I live in an old bldg with radiators, when the heat turns on they make a loud clanging sound-how is this fixd?

Help!!! I am not getting any sleep. The landlord claims there is no way to fix the problem, but I don't believe him. Each time the heat turns on the radiators make a very loud clanging sound for 5 to 10 minutes every few hours - like someone is hitting it with a hammer. The radiator(s) do not have a steam/air exit, but they do have knobs on the top. I have tried turning them to no avail.

Please help, any suggestions short of beating my landlord would be most welcomed.

Thanks,

Sleepless

7 Answers

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  • 1 decade ago
    Favorite Answer

    In a steam system once the steam gives it's heat into the living space the steam condenses back to water and drains back to the boiler.As the system and building get older the pipes and radiators will settle and the condensate does not drain back to the boiler as well as it should.When fresh steam meets this condensed water it makes the water flash back to steam this is what is making the banging noise.Sometimes this is easily fixed by putting shims under one side of the radiators to make the water leave faster.If however the water is sitting in the pipes between the floors it can be much more difficult and costly to fix.If this is the radiators that the noise is in then you need to determine if it is a 1 pipe or 2 pipe system.On a 1 pipe system the radiator needs to lean to the only pipe.on a 2 pipe system the radiator needs to lean to the drain pipe [this pipe will be on the same side as the air vent on the top of the radiator].And just for the ones answering you need to bleed the air,a steam system has steam in it when heating and air in it when it is not.This air is released through the air vent on the top of the radiator automatically when the steam enters the system and air returns when the steam leaves.

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  • done
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    I have a little exposure to steam. None with residential radiator heating. Just commercial air handlers, heat exchangers, humidifiers and the like.

    The sound you described sounds like steam being introduced to a steam line too quickly. Similar to water hammer in domestic water lines.

    When your apartment calls for heat, a steam valve opens and steam hits the cold radiator and... well you know... you go through it every day.

    I don't know how common this is with older systems or what constitutes too much banging. And I don't have knowledge of the control valves and piping schemes for such a system to suggest what might be failing.

    Steam systems have very few components, but nothing is unnecessary and each has to work correctly.

    If your landlord isn't fixing it, I'd suspect money is at the end of that story somewhere. Pipefitters and boiler rated plumbers aren't cheap help.

    Whatever you do, don't try to fix or tweak anything yourself. Steam is not something to trifle with. You could be seriously burned.

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  • 1 decade ago

    I agree with most.... air mixed in the radiators or in the steam lines. Normally when steam heating is turned on, there is ALOT of banging and clanging. Some comes from air being in the steam lines. When the steam hits the air it creates a boom/bang. Normally when it hits a turn in the piping. Or when the pipe diameter decreases.

    -If the air is in the lines then the landlord needs new steam traps (usually in larger units). Steam traps let the condensate flow back to the boiler to be re-heated

    - If the air is getting trapped in the radiator, one side should be staying cooler than the other (then again, the landlord should put in bled valves).

    Steam heat is nice to have but also very inconvenient.....at times.

    Source(s): Public School Engineer
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  • 1 decade ago

    Consider getting a heating specialist to come take a look at it he could possibly put in a air release valve near the radiator so you can bleed your system. Once the air is out of the unit it should help it may cost you 100 bucks but what is a good nights sleep worth to you. Hopefully this will work for you and if it does work consider taking the money off your rent and telling your landlord you paid to have the noisy radiator fixed keep the receipt.

    Good Luck.

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  • 1 decade ago

    The most common problem with radiators is air in the system. if you cannot get it out at the radiator side, the landlord can purge it from the boiler side, but it would appear his explanation has a double meaning. He doesn't want to spend the money to fix something that is annoying but still works.

    The knobs on the top of the radiators may take care of a little bit of air in that actual radiator, but they won't take care of the entire system.

    Hate to say it, but tell him to fix it professionally or you will have to move if it bothers you that much.

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  • eagle
    Lv 4
    1 decade ago

    It's the steam heating up the pipes. Invest in a pair of ear plugs from the drug store. Cheap.

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  • 1 decade ago

    welcome to radiator heat. i had it in my college apartment. it can be noisy but it works well. i got used to the clanging and you probably will too.

    wait until the pressure relief valve completely blows off of one of the radiators one time and you find yourself waking up in a tropical rainforest.

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