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Hissing and Gurgling

I recently replaced a main vent, hoping to get rid of the hissing and gurgling coming from the radiator valves. However, the radiator valve is still hissing and gurgling.



Can you guys suggest a solution?

Comments

  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,515
    hissing&gurgling

    what size main vent did you put on?

    what is your main pressure-hopefully less than 2 psi ?--nbc
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    edited March 2011
    Size

    The main vent I put on was a Gorton #1. The radiator valves are various. Most are maid o mists. one of them are a gorton #6. but the ones on the 2nd floor all hiss and gurgle.



    the psi is set to about 1.5 via the pressutrol. it's hard to tell what it actually goes up to since the pressure gauge has a range of 0-30 psi. This gauge doesn't move at all by the time the boiler cycles out. (I wonder why they installed a high pressure gauge when a small one would have been more appropriate. oh well.)
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,515
    useless 0-30 pressure gauge

    why indeed do the manufacturers, and installers not install a good low-pressure gauge on every steam boiler sold? and yet, the owner will never know if the pressuretrol is working properly, unless one is installed! without an accurate reading, the owner, will also not know either whether main venting is adequate [back-pressure during venting], or how much extra fuel is being burned to maintain a higher than normal pressure [8 ounces].

    after all would you check your tires with a 5000 psi hydraulic gauge?--nbc
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    gurgling, hissing

    To me gurgling suggests that a liquid (condensate) is trying to go down, but runs into a restriction which causes it to dam.  Once the height of the liquid gets to a certain level, the weight of itself, forces it down.  Once it finds a way to go down, the air is allowed to come up.  The air coming up is making the gurgling sound.  The first thing to check is to make sure the radiator valves are all the way open.  Secondly, make sure the radiators are pitched.  Not too much, just enough that the condensate will flow.  If these 2 suggestions don't help you might have to make sure the runouts and mains are pitched properly.

    Hissing is a sign that the pressure is too high.  Mine start hissing at about 1psi.  Install an additional gauge.  The gaugestore.com sells a Wika 0-3psi.  Post a photo of your existing pressuretrol/gauge setup and someone will advise you how to add an additional gauge. 
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    Thoughts

    A single Gorton #1 may not be adequate, but inadequate mains venting is probably not the cause of the hissing and gurgling. When radiator valves are not fully open the stem and disk are in the path of the steam flow and will create condensate that pools and gurgles inside the valve. The fact that it is only the upstairs radiators is a clue that maybe the upstairs gets too warm, a common defect, and people are trying to regulate by manipulating the valves.
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    What can I do?

    Thanks for sharing your sentiment. I thought I was being a little crazy to think that they didn't do it right.



    This was for a recently installed boiler by a reputable company. They also installed a pressuretrol in which you can't lower the PSI less than 1.5 PSI which is a little frustrating since this is for a very small home.
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Do you think i should replace the valves?

    This is for a new boiler. and I replaced the valves with gorton's and maid o mists. so it's probably not that the valves are faulty.



    i'm not sure how to tilt the radiators since these are recessed radiators that are within the walls. is it possible to tilt these types of radiators?
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Do you think i should replace the valves?

    This is for a new boiler. and I replaced the valves with gorton's and maid o mists. so it's probably not that the valves are faulty.



    i'm not sure how to tilt the radiators since these are recessed radiators that are within the walls. is it possible to tilt these types of radiators?
  • David Nadle
    David Nadle Member Posts: 624
    Misunderstood

    When you wrote valves I thought you were referring to the radiator shut-off valves, not the air vents. Since it's a new boiler the culprit is probably wet steam. The boiler probably needs to be skimmed. Post a picture of the piping around and above the boiler.
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    main and runout pitch

    1 of the 2 mains has water hammer but not sure how I would go about creating a pitch for that. also, is it possible to radiators that are recessed within the wall?



    I'm going to try to get the pressuretrol and gauge replaced with a vaporstat and low pressure gauge...
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    main and runout pitch

    1 of the 2 mains has water hammer but not sure how I would go about creating a pitch for that. also, is it possible to radiators that are recessed within the wall?



    I'm going to try to get the pressuretrol and gauge replaced with a vaporstat and low pressure gauge...
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    main and runout pitch

    1 of the 2 mains has water hammer but not sure how I would go about creating a pitch for that. also, is it possible to radiators that are recessed within the wall?



    I'm going to try to get the pressuretrol and gauge replaced with a vaporstat and low pressure gauge...
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Air vent and Supply valve

    Here is an explanation of terminology.  When I was suggesting that you make sure the valve is open, I meant the supply valve.  There is likely nothing wrong with the air vent, as you said they are new.  I am not sure how to pitch that kind of radiator, I thought you had the cast iron type.  Please see the enclosed photo.  Is it possible for you to post some photo's of what we are working on? 
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Pictures

    Of course!



    Here are the pictures of the radiators.
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    edited March 2011
    Pictures

    Here are pictures of the setup.



    (Sorry for the pictures being sideways but I can't figure out how to put them upright.)
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Gurgling

    I have never seen that type of radiator.  But if it were mine, and I wanted to check the pitch, or tilt as you say, I would put the level right where I drew the red rectangle.   After you look with the level, tell us which side is higher. The air vent side or the supply valve side.

    Make sure the supply valve is open all the way.  Counterclockwise opens it.
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    0-3 pressure gauge

    Here is a photo of one way to add a 0-3 psi gauge.  You must leave the 0-30 psi installed for insurance reasons.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,864
    Because

    it costs extra.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • moneypitfeeder
    moneypitfeeder Member Posts: 246
    1920s convector style

    Most of my rads are the same, you should be able to lift those to shim if need be, but they do weigh a ton! Mine just sit on the four feet, there isn't any provisions on it anywhere to be bolted or secured to anything. When heating well, you should feel a warm breeze rolling off of those!
    steam newbie
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Exactly

    It doesn't look bolted down and it does sit on 4 legs but my weak muscles do not seem to make the radiator budge at all.



    Do you think using a car jack would be ok?
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Did you

     check the radiators with a level yet?  Which way is it sloped? 
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    It's level

    I checked with a level and all the radiators are pretty much level. So, that's a bad things. I tried lifting. I huffed and puffed but to no avail. It might be that the legs are painted to the floors.



    I was thinking of using a car jack. Is that crazy?
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Curious to what your settings are

    I can't tell by your pictures but what are your cut in and cut out's?



    Also, what kind of vaporstat do you have?
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Level is not so bad

      The radiator only needs to be the thickness of a couple quarters, higher at the air vent end.  The gurgling might be in the supply valve, have you made sure its all the way open?  Car jack is not a good idea.  You might crack the radiator, then you will have a bigger mess to fix.  They dont make them anymore.  If you break it how will you find a replacement.  If the radiator is painted to the floor, and it has to be lifted, get some paint stripper and a putty knife.  Free it from the floor before you try to lift it.
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    That vaporstat is not mine

    I used that photo because it was closer to your type of setup.  I have a L408J-1009.  Mine will allow the burner to come on at anything lower than 3oz.  It will shut off the burner at 8oz.  The settings to acheive that are Main 8oz and Diff 5oz.  Don't just run out and buy a vaporstat, just add a low pressure gauge for now.  Maybe your pressuretrol can be adjusted to reduce your pressure.  What is the model number of your pressuretrol?
  • TeachMeSteam
    TeachMeSteam Member Posts: 128
    Honeywell L404F1060

    The pressuretrol's cut off can't go below 1.5 psi. if I try to set it lower, the boiler will not cut in. It just stays off. I guess when I moved it below 1.5 psi, the pressuretrol just assumes I set the cut off to 0.



    I have a 900 sq ft home and longest run to the radiators is at most 100 ft. i guess that means 2 oz of pressure differential is all i need. so maybe I need a vaporstat?



    I'll post a new thread with a question I have on vaporstats. this thread is getting a little long.
  • crash2009
    crash2009 Member Posts: 1,484
    Dont forget

    to post your pictures again in the new vaporstat post.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,232
    Settings

    That's a picture of my setup and it is currently set for a 12 oz cut out and a 4 oz cut in.



    I also have a small house, the EDR (sq footage of all the radiators) is about 190 sq ft. I do have some short cycling issues because the 15 yr old boiler is over sized but the system is otherwise efficient and relatively quiet.



    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Boston_2
    Boston_2 Member Posts: 107
    my .02

    The gurgling might be in part caused from the actual radiator vent.  I purchased the same valves from the local HD and had nothing but problems with them.  There is no fine adjustment on the valve, so you have to change the size of the screw-in vent. I also noticed that since these valves don't have a tongue that drains the condensate back into the radiator that if there is over condensing going on, it builds up in the valve causing the radiator to gurgle and spit and sometimes become blocked. I removed all the those vents and replaced them with high quality vents.  Some Gordon's and some vari valves (that I closed all the way to slow the venting.. They still vent very fast when closed all the way).  



    I also replaced the actual valve on the radiator.  It's hard to tell from your picture, but there this a difference between a hot water valve and steam valve.  The steam valves have a bulbous body that gives more room for steam and water to pass.  I had a radiator that Swooshed and Gurgled.  By changing the vent and the valve, it is now perfectly quite. 
  • Mike Kusiak_2
    Mike Kusiak_2 Member Posts: 604
    Pressuretrol differential setting

    Earlier in this thread you mentioned that you can't set the pressure limit lower than 1.5 PSI because the boiler will not cut back in. Looking at the photos, the differential appears to be set higher than the cutout pressure, which is probably why the boiler is not coming back on when the cutout is set less than 1.5 PSI. The differential subtracts from the cutout setting, so if the differential is higher than the cutout, you will need negative pressure (vacuum) for the boiler to cut in again.



    Try setting the differential to less than 1PSI or so and then reset the cutout lower again and see what happens
This discussion has been closed.