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One pipe Gorton: B'ding, B'dang: It's in the clink...?

Hi All,

One pipe Gorton steam system:

* All the pipes are insulated.

* All the radiators are pitched properly.

* The vents on the main in the basement are vented more than adequately.

* The system is cleaner than a baby's bottom (well, maybe even cleaner than that).

* The air vents are clean (mostly Gorton air vents).

So here's the question: I'm still getting a clinking sound that is not a hammer, it is more like a sound if you took a heavy glass mug and clinked it with an all tin mug. It repeats the sound a little erratically, sometimes 4 in a row, sometimes it clings once on a cycle.

It is always when the steam is entering, just happening on two first floor radiators. Just loud enough to wake my wife up, which means I'm going sleepless until I get this figgered out.

Thanks for suggesting anything you can help with...


  • jpf321
    jpf321 Member Posts: 1,568
    pipe exapansion noised

    things that go clink in the night are usually associated with normal pipe expansion which can be difficult to quiet....things that go bang in the night are usually something more easily calmed.

    for pipe expansion however, it has been suggested that if the pipes are rubbing against something and thereby causing the noise, you can use cut pieces from a plastic milk container to eliminate the friction between the pipe and the thing it's rubbing against ..

    in order to completely quiet pipes due to expansion you can try to keep them a bit warmer perhaps by adjusting your thermostat... the warmer your pipes are consistently, the less they will clink when they are getting heated.

    fyi, you should not have anymore than a 3degF differential in your thermostat setback if you have it programmed to be cooler at night .. I keep mine at 68dFnight/71dFmorning and I find to have happy results and family members. if you have yours dropping to 63, 65 and coming back up to 70 in the morning, you will certainly have more pipe expansion noises since your pipes have cooled by a much greater amount and then need to heat back substantially.

    good luck, let us know.
    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
  • Ellis Richman
    Ellis Richman Member Posts: 22
    anything else?

    I was wondering if it might be something rubbing, but there is nothing in contact w the radiators. The sound could be expansion...

    I keep it a 68 too at night, it's a manual thermostat, and it never goes very far off.. The system is pretty evenly balanced so that the thermostat  does not go up or down more than about a degree. Average temp where I'm at is about 35 at night now.

    Could this be caused by having too much pitch in the radiator?
  • TomM
    TomM Posts: 233
    reducer fittings?

    do you have any reducer fittings?  (concentric)
    beautiful Conshohocken PA
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,912

    almost without a doubt.  The question is... where?  It can be remarkably difficult to track down.  But jpf's idea is good -- anywhere that a pipe can rub on something is a candidate.  Unfortunately, it can also be in the radiator itself.  Tie rods a little loose, maybe?  (don't tighten them too much, though -- they're easy to break).  Good luck...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Unknown
    edited January 2010
    Steam Water Hammer

    Hi Ellis - Yes, Too much slope on a radiator can cause a problem. When a steam system first comes on, the first steam entering the radiators condenses very quickly on the cool radiator walls and produces a large amount of condensate (water). If the radiator has too much slope this large amount can build up a pool at the end where the steam is entering and cause water hammer.  The amount you slope the radiator should be just enough to "encourage" the flow of condensate (water) towards the steam pipe. I use a bubble level and add/subtract quarters ($0.25) till I find the optimum shim height and then cut a permanent shim to duplicate the height of my stack of quarters. (Using the bubble level rather than measuring  is necessary as the house may have settled over the years.)

    You might also want to try (carefully) raising the whole radiator a bit  (there is usually a bit of slack in the piping so you can do this) as a slight increase in the height of the radiator helps increase the slope of the lateral pipe.   I've found using a short 2x4 and some blocks top as a lever is a great help in raising the radiator and really saves your back!  After you raise the radiator, be sure to add the shimming to get the necessary slope.

    Another thing you might try is slowing down your radiator's venting (with an adjustable or smaller vent) as this should slow down the volume of condensate produced initially when the steam enters your radiator.

    I've attached what I think is one of the best descriptions of steam water hammer that I've read as it gives you a better idea of just what you are dealing with.   It's all just a matter of fine tuning. Try out an slight adjustment, live with it a while to see if it is a beneficial or not, and then keep making these adjustments till you are satisfied with the result.

    - Rod
  • Ellis Richman
    Ellis Richman Member Posts: 22

    Thank you all so very much for sharing your ideas...I'm working on it...and I'll let you know. Best, Ellis
  • FJL
    FJL Member Posts: 354
    Clink . . .

    I get the same sound in my bedroom every time the steam enters the pipes underneath my floor at the start of a heating cycle.  In my case, I hear the sound before the steam hits the radiator and as the steam is traveling in the pipe before it hits the riser.  The sounds are a bit louder when it is colder, which is consistent with jbf's statement.  The sounds are loud enough to wake me from sleep but not my wife.  Although I always seem to sleep through my ten-year-old waking up in the middle of the night after a nightmare and entering our bedroom.  That wakes my wife, but not me.
This discussion has been closed.