4 Tips for Quieting a Noisy Steam Radiator

A steam radiator can bang and pound when water first enters it. If this happens early in the morning, it can easily wake you and ruin a good night’s sleep. Fortunately, there are some useful tips that can stop a steam radiator hammering and make your life much more bearable.

Tip 1: Shims

A steam radiator should not be completely level to a floor or wall surface. It needs to tilt back slightly toward the pipe that feeds water into it. If it is entirely level, water becomes trapped inside the radiator, and this is what causes the banging noise when the steam first enters.

Lay a spirit level on top of your radiator. If it shows to be level, you will need to add some shims. These are effectively thin pieces of wood or metal. Place a shim under each leg of the steam radiator on the side opposite the pipe. Add more shims until the level shows that the steam radiator is uneven. This should eliminate the problem of banging when the heat first comes on.

Tip 2: Bleeding the Furnace

You can help eliminate noise from the steam radiator and pipes by regularly bleeding the furnace. This involves draining the sludge and dirty water out of the furnace and it needs to be carried out on a regular basis while the furnace is in use. About once a month is ideal, and the task is best carried out during the winter.

Bleeding the furnace is not a complex procedure. At the bottom of your furnace is a drain valve. Attach a short hose to this and then run the hose into a bucket. Open the valve and drain off the water until it runs clear. You will want the tank to remain about half-full after you have finished. The pressure gauge should read between 5 and 7 psi.

Tip 3: Rise

On each floor, the pipes for a steam radiator are supposed to have a “rise” of 1 inch. This means that there should be a very slightly incline in the pipes as they go toward the radiator. In older buildings, this might not be the case due to settling.

You will probably need to have this checked by a professional and if adjustments are needed, they will probably have to be carried out by a plumber. If the rise of the pipe is some way off of the 1 inch mark, it could be contributing to the noise in your steam radiator.

Tip 4: Opening Valves

Another cause of banging in a steam radiator could be air in the pipes. This can be resolved by opening the valves and you should do this after you’ve installed shims under two of the radiator legs for it to be most effective. You will need to open the valve on each radiator in your house for this to work properly. Essentially, you are bleeding air out of the system so it will run more efficiently and quietly. Once the air is released, tighten the valves again.