Steam radiator piping questions


I have a steam radiator that I want to move a couple of feet. All the pipe is exposed in the basement. I have a 24" wrench and a 36" wrench. IF I can loosen the pipe, all is well. One guy at the local supply shop said that it's likely that If I just smack the fittings with a hammer, they'll break right off, but I don't know about that.
So, what if it doesn't go well? What if I have to cut the pipe off? I know I can use a Dresser coupling, but the local guy says they're over a hundred bucks. Is there a good internet source for those things? Is there some sort of expanding plug that could go into a 1" steam pipe to temporarily seal it so I can still have heat in the rest of the house while dealing with this?
This stuff has been screwed together for either 60 or 90 years. Would some sort of penetrating oil maybe help?
I know I could hire someone to do this, but I'm up for an adventure.
Thanks.
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I'd go to the This Old House web site and do a search on radiators. I recall a couple episodes in recent years, on both the main show and the Q&A 'Ask' show, where they demonstrated how to break old radiator connections non-destructively. I'm sure their web site has a step-by- step somewhere. As to capping a line, if you can get back to a point with threads on it, plumbing aisle will have caps. But if your radiators are daisy-chained, all the downstream rooms will be cold.
-- aem sends.....
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You could try the pipe wrenches first. Soak the fittings good with liquid wrench overnight. If the pipes don't budge, I usually like to sawzall the pipe off leaving about 1" stub of pipe exposed from the fitting. Then I take metal saw blade and by hand start sawing off sections of the stub without damaging the threads.
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One pipe steam, it has a valve on it. Loosen the nut on the valve at the radiator to remove it from the system, take off the valve and extend the pipe. Get a cap for the pipe incase the valve is bad. The radiator must be raised to drain water back, it cant be level. You should have to force to much, paint may make it worse. Floor refinishers remove them every day, use 2 wrenches so you dont put to much pressure on pipe and break it, seal joints with tape and dope.
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wrote:

One pipe steam, it has a valve on it. Loosen the nut on the valve at the radiator to remove it from the system, take off the valve and extend the pipe. Get a cap for the pipe incase the valve is bad. The radiator must be raised to drain water back, it cant be level. You should have to force to much, paint may make it worse. Floor refinishers remove them every day, use 2 wrenches so you dont put to much pressure on pipe and break it, seal joints with tape and dope.
+++++++++
All of the above is correct from my experience. I have a house with steam heat. Mine is a single pipe system. When I bought the house, I went to http://www.heatinghelp.com/ and posted questions there. I also bought a book from that website called "We Got Steam Heat!". It's a good book, especially for someone like me who never had steam heat before. I originally bought their bigger, more complete, book, but it was TMI (Too Much Information) for me so I sent it back and exchanged it for the "We Got Steam Heat!" book.
To post questions at http://www.heatinghelp.com/ , click on "Ask Questions" and go to the "Main Wall" --
http://www.heatinghelp.com/forum-category/76/THE-MAIN-WALL . The person who runs the website wrote the books on steam heat and he is an expert in steam heat.
I once saw a plumber trying to disconnect some cast iron fittings in a house of mine that I couldn't get off on my own. He tried and couldn't do it, then he heated the fitting with a propane torch and the fitting came off fairly easily. Since then, I've used that technique a few times and it works great.
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TheWall is a good place, I have a few of dans books but havnt read them. Althvac is where you go for punishment
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I saw a plumber use a "chain wrench" on a steam fitting. It was a piece of bicycle chain with a handle and it can fit into tight spaces, you just need to get the chain arond the bolt and hook it in a loop... worked great...
Mark
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Heat works good. Propane or mapp. Crean the edges of the fittings now with a wire brush and start soaking them with penerating oil. Add a little oil a couple times a day for as long as you can.
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jamesgangnc wrote:

I am not sure, but maybe it wouldn't be a good idea to add oil before using heat, so the oil doesn't ignite. Maybe there is so little oil that would be left on the fitting that it wouldn't matter. It's just something I would be thinking about.
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I have had steam heat since 1970 and have done any and all repair work myself. If it becomes necessary to break a joint at an elbow its easy. Use two hammers, one to hold firmly against the elbow or tee and another to smack it on the other side. The joint fitting will crack making it easy to turn it off the pipe. Then just clean up the threads and go on from there.
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Well...It was a tough fight, but not nearly as tough as I was expecting. A few highlights: 1) I don't think the penetrating oil (PB Blaster a couple of times a day for three days) did any good at all, but it did stink up the house.
2) I backed up the 90 and 45 elbows with a 10 pound sledge and wailed on them with a 3 pound maul. I was able to make a barely noticeable dent, but not any hint of a crack
3) After beating the hell out of one fitting, I was finally able to unscrew (with a 3-foot wrench) the nipple that went through the floor, connecting the radiator valve. I decided to just replace the valve for 20 bucks rather than try to separate it from the nipple.
4) The only other elbow I needed to remove wouldn't budge with the 3- foot wrench. I ended up cutting through it, *almost* to the threads, in two places with a 4 1/2" angle grinder. It then came off with the big wrench and a LOT of muscle.
5) My local Home Depot does NOT rent pipe threading equipment
6) I gave the HD guy an accurate dimension for the pipe I needed, and he made it 1 3/4" too long, so I got to go back
7) Everything else went together just fine, No leaks, no knocking. The radiator is in its new home, It looks like a pro did the job. My wife is happy (and that's really all that counts)
8) I'm REALLY glad that when Harbor Freight was out of stock on the 36" aluminum wrench that I chose to get the 36" steel wrench instead of a second 24" aluminum one. This job simply would not have happened with a 24" (or two 24") wrench(es).
And lastly but not leastly:
9) Thanks to all of you for your support, and thanks to my brother for holding the other wrench. As I told him, "I'm not going to say I couldn't have done this without you, but I will say that I wouldn't have tried it."
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Steam-radiator-piping-questions-413962-.htm avantiservices wrote: rangerssuck wrote:

------------------------------------------------------------ I have used a torch and heated the fittings real hot and quenched them. This makes them release! if you should have to you can always take the pipe with a damaged end to someone that sells pipe and fittings and have it re-threaded for a very small fee. You ought not worry about plugging the pipe, chances are that any rubber compression type should do. Your steam pressure wont be more than a few ounces if set properly and the air at that end of the pipe will keep the steam from reaching the plug, right!
------------------------------------- J.P. Avanti Services HVAC, Steam and closed loop Hydronic heating. In the service field for 25 years.
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responding to http://www.homeownershub.com/maintenance/Steam-radiator-piping-questions-413962-.htm avantiservices wrote: rangerssuck wrote:

--------------------------------------------- OH YES.. remember to make sure the line runs at a slight slope back from to the source!!! ------------------------------------- J.P. Avanti Services HVAC, Steam and closed loop Hydronic heating. In the service field for 25 years.
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