Home>Discussions>PLUMBING>Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking
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erikhaan
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

Thank you for your replies, everyone.

I've never done plumbing work and it sounds like I would need tools I don't currently own and run the risk of turning this project into a real mess. I am going to take the last poster's suggestion of calling my plumber.

Erik

johnjh2o
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

Glad to see your making what I believe to be the correct decision.

John

erikhaan
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

My plumber finished the work, for $490. He was under the impression he would crush the pipe you see below, but he put a lot of torque on it and it was solid. It feels like I might have paid too much, but I'm not sure and I would love your opinions:

johnjh2o
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

It's hard to second guess pricing. But I will say he did a good job. It looks like he may have done what I was saying. He cracked the cast iron ell and replaced it along with the nipple and valve.

John

erikhaan
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

Thanks for taking a look at the work, John, and for your quick replies to all of my questions and concerns. You're a real asset to this board!

I'm very pleased our radiator is no longer leaking steam, so even if it was a little more than I thought it might be, I guess it's worth the price to have the peace of mind.

Brookworld
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

[QUOTE=erikhaan]My plumber finished the work, for $490. It feels like I might have paid too much, but I'm not sure and I would love your opinions:

In No. VA/Wash DC, I paid a reputable plumber $360 to changeout 2 old valves at the laundry supply -- I wasn't home, but it was probably 45 minutes and 1 hour travel, and $20 for 2 valves. Should have cost $200 ($100/per hour).

In Silicon Valley, CA, I paid $660 for patching a PVC laundry drain pipe (in the wall) that sliced open from long-term stress of not being secured to a stud -- about 3 hours diagnosis & work (I thought the frequent leaks were from the washer and didn't suspect a cracked PV pipe then a complete break).

So $490 for anything rusted & old is the going rate.

I used to think it was a time & parts basis, but it is skill, time and parts. A 1-hour job replacing a 1900 radiator valve is more expensive than 1-hour replacing a 1964 laundry valve when performed by the same guy.

dj1
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

Brookworld, you got it right.

When a patient goes under the knife of an experienced brain surgeon, he shouldn't expect to pay him by the hour.

jled96
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

I had to replace all my steam valves when I bought my house years ago and the short riser peices also. After getting a few plumbers to look at them and only 1 gave me a price of $250 each(the rest said they wouldn't even try to replace them) and I had 7 radiators to do. So I did them all myself over a few weeks and they were a pain in the a--! I had to cut each elbow and split them with a long narrow chisel, and then pipe it all back together. I think finding a plumber who can work on steam is an asset, no matter how much he charges. I ended up working on my system for years keeping it going, buy the books ****** a world of steam heating, if you plan on having this system for a long time!..Good Luck!

Tom
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking

Good to see the problem was solved however can't let some the misinformation just hang out there so here goes.

First of all - Steam heating systems operate with very little pressure - half a pound to one and one half pounds. The steam literally "wafts" through the system. I had one of my valves completely off when I had a steam system 14 years ago and the steam just came out of the pipe like a pan of boiling water on the stove. You can put your hand in it and not get burned so there would be no catastrophic steam leak that would burn anyone. This is not like a high pressure turbine or something similar. There would be no disaster as you imply.

As to a liability suit all 110 of my radiators are in fine shape and I maintain all of them. I spent about four months 13 years ago when we converted our steam system to hot water installing used radiators - about 15 of them were missing or too leaky to use with a hot water system. I hauled two hundred to three hundred pound radiators up and down five floors, removed and refurbished lots of old valves including hand cutting new washers, installed piping, installed new valves,etc,etc.

That is my experience and qualifications - What are your experience and qualifications in maintaining a system of the size that I have?

johnjh2o
Re: Steam Radiator Supply Pipe Leaking
CaptTCB wrote:

Good to see the problem was solved however can't let some the misinformation just hang out there so here goes.

First of all - Steam heating systems operate with very little pressure - half a pound to one and one half pounds. The steam literally "wafts" through the system. I had one of my valves completely off when I had a steam system 14 years ago and the steam just came out of the pipe like a pan of boiling water on the stove. You can put your hand in it and not get burned so there would be no catastrophic steam leak that would burn anyone. This is not like a high pressure turbine or something similar. There would be no disaster as you imply.

As to a liability suit all 110 of my radiators are in fine shape and I maintain all of them. I spent about four months 13 years ago when we converted our steam system to hot water installing used radiators - about 15 of them were missing or too leaky to use with a hot water system. I hauled two hundred to three hundred pound radiators up and down five floors, removed and refurbished lots of old valves including hand cutting new washers, installed piping, installed new valves,etc,etc.

That is my experience and qualifications - What are your experience and qualifications in maintaining a system of the size that I have?

I believe your referring to my post. First off I'm not on this board to compare qualifications with others. I'm here to try to help others with problems I have experience with. I have been in the plumbing & heating business for over 50 years. That is how I make my living and provide for my family. It's not a side line for me. I would never give advice that I felt could be dangerous or cause injury to others. As far as your comments about steam not causing burns. To make steam you have to boil water and that requires 220 degrees. I would say that can cause sever burns. As far as it just rolling out of a open pipe that is true but restrict it like it would be through a pinhole leak and it won't appear to be to be just roiling along. Seam pipes and radiators get very hot. I saw one case that I will never forget where a small child had gotten his hand caught in a steam radiators. It blistered his hand up something awful. Just replacing radiators for four months and maintaining a steam doesn't make you a steam expert. In the future I would suggest before giving advice on how to patch something rather then make a proper repair think of the potential danger and damage it could cause to others.

Have a good day

John

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