Old Drayton TRV leaking from head

31 Oct 2009
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United Kingdom
We've got a radiator which has been unused for some years. Yesterday I turned the valve on and left the room warming. Found that it had leaked overnight. Water is coming out between the base of the plastic housing of the TRV and the locking ring. The TRV is pretty dirty, and there was a bit of resistance when I came to turn it on yesterday. So I should have suspected something might happen.

I was considering my options and thought I'd at least investigate to see where the water was coming from. It's a while since I've removed the head from any of the valves in the house, but assumed I simply unscrewed (anticlockwise) the locking ring below the plastic and lift the head off. However, as I started to loosen it there was a tiny bit of water leakage, and then when it was nearly removed a tiny jet of water, and then all hell broke loose: hot dirty water all over the place. Fortunately I was prepared, so quickly reattached the head.

Should this happen? I thought I would simply see the spindle, rather than remove the whole body of the valve, which appeared to be the case. Have I attempted to remove the head in the wrong way? The TRV is a very old Drayton one which has a screw on the bottom of the plastic housing and above it a small "button" or "nipple".

Also, if the water is coming up from the spindle, presumably replacing the head is unlikely to fix it, I'd have to replace the whole unit?
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