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Gurgling Radiator Problem

FJL Member Posts: 354
Within the past two days, I've noticed that gurgling sound of trapped water in the radiator in my bathroom.  I live in a second floor apt in a four-story building.  I have a one-pipe steam system with a two and one half year old gas boiler.  This is our third season with this boiler.  The weather has been mild so far so the heat hasn't come on regularly. 

The radiator used to gurgle but hasn't been gurgling since the new boiler was installed.  The only thing that has changed in the last few days is that I did go down to drain some of the dirty water out of the boiler, but I probably should have done it sooner.  While draining some of the dirty water, I stirred up some of the dirt when the level got low and the boiler started refilling with water.  I checked the boiler a little while ago and the water in the gauge was rust colored. 

So my question is can dirty water be the cause of this gurgling?  I can't think of anything else unless the valve has given way.  I haven't fiddled with the valve but it has, in the past, occasionally rattled, which I figure is not the sign of a healthy valve.  Actually, I can hear the heat coming on now and the valve is rattling a bit.

I have a low pressure gauge hooked up to measure the amt of pressure in the system when the boiler turns on and my wife bumped into it and moved it a bit but I re-centered it and I don't think that could be the problem.  Everything else is as it was a week ago when there was no gurgling. 




  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    perfect pitch?

    firstly, is your rad properly pitched towards the pipe end? where is this rad in relation to your returns?

     it sounds like you have an automatic feed .. what could possibly happen is that your wet-returns are thoroughly clogged and not allowing water back into the system .. and then your boiler water goes out but not back in .. but you wouldn't notice this b/c your auto-feed is putting water back in .. if the water is backing up in the wet return and making it's way to the dry returns and eventually back to the steam pipes and perhaps into the rads. this wouldn't happen all at once.. but over time...

    anyway .. just a stab in the dark..
    1-pipe Homeowner - Queens, NYC

    NEW: SlantFin Intrepid TR-30 + Tankless + Riello 40-F5 @ 0.85gph | OLD: Fitzgibbons 402 boiler + Beckett "SR" Oil Gun @ 1.75gph

    installed: 0-20oz/si gauge | vaporstat | hour-meter | gortons on all rads | 1pc G#2 + 1pc G#1 on each of 2 mains

    Connected EDR load: 371 sf venting load: 2.95cfm vent capacity: 4.62cfm
    my NEW system pics | my OLD system pics
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    Rad Is Pitched . . .

    The radiator is properly pitched.  As far as I can tell, water is returning to the system.  The boiler water is not running low.  I don't think the returns are clogged.  I'm not certain, but I believe the pipe for this line feeds back into the main, which then flows into the wet return.  If the wet return was clogged, water would be backing up into a riser that feeds the back of the building, and that seems to be working fine as far as I can tell.
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