How to Patch Radiator Pipes

Written by mary lougee
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How to Patch Radiator Pipes
Radiator pipes can crack or break from old age and rust. (white radiator image by Ekaterina Sidorenko from

Radiant heat systems are powered by a boiler that heats water and forces it through pipes to radiators installed in a line through the home. The radiators then radiate the heat from the water into the rooms. Radiator pipes can crack or leak when they age, usually because of rust forming inside the pipes. Patching a radiator pipe with liquid steel epoxy involves draining the radiator system first.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Garden hose
  • Acetone
  • Shop towel
  • Metal file
  • Liquid steel epoxy
  • Paper plate
  • Plastic knife

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  1. 1

    Turn the boiler off. Allow the system to cool for about two hours. Turn off the circuit breaker to the radiator. Turn off the water supply line to the radiator by turning the valve clockwise.

  2. 2

    Screw a garden hose onto the boiler base at the drain outlet. String the hose to a sink or outdoors. Turn the drain valve counterclockwise to open it. Open the bleed screw on top of the radiator that is the last one in the line for the home, or in the highest position in the house.

  3. 3

    Open the bleed screw on the radiator that is closest to the boiler. Water will drain from the system down the hose and into the sink, drain or outdoors through the garden hose.

  4. 4

    Pour acetone on a shop towel and use it to thoroughly clean the radiator pipe that needs patching. Scuff up the surface by working a metal file back and forth over the area.

  5. 5

    Pour both tubes of the liquid steel epoxy on a paper plate. Mix them together thoroughly with a plastic knife. Spread a very thin layer on the radiator pipe to cover the hole or crack. Extend the epoxy about 1/2 inch past the crack on all sides. Let the epoxy dry according to the package instructions.

  6. 6

    Unscrew the garden hose. Turn the boiler drain valve clockwise to close it. Close the bleed screws on the radiators that are farthest and closest to the boiler. Turn on the circuit breaker to the boiler. Turn the boiler switch on.

Tips and warnings

  • An epoxy patching compound has two tubes in equal portions. One contains liquid steel resin in an epoxy base; the other contains a hardener. Mixing them together makes a liquid steel compound to match metals together.
  • Steel epoxy patch kits are available at hardware, automotive supply and home improvement stores.
  • Do not use vinyl epoxy on radiator pipes. Use only a product with liquid steel.

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