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How To Repair Old Radiators?

Updated: Sep 20

old radiator

How do you repair your old radiators? How many times have you been in this situation? Repairing the old radiators is one of the most frequent concerns among people who are using these kinds of heating systems. We all know that we should check our heating systems before the winter comes. But here, there is an exception. Boilers and heating systems since involving heated water and steam can be very dangerous. Therefore, a qualified engineer must repair boilers and pipes. If you are willing to do some minor repairs, you can do it just by a brief guide we have prepared.

Before starting to repair the old radiators, please check the type of your radiator and heating systems. Today we will talk about simple and basic radiator repairs like installing a new valve, clearing the bleeder valve, and maximizing airflow. Before doing these kinds of repairs, prepare some basic tools. For example, groove-joint pliers, a pipe wrench, a screwdriver, and every other tool that you think would be helpful.

How to install a new valve?

First step:

tighten nuts

installing a new valve

If you have a leaking radiator and want to change the valve, first of all, turn down the thermostat and wait until the radiator gets cold. Sometimes the water leaks from beneath the handle. Do as follow:

  • Tighten the packing nut (this is under the handle) by groove-joint pliers

  • Tighten the large union nut with a pipe wrench

Sometimes the problem does not solve and the radiator still leaks. In this situation, go to the second step.

Second step:

Drain the radiator

If your heating system is run by hot water, water must be drained from the radiator. For doing this:

  • Turn down the thermostat

  • Attach a hose to the boiler’s drain valve and then run the hose to a floor drain

  • Open the valve to drain the system

  • Open the bleeding valves of all radiators at the top floor of the house

Third step:

Wrap the stem

Sometimes the stem is the cause of leaking. For just checking that, unscrew the packing nut and remove the stem. Then do as follow:

  • Wrap the stem with strand packing

  • Reinstall the stem

Your radiator still leaking? Don’t worry! Go to the fourth step to fix the problem.

Fourth step:

Replace the valve

In some cases, the valve itself makes a problem. In most cases, by replacing the valve, the problem with leaking radiators will be solved. But here is an important tip: take the old valve to the plumbing and heating supply store, and buy the exact new one. I repeated that” just the exact model” since it won’t be fit and the problem won’t be solved. Sometimes, you may need to replace the short pipe that emerges from the radiator.

installing new handle

How to install a new handle?

Sometimes for solving the leaking radiator problem you may need to check the handle. If the handle is broken down or lost, remove the top screw and pull off the old handle. If the stem’s threads are in good shape, then go to the plumbing and heating supply store and buy a new handle with the same size screw. If the stem is broken down like the handle, you should buy a “fits-all” handle, which clamps onto the stem with a setscrew.

How to install an adjustable air vent?

In a steam heating radiator, for adjusting the heat, we use the air vent valve. This valve must be totally turned all the way on or all the way off. If the air vent valve needs to be checked and repaired, do as follow:

  • First of all, turn down the thermostat

  • Then unscrew the old air vent valve with pliers

  • Buy a completely compatible adjustable unit

  • Wrap the threads with pipe-thread tape

  • Screw the new unit in place

How to adjust the bleeder valve?

Sometimes, the hot water radiators do not make the house warm enough. If the air is trapped in a radiator then it cannot give warmth to the environment. If you are in this situation, do as follow:

  • First of all, turn up the thermostat and wait till the radiator gets warm

  • Open the bleeder valve by a bleeder key, long-nose pliers or screwdriver

  • Holding a cup under the bleeder valve and then open it until a little hissing air or spluttering water comes out

  • Tighten the valve after the water flows in a steady stream

adjusting the bleeder valve

How to maximize airflow?

If you want to increase the radiator’s performance, you can install a sheet of aluminum or reflective insulation behind the radiator. This will direct more heat through the room. Another way is, not to put furniture and other home gadgets in front of the radiator. For better performance, the weather must be flow freely under and above the radiator.

Today we have gathered a brief guide to show you how can you repair your radiator at home. There are some problems that can be solved very easily. But in some situations, it is totally different. The boilers and heating systems need regular checking. Sometimes the situation is dangerous and you cannot fix the boiler yourself. In these situations, do not hesitate to call Eama. Eama is one of the best companies in Canada that offers mechanical services in Toronto.

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