Leaking Steam Radiator Pipe?


Water can run for some distance inside a ceiling before finding a path to visibility, so the leak might not be where you think it is. Check all the radiators above the first floor for visible leaks or wetness.

The leak could be very small and intermittent, for example dripping only when the system first comes on and warms up, then drying off before you see it on the pipe. Try this -- wrap all suspect pipes with clean paper towels or similar tissue and periodically check for staining.

Another possibility is that the stain isn't from the heating system at all, but is the result of a bog standard domestic spill near the radiator, and some of the liquid found its way through the pipe hole in the floor before it was cleaned up.

Getting rid of the stain is complicated by the fact that the puddle above the ceiling is larger and wetter than the visible stain. You want to make sure it's completely dry before applying stain remover and...

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I recently moved into a house with steam radiators. Before moving in we had a bunch of work done to the house. While most of the existing steam system is original, I did have the plumber do some work, like moving exterior (in room) floor to ceiling pipes into the walls and we also added a radiator on the 3rd floor. I'm not sure what, if any, effect this has had on the way the system used to work. Since we started this work on the house before we moved in I don't know how well the system worked originally.

Back to my problem. Several of the radiators are leaking water through the vent. In one case the water was coming out like a garden hose left on. I've read about pipe slope and radiator slope and having the value all the way open, etc. The plumber, which we like, has been working on it for some time. He has replaced a run of pipe in the basement which he said wasn't pitched the way it should be. He also replaced some vents on the radiators. Each time he comes to...

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STEAM VENTS - home - CONTENTS: How to identify, inspect, and use steam vents as heat delivery controls and on residential steam heating systems - how to identify, service, or repair steam radiator air vents. How to regulate heat using air vents on steam radiators & troubleshooting steam heating system radiator vents & controls. How do we know if the steam vent is working on a radiator?55 POST a QUESTION or READ FAQs about steam vents on steam heating radiators and convectors REFERENCES

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Steam vents on heating systems:

Here we provide an inspection and repair guide to the vents found on radiators and piping used with Steam Heating Systems.

We explain one pipe and two pipe steam heating vents and how they work, and the article includes diagnostic and repair advice for hissing sounds at steam radiators, steam vents that...

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Look closely at the two pictures on this page.

See something unusual?

What kind of radiators are these? What your looking at are two pipe radiators. See the steam inlet on one side and a steam trap on the other.

In the circle

are one pipe steam radiator air vents. Now don't you ever do this! Someone was trying to solve a problem by doing this. But all they did was to create a future problem. It may even have helped their initial issue. All they did was to treat a symptom instead of fixing the problem.

If a two pipe radiators trap fails closed, it cannot pass the air out of the radiator when the steam pushes against it. The air gets trapped in the radiator and the steam can't get in. What your left with is a cold radiator. So what some knucklehead does is to add a one pipe radiator air vent to the radiator. And you know what? Its so stupid as to work. It works because the air can now get out. But heres what the knucklehead just did.

The trap was failed...

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2 Answers

Water Heater Repair

If steam or excessively hot water shoots out of faucets, or you hear boilding sounds inside the hot water heater, the appliance may not be shutting off at its set temperature. The job of the temperature- pressure (TP) relief valve is to release excessive pressure from steam buildup, but this valve may have been improperly installed, or it may be faulty. Either way, this condition can be dangerous, both because hot water and steam can scald people and because enough pressure could build up to rupture the water heater. Immediately turn down the water heater’s temperature setting and allow the water to cool.

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Aging pipe systems sometimes need repairs.

Radiators remain a relatively efficient way to heat a house (if the furnace providing the steam is itself efficient), but since most radiator heat systems are fairly old, it is common for them to develop a number of problems, including buildup within the steam release valves, buildup of water from condensation in the steam pipes, and knocking sounds as they heat and cool. Many of these problems can be fixed by replacing sections of pipe, which for steam heat is usually black iron piping.

Step 1

Turn off the furnace, and allow the radiator system to cool completely.

Step 2

Cut out the leaking part of the pipe with the pipe cutter, and use cutting oil to protect the blades.

Step 3

Measure and cut a length of new pipe 1 inch shorter than the piece you removed, to allow for 1 inch of threading at each of the unions.

Step 4

Burr the ends of the new pipe to make them less sharp.

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Hot-Water Radiators 101

In hot-water radiators, a pressure-reducing valve between the city water and your hot-water heating system keeps it filled all the time. Most two-story homes need 12-psi pressure, and that's the factory setting of the valve. If your old house has three stories and there are radiators on the top floor, you may need to adjust the valve to feed water at 18-psi pressure to make sure the radiators at the top are full.

Once filled, a circulating pump moves the heated water from your boiler to your radiators and back. In the old days, many hot-water heating systems didn't have circulating pumps; the water flowed by gravity, with hot water rising and cold water falling. Because of this, many freestanding, cast-iron radiators have their pipe connections at the bottom of the radiator. The heated water enters the radiator and rises by convection, while the cooler water inside the radiator falls back to the boiler.

Before circulating pumps arrived,...

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Welcome back friends, especially my east coast followers who have the privilege of heating their homes with good old reliable steam heat.

In this two part video series, you’ll learn how to remove and replace a steam radiator valve.

A majority of the homes along the east coast are still being heated with steam heat whereby a good old fashioned cast iron boiler resides in the basement.The water in the boiler is heated with oil or natural gas as the fuel, it then turns into steam and gets distributed through out the steam piping system and into big cast iron radiators.

The steam enters the radiators thru shut off valves located either on the left or right side, and to this day people still try to control the amount of heat that enters the radiator by throttling the valves on or off. News bulletin my friends! These are service valves meant to shut-off or service the radiator in the event of a problem. Some of these valves have been in service for as much as 60...

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Radiators are an efficient, cost-saving way of heating a house. Even after the furnace has finished its cycle and heated a room to its thermostatically controlled temperature, the radiator continues to emanate heat. Even delivery pipes are a source of heat--spreading out the warmth over a narrow but long area.

The benefit of any type of radiator--hot water or steam--is its efficiency because it does not deliver dry, heated air to the rooms, as does a forced-air HVAC system.

There are two basic types of water-based radiators: the hot water radiator and the steam radiator.

Hot Water Radiators


Hot water radiators have water that is heated from a central boiler continually running through them. This water either runs in a loop (one pipe system) or up and back down again (two pipe system).

Two Types

Hot-water radiators can look either like the conventional, "stand-up" radiators or like the low, out-of-sight baseboard...

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When you need to remove a steam radiator, you should keep in mind that they offer the best value in uniform heat, surpassing "modern" systems. Sometimes, however, you will need to remove a steam radiator when your home needs to be painted or retiled. Removing a steam radiator is not difficult, as long as you remember to release the pressure first.

A steam radiator was the heating system of choice prior to the 1950s. The advantage of steam is that it flows through the pipes under its own pressure. It does not require any pumping action. They work by using the heat from steam to heat the home. These radiators came in a one-pipe and a two-pipe model.

With the one-pipe model, a single pipe ran from the furnace to the radiator. The steam, driven by pressure, goes up from the furnace and through the radiator where it is cooled and it turns back into water, which then goes back through the pipe to the furnace to be reheated.

In the two-pipe model, one pipe will carry...

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Turn the mains water off. Empty the water that is in your internal system, by turning taps on. Wait for the water to stop, once this has happened you need to get the correct s

…ized wrench / spanner to remove the faucet. You can see where the pipes connected that there is a rubber washer. Sometimes this are just clogged with cal other have split or perished either way it is always best to get new washers. Get the correct sized washer and replace. Get some PTFE tape and put some round the threads , no too much as you want to be able fasten it all back together again, about 5-8 time round the thread is sufficient. Reattach your faucet, making sure that that you have tightened everything up properly. Turn your mains back on, you should have no leaks. Sometimes the leak is inside the Faucet itself at the Handle. Depending on accessibility to the internal workings of this depends on if it can be repaired or if you need to buy a new one. It should be noted that if Any rubber pipes,...
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The story of home radiators begins in the 19th century and features a motley cast of characters, each with its own temperament and vulnerabilities. There are steam radiators, relics of very old homes; hot-water radiators, which may resemble old steam beasts or have sleek, modern bodies; and hydronic baseboard heaters, sometimes called convectors, which in recent history have been eclipsed by in-floor radiant systems. But the theme unifying them all is water. And water inevitably leads to leaks. If your home radiators are leaking, the first step is identifying the type of system you have and tracing the leak to its source. For some of you, there might be an easy fix -- and a happy ending to your own radiator story.

For Those with Baseboard Heaters

If your radiators are essentially copper or steel water pipes covered with thin metal fins, you have hydronic (water-based) baseboard heaters. Look for a small metal nipple near one end of the heater; this is an air...

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We live in a 130+ year-old house with steam heat, and have a frustrating problem with an air vent leaking water. Before I spend any more money on plumbing service calls, I wanted to see if the experts had any advice for me! It's a bit of a long story, but I'll try to keep it brief. Starting a few months ago, we noticed water stains in our living room ceiling. After opening up the ceiling, we tracked it to a bathroom radiator on the 2nd floor. We also noticed 2 other radiators leaking water at the same time. Our plumber replaced the air vents on all 3 radiators with new adjustable vents, and two of the radiators appear to be fixed. However, the 3rd one is still leaking - pictures are below. All radiators are single-pipe.

We believe this radiator may have been leaking for some time but we didn't notice since it was under a cover. Since we added the new vent, it's leaking less but still about 1/8 cup per heating cycle. It leaks out the top of the vent while under pressure...

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