Similar to many other posters on this message board, I am a new homeowner who is trying to wrangle a steam heating system for the first time. Posts made on this message board have been beyond helpful in regards to increasing my understanding of the steam heating system in my home. Despite my increased knowledge, I would still like to get the opinions of the several experts on this board in regards to some issues I am having with my heating system.
Some background info on the system/house in general :
-The boiler is an "American Standard" , which must be ancient. Despite it's age, the boiler works near perfectly, or so previous HVAC people who used to service the unit have said.
-The home has two large radiators on the first floor and 4 smaller ones on the second
- The steam vents on the radiators are predominantly Hoffman 40 A's , with the exception of 2, both located on the second floor. The other two vents are also Hoffman made but are adjustable (not sure of the model number).
-The system would be considered "one pipe" , to my knowledge. All pipes that I can see in the basement are pitched back towards the boiler.
-The system appears to lack what is considered a "main vent". It is possible that it used to have one because the main pipe in the basement has a small offshoot section of pipe that appears to have been capped and currently serves no purpose.
-All radiators have been pitched towards the valve.
Main problems with the heating system in it's current state:
-Clanging noise in the main pipe, and subsequently all pipes, while the system is running. It sounds as if there is a screw or nut that has fallen into the pipe and reverberates throughout the whole system, being carried back and forth by condensate and water. From what I have read, it is possible that a part of the valve on one of the radiators has come loose and has fallen into the pipe.
- Several of the steam vents spit water (but not all of them). I tried replacing these steam vents to no avail ; they still spit. When I lower the water level in the boiler this problem becomes much less pronounced, but does not completely go away in one of the radiators (more on this later)
-Regular water hammer that can be heard at the majority of the radiator valves
-Extremely slow heating of two radiators on the second floor, located back to back against the same wall. These radiators also create a *ton* of noise. Grinding, water hammer, etc. It seems like these two suffer from an improperly pitched pipe under the floorboards, seeing as the are most likely fed by the same pipe. One of these radiators is also the one that constantly spits (see above) despite having a lowered amount of water in the boiler. Unfortunately, one of these radiators is in my bedroom and always wakes me up.
What I have done to try to diagnose these problems, albeit unsuccessfully:
-I checked the pitch of the main pipe in the basement. I suspected that settling of a house as old as ours could cause the pipe to lose it's pitch. It is still pitched correctly, but barely. The level shows that the pipes are pitched in the right direction, but to me it seems that the pitch should be more obvious to the eye, or more "aggressive", but who knows.
-As stated earlier, I replaced the vents on several of the radiators. This made no discernible difference in the operation of the radiators and didn't seem to help much of anything. I suspect the original Hoffman vents were working just fine.
-I repacked the valves on several of the radiators with graphite packing. This stopped a very small leak on one of them, but didn't do much else. All problems still present, including tons of noise.
I have attached a bunch of pictures to this thread. Any and all suggestions are welcome in regards to making this heating system run better! Thanks to all the pros on here that take time out of their days to help all of us out.