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Leaking Radiator....Replace, Repair, or Ignore???

I've been inspecting my single pipe steam system lately and have been nit-picking all the things wrong with it. One of my radiators has leaked since we bought the house 7 years ago. It doesn't leak condensate, just steam. Its not a huge air leak but enough that you can hear it during normal operation.

When the boiler is really working hard and gets to its cut out pressure (1.25psi) it is more noticeable.

My question is.....what is the best thing to do? New radiators are too expensive, used ones are hit or miss, and repairing it may open up a can of worms.

Would ignoring it waste tons of money? Or am I just over thinking the whole thing? Thanks!

Comments

  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,210
    can you post a picture of the radiator and the specific area where the leak is?

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,714
    I agree with Bob post a picture, but in general leaks are very bad on steam systems.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 321
    I'm at work so it will have to wait a little bit but I will try and describe it. The leak is between two of the sections of the radiator. Specifically it is at bottom where the condensate drains through the sections. The spot that is leaking is at the top of the condensate drain, so only air is leaking and not water (thankfully).
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,714
    If it's leaking while running that is steam...remember real steam is technically invisible. When you think you are seeing "steam" (pot boiling) that is water vapor. What could be happening is the steam is condensing on the hot radiator and then immediately evaporating so you never see any water or it's just being absorbed into the air immediately. How much make up water does your boiler take on? That is what will be the issue the make up water kills the boiler if it is excessive.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • As a result of this leak, are you having to add water to the boiler frequently? Too much fresh water is a boiler killer!--NBC
  • AdmiralYoda
    AdmiralYoda Member Posts: 321
    Well I have a feeling I'm about to open up a whole new can of worms. Its been a while since we ran the steam system 100% of the time since we've been supplementing with our wood stove.

    But when we did run 100% steam. During the colder weather I was adding water once per week.
  • Abracadabra
    Abracadabra Member Posts: 1,948
    I'd been able to repair leaking radiators with JB Weld. It takes quite a bit of work tho to ensure that you've properly cleaned the cast iron to ensure good sealing of the epoxy to the radiator.
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 4,714
    If you needed to add water weekly that is excessive. There are people that might only add water once a year and typically only more than that because of blow downs and system maintenance.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,777
    Post a picture of the radiator. Maybe all that's needed is a new push-nipple.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting