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Couple questions...

Hi all,

First time poster, long time visitor here.

Two weeks ago I had a new gas fired Burnham Independence boiler installed (which replaced a 2004 model Burnham Independence) on my one pipe steam system. My house is a 1940s cape style home with an unfinished second floor. First floor square footage equals 884 sq feet.

I have seen a lot of conversations about main venting, and while I’m not 100% well-versed or knowledgeable on the topic, I am curious to know if the vent on my main is adequate for my system. The vent is a Vent Rite #35 and I can confirm that the vent does release air and that it properly closes when the steam hits, which takes about 10-12 minutes after the boiler is fired up. As you can tell by the picture it looks pretty old and there is evidence that rusty steam/water has been spewed out at times (although I personally have not witnessed this happen). Is this the proper vent for my system? With the new boiler I am looking to update and/or fine tune my system so it runs as efficient as possible, and I understand main venting is a good place to start.

Another issue I am dealing with is a noisy radiator. The radiator in my living room is the largest in the house and the only one that makes a banging nose. At a certain point during the heating cycle, the radiator (or section of pipe immediately leading up to the radiator) will bang about 5-7 times in about 5 second intervals. As the heating cycle progresses and the radiator warms up there are no issues. This same radiator will also give out a single loud bang after the heating cycle (sometimes hours later). I have the rad pitched to encourage condensate return. One thing I would like to mention is that the piping for this radiator runs parallel to and comes in contact with a floor joist (see pics)…is it possible that the expanding/contracting of the pipe next to the joist is causing this issue? Sometimes walking by the radiator causes the post-heating cycle bang to happen.

I will be glad to provide some more info if needed. Any input in appreciated!



  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,663
    is that your only main vent ?
    you have only the one main in the basement?
    it could be changed for a bigmouth which would accelerate the main venting, and reduce boiler run time to evacuate the main.
    IF there are other mains and vents then you would want to balance the main venting in the basement between them.

    On the banging rad,
    is the valve completely open ?
    it needs to be or it can hold back condensate and bang bang.
    Can you raise the whole rad in the room, can the riser slip up thru the floor?
    You would gain more pitch on the basement pipe which could also help. even an inch can help, 4 hockey pucks?
    Where that pipe parallels the joist, it needs to be dead straight and pitched, if it sags and puddles, it bangs.
    hard to say from the pictures but that span should probably have a hanger of sorts.
    It might be worth stripping back the insulation to check that run for a sag.
    Caution that you might find asbestos under the insulation.
    See if that rad can raise first before setting pitch on its feed pipe.
    known to beat dead horses
  • lanem2494
    lanem2494 Member Posts: 11
    Yes that is the only main vent on the system. What would be options be to replace it?

    Yes the valve on the rad is completely open. I didn't think of raising the whole rad to help with the pitch of the pipe. I know that the pipe is definitely pitched from looking at it, but I haven't measured the distance or total drop in pitch.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,663
    I gotta learn my caps button , , ,
    It's in my reply, the vent name is Bigmouth,

    the pipe is pitched, but could still hold a sag.
    though looking closer at your pictures you do look ok.
    Back at that valve, even totaly open, some valves have failed inside and the stop or gasket is loose and letting steam in, but not all the condensate back, might be worth checking.

    your boiler pressure is kept low, correct?

    known to beat dead horses
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 22,877
    Checking the pitch of that pipe is a good idea, and may help -- but most of that banging is probably expansion. Make sure that the pipe isn't rubbing on anything, or that if it is you have a slippery shim -- like a piece of milk jug -- in there.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • lanem2494
    lanem2494 Member Posts: 11
    I believe the boiler pressure is set at 2psi although I would have to confirm.

    I know for a fact that the pipe elbow is touching the floor joist, so I will try wedging a piece of milk jug in there (does this really work btw?)
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,573
    Yes it really works to eliminate places where water can collect. See my similar case: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/167233/fixing-pitch-issues-in-old-house
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el