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Steam Radiator Valve repacking ?

Hello , I have some steam radiators that leak from the valve stems . They need repacking but Im told not to use teflon packing or graphite packing . So what do I use? These are just your ordinary steam radiator valves you see in most homes . They have the black plastic circular handle to open and close them. So what do I use ? How many inches of whatever do I use ? and do I wrap it around the stem counter clockwise or clockwise? Thank You .


  • Dan_NJDan_NJ Posts: 118Member
    I'm a little confused by the question, Teflon or Graphite packing are the only options I've used on the bonnet nuts on my 9 rad valves, and more recently tried Palmetto packings 1382 1/8" which seems to be excellent - combination PTFE and Grahite. Three or four wraps, clockwise, then snug down and work it in a bit. I may repack all of them with this stuff - the white teflon cord I used before on the majority of these valves seems to be inferior.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 6,533Member
    Some rad valves are "packless", if so not able to fix with standard packing. Someone may have known this and this is where the advice came from.

    Pictures would tell us something about the valves.
  • Dan_NJDan_NJ Posts: 118Member
    Agreed, pictures = good
  • JohnNYJohnNY Posts: 2,404Member
    ericsch said:

    Im told not to use teflon packing or graphite packing

    By whom? People love to comment on things...
    Use Teflon, or graphite, or wick. Don't over think it.

    For installations, troubleshooting, and private consulting services, find John "JohnNY" Cataneo here at :
    "72°F Mechanical, LLC"
    Or email John at [email protected]
    John is the Boilers and Hydronic Heating Systems Course Instructor at NYC's Mechanics Institute, a professional Master Plumber, licensed by The Department of Buildings of The City of New York, and works extensively in NYC while consulting for clients in and out of state.
    John also oversees mechanical installations and maintenance for metro-area clients with his family's company, Gateway Plumbing and Heating along with his brother/business partner.
  • ericschericsch Posts: 8Member
    Danco and Grainger both said teflon will melt and graphite isnt appropriate ??
  • ericschericsch Posts: 8Member
    I will check out the Palmetto packings stuff but it looks a little thick
  • ericschericsch Posts: 8Member
    I dont think these valves are packless . They are very ordinary , some are quite old . They are the same rad valves Ive seen on every radiator since the 50's
  • ericschericsch Posts: 8Member
    I wish someone would just make a thick silicone washer with a tapered top that would stop any leak by compression
  • ericschericsch Posts: 8Member
    I will try the danco graphite stuff from home depot . 4 turns around the stems clockwise . Ive tried teflon and graphite string both didnt stop the leaks much
  • ericschericsch Posts: 8Member
    Thanks to all the replies , I was expecting emails about having messages . Thats why the late reply .
    Personally been using teflon and/or graphite for years. No callbacks yet.
  • ericschericsch Posts: 8Member
    the home depot graphite looks more substantial that the graphite string i tried . When using the teflon what do you think works better , the thin rope or the thicker rope?
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,456Member
    ericsch said:

    Danco and Grainger both said teflon will melt and graphite isnt appropriate ??

    will melt :lol:
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • SeanBeansSeanBeans Posts: 475Member
    @ethical I had someone scold me for using tape on a wet return once, said the steam gets so hot it will melt!

    They used Gripp only
  • Dan_NJDan_NJ Posts: 118Member
    The palmetto 1382 I got in 1/8" thickness and it seems better than all the 3/32" stuff i found in hardware store etc. It's a bit thicker but seems to seal very well.
  • ethicalpaulethicalpaul Posts: 1,456Member
    And it's good to 550 degrees :)
    1 pipe Utica 112 in Cedar Grove, NJ, 1913 coal > oil > NG
  • Dan_NJDan_NJ Posts: 118Member
    edited October 2019
    I don't know what pressure I would need to get 550 degree steam, but I plan to never get there :)
    Edit: I had to check - a little over 1,000 PSI would get me to 550 Deg F steam, not gonna happen :)
  • ChrisJChrisJ Posts: 10,503Member
    Graphite, which is used to control many nuclear reactors and melts around 6500F can't handle the temperatures in a home heating system. :p

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
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