Steam pipe banging--do we have to move? (is it hopeless?)

Old 12-09-13, 08:14 AM
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Steam pipe banging--do we have to move? (is it hopeless?)

Hi All,

I appreciate any help/feedback! We've been unable to sleep for a month and are looking at moving if this is unfixable.

We're renting a unit with a steam radiator system. One of the return pipes bangs like someone is wailing on it with a wrench, for about five minutes, each time the heat comes on. More specifically, we can hear the boiler kick on, then steam start coming out of the valve from the radiator in our bedroom (the noise is from the pipe connected to that radiator and below our bedroom) then a few minutes later the noise starts. It slowly gets louder, then stops just after it reaches its loudest.

Here's what's happened:
-The water was over-filled, and the glass tube reader wasn't working as it was clogged with sediment. It now works (though I'm sure there's still a lot of other sediment in the system) and the water level is within range. The system has been *slightly* quieter since

-Two of our radiators were spurting dirty water from the steam valves. Both valved were replaced and seem to be behaving (?)

-The pitch on all radiators in our unit (not sure about the other units' radiators on our system) are all pitched properly

-The questionable pipe is hung from wires (is this a problem?)

-The pitch of that pipe was originally tilted THE WRONG WAY, for who knows how long. The temp reading along the pipe showed it was colder by the dipped down area as well. The "plumber" (doesn't seem to be professional, we think he's the cheapest one the landlord could find) "fixed" the pitch, using wire tired to the beams and pipe, with random trash pushed in for fine tuning. Since that, the noise has been slightly shorter and quieter in duration. (We're wondering if there could be built up sediment in there from being pitched the wrong way and that's the problem?)

-The two return pipes are on a squared off "U" with a "T" at the base for the final drainage. This means that neither side of the base of the U can be pitched inward/down without it doing the opposite to the other. Is this to code? Is it a problem?

Thank you in advance for your help! We're desperate...
Old 12-09-13, 02:09 PM
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next time when it is off check all the steam vents on all the rads should have no water in them or water coming out of the rad....the water is what is banging any and all need to be tilted towards the incoming pipe so that hot water when the steam cools down back to the boiler
Old 12-09-13, 02:35 PM
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Hi Momma,

Your landlord needs to get a competent steam person in to go over the system.

That's really the bottom line, there's nothing you can do except complain. You can't touch the system because he will blame the problem on you.

Can't hurt to take pictures, maybe we can spot something and give some advice though.

If the landlord doesn't come through, does MA have some kind of 'arbitration agency' to which you can complain?
Old 12-09-13, 04:35 PM
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Your banging is coming when the new steam hits the leftover water in the pipe or fitting.
What I would look for is an elbow dipping. That's where water collects and when the steam hits you know it.
As mentioned all pipes must be pitched back to the boiler.
Rads should have a slight pitch but rarely cause banging pipes. It will most likely be a fitting rather than a pipe.

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