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Popping in the wall, year 3

Year 1: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/183906/loud-popping-in-my-apartment-wall
Year 2: https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/187858/popping-in-my-wall-part-2

The popping has always come from the ceiling. My current suspicion is that this is thermal expansion rubbing up against a floorboard. Why? When intense, it’s a loud pop, but when not intense, it’s a creaking sound, like someone is walking above me.

So this past weekend I chopped a hole in my ceiling to see what’s going on. It’s pretty busy, with the riser teeing off to service the radiators on the floor above me. But that riser...

I stuck a borescope up to follow the riser up to the next floor.


I can’t tell if that floor is touching the riser or not, but it’s really close, and I think if it actually is touching, that would be a problem, right?

The heat hasn’t turned on yet, so I’m very tempted to get someone to come in and cut away the floor as much as they can, while the pipe isn’t boiling. If that fixes it, that’d be great, but if it didn’t fix it, it wouldn’t matter.


  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,356
    edited October 2022
    I seriously read that as pooping in the wall...

    I was going to have some questions.
    PC7060Alan (California Radiant) Forbes
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,737
    Basically you don’t want the pipe touching any wood. If it does it will make noise almost certainly.

    Get a milk type plastic jug, cut pieces of it out, put the plastic between the pipe and wood.  This allows it to slide and will quiet it down.  This will confirm if it’s the cause of the noise.  In an accessible area I’d use that as the final fix.  In an inaccessible area like you have, the wood should be cut back, or the pipe secured differently to get it away from the wood.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • avidrissman
    avidrissman Member Posts: 34
    Aha, I think I’ve found the culprit. And it’s not wood deep in the wall.

    I think it’s the idiot contractor who did the reno work. My ceilings are hanging from metal supports, and the contractors ran them right up against the steam pipe:

    And when I test to see what happens if the steam pipe were to rub up against the support:


    Doesn’t that sound like:


    There’s one more support to remove:

    Though I’m not sure how to remove it safely so I’m asking a friend for help.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,637
    You can cut a couple inches off the end with some snips or you can fold over the edge to get some clearance. That piece of channel is just hanging in mid air at the end by the pipe, if it is supported anywhere it certainly isn't supported in that part you took a picture of. The top plate of the wall you should be more careful with since the last stud connects at the end but if you folded a little half moon about a half inch in to the end it won't hurt anything. The whole pipe against the wall or the stud could be a problem too.
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,671
    JakeCK said:

    I seriously read that as pooping in the wall...

    I was going to have some questions.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • avidrissman
    avidrissman Member Posts: 34
    One last bit of followup: there wasn’t enough room for tin snips or honestly anything else. But I did happen to have a chisel, so I wailed at it until it bent just enough so it wasn’t touching any more.

    No more popping. There’s a bit of clanging from the radiators, and I’m still trying to get my building to turn the boiler down from 5 psig, but that’s all secondary now.

    Thank you so much to the folks from this forum who’ve made suggestions over the years. You’re the best.
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,702
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el