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How To: Replace a Valve (12 Posts)
How To: Replace a ValveGreetings, now that summer is officially here I'd like to replace some bad valves. For background I have a one pipe steam system in my 1.5 story home. I have at least three valves I'd like to replace and if I can find good deals on the valves I might replace a few more. If I could get advice on replacing this valve I think I can apply the same concept to the other valves. I ordered a radiator spud as well as a huge 24" crescent wrench along with misc pipe wrenches.
Assuming I disconnect the valve from the radiator first, which nut do I turn and which way do I turn it?
Should I hit this with some telfon spray before I try to lossen anything? or any other lubricant?
I guess I'm generally looking for a order of operations in terms of nut loosening.
Here is an image of the valve I'd like to replace with labels:
Image didn't attach, here it is!My plan is to remove the valve then measure it and order a new correct sized one.
Radiator ValvesHi- I guess my first question is why are you replacing the valves? A lot of time you can take them apart, clean them and repack the stems and they will then work fine which is a lot less costly both parts and labor than replacing them.
Bad packing - If it is leaking between “C” and the valve steam, this can be repacked. Most good hardware /plumbing supply stores carry packing or you can get candle wick which looks just like regular string. Regular cotton string works too. Just rub it with a little bee’s wax.
If you loosen “B”, you should be able to with draw the whole innards of the valve. This will allow you to inspect the mechanism and clean the parts
Turning Fittings and Nuts- To remove most threaded fittings, bolts, nuts etc. remember the phrase: “Righty Tighty” - “Lefty Loosey” Which means turning the fitting to the right (clockwise) tightens it and turning the fitting to the left (counterclockwise) loosens it.
Teflon spray- Teflon spray won’t do you much good nor will WD-40. What you need is a penetrating oil. The best one I have found is Kroll Oil made by Kano Labs http://www.kanolabs.com/ You can buy from straight from Kano or from Amazon.com On the Amazon page, in the search window use the phrase “Kano Aerokroil Penetrating Oil“ This is Kroll Oil in a handy spray can.
Replacing the Whole Valve.
1. The first thing to do would be loosen and detach the radiator at the spud nut. (“D”) If you miniaturized yourself so you were 6 inches tall and then sat on “E” looking that the valve, you would turn “D” counterclockwise to loosen it ( “Lefty Loosey”) This will detach the radiator from the valve.
Be careful as some water may have pooled at the bottom of the radiator and might now flow out. Also when the radiator is detached, it isn’t as stable as it was when it was attached to the piping. Bumping against it could push it over.
2. You can then remove the valve from the pipe at “A”
When you remove fitting, you want to use two wrenches: One wrench to hold the pipe and the other to remove the fitting.
Note: Radiator valves and spuds come in sets! Very rarely will a new radiator valve fit the old spud. They might look like they will fit but the faces usually will leak.
3. You will now have to remove the old spud from the radiator reducer “E”. I’ve never had much luck removing these with a spud wrench. The best approach is to remove the old spud nut by hacksawing the end off the spud and then using a pipe wrench on the remaining spud pipe.
One of the pros, “Charley from West Mass”, recommended using a piece of pipe the next size smaller than the spud pipe size and driving it into the old spud pipe. This helps stop the spud pipe from twisting off and collapsing when you apply wrench pressure to it. (I’ve tried this and it works very well) Use a wrench of “E” to hold the reducer while you remove the old spud with another wrench. You will need a spud wrench to install the new spud.
Using the Kroll oil on the joints and leaving them over night really helps you get the piping apart. Also heat, carefully applied, can be of help.
“Cheaters” - If you can’t get enough leverage to break the pipe / fitting loose, you can use a “cheater”. A cheater is a short length of pipe that extends the length of the handle on your pipe wrench. Usually 1 1/4 inch pipe will slide over the handles of most of the commn pipe wrenches. (Check to see if it does on your wrenches) I have cheaters in 2 ft , 3ft and 4 ft. (Home Depot will cut pipe to length for you.) Obviously using a cheater abuses your wrenches so you have to use them sparingly.
Replacing valves is a bit of work which is why I mentioned trying to rebuild them before you decide to replace them.
Let me know if you have any questions.
- RodThis post was edited by an admin on June 15, 2012 12:18 AM.
rod's excellent advice!you can get the best price on valves that leak, and whose dimensions are just different enough to cause some real headaches, so
follow rod's excellent advice, and repair them, instead of replacing. as i feel the valves on a 1-pipe system should never be closed, except when the radiator is temporarily removed for painting every 30 years or so, the only problem would be a leak from the union nut, or the packing nut.
if you need to regulate heat, then address some other issues, such as the main venting in the basement, or pressure regulation.-nbc
Radiator ValvesNBC made a good point in that on a 1 pipe system the inlet radiator valves should always be left fully open so the valve really doesn't need to be operational. It's fine as long as it is fully open and doesn't leak steam.
ThanksThanks everyone, the reason for replacing is there is water leaking out of where the stem meats the rest of the valve. I also think the valve is stuck. So I tried unsuccessfully to loosen B. I debated hitting my wrench with a mallet but thought I'd see if there are any other suggestions before ordering the oil.
I'll try loosening B on my other questionable radiators and see what I can get done.
Radiator Valves (cont.)Hi- Those are nice valves so I would attempt to rebuild them first. To remove the old packing from around the stem, i use a old dental pick which you can get at a lot of hardware stores or maybe your dentist has a couple of old ones lying about he would give you. Looking straight down on the valve - turning it clockwise closes the valve and counter clock wise opens it. ( "Righty Tighty" - "Lefty Loosey")
If you aren't sure if the valve is opening properly (it may have disconnected internally) you can loosen the spud nut "D", move the radiator back a bit and look into the valve to check operation. If the valve is broken internally, just remove the broken part blocking the passage of steam so that the valve is fully open. Have a functioning valve isn't really necessary however fixing steam leaks, even small ones like the stem packing, makes a difference,
Valve Stem Packing Sources-
- Amazon has 3/32 graphite valve packing Use the phrase Danco 80793 Graphite Valve Steam Packing and you should be able to find it.
- Zorro Tools http://www.zorotools.com/# has valve stem packing in 3/32 , 5/32 and 7/32
In the Zoro search window - use the numbers 19093, 19155, 19217 depending on what size you are interested in. These sizes are also probably available from your local plumbing supply store.
Kroll Penetrating Oil - I've used a lot of different brands of penetrating oil in my time and I've had far better luck with Kroll than any of the others.
- RodThis post was edited by an admin on June 16, 2012 11:47 PM.
leaking packing nutif water is leaking out instead of wisps of steam, i would suspect some venting or drainage problem with the supply. the air vent may not be allowing air to return to the inside, after the boiler has stopped steaming, so the radiator may not be draining completely. you will still need to repack the valve stem, but there may be additional problems to solve. what is your pressure [only ounces are needed].--nbc
OkI have the radiator off the supply valve, the valve works correctly and looks to be in good condition. I still can't get B to budge and I don't want to put and stress on the pipe (it is one of the two longest that reach the second floor).
I'd also be surprised if any oil could get into the space between B and the rest of the valve but unless there's a better suggestion I'll give it a try.
Just add teflon?So knowing the valve works fine, could I solve my seeping water problem by adding teflon to these threads?
Valve packingThe packing String goes into the recess of the nut, around the spindle of the valve, and not on the threads. As the nut is tightened, the string is compressed around the spindle, and that provides the seal.
Don't forget to check your pressure, and verify that your system is not exceeding 1.5 psi(even less is better). Your old 0-30 psi gauge must remain, even though it is useless for diagnosis at those pressures, and therefore a secondary low-pressure gauge (03psi, gauge store.com) should be put on the same manifold as the pressuretrol.
When you reconnect the radiator, make sure the mating surfaces of the union are clean, and lubricated with dish washing liquid. As you tighten the nut, rock the radiator to get the faces to align and seat properly.--NBCThis post was edited by an admin on June 17, 2012 9:37 AM.
Valve PackingHi- As NBC mentioned you have to remove the old packing around the stem spindle. It is the packing that stops the leak. Teflon tape on the threads does nothing.
This is where you need to use a dental pick and/or an awl. A sharp pointed scribe (General Tool # 81 - available Home Depot) also works well. With rust and age it probably looks like it is metal but in fact is packing. Clean out all the old packing and then wrap new packing around the stem. Leave it a little high as then when you tighten down the nut it compresses the packing around the stem. When any water/steam reaches the packing, the moisture will swell the new packing and further tighten the seal.
Sometimes after after several weeks of operation it may be necessary to tighten the packing nut a flat or two due to the new packing settling in. However if it isn't leaking don't further tighten it.