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connecting radiator to floor valve connection

kat hill
kat hill Member Posts: 1
Does anyone have any ideas for remaking a tight connection so that I don't have a leaking fitting? Floor refinishers disconnected the radiator and didn't put it on tightly. I have tried realligning it, tightening everything up and still it leaks--buckets. Can I use some type of gasket or taping material to insure a seal. Any suggestions would be great. Thanks kat


  • Mike T., Swampeast MO
    Mike T., Swampeast MO Member Posts: 6,928
    Union connection?

    If you've disassembled and carefully cleaned the mating surfaces of the union and it still leaks it almost sounds as though it was damaged. Foreign material and overtightening can both damage the relatively soft brass mating surfaces. I like to leave unions a tad loose then tighten slightly if there is any leakage.

    Valves and unions are both still available but unless you're in a pretty big town you'll likely have to special order them. Go to a plumbing supply house--not a home improvement center as you're unlikely to even find anyone who knows what you're talking about--let alone where to get it.

    If it's at a threaded connection (like where the valve attaches to the pipe coming out of the floor) Rector Seal or similar "hardening" pipe dope can do wonders but you should disassemble and clean FIRST. Teflon-based pipe dope works nicely as well but forget the teflon tape on black iron.

    Use TWO pipe wrenches (opposing one another) to prevent loosening a joint (or even breaking a pipe) further down the line. Failure to use TWO PIPE WRENCHES can cause EXTREME aggravation/expense.

    If you have to replace the valve or angle union you MUST replace both halves. Be forewarned that the little tailpiece sticking out of the radiator is notoriously difficult to remove. There are special wrenches called "spuds" but they're hard to find, don't always fit and often break. You're probably best off removing the radiator bushing along with the tailpiece. This takes a LOT of strength, a LONG wrench and often a "breaking" bar and a couple of people to boot.
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