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Old 04-15-2019, 02:27 PM
 
Location: Manhattan
21,220 posts, read 27,853,389 times
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we shouldn't have all the radiators burning full speed ahead! Sucks that I can't turn them off!


I find it hard to believe that you cannot turn your radiators off. Don't they have valves?


Pierrepont is correct, we expect to go down to 41 degrees overnight with a wind chill to 32. My radiators will stay off and one window open but I might throw a blanket on the bed if necessary. And then back up to 61 tomorrow.
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Old 04-15-2019, 02:31 PM
 
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We have no shut offs either on our radiators
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Old 04-15-2019, 02:45 PM
 
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There are always shut off valves for steam/hot water rads or convectors. Many buildings however remove the handles/knobs for various reasons leaving the thing permanently fully open.


Steam heating in particular depends upon a balanced flow as system is designed. When people start turning off radiators/convectors it has same effects as if the things were removed; system is now unbalanced and you have a boiler cranking out same amount of steam, but it has no where to go; in short the thing is over sized (at least by effects). Since many steam systems are already oversized this is not good.


What happens is pressure builds in the boilers before it should causing it to shut off; that means short cycling as not all rads/convectors (the ones that are open) are able to fully heat an area before they shut down.


The other thing is people use open or close valves to regulate temperature, which is not their purpose. Valves on rads/convectors should be either all the way open or closed. If they are partially closed not all steam can enter rads/convectors. What cannot builds in the risers/pipes and condenses back into water. Depending upon system design (one pipe or two) this can lead to banging, clanging and other not so pleasant sounds as that condensate water meets steam and the two battle it out. The steam wants to rise and the water wants to go back to boiler.




Finally other issue is if the valve does not close tightly it can leak as the trapped steam having no place to go condenses back into water. Those leaks not only ruin flooring underneath rads/convectors but affect units/rooms below.


Every convector in our apartment still has knobs; but only because have never let super remove. Know for a fact other units have had theirs removed for various reasons. New tenants often complain that their apartments are "roasting", but have no way to turn off the convectors. They seem shocked that we can do so with ours and then start making calls to super or office. It doesn't work because building won't put them back.


It is also fairly common for rads/convectors in common areas to have the knobs removed to prevent mischief by tenants or whoever.


All this being said those knobs/handles are standard off the shelf items. If yours are missing a trip to any halfway decent hardware store or even online (such as eBay) will get you there.
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Old 04-15-2019, 03:29 PM
 
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We have no shut offs on our radiators ... what they did is take the line of apartments in the building and have a solenoid valve they can operate if they need to do work on the line and isolate it ... you have about 6 apartments per solenoid .
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Old 04-15-2019, 04:03 PM
 
19,963 posts, read 13,153,082 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
We have no shut offs on our radiators ... what they did is take the line of apartments in the building and have a solenoid valve they can operate if they need to do work on the line and isolate it ... you have about 6 apartments per solenoid .
Ok, well that does make sense. There has to be a way to shut off rads/convectors for repair, replacement or whatever.
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Old 04-16-2019, 05:06 AM
 
31,655 posts, read 32,515,209 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mathjak107 View Post
We have no shut offs on our radiators ... what they did is take the line of apartments in the building and have a solenoid valve they can operate if they need to do work on the line and isolate it ... you have about 6 apartments per solenoid .
A few years back one of the radiators in my apt. needed to be replaced as it was leaking to the apartment ceiling below. I saw the bldg. super was able to press on a certain part of wall casing (in front of the radiator area) and it popped open to reveal a valve next to the actual radiator which allowed him to shut down/off completely. I guess it is meant for emergency usage and only is for off/on function and not for temperature regulation. Before that time I didn't know there even was such a possibility to turn off a radiator.
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Old 04-16-2019, 06:05 AM
 
Location: Manhattan
21,220 posts, read 27,853,389 times
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Most mid century convectors are in slotted enclosures. They have little doors, sometimes spring loaded near where the valve is located. In fact the entire front can be lifter up and off, exposing the plumbing AND VALVE inside. Don't just assume you have no on-off valve because you don't see one OUTSIDE the enclosure, there is none, unless you have an oold time ACTUAL cast iron radiator. First time you explore prepare to dig through the seal made by layer after layer of paint (a paring knife or a linoleum knife helps.) But once you have gotten in you are home free for anytime you want in. I use an old pair of canvas gardening gloves (right one in LR, Left in bedroom.) in case the pipes are hot.




A problem arises if the valve has not been turned in 20-30 years. It gets stuck in place and takes a Herculean effort to get them turning again. All valves should be exercised a couple times a year. In rare cases a valve may need to be replaced.
When you get it all working, don't let the painters paint you shut again.


We are lucky and we have something I have never seen before, a vacuum-steam system. Most systems use pressured steam to go up the pipes. Steam at pressure must be hotter than 212 degrees. But we have a refrigerator sized vacuum pump on the basement return, so our system is always at below atmospheric pressure and thus the steam is always below 212, sometimes MUCH below . (If you open a line it sucks air IN. So we can have steam delivered at lower temperatures.
https://www.tlv.com/global/TI/steam-...uum-steam.html


Upside is there are never any clanging pipes from steam or water "hammer." Heat is delivered almost the instant the valve is opened.


BUT there is no way around being surrounded by neighbors with overheated apartments. You get the excess heat by conduction,
I woke to 70F apartment...just fine. It is going to be a warm day with bright Sun, so I will be sitting in a jock trap by mid afternoon after the midday sun.




Maybe of some interest. I was perusing the heating regs in the City and saw the instructions when to call 311:
If apartmeent is too cold.
IF APARTMENT IS OVERHEATED.

Last edited by Kefir King; 04-16-2019 at 06:31 AM..
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Old 04-16-2019, 10:34 AM
 
Location: Harlem, NYC
324 posts, read 523,130 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BugsyPal View Post
There are always shut off valves for steam/hot water rads or convectors. Many buildings however remove the handles/knobs for various reasons leaving the thing permanently fully open.
This! It looked like there used to be knobs a long time ago on the radiators but now they're all completely gone and have been painted over. The radiators are hot to the touch so I wouldn't try messing with it til summer when the heat is off (I actually moved in last summer so this is my first winter dealing with this) but I would definitely invest in some knobs if that would do the trick. I suppose someone at the locksmith store would have to evaluate it for me....
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:10 PM
 
19,963 posts, read 13,153,082 times
Reputation: 13738
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chava61 View Post
A few years back one of the radiators in my apt. needed to be replaced as it was leaking to the apartment ceiling below. I saw the bldg. super was able to press on a certain part of wall casing (in front of the radiator area) and it popped open to reveal a valve next to the actual radiator which allowed him to shut down/off completely. I guess it is meant for emergency usage and only is for off/on function and not for temperature regulation. Before that time I didn't know there even was such a possibility to turn off a radiator.
Trane invented the fin condenser radiator in 1923 along with an enclosure, afterwards well into the post war era there was huge trend to build in, recess or otherwise conceal radiators/convectors and or associated pipes/valves/controls. Housewives, interior decorators, etc... all wanted to reclaim the valuable real estate taken up by those huge cast iron radiators and or otherwise make heating with steam/hot water less obvious. This lead to the last hurrah for steam/hot water heating; baseboard convectors.


Where valves are located is largely dependent upon how steam/hot water enters the rad/convector. This may usually involve whether steam/hot water system is down or up fed, and also if the system is one or two pipe (steam).
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Old 04-16-2019, 04:13 PM
 
19,963 posts, read 13,153,082 times
Reputation: 13738
Quote:
Originally Posted by NiniCakes View Post
This! It looked like there used to be knobs a long time ago on the radiators but now they're all completely gone and have been painted over. The radiators are hot to the touch so I wouldn't try messing with it til summer when the heat is off (I actually moved in last summer so this is my first winter dealing with this) but I would definitely invest in some knobs if that would do the trick. I suppose someone at the locksmith store would have to evaluate it for me....

Fitting for steam/hot water rads/convectors are pretty much standard. Ask around to see if any of your neighbors/other residents in building still have knobs on theirs, and if so could you borrow. Most easily screw or otherwise come off; then see if it fits your rads. If so merely take the thing to any decent hardware/HVAC plumbing supply for a match. Lowes or Home Depot may have them as well.


Have closed off all the convector rads. Even though people say it is "chilly" still to warm for heat IMHO. What steam that does leak through supplies more than enough heat. If things get really cold will just shut the windows first before opening up the rads.
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