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Noisy Copper Pipe

4Barrel Member Posts: 125
Recent system improvements have had an unintended consequence: a copper riser to the second floor now creaks and snaps during the initial phase of heating cycle (it's not hammer, it sounds like expanding metal). This pipe was installed a couple years ago during a major renovation, and before i knew much about steam heating. Obvisouly, the plumbers i hired at the time didn't know much either. It didn't matter much in the intervening couple years, but now that i have a new boiler, new insulation, and the system heats up much faster than before, this pipe makes it's presence known every time steam starts to hit it. It only lasts about 30-45 seconds, but it is quite annoying. Trouble is, I can't get to the pipe to replace or insulate. I can get to the ends of it, but not the pipe itself.

Does anyone have any clever ideas on how to address?


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 19,968
    That's expansion,

    that is.  Copper expands a lot when it heats up -- which is the main reason we tend to avoid it (but it probably isn't worth the hassle of removing and replacing just for this, so don't sweat it).  Insulation won't help -- it's because the pipe itself has to heat up with the steam that it happens.

    What it is, though, is that the pipe is rubbing (sticking and then slipping) on something somewhere along its length or right at the ends.  If you can find where it is touching something -- such as where it goes through a floor or ceiling -- you can try putting something slippery in there so that instead of sticking and slipping it moves smoothly.  Might even try a few layers of plumber's teflon joint tape!  You can also try finding a way to support it so that it doesn't touch anything on the way upstairs -- but that may be hard to do.

    Good luck!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • 4Barrel
    4Barrel Member Posts: 125
    Teflon Tape!

    Ha! Great Idea! So obvious, I of course, would not think of it. I'll try wrapping the ends. Thanks!
  • Noisy Pipe

    If you can find where it's rubbing, cut a piece off a plastic milk bottle and slip that between the pipe and whatever it is rubbing on.

    - Rod
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