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Improperly Pitched Steam Radiator

Mike Lamb

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I inspected a condo with one pipe steam radiators. None were properly pitched back to the supply pipe. Can these be shimmed without disconnecting the radiator? I do not know how much give there will be. A couple of them may need a good 3/4 inch or more correction.

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It's usually possible to shim then up without disconnecting the radiator. Try lifting it as a start; most of them are easily lifted and shimmed. Sometimes you have to cut the flooring to give the pipe a small space to move in.

Sometimes you can't shim them, but in my experience, it's an extreme rarity.

There's some element of familiarity with old pipe that's necessary. It's like tightening a closet bolt; you got to have the feel for how much is enough and what's too much.

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I agree.

The long term problem that I've found isn't that they don't work. It's that the small bit of condensate sitting at the base can corrode the iron to a point where drainage from the last radiator cell is blocked.

But, that's pretty rare and it's usually due to poor quality iron more than lousy drainage. Or so it seems.

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Condensate spitting out of an air vent means the vent is toast. There's a float/diaphragm/bimetallic element....or something depending on the type of vent.... that's supposed to close the vent down when the radiator has achieved temperature. If it's spitting, you got no pressure, boiler runs continuously trying to keep up, etc., etc. Steam performance is all about vents.

I use the Maid-O-Mist Jacobus Vents

They work. Easy change orifice so you can play with sizing and balance the system. Made right here in Chicago down on Pulaski.

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