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Radiator with high heels?

bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
So we just renovated an old apartment and resized rooms and moved some radiators around.
The building is a one pipe steam system. The plumber replaced all the ancient valves since some didn’t close and were really old and also because radiators were being moved. It was the top floor apartment.

He put back new valves and then when he went to reinstall the radiators, almost all of the new valves were too short so he added an extension which then made the valve too tall. He said that was the shortest extension they make and that the issue was that the original old valves were made taller than the new ones.

So now the radiators needed to be raised up and his “clever”(?) solution was to cut out some wood circles and put them under each leg. I suppose he could have added a 2x4 block but he was trying to make it look less clunky.

Plus he needed to add reducers, so the whole thing looks a little odd. They don’t seem super solid on their new legs either.

Any suggestions for this situation?
We didn’t want to rip up the floor.
Is he correct that there is no smaller extension?
My wife says they look like radiators with high heels.


  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    edited November 17
    I had to edit my post because I thought he used reducers, but I see now they are extenders. Sorry about that.

    I guess you could take a cutting wheel to the feet like that one guy posted about recently :grimace:
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Member Posts: 914
    edited November 17
    That may fall under the "Ya gotta do whatchya gotta do" category but I think before going that route, I would use a reducing elbow, straight valve and just slide radiator on the floor over a couple inches.

    There are probably even better ideas. But I wouldn't do that. Bump it hard enough and, like a drunk lady in heels, she'll fall over.
  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    No the radiators weren’t moved around for aesthetics.
    It was done to size them for best heating in the new room size though it was not a proper load calculation. We had some rooms that used to be twice as big and had huge 36” wide rads, so we put slightly smaller ones in. 

    And yes that was the other issue is that he needed to add horizontal reducers to make the pipe size work with the radiator size.

    Some radiators went back in the same spot but with new valves still needed to be raised up awkwardly.

  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    edited November 17
    So to clarify, when he put in the new valves, all the radiators were about 1/4” too tall so he added the vertical extension which couldn’t just raise it 1/4” but more like 1”. He said there was no shorter extension to just raise it 1/4”

    The horizontal reducer was added when the pipe size didn’t match the radiator size.

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    edited November 17
    Yes, sorry about that, I realized my error before you posted, but too late to beat you reading it :)

    It's too bad the riser couldn't be lifted the 1/4". Usually there has been some settling and they can be lifted.

    I'm also scared of the high heels because the radiator will move over time and it may fall off.
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    Yeah he pulled it up as much as he could.

    is there any other way to do this?

  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    Is there any radiator valve that is also a reducer? 
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Member Posts: 914
    I have never seen one.
  • FredFred Member Posts: 8,470
    In reality, those radiator pipes that come up out of the floor are probably screwed into an elbow that feeds from a vertical pipe in the wall. You may be able to take the pipe out of the floor and replace it with a shorter nipple. That would allow you to lower the radiator back down to the floor.
  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    Yeah we considered that but floors were redone and really didn’t want to tear anything up.

  • luketheplumberluketheplumber Member Posts: 101
    Maybe you could just cut and rethread the original pipe down to where you need and then put back on the reducers. Now I am just an apprentice so thinking is above my pay grade.
    17 years old and wants to learn about steam and hot water heating
  • ratioratio Member Posts: 2,614
    A piece of luan with a strategic hole in it to protect the floor & I might try to get another thread or two on the pipe. Have to do a good skim job afterwards, though.

    What size are the tappings in the radiators? Maybe take the bushings out of them & go with a larger valve body?

  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    Ratio, not sure about all that. I’m not super well versed in all this.

    i was hoping there would have been a smaller vertical extension so the legs didn’t end up so high up.
    Do those extensions come any smaller?
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,571
    I think your plumber did fine There may be other things to try but not without a lot of fidgiting around which will cost you more $$$$$.

    I would come up with a better design for the blocks under the legs. If the radiators are pitched correctly and level front to back you could measure and make a couple of hardwood strips and stain them to match the floor. They may have to be tapered depending on how un level the floor is
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,083
    Splined checkers work beautifully as high heels.  And you have a choice of colors. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,272
    Coins of the realm work well too. Be classy, and get some 50 cent or dollar coins.—NBC
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    You can try to get a matching piece of flooring.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Member Posts: 2,077
    That would be a lot of checkers or coins :sweat_smile:
    1 pipe Peerless 63-03L in Cedar Grove, NJ, coal > oil > NG
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,083
    I’m thinking maybe 16 checkers. And they stay in place, like making kings.  And you get to keep the board! It’s a nice placemat. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    edited November 18
    I appreciate the suggestions—

    bottom line though is if I don’t want to open up the floor, then I’m stuck with high heels of some sort?
    Theres no shorter extension out there he could have used?

    i just ask because I don’t think he’s a steam pro so might have just used what he could find at Home Depot. So if this board doesn’t know, then I can rest easy that it doesn’t exist.

  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 14,087
    Options are limited and risky, as @Fred mentioned the riser pipes could be removed and shortened. But you are risking a leak below the floor by jacking with those. They may not remove without tweaking piping below.

    If it were me, I'd fabricate some nicer leg extensions, something metal not stacked wood or coins :) I'm thinking an 1-1/4 nipple with a threaded cap for some adjustability.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Larry WeingartenLarry Weingarten Member Posts: 1,957
    Hi, I think that @luketheplumber came up with a good idea. The trick is holding the nipple in place while threading it, so little or no force is put on sub-floor fittings. There are some skinny old pipe wrenches that MIGHT fit under the threader... :#

    Yours, Larry
  • pecmsgpecmsg Member Posts: 1,576
    Why does it appear he went from 1 1/4" to 1" with a bell bushing? that raised the center elevation. Get a 1 1/4" valve.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,453
    You could build a box to sit the radiator on, use the same materials as the flooring. The necessary slope could be built into the box.

    Or remove all the extra fittings and with a hole saw drill into the floor to get that extra 1/4" or so of lowering of the legs.
    The depth of the holes could be corrected with coins that just fit into the holes as needed. Would require some pipe wrench work though.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 14,087
    pecmsg said:

    Why does it appear he went from 1 1/4" to 1" with a bell bushing? that raised the center elevation. Get a 1 1/4" valve.

    Just eyeballing it, looks like an 1-1/4 valve may be too low? Sure want to confirm before you buy and start wrenching.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • Chris_LChris_L Member Posts: 187
    Have you searched the spec sheets of different valve manufacturers to see if any match the dimensions of your original valves? (Or are they all the same?)

    That is where I would start. And if you are successful, just replace the valves--or have your plumber do it.
  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    Those are good ideas.
    It’s just that’s it’s like 8 radiators so would be a lot of $ to buy all those new valves.
    i was hoping there was just a shorter extension out there he could swap to reduce how high I need to raise the rads.
  • SlamDunkSlamDunk Member Posts: 914
    Spend the money. You spent money painting walls, finishing floors...but your radiators look ridiculous. That is all people are going to look at. Great conversation piece!
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,571
    Like I said.

    Many good ideas, but nothing is going to fix it with out a lot of fidgeting.

    Other than my "two strips of hardwood" Idea I like @JUGHNE idea of setting it on a wooden box. Stained to match the floor after two day you wouldn't know it was there and easier to clean around
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Member Posts: 7,453
    I went thru a lengthy search for valve replacement, after spinning my wheels it turned out that all reasonably priced replacements were 1/4-3/8" shorter.
    Some riser nipple/pipes could be pulled up and some nipples changed.

    The recessed legs without the extra hardware would look pretty good IMO. Most old rads carve themselves down over the years.
    If you go for the holes I would suggest a little oversized with the coins/discs under for movement of expansion/contraction.
    The hole saw size used for the wood discs look about right if you have to only recess a 1/4" or so. The legs are tapered so that gives you a little "wiggle" room.
  • Chris_LChris_L Member Posts: 187
    Who was responsible for choosing the replacement valves that don't fit?

    If it was your plumber, he should replace them with ones that do fit for little more than the cost difference in the price of the valves. He'll be able to use the ones he removes somewhere else.

    If you bought the valves, or agreed in advance to the installation of less expensive valves with high heels, that is another matter.
  • bipbapbipbap Member Posts: 118
    He bought them.
    i dont think he put any thought into if different manufacturers have slightly different specs or even considered that. I’m guessing he grabbed whatever was on the shelf at Home Depot.
    He’s a smart guy but far from a steam pro I’d say.

  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    Radiator covers? With open tops so you don't lose heat. 
  • EBEBRATT-EdEBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 7,571
    The problem is the newer valve are shorter as @JUGHNE already mentioned.

    Changing nipples when you insist on not pulling up the floor or the ceiling below is very chancy. and there usually is only room to get 1 wrench on the nipple. 100 year old pipe without a back up wrench has disaster written all over it especially on the top floor
    STEAM DOCTORethicalpaulCanucker
  • STEAM DOCTORSTEAM DOCTOR Member Posts: 1,254
    I have done the same thing that you plumber did. Including in my own house. You don't always have a choice. 
  • questionquestion Member Posts: 14
    I saw this the other day. You just need two 45’s and a short nipple. You just need the extra 5 inches of space. Yes this valve handle is broken. The valve handle has been repaired 
  • DennisDennis Member Posts: 98
    A solution I came up with on a flip house; The flooring under the radiator was to say the least distressed. After the new valves were installed I ran into the same issue the rad was 1/4 inch higher than the newer less beefier valves. Adding a riser had the rad now 3/4 inches in the air. I solved the problem with a single 3x4 piece of quarter saw oak from an old church pew. The oak plank was run through a shaper to create a decorative edge.
    I wished I had pictures of the finished project. I deleted the file folder on the property after it sold.

    If the block of wood looks decorative not matter if it runs the length of the radiator or simply under the feet horizontally. No one will be the wiser if however someone points it out, show them the exit.
    Just do it, right.
  • Leon82Leon82 Member Posts: 673
    edited November 28
    You might be able to use some iron pipe couplers. They may blend in if you can find paint that matches a radiator

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