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Repairing a Radiator Valve

I rent an apartment that has the old-fashioned cast iron radiators in Brooklyn (which means it's freezing right now and the heat is on 24/7). I've been noticing steam coming out of the valve at the end of the radiator, so today I went to investigate and the whole thing popped off. I almost burned my hand in the steam and my apartment filled up with steam.

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Needless to say, I called the fire department and my super turned off the heat temporarily. After the firefighters left, my super fixed my radiator by lining the valve with tape and plugging it back in to the pipe. My fear is that the valve will pop up again from the pressure in the pipes.

My super is great but he's not a heating professional and I'm getting very paranoid that the radiator will burst while I'm out of the apartment causing harm to my pets and damaging all my electronics, not to mention causing damage to my neighbors' apartments. Should I be paranoid about this? Will construction tape on the inside really secure the valve and fix the issue?

By Amy from Brooklyn, NY

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

I don't know about the repair, but since you're so concerned, why not ask the super about it (and voice your concerns about damaging your neighbors' apartments)? Hopefully someone who knows about such things will comment. I'm glad that you weren't hurt worse.

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December 15, 20100 found this helpful

The tape you are concerned about is teflon tape. It is used on pipe joints to act as a seal as a gasket would between two mating parts. It also makes it easier to remove the valve at some future date. If the tape was not used you would have leaks at the valve and radiator connection.

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December 16, 20100 found this helpful

The person to ask is the fire marshall. Call the fire department and tell them how the pipe was repaired. They will tell you if it was the correct way or not.

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