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Radiator On/Off Value Stuck

A few of the valves that turn on and off my hot water radiators won't turn. I suspect they have been painted shut by the previous owner. Any tips for getting them to turn again.

Re: Radiator On/Off Value Stuck

You run the risk of snapping off the valve stem if you turn it too hard.

Try to get as much paint off as possible from the stem---remove the handle, if necessary & use a wire brush, file, emery cloth to remove the paint.

Then place a rag or paper toweling at the base of the valve & smother the valve stem with penetrating oil/wd-40, etc.

Most times, you can get them to turn---if you have hard water with a lot of minerals in it--this can cake up the valve with calcium & lime & make it harder to turn.

Caution: many of these valves do only a quarter turn---there is a little brass metal stop that prevents the valve from turning more than 1/4.

In other words, if the little brass metal stop has been snapped off (common occurance) the valve can turn 90 degrees & it will be CLOSED--120 degrees--open, etc.

It's best to pick a warm day to try & service the valves, if something happens & it starts to leak, you'll have to shut down the heating system, drain a gallon or two from the boiler drain valve & change the valve.

Most valves can be removed with a large plumber's pipe wrench--but again--I wouldn't touch it if you need the heat overnight.

They sell replacement valves at plumbing supply houses (Yellow Pages: "Heating Equipment-Parts & Supplies"---but they usually cost $45-$60 each.

You can put in a standard brass BALL VALVE for $6-$10 that will work just as good.

Unless you're getting too much heat or too little heat from the rad in question, many people just eliminate the valve altogether & solder a simple 90 degree or 45 degree copper fitting (or steel nipple, if steel).

Please post back if you need future help in replacing the valve if you can't get it to turn.

Re: Radiator On/Off Value Stuck

Thank You. I will give your suggestions a try once it starts to get warm outside and I don't need the heat.

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