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.

1920s radiator valve stuck

Options
timm08
timm08 Member Posts: 9
Hey everyone! I’m looking for advice on what you would try to unstick this radiator valve. I tried PB Blaster yesterday with no luck. I don’t plan to replace the valve as I don’t want to create a bigger problem with the old pipes. I appreciate any advice as I have a few valves just like this I’d like to get working if possible. 



Comments

  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Alan (California Radiant) Forbes Member Posts: 4,075
    edited November 2022
    Options
    Loosen the packing nut, the first one under the handle. At some point, it probably started leaking and someone tightened the nut with a pair of channel locks - you can see the jaw marks on the nut; should have used a crescent wrench. That should allow the handle to operate. 
    You will probably have to add some more packing to the valve to stop the leaking. 
    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
    timm08
  • timm08
    timm08 Member Posts: 9
    Options
    Thanks for the response, Alan. The packing nut and the the stem of the handle turn together. So instead of the handle opening the valve, it currently looses and tightens the packing nut. Apologies for not knowing more but I don’t think I can remove and repack the packing nut without first freeing the stem. Would it just be PB blaster where the stem runs through the packing nut?
  • Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
    Options
    I don’t want to create a bigger problem with the old pipes. 

    We’re heading in that direction.

    I would remove the entire stem and clean it. Second option is to use a crescent wrench on the packing nut and hold it steady while you turn the stem. That should separate the two. 

    Clean as much of the stem as you can with a wire brush and install some new packing. 

    8.33 lbs./gal. x 60 min./hr. x 20°ΔT = 10,000 BTU's/hour

    Two btu per sq ft for degree difference for a slab
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
    Options
    Take the handle and the packing nut off and clean both of them with a wire wheel or scotchbrite or something similar, put it back together with a little silicone grease on the stem, tighten the packing nut but not too much.
  • timm08
    timm08 Member Posts: 9
    Options
    Thanks for the feedback, Matt. The issue I’m having (after a little more time today) is the packing nut and the handle stem are stuck together. If I turn the handle, it loosens/tightens the packing screw. So far I haven’t had luck getting them apart. Any thoughts are appreciated!
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
    Options
    Hold the handle and turn the nut with a wrench. If you can't hold the handle, take the handle off and hold the stem with a wrench while rocking the nut back and worth with another wrench. Be careful not to force the stem in to the stop with the wrench.
    timm08
  • timm08
    timm08 Member Posts: 9
    Options
    Thanks for the suggestion. That’s what I’ve done with no luck. I used PB Blaster a couple times and am going to try again tomorrow. 
  • retiredguy
    retiredguy Member Posts: 919
    Options
    Try spraying the stem and nut with the PB Blaster several times over several days to allow it to work. Don't just spray and try to turn.
    timm08
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,536
    Options
    Most valves like that if you take the packing nut off the stem can lift out. They can come out together -- so if you can't get the stem free of the packing nut, just see if you can unscrew them both together and lift the whole mess out. If you can, you're home. Put the packing nut on (not clamped but on) the jaws of a vise with the stem free to move inside and tap sort of gently on the stem. That will often persuade it to move.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    timm08
  • timm08
    timm08 Member Posts: 9
    Options
    Thank you @retiredguy . I’ll try that over a few days. 

    And thank you, @Jamie Hall . I have been curious if they would come out together but have been hesitant to try anything that might create bigger issues. I’m going to try the PB Blaster for a few days and if that doesn’t do it, l’ll try and take out the stem and packing nut together. Forgive this newbie question but the system isn’t drained. Am I going to have water everywhere if I do this? It’s a hot water system with a pump. 
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,536
    Options
    timm08 said:

    Thank you @retiredguy . I’ll try that over a few days. 


    And thank you, @Jamie Hall . I have been curious if they would come out together but have been hesitant to try anything that might create bigger issues. I’m going to try the PB Blaster for a few days and if that doesn’t do it, l’ll try and take out the stem and packing nut together. Forgive this newbie question but the system isn’t drained. Am I going to have water everywhere if I do this? It’s a hot water system with a pump. 
    Hot water with a pump? You are going to have a shower. You will need to drain the system partly down, as there is enough pressure to come out with considerable enthusiasm even without the pump running. You don't need to drain it completely -- just enough to take the pressure off at that valve location (you can guess at that -- with the pump off, allow 2.3 psi for every foot of elevation between the gauge and the valve).
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England