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Pipe Pitch Seems to be Small?

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I recently had a conversion from oil fired boiler to gas

fired done by a licensed plumber.  The

job seems to be well done but he doesn’t appear to be a steam expert, after he

told me that the uninsulated pipes would heat the basement ceiling and hence

the house.  Oh well…But the installation

of near-boiler pipes does seem to be according to the guidelines Dan states in

the “We Got Steam Heat” book I recently bought.


I did everything in the book to get rid of the water hammer

going on with the master bedroom radiator (single pipe system in a 60 year old Cape

Cod in northern NJ).  The

noises have decreased in most of the house except the master BR.  So I measured the rad feeder pitch and found

it to be 1/8 inch rise in a 16 foot run. 

This is not what it should be according to the book, so I believe I need

to re-pitch the pipe. 


My question is whether the experts here would agree that

this could be the last step in solving this problem.  Since reading the book, I had the plumber

reduce the pressure from 6 psi to 2 psi, with no changes in noise and I

insulated all pipes including the near-boiler pipes and elbows, but not the wet



Thanks for any recommendations/suggestions.


BTW…the old oil boiler was made by General Motors…never even

knew they were into that business until I saw it on the nameplate.


--Bill in Elmwood Park




  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
    That must have been

    an old Delco-Heat boiler. In those days GM owned Frigidaire too, if memory serves.

    That pipe definitely needs more pitch. Give it as much as you can, especially since the run is 16 feet. Did it bang with the old boiler?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • pokerbb
    pokerbb Member Posts: 11
    Pipe Pitch Seems to be Small?


    Thanks for the reply.

    I while I never heard the old oil boiler in action (since I had the conversion done before I moved in) I can only imagine it was noisy also.  But an elderly lady lived there for many decades after her kids moved out so I guess she was used to it or didn't hear it).

    I started thinking more about this and I think I came across some words somewhere that implied the 2 inch steel piping actually expands slightly when steam hits them and the pipe junctions actually twist to allow the expansion.  Is this the case?  I notice what sounds like water hammer but occurs when the system is not pushing out steam any longer.  Maybe these noises are just the pipes twisting and sounding as loud as a hammer hitting them?  Is that possible?


  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 16,904
    Expansion and contraction noises

    shouldn't sound like an anvil chorus. Might be a good idea to have a pro look at it to be sure. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    edited December 2009
    Pipe Expansion Sounds

    About two years ago, I had a back-pitched pipe underneath my bedroom replaced and pitched.  Now, when the boiler turns on and the steam travels toward or in this pipe, I get a series of noises, clicks and pings, that sound like tiny water hammers.  I am assuming that these sounds are the pipes expanding due to steam.  I describe them as tiny water hammers to differentiate them from the soft pings that I hear in another room when the steam hits the pipes for that room.
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