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    Leaking curved steam radiators (11 Posts)

  • Paul66 Paul66 @ 10:30 PM
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    Leaking curved steam radiators

    Hello. We live in a historic home with some round rooms and curved radiators. The radiators are now leaking pretty badly. I've tried the putty route to no avail. My plumber wants to install straight radiators and box them but I can't bring myself to do it. Despite an extensive search for a contractor or a shop I can take them to in the NY - Long Island area, I've found nothing and now I've completely run out of options. Does anyone know anyone who can help? Thank you. It's a two pipe steam system.
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 9:05 AM
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    Radiator restoration

    Congratulations on wanting to restore rather than replace!
    If this is 2-pipe steam, the pressure should be pretty low (ounces of pressure)-what is yours?
    Can you post some pictures?
    Most radiators have either a screwed nipple, or push nipple joining the sections, where I assume the leak is. Since this radiator is curved, it probably has the screwed nipples, with RH threads/LH threads.
    I believe that someone here has the name of a machine shop which can remake the nipples, and hopefully he will post the contact details.
    The only question I would have in such a case would be whether to replace all the nipples in the rad, instead of just the leaker.--NBC
  • Paul66 Paul66 @ 7:05 PM
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    Leaking curved steam radiators

    Thank you for responding! I've attached two pictures. Not sure but I think it's the push nipple type. I've just called my plumber and you are correct. He says the pressure is only 1psi. Through Heating Help I was contacted by a contractor who says he can help (so I am really psyched). The house is on the national register and I can't imagine that room without these radiators. Any guidance you can give is deeply appreciated.
  • Paul66 Paul66 @ 8:42 PM
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    Leaking curved

    Sorry it looks like my photos didn't attach last time. Here they are thanks!
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 10:37 PM
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    Push nipples

    What a beauty! No wonder you want to save it.
    I think the push nipple radiators had a threaded rod or even two to hold the sections together, but with a curved radiator, probably the only force holding the sections together would be the threads of a LH/RH threaded nipple.
    As far as the pressure of your interesting system goes, 1psi might be tops, and maybe 2 ounces would be better, as it looks like a "trapless system" with a water seal in the end to keep the steam from leaving the radiator and causing hammering in the returns.
    Most of us here have a 0-3 psi gauge, reading in ounces of pressure to fine tune our vaporstats. Good luck.--NBC
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 11:24 PM
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    I think those are H.B. Smith radiators

    some of these had the rods inside the radiator.

    And this looks like a Webster Vapor system.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • icesailor icesailor @ 9:15 AM
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    Radiator Sections Together:

    Steamhead:
    How did they pull/hold the sections together on the top? Over and under/side by side draw bolts? There isn't a plug that you could get out on the right end. There's a rod and nut sticking out below the first web but it doesn't appear to run through. I've seen old radiators that had the rods inside but it appeared that you couldn't get the end plugs out of them. Those old dogs were sure cleaver.
    Notice the curved flooring detail by the old dead floor guys and how they followed the curve of the wall and made it work. Narrow maple wood strips bent to the outside curve of the floor. Vertical pieces under the radiator, cut to fit the curve and the wall/baseboard end bent to fit the curve.
    No $1,000 Compound miter slide saws on THAT job. The band saw was back at the shop and would take a rigger to get it to the job.
    The most enjoyable part of your work is probably the chance to see what those old dead guys were able to pull off without all the tools available today.
    I needed a new compass/scribe recently because I lost my old 50+ YO Stanley one. I asked for a scribing compass. The guy thought I wanted someone to write things for me.
    "Progress, not perfection" they say.
  • Techman Techman @ 7:06 AM
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    Type of system

    OK Steamhead, what was the giveaway that the system looks like a Webster Vapor type? Very curious!
  • Paul66 Paul66 @ 8:13 AM
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    More pictures

    Here are a couple more pictures
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 9:33 AM
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    There you have it, Techman

    I recognized the valve and trap. 
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • Techman Techman @ 1:34 PM
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    Webster Vapor

    , Tks Steamhead!
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