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Desperately seeking end to banging and boiler problems

Dan C.
Dan C. Member Posts: 248
If it's spitting out water then it's not working properly. Where are you located?

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  • cjh
    cjh Member Posts: 4
    Desperately seeking end to banging and boiler problems

    I've got a steam system in my condo which has started banging, keeping everyone in the three-unit building up at night. I'm on the third floor and the pipes run through their units. At least three of my four radiators are doing this, all started around the same time.

    I've had two different plumbers come and look, neither seems to have been able to help the problem. In fact, neither seemed really sure about what they were doing.

    I've tried shimming the radiators so the drain, replaced the radiator vents, and made sure the valves are open. No help.

    One plumber did tell me the boiler was oversized for the unit. He noticed that it kept shutting off very quickly after it would start because of this. I think he adjusted the pressure or the water level or something in the boiler. However I'm wondering if the main vent might be the culprit.

    I'm wondering what you folks recommend as a next step. Would replacing the main vent help? Should I have the plumber replace the radiator valves?

    Really hope you can help! I might end up with my head on a stick thanks to the other residents in the building, who all have hot water heat.

  • kpc_40
    kpc_40 Member Posts: 62
    where are you?

    HAs this just started? Is this your 1st winter there? How is the water quality? doid someone do work in the building as of late? kpc
  • cjh
    cjh Member Posts: 4

    Thanks for the reply!

    It started towards the end of last winter. I've lived there since 2004 and not had any banging whatsoever before then.

    Last winter, I did have a radiator replaced because it was leaking. The new one is around the same size and a new valve was put on.

    I'm not sure about the water quality -- is that something I can check easily?
  • kpc_40
    kpc_40 Member Posts: 62
    new rad?

    new to you... or new? if its new there is a chance that there is oil in the water...and or dirty water. that will give you issues. One way to check is look at the sight glass. kpc
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,270
    to which I might add...

    the water in the sight glass should look clean! Also, when the boiler is firing, it should be pretty steady in level -- it won't be perfectly steady, but it shouldn't bounce around a lot.

    We'll keep thinking...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • cjh
    cjh Member Posts: 4

    Actually, the "new" radiator was used. In fact... I think it had been sitting in the plumber's backyard for a while. Possibly a long while. I think I remember him uttering something like "I need to clear some debris to get at it"...

    So I wonder if it had some gunk in it that dirtied the water.

    If that's the case (I'll check the water when I get home), I supposed flushing it would be a step in the right direction.
  • cjh
    cjh Member Posts: 4

    I checked the water, and it doesn't look too dirty. I'm not sure how dirty "dirty" is. It looks like somewhat weak tea. I could see some very small particles floating around in it.

    While I was down there the boiler fired. The main vent appeared to be working properly. It was hissing and spurting out some water. And the pipes were hammering away.
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