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Leaky towel radiator - how do I fix?

Discussion in 'Plumbing and Central Heating' started by mjgreen81, 14 Jul 2020.

  1. mjgreen81

    mjgreen81

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    Hi all,

    I had a bathroom installed a few years ago which included a towel rail/radiator.

    When you turn the valve to increase/decrease the heat a small amount of water will spill out quickly and then it will drip consistently. In order to stop it dripping there are a few 'sweet spots' on the thread where the dripping reduces to a few small drips an hour which after some time usually seals itself up (presumably due to the very hard water in our area). If I then touch the valve (like when I knocked it cleaning recently) the dripping starts again.

    When I turn the valve it turns unevenly on the thread (like a car with a loose wheel), but it doesn't feel like it is cross threaded.

    Any ideas how I go about fixing this? Is it possible to replace the valve? I cant see any make/model for the radiator so I am not sure where to begin. WIl that part even screw off from the radiator?

    I am familiar with removing and working on normal CH radiators but never worked on a towel radiator before. I presume that they are plumbed into the hot water feed as opposed to the CH?

    Thanks for your help

    IMG_20200714_084957.jpg IMG_20200714_084935.jpg
     
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  3. denso13

    denso13

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    Yes, these look similar and shouldn't be difficult https://www.toolstation.com/corner-towel-radiator-valve/p41572

    Not necessarily, more likely it is off the CH circuit.

    You shouldn't really be turning it on and off too often anyway.
     
  4. denso13

    denso13

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    You could also take the head off the valve and check where it is leaking from. It may just need the packing gland nipped up.
     
  5. mjgreen81

    mjgreen81

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    Thanks for the link. That valve looks like a direct replacement so if I need to do that, it should hopefully do the job.

    The CH is turned off at the moment and the towel rail still gets warm so it must be running off the HW right?

    How would I go about taking the head off the valve? Would I need to remove the valve first?
     
  6. denso13

    denso13

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    No, just the bit you turn, there should be a screw below the disc on top of the valve which should just pop off.
     
  7. denso13

    denso13

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  8. mjgreen81

    mjgreen81

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    Thank you! Had no idea that end popped off.

    So, it definitely leaks from the open bit of the thread. I turned the valve with the cap off and a bit of water spilled out as per usual and then stopped. I tried nipping up the screw and it seemed very tight. I then tried unscrewing it a little bit to see what happened. No water came out. I then nipped it back up tight and no drips. I may have to leave to for a bit to get a fair test though. I have noticed that the drips increase when the boiler kicks in and therefore the pressure in the system changes.

    I am a bit confused about where the hot water is coming from though. I noticed that the feed pipe from the wall was only a little warm just now. Where as at other times of the day it can be very hot. However, as mentioned earlier our central heating is switched off at the moment so it is only the HW that is on. We have a conventional boiler with HW cylinder.
     
  9. ianmcd

    ianmcd

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    Did your house have an old Coal fired heating system at one time ? if it did the bathroom rad was plumbed in as a heat sink on the HW circuit
     
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  11. mjgreen81

    mjgreen81

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    Nope and all the plumbing for this rad was only put in a few years ago.
     
  12. mjgreen81

    mjgreen81

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    Update - it is still weeping since touching that gland screw, but it does seem slower than before.
     
  13. ianmcd

    ianmcd

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    The gland doesnt have a screw it is a nut, remove the screw you are talking about, pull the head off and you will access the nut that you need to tighten
     
  14. denso13

    denso13

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    Remove the screw and take the head off to see what's going on. Take another photo if you can.
     
  15. mjgreen81

    mjgreen81

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    OK, thanks chaps. Getting somewhere now :). Apologies for these stupid questions, I have done a reasonable amount of basic diy plumbing bits in the house, I have just never dealt with a towel rail before so its all new to me!

    Here are a couple of photos of what we are dealing with. I can see that the water is creeping out from the arrowed section.

    IMG_20200714_121520.jpg Capture.PNG
     
  16. denso13

    denso13

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    Tighten the nut next to your arrow, a bit at first then check for leaks again. It should be harder to turn the more you tighten it.
     
  17. mjgreen81

    mjgreen81

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    Wow, that turned surprisingly easily. I was expecting a lot more resistance.

    I turned it a quarter of a turn and it was still weeping. I turned it another quarter and it looks like it might have done the job. I will leave it for half an hour or so to see if we have any more drips.

    Thanks so much for the help with this. It is much appreciated.

    Is it normal/correct for that nut not to be fully tight?
     
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