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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2009
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    Default Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    The picture below highlights the area of the supply pipe. The holes are relatively small but are spraying water onto our hardwood floor, causing a puddle every time. The holes are in the pipe, beneath the supply valve.

    Is there a patch job I could try for this, or do I need a new pipe?


  2. #2
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    From the photo, it looks like an old nipple. I doubt you can fix it long term, just replace it.

  3. #3
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    Quote Originally Posted by dj1 View Post
    From the photo, it looks like an old nipple. I doubt you can fix it long term, just replace it.
    What is a nipple on a steam radiator?

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    A plmbing nipple is a short piece of pipe with threads on both ends, used as a connector.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2009
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    Elyria, Oh.
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    Loooking at the age of that nipple and pipe I doubt if you are going to remove that nipple easily. It will probably crush and depending on how for below the floor it extends it could become a nightmare of a replacement. You would also have to sawzall the pipe to remove the nipple, thread new pipe and install a union. You would also have to remove a good size piece of the floor. Since steam radiators are under very little pressure a temporary fix would be to drill and tap the holes and then screw the proper screw into it with some pipe dope or teflon tape. Temporary might last ten years. I have 110 radiators in my 100 year old apartment building and have worked on plenty of the over the years and it is never a pleasant experience
    Last edited by CaptTCB; 12-31-2011 at 11:29 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    Why would you need a union when one all ready exists on the valve. Stem fittings are cast iron, other then the valve on the radiator which is brass. If you have a problem removing a section of pipe the best way to do it is to crack the cast iron fitting with a few sharp blows from a hammer. Then remove and replace the nipple and fitting. Making the union on the valve the last connection. Do the job correctly don't just do a patch job on it.

    John

  7. #7
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    May 2009
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    Elyria, Oh.
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    The only way to remove this nipple is to sawzall it out below the floor, thereby removing part of the floor. The nipple will probably crush when trying to remove it and possibly break off inside the fitting and now you have to remove the threaded part that is broke off inside the fitting - another nightmare or replace the 90 etc. This could also happen below the floor where it probably 90s toward the wall. It is not likely that the average homeowner will be able to do all the proper plumbing and carpentry work correctly without the whole thing turning into a nightmare. The simplest solution is still to drill and tap and install a screw in the leaks.
    Last edited by CaptTCB; 01-01-2012 at 06:54 PM.

  8. #8
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    Quote Originally Posted by CaptTCB View Post
    I'm sorry but the nipple clearly goes into a 90. The only way to remove this nipple is to sawzall it out below the floor, thereby removing part of the floor. The nipple will probably crush when trying to remove it and possibly break off inside the fitting and now you have to remove the threaded part that is broke off inside the fitting - another nightmare. You will still need a union somewhere below the floor. I have been there and done that a lot with my radiators and yes most radiators have unions right at the radiator but I don't see one there.
    I suggest you look again. If there was no union at the radiators how do you connect the pipe to the radiator? (hold the pipe and spin the radiator onto it) It's quite obvious you haven't done any steam work.

    John

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Nov 2008
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    15

    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    C'mon, John; to insinuate that CaptTCB hasn't done any steam work can only be taken as an insult; the Capt. has been contributing to these boards for many years & he is obviously knowledgeable, and YOU are knowledgeable as well; both of you have valid points.

    I think the Capt. is aware that since steam heat uses cast iron & steel fittings, and the photo portrays an old system, it will be very unlikely that the rusted fittings will be ever be loosened.

    Everyone's contribution is important here!
    Last edited by call_me_al; 01-01-2012 at 10:13 PM.

  10. #10
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    Default Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

    He is saying he repairs leaks in stem piping with screws and teflon tape. From what he stated he is doing this in a apt. complex. Stem is very hot and a leaking stem line can cause serious burns. I don't think I would put myself in the position that a tenant or even worse the child of a tenant suffered from my incompetence. He is not qualified to work on stem systems. And what he is doing is very dangerous. Doing things like that is the reason why we have licensing for heating contractors.

    John

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