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Shutting old Dunham Radiator in NYC building

I live in a building built in the 50s in NYC. We have a small room in our apartment that's heated by a radiator that's a little too powerful. We only use that room for storage and plants but the heat has been killing the plants. I'm considering turning off the radiator in the room, but I don't know how.  

The radiator says Dunham and there is a knob. The knob doesn't turn when I try to turn it, leading me to think it needs a special wrench or tool. Can anyone help?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,675
    Well... that valve should turn off. Clockwise. And it should be possible to turn it by hand. However, it has probably never been turned since it was put in there.

    Of course as a first cut you could simply cover the inlet and outlet grilles; that will reduce some of the heat.

    Now back to the valve. Those were packless, as I recall. You could try giving it a squirt of PB Blaster where the valve stem goes into the body. Let it sit for a bit, and then try to turn it either way -- even a little bit will help, and with patience you may be able to get it to go. A slightly more desperate trick would be to slightly loosen that hex nut right under the handle and then try to turn it. Beyond that, in an apartment building, you really probably should not go...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,981
    Since that is a convector, covering that element with aluminum foil would reduce the output a lot.
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,849
    I agree with @mattmia2

    I wouldn't touch the old valve. Wrap the heating element in tin foil. And since you have the cover off blocking the lower air inlet will also help
  • Anonymous1995
    Anonymous1995 Member Posts: 2
     mattmia2 said:
    Since that is a convector, covering that element with aluminum foil would reduce the output a lot.
    Thanks, that actually seems like the easiest and safest approach!