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Steam Radiator valve question

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Hi guys, I have a single pipe steam system with mostly recessed radiators (American Radiator I believe is the brand) Home is an English Tudor built 96 years ago in New Jersey.The valves on these are odd. It is not your typical globe valve that you fully turn right or left to fully close or fully open, instead these are almost like a qtr. turn or maybe a half a turn left or right then it stops. Someone once said that it may be a butterfly valve and that the fully open position might could be in the middle IE. not fully turned to the left which would normally be open. I find this hard to believe and really think the fully open position has to be fully turned to the left. It's hard to tell as it seems like the radiator eventually heats up in either position but am thinking one of those positions probably has the valve half open... HAs anyone ever come across this type of valve on a steam radiator?

as always thanks in advance!!
Chris

Comments

  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,425
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    You might have a Gorton single pipe vapor system, https://heatinghelp.com/assets/documents/gorton-1.pdf
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 917
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    @Chris_108 if you post a photo of a typical valve, we can better advise you.

    Bburd
    mattmia2
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,324
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    Frequently, mostly on vapour systems. There were perhaps half a dozen different variations. They are NOT butterfly valves, and yes, turned to the left is fully open with reducing heat going clockwise.

    Do send a picture -- we can be a lot more helpful if we know what we are looking at.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Chris_108
    Chris_108 Member Posts: 22
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    Thanks guys.. Here are some pictures of the radiators I have on my 2nd floor. Again, the complete turn from right to left is probably around a 1/4 to a 1/2 of a turn....Is it possible that fully open could be in the middle or do you think fully open is all the way to the left?



  • Danny Scully
    Danny Scully Member Posts: 1,425
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    Ahh, that unique system is called a hack job 🤣. That’s a valve for hot water it would seem, that someone applied inappropriately. 
    Gordo
  • Chris_108
    Chris_108 Member Posts: 22
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    yes it does look more like a hot water valve with the copper riser.... That being said how hard would it be to have the valve swapped out to a proper gate/globe valve that you typically see on steam radiators?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,667
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    I'm not so sure that is a hack. People have posted a few steam systems piped in copper from around when copper pipe first became available.
    bburd
  • Chris_108
    Chris_108 Member Posts: 22
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    I don't think it's a hack job either. I have probably 6 or 7 of these like this... but but to my question, do you all the way to the left is fully open? Some are leaking, i tried tightening packing nut not no good. Any idea how repack?

    thx
    Chris

  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 917
    edited December 2022
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    Given the period of construction, it could be a needle valve. These were common in two pipe steam systems installed in larger buildings in the 1950s and 60s.

    You said this is one pipe steam, but that looks like a really small pipe for counter flow of steam and condensate at the same time.

    Fully left is fully open, almost certainly. It’s possible that the internal parts of the valve have become disconnected, causing a partial blockage even when the handle is all the way to the left.

    If they leak around the stem, they should be fairly easy to repack with graphite packing or Teflon added under the packing nut. Work to be done with the system cold and turned off, of course!

    Bburd
  • Chris_108
    Chris_108 Member Posts: 22
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    Tank you for the insight. Much appreciated. Was able to remove packing nut and repack with graphite.

    thx!
    Chris
    mattmia2bburd