angular directions -- and this one looks like an angular misalignment (perhaps in addition to a vertical one). You can try moving the pipe up and down, but I have my doubts. You can also try raising the opposite end of the radiator up, until the angular alignment is gone (may have to shim up the near end as well, a little, as raising the far end will lower the near end slightly) until the thing is perfectly aligned.

    Then clean both union faces thoroughly (but don't use any abrasive at all!) and try pulling it back together.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,662
    The radiator might need to move to the right a bit to get it to align properly.
  • Big Ed_4
    Big Ed_4 Member Posts: 2,785
    The radiator needs to be lifted on the far end to be inlined . Pitched back to the valve . Leave it like that. wait for Thor's hammer

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    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,540
    I agree with @Big Ed_4 looks like the right hand end needs to come up with shims
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 906
    When I enlarged the picture of the union, the nut appears to be cross threaded. It may not be but it looks like it is. Also, when using a pipe wrench on a brass union, loosen the jaws so the pull on the wrench does not distort the union nut or better yet use an 18" or 24" crescent wrench or a flat jaw monkey wrench. To clean up the mating surfaces use a very fine steel wool like "000" or "0000" or you could try crocus cloth. No sand paper, please, and follow the other guys recommendations to try to better align the union halves.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,662
    Yeah, looking at it again, it does look cross threaded. sometimes you can coax it to thread in to the right set of threads by turning it counter clockwise by hand until you feel it drop in to the treads then turn it clockwise once it is aligned. Do not put a wrench on that until you have threaded it on a turn or 2 by hand and it seems to be turning freely or you will need to replace the valve and spud.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,861
    Take it apart
    Clean the mating surfaces with 00 steel wool
    Get the mating surfaces aligned.
    A little never seize on the mating surface and threads, including the back of the nut.
    Use a rag on the pipe wrench to keep the scars down.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
    Looks cross threaded to me as well. Might have to cut or chip away at the floor too get it too line up.
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,062
    I think the valve has to come up a little.
    You say you have access to the pipe in the basement, can you push it up any? The hole in the floor may be tight around the riser pipe preventing you from pulling up the pipe.

    If you want to jack the pipe up a little, you can take a 2 x 4 that is a little long from the bottom of the pipe to the floor.
    Put a scrap of plywood on the floor, wedge the 2x4 between the pipe and the scrap. Hammer the bottom of the 2x4 tight to raise the pipe a little. Then secure a 2x4 cross piece between the floor joists that will hold the pipe up.

    If you have wrenched on that union nut, the threads may be cross threaded and time for a new valve and spud.
  • moneypitfeeder
    moneypitfeeder Member Posts: 249
    edited September 2020
    It also looks like the valve might need repacked due to the stain on the left side of the valve. If you check this thread (https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/124801/repacking-a-steam-valve), Steam House Rick gives a good explanation of how to repack the valve.

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