Steam Radiator Noise Problem...


Old 03-03-07, 07:32 AM
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Steam Radiator Noise Problem...

I have a steam radiator which *just* developed a noise issue. Here's what happened...

My wife and I both left for work in the morning, when we came home, the back door of our house had blown open. The first floor (where our thermostat is located) was freezing... the second floor was jungle hot. I figured this was due to the cold air coming in from our back door. We closed the door and turned down the thermostat for a while to let the upstairs cool off.

Now, when the boiler kicks on, there is a loud hammering in some of the pipes in the basement and the boiler itself sounds like a teakettle getting ready to boil. We have *never* had a problem with hammering or noise of any kind previous to yesterday, so I wouldn't think this would be a pipe pitch issue. We also had the system cleaned and serviced at the start of the season. But I am a *total* noob to boilers and radiator heat...

Two questions:

1. Is this something I need to call a pro out for right away? Or is this something even I, a total noob, might be able to try a few solutions first?

2. Suggestions as to what I might try?

Any help is *greatly* appreciated. Thanks!!
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Old 03-03-07, 07:43 AM
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I know little about steam, but lemmee ask a few questions that might help the steamheads...

When you say *never* ... have you lived in the home a while ?

What's the water level on the gauge glass ?

Do you 'blow-down' the boiler on a regular basis ?

Does the LWCO (low water cut off) work ?

How often do you have to add make-up water ?

that's all I can think of.

Since I know little about steam, I might get a tech in myself...
Old 03-04-07, 07:02 AM
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I just developed a problem with (water-hammer) when the boiler unit was shutting down after a heating cycle. I tapped on my expansion tank next to the boiler (Extrol) with my ring finger and it was full of water (It should be hollow and have a certain amount of air in it). I guess the diaphragm inside it burst which took away the (buffer zone) when the boiler shut off and the water stopped circulating all of a sudden which caused water hammer. After replacing the tank everything was fine. I hope this helps you, good luck...
Old 03-04-07, 01:52 PM
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The steam systems problem would be different than the hot water system RichyRich mentioned. What I would suspect is that your system ran much longer than it usually does and stirred up some of the sediment in the boiler or piping that is usually left alone by the normal rate of steam flow. It is similar to when you drain the water out of the plumbing in the house to repair a faucet. When you refill, it in not at all uncommon for the water to be dirty. That is dirt that was washed from the inside of the pipes by the high velocity water refilling the pipes. The good news is that your problem may go away like the dirty water does with no help. Things will settle down now that you got the house up to temperature and the noise may go away in a few days. If it doesn't, the waterside of the boiler may need to be cleaned and flushed. It could cost a few hundred dollars depending on the complexity of the job but don't jump into it right away. You may even get away with a quart of good water treatment. Post back in a few days and let us know if the noises have goten less or gone away.


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