Have old steam radiator, want to turn it off

I have an old steam radiator in my back apartment bedroom (American Radiator, model unknown but at least 50 years old). The pipe that feeds it gets plenty hot and runs from floor to ceiling in our bedroom. It gets hot enough to heat the room by itself. The problem I have is I want to turn the radiator that this pipe feeds into, off. I've tried turning a wrench at the inlet, where I think the turn-off valve is, but nothing moves. Might be the paint, might just be stuck. I'm just wondering what I have to do to turn the radiator off, what kind of wrench I need, etc.
Thanks, James Sedlock New York City
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it should be just a conventional steam radiator shut off valve. It should have a round black handle on it, but perhaps it broke off and all thats there now is a stem. A lot of times the valve fails over the years and will let steam in even when the valve is closed, so make sure the valve is not already closed. Try to open it. If it still gets hot, change the air valve to an adjustable one so you can limit how hot the radiator gets. You mention this is your apartment. Have you asked your landlord for help?
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On 17 Dec 2005 12:01:22 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

You're not sure? I guess the handle is gone, but the stem should still be sticking up. I wou;ldn't do any of this stuff until I was sure I was working on the turn-off valve. Have you looked at other radiators in your apartment or your neighbors'.
Can you buy a new handle and screw and attach them. Oh, Mikepier says the same thing.
I lived in Brooklyn with steam heat, and unless it is off all the way it doesn't do anygood. Steam goes through little passages.
In fact I just stayed in Queens last month for a night, and I really had to twist hard to get the heat off.

I didn't like going through the landlord (either?), but mine thought he was a plumber, but really didn't know much. (an interesting story.) I see a problem here that you are likely to round off the stem with just about any wrench you use, and if you do this to the square part that is supposed to have the handle, the knob, then no handle will work again.
If you go lower on the stem, because the valve might leak no matter how tightly it is turned, , there is a real chance of super-torquiing the stem and twisting the top half of it off. Then it will be unadjustable until replaced.
You could try round vise-grips (as opposed to straight), but buy Vise-Grip brand because the steel is hard**nd make them as tight on the stem as you can before you start turning. When I was in Queens, even with the 50-year old or more valve, I was able to turn off the heat just with one hand and the 3 inch wide knob. You will have much more leveralge with a wrench, so don't use it all. It *is* the landlord's property. maybe try opening the valve (counter clockwise) to see if it does rotate.

easy. Otoh, maybe you should buy the cheap ones since you shouldn't be twisting that hard anyhow.

Remove NOPSAM to email me. Please let me know if you have posted also.
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