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Serious condensation

MaryD Member Posts: 6
I own and live in an apartment in an old building, circa 1937. I live on the top floor (6th). One of my radiators (built in the wall with cover) was giving off a little moist heat with some hissing. My super checked the turn on/off valve and it was fine. He checked the air valve and decided to replace it as the old one looked worn to him. It had the shape of a bullet. About a week ago, he put in a new air valve that has a different shape. We have had warm weather since he replaced the valve. Today was the first chilly day so I am assuming the heat was cranked up a bit.Today my kitchen walls,cabinets,windows were covered with condensation ! I also noticed gurgling noises and the hissing noise was much louder. I have since shut the valve for the time being. What could be the problem?


  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469

    operating the valve must be fully open, or you trap condensate in the bottom of the convector. Ask the super to check the pitch of the convector with a level, and make sure it pitches slightly towards the valve, and make sure the valve is fully open.
  • Hissing radiator

    I always suspect high pressure, and poor main venting when I hear a hissing vent.

    If the pressure control on the boiler has not had any cleaning/maintenance/attention for more than a year, the pressure control may allow the pressure to increase beyond the 2psi max mark.

    Ask your super if the boiler and controls have had any service lately, and also ask him about the pressure. Point him here for answers to any questions he may have. Remind him whose money could be wasted by wasting fuel with a badly maintained boiler.--NBC
  • MaryD
    MaryD Member Posts: 6
    serious condensation

    Pardon my ignorance on this subject. I only know the basics about radiators and the problem escalated after my super changed the air valve. Before it was minor condensation and hissing.And there was no gurgling. Never had the condensation all over the walls, etc. before today. I shut the valve a couple of hours ago when the heat started to come up full force. I was fearing that the same thing would happen once I heard that loud hissing noise. All of my other radiators are working properly. Should I open the valve? And thanks for the info !
  • MaryD
    MaryD Member Posts: 6
    serious condensation

    @ Nicholas

    There are 48 units in my building. Most of the unit owners complain that their apts. are too hot. Mine along with a few other apts. on the upper floors have the opposite problems at certain times of the day. It gets cold ! I am fairly certain that the boiler is inspected yearly. Don’t know what the maintenance schedule is. Our building changed to dual fuel a few years ago. Natural gas/oil. Could that have something to do with any of the problems? I have been living in my apt. for many years and have only had the “cold” issue for the past few years. Could the new air valve be the wrong size, etc?
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,576
    edited November 2012
    Yearly inspection

    Many yearly inspections focus only on safety, without consideration for economy, and comfort.

    The new vent must be more susceptible to some system wide problem, such as over-pressure

    The changeover from single to dual-fuel may have something to do with the problems, insofar as allowing someone to work on the boiler who may have changed settings.

    What is your location?

    Perhaps a second opinion would be very productive if done by a real steam professional.

    In the meantime get him to replace the air vent with one which has a float in it, such as Hoffman 40, or 1a.

    These corrective measures are so simple to do that I can't believe the condo regime would not want to spend $20 per unit on some simple maintenance. What is your share of the heating bill? Would reducing the fuel consumption by a third arouse anyone's interest?

    When your building was first built, the heating would have been quiet, economical, and comfortable for everyone in the building. The task now would be to restore it's condition to that early state.--NBC
  • MaryD
    MaryD Member Posts: 6
    Serious condensation

    @ NBC

    I am part of the “condo regime” LOL. I am a board member. The heat and hot water is included in our monthly maintenance fees. General maintenance to the radiators themselves are the unit owners responsibility. Our Super did inspect all unit owner radiators recently because we had an incident where a faulty air valve caused water damage to the ceiling in the apartment below them. You do make a good point on having all the controls,settings,etc checked in addition to the yearly standard boiler inspection. Not sure if that is done. I will also bring up that the changeover to dual fuel may have added to the heating issues. Our condo is on a very tight budget these days. We had a major facade construction project that sucked the life out of us. This is the ugly side of “charming" pre war buildings......... I suspect whoever owned the building before it went condo did minimal maintenance on the building and we the unit owners are paying for it now. I turned the valve back on last night. It still hisses and gurgles a little and there is some condensation, but only on the window above radiator and to the hand when close to radiator cover. I spoke to my super. He says it went beserk yesterday because he had it on manual, some were complaining of it being to cold. I think I will hire a professional to check all my radiator valves,vents and the pitch of the radiator. I will also look into the valves recommended. I live on Staten Island in New York. Any steam professional recommendations?
  • "had it on manual"

    better have the pro check out the control/thermostat system as well. temperature regulation should be completely automatic. when you have a setback, either by design, or by faulty control; the fuel burned to raise the temperature back up can negate any savings from the setback.

    getting the system in proper function would be now even more important as you need to save on fuel to pay for the facade renovation!--nbc
  • MaryD
    MaryD Member Posts: 6
    edited November 2012
    Serious condensation

    I am going to have my radiators checked on my own.

    Usually the system is run on automatic, set to specifics that are also probably tied in with the dual fuel system. That much I know. I am not sure why he decided to switch to manual for the one day. He says he put it back to auto. I think when the super messes with switching from auto to manual, it possibly screws up the precise auto settings.

    I am looking for a reliable,trustworthy and fair steam person specifically in Staten Island.

    After the Hurricane, I am hearing stories from friends of jokers charging ridiculous prices, taking advantage of folks. If anyone has good recommendations, please share.

    Thanks NBC for the valuable info.
  • Common area maintenance

    I know that many condo regimes are under the mistaken belief that since the radiators are inside the apartments, they are part of the apartment owners responsibilities. I don't think this is right or practical, as the radiators are part of the whole heating system, and their condition affects the whole system. They are not like an electric conduit inside the apartment which can have various things hooked up to it without any effect on the neighboring units.

    It's a pity that the heating costs are hidden inside the dues, as then there is not the desire on the pert of the owners to agree to have performed whatever work is needed to reduce the fuel consumption. If the fuel were a separate bill, then it would be easier to get consensus on spending whatever money is needed to keep things in good repair.--NBC
  • MaryD
    MaryD Member Posts: 6

    I agree with you. The only way people are motivated to make changes in these types of situations is if $$$$$$ is involved. The heat and hot water has always been included in dues. It’s a pretty standard practice in NYC condos. At least we have taken steps with mandatory yearly radiator inspections. I am going to bring up all good points you have brought up in this thread. Thanks

    The condensation and hissing are still evident in my kitchen radiator, but minimal now.

    Again, I will be hiring a local professional to recheck all my radiators.

    Better safe then sorry !
  • Where to start

    Have him start at the boiler, where the over-pressure begins.

    It should be under 2 psi, for basic function, and under 6 ounces for economy, and comfort. Many inexperienced supers think the cheap fix is to turn up the pressure, but then they are not paying the gas bill!!--NBC
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