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Thread: replacing radiator shut off valve

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member k.k.'s Avatar
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    Default replacing radiator shut off valve

    Hi all, just started checking out this site and already got a lot of valuable info. Thanks to everyone who takes the time to share their expertise here!

    I'm currently doing a renovation on our downstairs 1/2 bath / laundry room.

    Couple questions....
    Has anyone ever had any issues with bad flux? Last year, i ran all new 1/2" copper supply in our upstairs bathroom. first time sweating and didn't have any failures. As anyone who does a reno on a 100 yr old house knows, not many things go according to plan so that ended up being the highlight of the project. anyway, this time around, i used a different flux (couldn't find the old can) so i used the Benzomatic one that came with the torch. This stuff was white and really light,fluffy. well, this project turned into a nightmare, each joint that i sweated ended up failing at one point. so i had to scrap the whole thing and start over. I didn't doubt my technique and i thought it might be an issue with the flux. Bought some Oatey flux and everything worked out. Strange?

    Used some sharkbite fittings in some hard-to-reach places. Those things are great! but $$$. Definitely worth it in my opinion for beginners doing small projects. what's the consensus on them? are they built to last?

    So here's my radiator question. Where can i find replacement shut off valves for radiators? In the project i'm doing, i'm building out the wall behind the radiator, so there will no longer be enough clearance between the radiator and wall with the existing pipes. I've attached a photo, but i'm sure everyone knows what i'm talking about. What can i use to extend the pipe about 2 - 3" ? it's 1 1/4" pipe (black pipe?). I was thinking maybe putting on a union with a nipple on the other end but maybe there is an easier way?
    Also, where can i get replacement valves for radiators? I figure i should replace it while i have it disassembled, as i can no longer turn the knob. Also have an upstairs one that i want to replace. I should be looking for a brass valve, right?



    Thanks!

  2. #2
    Network Engineer rmelo99's Avatar
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    Well from one old house homeowner to another I can give you some info.

    Lowes and Depot carry some standard types of radiator valves. Youwon't find all the options you may need, but sometimes you luck out.

    The local plumbing house will almost always have what you need and good advice from the oldtimers at the counter. The prices usually are fair and you can get the product immediatley, or worst case in a couple days depending when their deliveries come from the warehouse.

    The last place the internet gets you whatever you need. My favorite site is pex supply .com

    https://www.pexsupply.com/pex/contro...radiator+valve

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    Quote Originally Posted by rmelo99 View Post
    Well from one old house homeowner to another I can give you some info.

    Lowes and Depot carry some standard types of radiator valves. Youwon't find all the options you may need, but sometimes you luck out.

    The local plumbing house will almost always have what you need and good advice from the oldtimers at the counter. The prices usually are fair and you can get the product immediatley, or worst case in a couple days depending when their deliveries come from the warehouse.

    The last place the internet gets you whatever you need. My favorite site is pex supply .com

    https://www.pexsupply.com/pex/contro...radiator+valve
    Used some sharkbite fittings in some hard-to-reach places. Those things are great! but $$$. Definitely worth it in my opinion for beginners doing small projects. what's the consensus on them? are they built to last?

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    DIY Junior Member k.k.'s Avatar
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    rmelo99 - thanks for the reply. I haven't been able to find find the valves at lowes or HD but that website is helpful. Why are all the 1 1/4" valves listed as "steam valves"? My radiator system is hotwater but i heard that many homes had steam originally, but were converted to hotwater at some point. I assume that i can use "steam valves"?


    Anyone have any thoughts on how i should extend the reach of the supply and return pipes a few inches, without replacing the entire length of pipe?

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    Network Engineer rmelo99's Avatar
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    If the return and supply pipes are threaded black pipe then I would just use a coupling and extend the pipe by the length needed.

    You can use copper as well but prob more difficult and expensive to find small sections of 1.25" copper. That size is pretty big, does it go 1.25" all the way to the radiator? Remeasure the size just in case.

    I personally can't answer your question on the valve, as I have never worked with steam systems. but here is what I found on searching the forum

    http://www.terrylove.com/forums/showthread.php?t=4163

    So my guess is you cannot use one of those from pexsupply.

    Funny thing is the 1.25" ones on grainger site say "For use in low-pressure steam or circulated hot water systems" Not sure who is correct!

    http://www.grainger.com/Grainger/rad...1x2u?op=search
    Last edited by rmelo99; 11-02-2009 at 02:02 PM.

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    Spin the valve off the pipe. Install a coupling and whatever lenght nipple, plus the valve that you need to extend it. Changing the valve is not an option for a diy project. Most times the other half of that valve will have to be cut out of the bushing.

  7. #7
    DIY Junior Member k.k.'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rmelo99 View Post
    You can use copper as well but prob more difficult and expensive to find small sections of 1.25" copper. That size is pretty big, does it go 1.25" all the way to the radiator? Remeasure the size just in case.
    yes, the cap that i used to close off the pipe while working on the room was 1 1/4"

    Quote Originally Posted by Peter Griffin View Post
    Spin the valve off the pipe. Install a coupling and whatever lenght nipple, plus the valve that you need to extend it. Changing the valve is not an option for a diy project. Most times the other half of that valve will have to be cut out of the bushing.
    I understand your directions for installing the coupling and nipple but i don't understand why you say this isn't an option for DIY. The instructions you gave seem pretty straightforward....?


    Thanks!

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    Network Engineer rmelo99's Avatar
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    I think what he means is that if you can't remove the old valve from the radiator you could end up having to cut out the half from the radiator. That can happen with old parts.

    This is a risk you will have to be willing to take if you try and remove the old valve. If all goes well it unthreads w/o issue. If not then I would say your dremel will be getting a work out on cutting out the broken piece from the radiator.

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    DIY Junior Member k.k.'s Avatar
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    oh, ok.....I thought the valve that i have pictured was the only part. So you're saying that the part that it connects to on the radiator (the union?) also has to be taken out and replaced?

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    Network Engineer rmelo99's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by k.k. View Post
    oh, ok.....I thought the valve that i have pictured was the only part. So you're saying that the part that it connects to on the radiator (the union?) also has to be taken out and replaced?
    Unless you are REALLY lucky and happen to buy a new valve that mates with the existing union half that is prob 50-100yrs old!

    I put new valves on 5 radiators, 1 broke. Not sure if those are typical odds.

  11. #11
    DIY Junior Member k.k.'s Avatar
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    i understand now, thanks! i had no idea that the threads may not mate, always figured that it would be standard. But wait......i bought a cap from lowes to seal the ends after i disconnected the rad and it spun right on and sealed. So that tells me that the thread is standard to what we're using today, correct?

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    Network Engineer rmelo99's Avatar
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    I don't think a union is union, at least my experience has been that you need both halves to come from the same mfg/piece, most of the time.

    I'm no plumber but just speaking of what I've run into. I tried getting new valves to match up to my existing other union 1/2 and it wasn't happening. You could be lucky. If you are going locally take your old valve(the 1/2 not attached to the heavy radiator) with you and see how it matches up with the replacement. Might luck out!

  13. #13
    DIY Junior Member k.k.'s Avatar
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    i'll give it a shot. I don't run into much luck on these projects so maybe i'm due....!

    One last question: the thread on the black supply pipe should mate to to a coupling that i buy, to extend the pipe? Since we're talking about the new valve possibly not mating to an old union, is there a possibility that the other end of the valve won't mate to the new nipple that i put in?

  14. #14
    Network Engineer rmelo99's Avatar
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    I think that NPT and IPS standard has been around for some time now. I wouldn't worry about that.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_pipe_thread

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    Extreme DIY Homeowner Scuba_Dave's Avatar
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    I just picked up a radiator valve to replace one on a hot water system
    The 1/2" hot water valve did not match up to the existing radiator valve
    The 1/2" steam valve did
    Slightly different size threads/nuts on them
    DIY Handyman (not 4 hire)
    I have enough to do to my own house

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