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Whistling From Heating System Making It Hard To Sleep

Tim_ Member Posts: 2

I live in an older apartment building and the heat got turned on recently. Unfortunately there is a loud whistle coming from the heating setup in my apartment and it's making it really hard for me to sleep. I'm trying to learn more about heating systems so I can figure out what is wrong, fix it, or ask maintenance to fix it.

I've attached a picture of the thing making a noise. It's the silver bulb attached to one of the pipes. The part number is USAV-884. As far as I can tell, I have a water/steam heating system and the silver thing is a vent? I would really appreciate any help.




  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,410
    Air valve

    That is an air vent and not a particularly good one. If it's whistling really loud the system pressure may be too high or the main air vents might be undersized or partially blocked. Try telling the landlord high pressure and bad mains venting is costing him a lot of wasted fuel. If you are on the top floor that vent may be there to vent the riser it's attached to.

    About all you can do on your own is to replace that air vent with better brand like Gorton, Hoffman, or Maid O Mist - just pray nothing snaps off when you try and unscrew it. Make sure the system is off and cold if you try this.

    Selecting the right size is a bit of guesswork but a Hoffman 1A or Ventrite #1 adjustable vent would work for most applications. For a radiator I'd try a Gorton 4 or 5 If that is a riser vent as opposed to a radiator vent it will have to have some capacity like a gorton C or D or perhaps a Hoffman 1A set to 6.

    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,575
    whistling vent

    that does seem to be an air vent in a 1-pipe steam system. you should be able to rotate it clockwise upside down to close it, as a temporary relief. it may have failed, or the steam pressure has risen beyond its limits [2 psi].

    a vent on that part of the riser should be larger if even put there at all. the main vents should be in the basement removing the air from the riser which travels stright up to the top floor, and then down again feeding the radiators from top [first] to bottom [last].

    someone is probably buying much more fuel than needed because of poor maintenance, and making you sleepless as well!--nbc
  • Tim_
    Tim_ Member Posts: 2
    Top Floor


    Thanks a lot for the answers so far. Yes I am on the top floor of a 5 story complex. I have no control over whether the system is on or off, but it only runs every so often. Is it safe to try to replace the vent when the system is not running? Is closing it dangerous, given that it is supposed to relieve pressure?

    If I have to I will try to get the landlord to fix it, but I don't know how long it will take them to respond to a maintenance request.

  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,181
    Air Vent

    The vent releases air, not pressure. It is necessary to release the air so that the steam can get to the radiators. Once the heat of the steam hits it, the vent closes (if functioning properly).

    I would not recommend that you attempt to repair it; as a tenant you are not authorized to do so and you may cause yourself more grief than good. Tell your landlord that you can't sleep because of it and tell him that he's wasting an enormous amount of $$$ because of it. Send him here if he wants verification and wants to learn how to save on fuel usage.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
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