Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Steam radiator small leak

zoulas Member Posts: 29
Hello, I had my spud and valve changed on a steam radiator. The valves were 75 years old. It has now started to drip on between one of the sections on the bottom side . The question I have is that a hole did not develop, it seems the two sections split a bit. Is it possible the spud is pushing on to the section causing it to split? Is what I am saying possible? Likely?


  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,745
    I'd say the more likely possibility is whoever replaced the valve inadvertently torqued on the radiator somehow causing that problem. It should have taken very little torque on that spud considering this is a steam system.

    That said, corrosion can't be ruled out as a major contributing factor here based on what I see. In other words the excessive torque brought to light a corrosion issue with that radiator.

    I see a tie rod in that radiator, that would indicate push nipples. There is a very slim possibility of snugging up the nuts on the tie rod to see if it comes back together to stop the leak, but I wouldn't try that unless I had a back up replacement or repair solution in place.

    I'm not sure how available push nipples are, perhaps one of the pros can chime in. If it's just a corroded push nipple there is a possible repair solution by pulling it apart, getting the old push nipple out, then reassembling with a new one. If the rad itself is corroded, then it may be a goner and you may need to start hunting for a used replacement.

    Does bring one question to mind. What was wrong with the valve that you had it replaced?
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,153
    edited October 2022
    Scrap yards sometimes keep those old radiators for people like you that need replacement radiators. Or you can order a replacement form a plumbing supply house. They are still making new radiators today. You will want to match the EDR of the existing radiator with your replacement radiator. There are charts that can help you calculate what your existing radiator's EDR is.
    EDR stands for Equivalent Direct Radiation. that is how we measure how much heat a radiator with steam inside it, will give off at a given room temperature

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • zoulas
    zoulas Member Posts: 29
    Old valve was leaking in every direction. Tightening did not help.
    Do you think weld epoxy may help? JB WELD? Its only a few drips per hour when the system is running.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,544
    That's a shame, considering that while tightening a leaking valve rarely helps, repacking it (takes ten minutes) and opening and cleaning the union (might take a half hour) almost always solves the problem.

    Oh well, what's done is done.

    First make sure that the radiator really is in a perfectly straight line with the valve. I can't really tell from the photo, but it looks to me as though valve is angle relative to the radiator, and that the first section is twisted out of line with the radiator to make things line up. If that is so, you'll never stop the leak.

    Do NOT try to take up the tension bar or bars. That's not what they're made for, and they may well snap. Instead, you could try -- though it's unlikely to work -- getting hold of two big pipe clamps and placing one in front and one in back in line with the bottom connections and taking up on them. Slowly.

    if that doesn't work, as @KC_Jones said the likely thing is that the radiator got manhandled and that the nipple isn't sealing any more and may have gotten damaged. Sometimes I've had good fortune with JB Weld meant for that sort of thing -- but only if I could get the surface to which it will adhere is really truly perfectly clean. That's not easy. In the case of a leak that that, it will have to go all away around the offending joint. Another possibility is to take the radiator back out and separate that one section (be very careful doing this -- a little at a time at the top, then a little at a time at the bottom, and so on) and check the nipple, but don't fret unduly about trying to duplicate it. Rather, if you look at the joint, you will see that there is a slight recess in the faces. I've had success running a generous bead of red RTV sealant all the way around that recess and then pulling the radiator back together (with those pipe clamps).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England