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Loud Hissing Vertical "Floor to Ceiling" Heaters in Top (6th) Floor of NYC Apartment Building

Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
Hi there,

I live on the top-most floor of a NYC apartment building. Our apartment has, in total, 5 vertical "floor to ceiling" pipe heaters. It's not that they don't heat the apartment properly; it's that they make unbearable sounds (loooud whistling). If I could, I would include a video of this mess. We just moved in a couple of weeks ago, and these Godforsaken tea kettles have woken me up practically every night I've been there.

So I've got a few questions for you guys. The vents take 15-20 minutes to empty whatever air's in the pipes, which seems kind of long. The nozzles on each of them (pictured below) are 41 Hoffmans, with holes 1/8 inches wide. Is that big enough for this type of line? And are these the building's main lines? I suspect that they are, as the landlord has said that, if I were to "turn one off," the resulting radiators connected to it would turn off as well. Also, would a building of this size have a one or multi pipe heating system? (That question, admittedly, is a little left field, but it's a curiosity of mine.)

But so I wanted to try out a larger air venting valve, like a Gordon #2 or a Hoffman 75. Does that make sense here? Do I run the risk of water spraying out of the ventilation hole if it's too big? When I suggested to my super that he "widen the hole" (not knowing what a main line valve was or what, generally, I was talking about at the time), he said that would cause "400 degree water to spray everywhere" and that these valves all come in one size (1/8 inches, presumably). I don't know if what he said regarding the water was true (though I think he inflated the temperature a bit), but seeing as how I now know his second statement was false, coupled with the general impression I have of this guy, I get the feeling that he doesn't have much plumbing experience. So I guess my final question is is it OK/safe to buy and then try connecting one of those valves on my my own?

Comments

  • FredFred Posts: 7,906Member
    The most likely cause for all that whistling is that the system pressure is way too high. There is a Pressuretrol that is used, at the boiler to control the system pressure. If you can see it, it is probably set way higher than it should be. The Cut-in Pressure should be set to .5 PSI with a Differential set at about "1". There should also be some Main Vents on the Mains that feed those risers. My guess is that there are none or that they are too small and those small vents on the risers have to vent all of the air out of the system. The risers may also need to be vented with larger vents. Some pictures of the boiler, the mains that feed those risers and the risers themselves will also help us.
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,858Member
    I think everyone, including city hall is getting pretty tired of situations like yours where the system is badly maintained, and therefore wastes a lot of energy:

    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/168402/overheating-in-new-york-city-apartments-leads-tenants-to-throw-money-out-the-window#latest
    In the article, there is described a city department, where you can make a complaint, and “experts” will reach out to the landlord, to offer suggestions. We’ll see how effective that is!
    This problem would be relatively easy to correct, and would save a lot of fuel.
    When your building was built, the heating would have been evenly balanced, and silent, but lack of maintenance has now caused it to be uncomfortable, and wasteful-why is that.—NBC
  • Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
    Sorry, thought I included the pics. Think I've attached them below. I do think the smaller hole are the cause of the problem:
  • Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
    I'm with ya man! I'll check that link out. Any thoughts on the cause of this?
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    The size of the hole in the pipe is going to decide how much air leaves the air vent, no matter what size the air vent is. Your vent is the vent for the entire six floors of pipe radiators in the apartments below you. I think you need a pro with tools who can increase the size of the hole to accomodate a vent with more capacity. I also think the steam pressure is probably much too high. Tell your super the water can't be hotter than 212 degrees, and that it won't splash out if the velocity of the air escaping is slower, as it should be.

    Other than that, how's the apartment?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
    It's great. Just these damned pipes man. Think I'm gonna go ahead and try to replace the 41 Hoffman's with Gordon G2s.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,906Member
    Does that same pipe travel up all the floors/apartments or does each floor/apartment have it's own steam pipe? The amount of air will determine the size of vent needed but I still think it is important to understand the system pressure as well.
  • Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
    The top floor apartment are the only ones we think these sort of pipes
  • Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
    Given that it's Hoffman 41s that are in there now, would I have to buy some "big to small" like extension if I were to use a Gordon #2? It looks like the part that screws in on a Gordon #2 is a bit bigger than the part that screws in on a Hoffman 41. And if so, what is that "big to small" part called?
  • FredFred Posts: 7,906Member
    The Gorton #2 is a 1/2" neck. You can try a 1/8" to 1/2" adapter but I'm not sure how well that will allow condensate to drip out of the Gorton when the steam is cycling.
  • Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
    Or how about a Gorton #D Vapor Equalizer? After looking at their map, I think that makes the most sense here.


    Side note: my spell check has continuously corrected Gorton to Gordon. Sorry about that.
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    The size of the hole in the pipe is what determines the venting rate. Think of it as a highway with all but one lane closed. The width of the road after the bottleneck doesn’t speed traffic through the bottleneck.
    Retired and loving it.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,906Member
    The Gorton D will certainly vent faster, I'm just not sure it will eliminate the whistling. I know you believe it to be the vent, I believe it to be the system pressure.
  • FredFred Posts: 7,906Member
    @Mattm15 Also, keep in mind, the faster you vent that pipe, the more steam you will get. If the room is comfortable now, it may get too warm. If the room is already too warm, it will be hot.
  • Mattm15Mattm15 Posts: 10Member
    You guys have been incredibly helpful. After readingthe vent map that Gorton provides, I've ordered a Gorton C. I'll install it and see how everything goes. If it gets too hot, I'll get in touch with the landlord, see if he could turn down the steam
  • nicholas bonham-carternicholas bonham-carter Posts: 7,858Member
    edited January 6
    What he needs to do is turn down the pressure-(under 1.5 psi).
    Another money-saving mod would be to take off the caps on top of all the risers, and install caps tapped with a 1\2 inch hole for "big mouth" vents.
    As it is, he is burning money, and shortening the life of the system, while he could be saving 25%.--NBC
  • DanHolohanDanHolohan Posts: 14,701Member, Moderator, Administrator
    @Mattm15, did you get the result you wanted?
    Retired and loving it.
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