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One pipe steam radiator makes clanking noise even when valve is fully closed.

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ph0re
ph0re Member Posts: 6
edited December 2018 in THE MAIN WALL
Hi all,

I have been lurking the forum for some time now, trying to figure out the solution to my problem to no avail.

I am on the 5th (top) floor of an old brownstone in New York City. I have a one pipe steam radiator with a Gorton D steam vent on it. For weeks now, whether its open or closed (I know to have it all the way open or closed), my radiator makes a horrible clanking sound. I have had my super come look at it 3 times, and 2 of those times, he has brought a plumber who has replaced the steam vent, and pitched it to flow back toward the pipe with an inch high riser. He said they have also flushed the system and made adjustments to the boiler, but neither of those things seem to have worked. Prior to today, it was shooting about 4 ounces of water every time the boiler kicked in, but that seems to have subsided for now, but the clanking remains. I have begged to have the plumber replace the open/close valve altogether because I can hear steam rushing through the chambers, even when it is supposedly closed (although it doesn't warm up when this happens). I'm not a plumber, but that seems like a pretty good indication of a leak.

I have uploaded a video here, wherein the valve is tightly on the closed position (and has been for a few hours): https://youtu.be/CTmrTYrSrkM

This still happens every time the boiler kicks on.

It has been driving me nuts, and we are all out of ideas. I am tempted to have the super cap it off and disconnect it entirely. Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

Comments

  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Have him disconnect the radiator from the supply valve and see if the disc inside the valve has broken loose. It sounds like that might be what is clanking around when the steam is on. BTW, on a one pipe system, the value should always be open. Those valves are old and they no longer seal tight so steam can get in but often, condensate can't get out, hence the water spewing out of the vent.
  • ph0re
    ph0re Member Posts: 6
    edited December 2018
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    Unfortunately, being on the 5th floor, I get the heat of everyone below me. It is freezing outside, and with it off, it is still 76 in my apartment. When it's on, it is actually oppressive (but your point is well taken).
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    ph0re said:

    Unfortunately, being on the 5th floor, I get the heat of everyone below me. It is freezing outside, and with it off, it is still 76 in my apartment. When it's on, it is actually oppressive (but your point is well taken).

    They can put a smaller vent on that radiator to limit the amount of steam it gets, or, if you want it completely off (almost) turn the vent upside down. That will prevent the air from venting out and keep the steam from getting in.
  • delta T
    delta T Member Posts: 884
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    If the radiator is putting out too much heat, you can change to a smaller radiator vent. A Gorton D is a pretty aggressive radiator vent. You can get varivents too that are adjustable.
  • ph0re
    ph0re Member Posts: 6
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    Fred said:

    They can put a smaller vent on that radiator to limit the amount of steam it gets, or, if you want it completely off (almost) turn the vent upside down. That will prevent the air from venting out and keep the steam from getting in.

    Just to establish my understanding: does this give me the best of both worlds (valve is on, but no heat), or does this create the same problem as the valve being off?
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    @ph0re , Yes, leave the valve open and turn the vent upside down. If steam can't get in (because the air can't get out) then there should be little to no heat and condensate won't be a problem because there is no steam to condense and what little there might be can flow out of the open valve.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
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    Yet another badly maintained system, and a management system incapable of correcting the deficiencies! A system in this condition is probably using 25% more fuel than needed, and making the occupants uncomfortable-Sad!!--NBC
  • ph0re
    ph0re Member Posts: 6
    edited December 2018
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    A quick update. I had the plumber come and replace the valve, and the steam vent with an adjustable Varivalve. Unfortunately, the radiator is now banging louder than ever, and started spitting water again despite the significant pitch correction back toward the valve. Strangely, it only started to spit water after I put a blanket over it to try and mitigate some of the heat. I have tried various positions with the adjustable vent, but the problem persists.

    Video, post-repair, here:

    https://youtu.be/I_g10OxEcTU

    At this point, I just want the thing disconnected and the pipe capped off. I have an electric radiator that is more than sufficient for my apartment space. I am open to any last ditch ideas before taking that drastic action.
  • Gsmith
    Gsmith Member Posts: 433
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    Replace the varivent on the radiator with something like a Hoffman #1 or ventrite 1A, both are variable vents. The varivent is way too fast for a radiator and almost always causes banging and/or water spitting.
    ph0re
  • ph0re
    ph0re Member Posts: 6
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    I'll look into it. Strangely, it also still bangs hours after the valve is completely closed (per @Fred above, I know it's best to leave it open, but alas, it is spitting water).
  • Fred
    Fred Member Posts: 8,542
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    Did you have they plumber look inside the supply valve to see if the disc broke off? If it is, steam will make the disc bounce around and clang and the radiator won't shut off and it could block water from getting out, hence the spitting.
    Alan Welch
  • ph0re
    ph0re Member Posts: 6
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    @Fred he replaced the supply valve entirely.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,078
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    The water hammer could be in the horizontal pipe under the floor. You could try raising the entire radiator perhaps 3/4" and still keep the existing shim for the vent end.