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How to Maintain a Steam Radiator

In this how-to video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey shows how to silence a whistling radiator.

In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey explains how to maintain a steam radiator.

Steps for Maintaining Steam Radiators

  1. Close the valve at the base of the radiator.
  2. Turn off the room's thermostat.
  3. Carefully unscrew the old air vent from the side of the radiator; if the valve is hot, use a thick cloth to protect your hand.
  4. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of the new steam valve.
  5. Thread a new steam valve into the side of the radiator; be sure the valve points straight up.
  6. Remove the handle from the valve at the base of the radiator.
  7. Use an adjustable wrench to unscrew the packing nut from the valve stem.
  8. Wrap graphite packing gasket around the threaded valve stem.
  9. Replace the nut and tighten it with an adjustable wrench.
  10. Open the valve at the base of the radiator.
  11. Turn on the room's thermostat.

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