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Old 09-16-2013, 07:53 PM   #1
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Hello. Well winters coming and its time for me to get to the bottom of these leaky valves i have on the radiators in an older home i purchased over the summer. I cannot seem to locate replacement valves anywhere on the web. The closest i could find was a conversation about " rotary valves ". The description sounds like what I have but I can find no pictures anywhere on the web. What I have is an oil fired steam boiler with the big old fashioned cast radiators. They have a steam inlet on the upper left hand corner and a return on the bottom right hand corner. They have clearly been leaking by looking at the water damage coming through the ceilings below every single one of them. The damage has been repaired so i really want to fix them before I wreck the ceilings again. Any input is welcome and if I need to submit more info please ask. Thanks guys.


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Old 09-16-2013, 08:02 PM   #2
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Does it look like this?

If so, that's a gate valve, you turn to open or close. Prone to leaking, unfortunately

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Old 09-16-2013, 08:58 PM   #3
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


steam always enters the bottom because heat rises. if it entered at the top the radiator would not heat up very well. are you talking about the valve at the floor or the silver one on the left in the photo that is a vent to let air escape so the steam can fill the radiator?

this is a vent:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HEC36I/...SIN=B000HEC36I

this is the shutoff at the bottom:
http://www.surplussales.com/HeatVent...-radiator.html

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Old 09-16-2013, 10:08 PM   #4
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Quote:
Originally Posted by DannyT View Post
steam always enters the bottom because heat rises. if it entered at the top the radiator would not heat up very well. are you talking about the valve at the floor or the silver one on the left in the photo that is a vent to let air escape so the steam can fill the radiator?

this is a vent:
http://www.amazon.com/dp/B000HEC36I/...SIN=B000HEC36I

this is the shutoff at the bottom:
http://www.surplussales.com/HeatVent...-radiator.html

Many 2 pipe systems have the steam valve at the top.
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Old 09-16-2013, 10:38 PM   #5
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Something people that are new to steam may spend a lot of money on a service call for is blowing down the mud ring. It is a simple maintenance item that will cost you a lot in service calls. You can do it yourself easily and should be done every few weeks depending on the water quality in your area. You may even want to call a pro out to show you how to do it properly and how often you should do it. People who have lived in steam houses are used to blowing the mud ring like clockwork, but it is information that often is lost when the new owner moves in
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:55 PM   #6
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Definitely comes in from the top. A buddy of mine took a look and called the bottom fitting a steam chest. Basically a check valve that opens when the weight of the condensation pushes it open. He said he never saw valves like these but was certain it contained packing that has worn away. I am very familiar with packing glands from my job so i guess I will take it apart and see if i can just replace the packing and save the valve. I will try to get a picture up for you guys to look at.
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Old 09-18-2013, 08:59 PM   #7
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


not to rub it in but I'd of fixed the issue with the radiator before fixing any sheetrock.
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Old 09-18-2013, 09:40 PM   #8
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Try the board over at heating help.com. there are a lot of very friendly and knowledgeable people on the wall there and they KNOW steam.
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Old 09-19-2013, 06:07 AM   #9
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Just need to remove the old packing and repack the bonnet/packing nut. Easy to do, and not uncommon for those valves to need repacking after 30 plus years or so. But its also a sign that someone was trying to adjust room temps with them.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:30 PM   #10
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Ok here are some pics. One of the valve and one of the steam chest.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:31 PM   #11
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Another pic.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:36 PM   #12
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Any verification of the actual names of these parts ? And ha ha about fixing the holes first. I skim coated the entire room and stripped the paint off of the mouldings from 4 windows, 4 doors, and all of the baseboard. Solid chestnut. Rubbed it down with Danish oil and its better than new. I wasn't about to skip the ceiling during that process. I have had one house featured in this old house magazine and this one will be too. They love me over there.and FYI, houses of this age don't have Sheetrock, they have plaster.

Last edited by Chapstick; 09-19-2013 at 08:38 PM.
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Old 09-19-2013, 08:47 PM   #13
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


Hey beenthere, I know a lot but not much about hvac systems. You said that there is evidence that somebody was trying to adjust room temperature by the packing being worn out. That's got me wondering, without a steam relief valve how do you adjust the radiators ? I better get a better pic of this thing. On top of the valve where that little spigot sticks out it has clock positions. Is this not designed for fine tuning the amount of steam entering the radiator ? That's it, im pulling this ***** apart right now. Ill have disassembled pics up shortly.
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Old 09-19-2013, 09:11 PM   #14
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


That steam chest is called a steam trap. The valve is an orifice valve. You have a two pipe stream system which probably has suffered some neglect. If you're in the northeast they're are still some pros that are very good at this stuff . If you really want to fix this system right yourself you will really want to go to the website I mentioned. two pipe steam is great stuff but very easily misunderstood.
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Old 09-19-2013, 10:06 PM   #15
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Steam radiator " rotary valves " ?


A little oil and a lot of torque got it apart. Upon cleaning i found the manufacturer name and what kind of valve. Its a hoffman adustable modulating valve. It was made in 1918.

This thing is well built, it does indeed adjust the temperature of the room. Funny, I didn't think it worked that way. I thought a steam pressure release was the only way to adjust temperature. I managed to actually find a PDF file on them and it says it does. It must have one built into it somehow.

The bottom seal is clearly shot and is easy to get to so that's an easy fix. It seems that there is a upper seal and i am certain that is the culprit but i need a special spanner wrench to get to it. I don't know if that's going to happen. I have never seen a wrench like the one it needs and its real tight.

I do believe that I will have to repair these valves. There is no threaded hole on the radiator that would accept a steam pressure release so i can't swap the valve for a standard one unless i drilled and tapped a hole for the pressure release. And besides, this thing is cool. I want them working ! Downside is there are ten radiators, and they all leak.

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