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Help! Overheated apartment/is the varivalve the culprit?

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Posted by Nate on December 19, 2006 at 22:45:22:

Hi there,
I'm dealing with my first steam radiator heated apartment, as well as a rather overworked management company. Before I call and bother them again, I want to make sure that I have all my facts straight so I don't waste their time/irritate them even more than they already are. I've done a lot of research so far, so I'll try to present this in the most orderly way possible. I'm having two issues, and I've listed them both, along with all corresponding info, below. Thanks much for any help/advice you can give!

The Problem #1: My studio apartment is too hot, forcing me to open windows to regulate temperature (and even then it's still uncomfortable).

Equipment: Steam radiator, one pipe system, "Heat timer Varivalve" vent. The shutoff valve is missing its handle and when turned using pliers doesn't shut off entirely (radiator still heats, and water leaks from air vent and shutoff valve).

Steps taken to solve problem: Management says that by adjusting the vent rate on the Varivalve by using the slider, I should be able to regulate room temperature. If I need to turn off the radiator completely, simply slide the slider all the way to "closed". According to management, I can only make one adjustment per day due to boiler cycles.

I had tried this before, and didn't realize the slider was a once-a-day thing, so first thing this morning I set the slider to "closed". The radiator was already on and heated. The boiler cycled on again about an hour ago (10 PM), and the valve began to hiss audibly and air was felt leaving the valve, even though the slider was in the fully "closed" position. The radiator heated up entirely and room is still too hot.

It seems to me since the vent is venting even though the slider is in the closed position, that the vent is bad and needs to be replaced. Should I give the system more time to accomodate this new setting, or are my suspicions correct?

Problem #2: At the start of heating cycle, there is a clanking heard from inside the radiator. It sounds similar to the mixing ball in a spray paint bottle when the bottle is shaken. It isn't terribly loud but enough to wake me from sleep (i'm a light sleeper). Based on my reading, the radiator may not be pitched properly towards the supply pipe; using a level placed at the center of the radiator, the bubble indicates that the radiator is in fact pitched towards the supply pipe but not very much - how much should it be pitched, and how do I determine if I need to shim the other end of the radiator to achieve said pitch?

Thanks again for any help/advice, and I apologize about the novel post. :)

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