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Steam heating with rattling noise, new to me

jonnyc Member Posts: 11
I have been living in NYC for a quite a few years now and just moved to a new place. Due to many old buildings and outdated heating systems I've had my fair share of problems with radiators and noise coming from them in the city, but this is new to me.

The noise seems to be "wind-related" if that makes any sense. It sounds like there are some loose parts inside that are moved by the wind but not constantly. Perhaps another way to describe this is like a rattling noise as if there was a small animal trying to escape. This happens every 5-6 minutes exactly, it doesn't matter what temperature is set. The unit is a McQuay wall heating/AC unit that is steam powered.

Is this supposed to be considered "normal"? The noise is very loud (I can hear it from the other room or even the hallway with the door closed) and it happens constantly every 5 minutes.

To reiterate, this is NOT the regular metallic banging or even the clicking noises from pipes.



    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,792
    Supply valve disk loose or off and flutters in the the steam flow.

    Turn off and see if it goes away.
  • jonnyc
    jonnyc Member Posts: 11
    If I turn the unit off then there's no noise at all, but then no heat either. This is one of the units that have a fan and to get heat the fan MUST be on (which I don't specially like) but the noise is puzzling me since I had a similar (maybe even the same) unit on a hotel-like apartment I stayed for a few months and never had this type of noise (just the occasional banging etc.)
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,541
    Something -- and I'm not even going to guess what -- loose inside. However, you can limit your search options -- can you turn the fan on and run that, with the heat (steam) off? If you can, and it rattles, I'm gong to be on something in the fan or ducting inside the unit. If it's only with the steam on, it might -- as @JUGHNE says, be a loose disc in the steam valve.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • jonnyc
    jonnyc Member Posts: 11
    @Jamie Hall good point, I forgot to mention on my initial post that it does NOT happen if only the fan is on (no heat).