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Radiator PINGING is Driving me Crazy! Please help so I can sleep!

jhartmich
jhartmich Member Posts: 18
My apartment manager will not fix the heating system. Every time the boiler comes on my radiator pings SO LOUD, I can no longer sleep. Question: Is there anything I can do in my apartment to improve things? I am not sure if I have hit water or steam radiators. The building was built in 1822. Maybe someone can tell from the pictures.

Can I add an air vent? Will that help a little bit? I am willing to try anything! Thank you!

Where I drew the blue line, is that where I would put the vent?

Joe






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Comments

  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,704
    Do NOT drill or install anything without the building owners written permission!
    A small ping could just be expansion as the pipes and radiator expand.
    jhartmich
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    edited February 19
    I do have his permission. Any help?
  • STEVEusaPA
    STEVEusaPA Member Posts: 6,049
    edited February 19
    Ear plugs, white noise, or move. Not being sarcastic, but those are you options. The pinging noise simply may not be easily fixable.

    There was an error rendering this rich post.

    guzzinerd
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    I'm already using your plugs, white noise machine, pillow over my head. It's really really loud. Really loud. Just thought maybe trying to vent some of that air would help. I asked the owner about it and he said go ahead and see if it works. I just thought I would post here to get some professional opinion. Like I said, the buildings 100 years old and tearing out all the old pipes is more than the old owner can afford. So we were thinking of a simple solution. So you don't think just unscrewing the plug and putting it in air valve would help it all?
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 4,450
    Where are you?  U need a Steam Pro like myself out there to guide you.  Go to FIND A CONTRACTOR feature here and you'll find capable professionals to help you. Mad Dog
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 4,450
    As long as your building owner is willing to do a little work, any noise can be snuffed out.  Depends how far you'll are willing to go. Mad Dog
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,840
    Not water. Steam. Furthermore, two pipe steam. The tip is the trap on the outlet. A vent won't help at all, so don't think about it.

    I'll bet the building is running at too high a pressure, but that won't likely make much difference.

    Now the question is... the ping. Can you describe it more completely? And when does it happen? When the heat is coming on, or all the time? Is it more like an almost musical "ting", or is it more like a clank or even a bang? The most likely source of a ting like noise is expansion when it is heating up or cooling off, and this may or may not be easy to fix. On the other hand, a noise more like a clank or bang is more likely a pipe slightly at the wrong pitch.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    bburd
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18

    Not water. Steam. Furthermore, two pipe steam. The tip is the trap on the outlet. A vent won't help at all, so don't think about it.

    I'll bet the building is running at too high a pressure, but that won't likely make much difference.

    Now the question is... the ping. Can you describe it more completely? And when does it happen? When the heat is coming on, or all the time? Is it more like an almost musical "ting", or is it more like a clank or even a bang? The most likely source of a ting like noise is expansion when it is heating up or cooling off, and this may or may not be easy to fix. On the other hand, a noise more like a clank or bang is more likely a pipe slightly at the wrong pitch.

    Thank you, Jamie, for trying to help. I am a poor college student and can't really afford to move or anything better right now.

    The ping ONLY happens when the boiler comes on. Sometimes it's as loud as if you took a hammer and hit the radiator. It goes on for 10 minutes. Then after it's running for a minute, silent as a lamb. Half hour later when it comes back on PING, PING, PING..... It's everywhere in the building but for whatever reason, some apartments are worse than others and mine is one of the worst. Clank and BANG would accurately describe it. This started at the end of last winter then this winter it was really bad. She did have someone out to adjust the pressure but that hardly helped. It's as bad as ever again. I'm just trying to TONE IT DOWN a little in my apartment. I can no longer sleep at night. I am REALLY suffering and stressed all because of this noise waking me up. It goes right through my earplugs, noise machine, and pillows.

    Thanks for any suggestions.
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18

    Not water. Steam. Furthermore, two pipe steam. The tip is the trap on the outlet. .....

    What did you mean by that???? What is the trap and outlet? Is it this thing?


  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,452
    That is the steam trap on the outlet of the radiator, it first passes air out and when steam hits the internal element , it will close until condensate water collects in trap to cool off the element and then opens for a few seconds to pass that water.

    Assuming all of your radiator valves are working, you could shut them all off.

    (there are plenty of other rads in the building, so you will not damage the boiler)

    Then when the boiler fires you could narrow down the noise which sounds like water hammer.

    If it continues and is coming thru the building pipes there is nothing you can do in your apartment.

    If it stops or changes, you could turn on one rad at a time to narrow down the source.
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    edited February 19
    I took that trap apart once because it was leaking around the trap. Could I have put the insert thing in upside down and screwed it up? When I first got here this radiator never sounded like that. The bathroom radiator is directly on the other side of the wall and it doesn't ping. Why this one?

    Listen to the ping: I only recorded 50 minutes but it usually lasts about two minutes. This is what I friggin' deal with ALL NIGHT TRYING TO SLEEP!!! :'(

    Click and listen to: My Stupid Radiator

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,452
    I would call that water hammer. When steam hits a pool of water, the water either flashes to steam, expanding by 1700 times, or the steam condenses shrinking by that factor and causes a vacuum that has more steam rush in.

    Your supply pipe comes out of the wall behind the rad, it looks to go horizontal towards the supply valve before going vertical.

    There is a chance that the supply end of the rad has settled and the horizontal pipe is running downhill a little. You could try to raise that end of the rad 1/4" at a time to get that pipe to drain back into the wall, (assuming it has lost it's pitch).

    You need a lever and fulcrum to raise the rad. You can put checkers or large washers under the feet.
    Don't move too much at a time as you are trying to rotate old pipe threads.
    jhartmich
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    Thank you sir. I hope that works. Like I said, the bathroom radiator is on the other side of the wall and does NOTHING!
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    So I raise THE END WITH THE TRAP??????????????????
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    Like this:






  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 364
    Sounds like a neighbor is tapping on the pipe with a ball peen hammer.... It sounds to me like something is loose in the system and the steam is moving it until it's weight drops it..or suction and release... Grab the inlet and outlet pipes and see if you can feel which one it's vibrating through..
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 629
    edited February 19
    No, you raise the end OPPOSITE the trap, where the supply valve is.

    You may possibly need to raise both ends of the radiator (gently, a little at a time); but the end with the trap should be lower because that is where the condensate is supposed to drain.

    Bburd
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,704
    And 1 washer at a time. 
    bburdJUGHNE
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,840
    I doubt that your working on the trap caused the problem -- if you got the element in upside down, it likely simply wouldn't work at all. Still, you were a brave soul to try it without ensuring that the boiler was off!

    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 364
    jhartmich said:
    I took that trap apart once because it was leaking around the trap. Could I have put the insert thing in upside down and screwed it up? 
    Yes..  Pull the cap and take a picture and post it... Maybe you didn't seat it cleanly either or forgot a spring...
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    edited February 19
    Ok, Got it. OMG...I'm studying software engineering... this is so out of my wheelhouse....Thank you guys.

    Sorry, I already put four before I read this again. There was a divot in the wood floor so it was sagging on that end at least an 1/8". That end lifted up so easily. That tells us it was sagging I guess.

    This end....LOL...Got it.... :D


    Here we go:



  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    One of the things I think you guys should know is that the PINGING occurred with the supply valve on OR off. It's crazy. I was just hoping to shut it off and turn on the oven occasionally and forgo the noise. That didn't work. On or off it was PINGING. So maybe the new steam was hitting sagging/standing water in the supply side pipe. Or so I'm hypothesizing with all my 15 minutes of plumbing experience.... :D
    bburdJUGHNE
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,452
    You are trying to insure that that short horizontal pipe, 12-15" or so slopes to drain back to the wall from where it pokes out of.

    As CI rads heat and cool off they move and produce the davits in the floor, lowering that end....actually both ends of the rad. But the supply end (valve/knob) is of concern for now.

    The other end of the rad should have no steam in the trap/drain piping.
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    JUGHNE said:

    You are trying to insure that that short horizontal pipe, 12-15" or so slopes to drain back to the wall from where it pokes out of.

    As CI rads heat and cool off they move and produce the davits in the floor, lowering that end....actually both ends of the rad. But the supply end (valve/knob) is of concern for now.

    The other end of the rad should have no steam in the trap/drain piping.

    Thank you! The boiler just kicked on and it only PINGED 3 times and stopped. :) OMG I hope this fixes it. I'm hoping that was a "Good-bye" ping! :) I have a test in the morning and need sleep. Thank you, thank you, thank you to all you guys. I had no money to hire anyone so thank you for being patient with me! o:)
    JUGHNEbburd
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,452
    Please keep us posted....you're welcome.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 364
    And you can download a Level APP to your phone to check the radiators pitch for fine tuning if need be..Get some sleep for now.. 👋
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
    jhartmich
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,178
    if raising that rad made improvements,
    and you already had the "wrong" end up a bit also,
    then maybe getting both ends up just a bit more, 1/4~1/2 inch, might just quiet the rest down.
    known to beat dead horses
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    edited February 20
    It is still BANGING some. I have read that steam radiators are always going to be noisier than hot water radiators, but now I am wondering if I tilted it correctly? The first time I put shims under the trap but then everyone said, "no, shim the valve side." How come this article says, it should "tilt slightly TOWARD the intake valve." HUH?????????? Now What? Read it here under Try The Tilt

    Try the Tilt
    A properly functioning steam radiator does not sit perfectly level on the floor. Rather, it tilts slightly toward the intake valve. That positioning allows condensed water to flow out of the radiator, not by means of a pump, but through the force of gravity. Therefore, if your radiator starts getting noisy, the first thing to check is check whether the radiator remains tilted toward the valve.

    Is that wrong?????? Now I am confused!!!!!!!! Or do you tip it TOWARD THE VALVE IN A ONE PIPE SYSTEM, and TOWARD THE TRAP in a 2 pipe steam system. I'm confused?
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,178
    you have 2 pipe rads, steam in one side, condensate drains out the lower other end, rad should pitch to the drain,

    that "tilts slightly toward the intake valve..." is for 1 pipe rads, steam enters, and condensate leaves, though the single pipe,
    rad still need to pitch to its drain, in the 1 pipe case, the supply valve is the drain also.
    known to beat dead horses
    jhartmich
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    neilc said:

    if raising that rad made improvements,
    and you already had the "wrong" end up a bit also,
    then maybe getting both ends up just a bit more, 1/4~1/2 inch, might just quiet the rest down.

    Read what I wrote after your post. Is that why you suggested I also shim the trap end???
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,178
    steam, working correctly, is quiet,
    you have a water hammer there,
    try gently raising the entire rad, both ends, maintaining the pitch to the low drain / trap end,
    known to beat dead horses
    jhartmich
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    neilc said:

    steam, working correctly, is quiet,
    you have a water hammer there,
    try gently raising the entire rad, both ends, maintaining the pitch to the low drain / trap end,

    Thank you. I'll just try one washer to start on the trap end. Thanks!
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,178
    do both ends evenly,
    maintain slight pitch to the trap
    known to beat dead horses
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 364
    @jhartmich You confused the post by posting different radiators and piping .. stick to the one with the issues please as to  conserve resources expedite resolution of problem... .
    Back to your repair on the banging radiator..
    It didn't make noise until you removed the "Cap" from the trap because it was leaking.., how was the element placed in the trap.. threaded into the Cap ? Just set in the trap body with a spring that compresses when you tighten the Cap ? Some other way ? Is it possible you put it back incorrectly or damaged it as they're pretty fragile at 100 years old to begin with.. Does that radiator get hot ? 
    I don't know why the traps aren't on the same side as the inlet valves because the radiators don't look that big. . But that's not the question..The trap you took out... Tell us about it.. the good, the bad 🚬 and the ugly 🧰
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 923
    edited February 20
    Re the software engineering degree, good choice.  Look at this as a practical application of physics in the real world.  Sort of a ungraded non-elective.  😝
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,452
    The initial raising the rad recommendation was to assure correct pitch on the short horizontal pipe run out that exits the wall behind the rad goes horizontally and then up to the steam supply valve.

    My theory is that water could be sitting in the run out pipe and causing the water hammer.

    If both ends of the rad are raised that would also correct the horizontal pipe pitch.

    The valve end should be slightly higher than the trap end to get drainage towards the trap
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    The pinging is just as bad as always. Is there a chance that when I took that trap apart then I screwed it up putting it back together? Maybe the water isn't draining out like it's supposed to and that's why I'm getting such a bad water hammer? Could that be the case?
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 718
    the problem is most likely not with your radiator but with the system piping. lots of steam issues are not at the location of the noise. dirty boiler water can cause wet steam leaving the boiler. this will be higher than normal wet steam around the system which causes steam to condense rapidly and water hammer. get out of your apartment and look around. is there a sag in the piping from a broken hanger. are they treating the boiler water. are they flushing the system to remove tds. there are lots of reasons for banging pipes.
    ethicalpaul
  • jhartmich
    jhartmich Member Posts: 18
    pedmec said:
    the problem is most likely not with your radiator but with the system piping. lots of steam issues are not at the location of the noise. dirty boiler water can cause wet steam leaving the boiler. this will be higher than normal wet steam around the system which causes steam to condense rapidly and water hammer. get out of your apartment and look around. is there a sag in the piping from a broken hanger. are they treating the boiler water. are they flushing the system to remove tds. there are lots of reasons for banging pipes.
    I think you're right because the pipes are banging everywhere.  I was just hoping there was something I could do. It's definitely in the supply line. Turning off my supply valve does nothing. I'm so sick of this.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 10,452
    Do you have access to the boiler room? If so post pictures of the boiler controls and pressure gauge.

    Also a good look at the sight glass. Then from far back pictures to show all the boiler piping, floor to ceiling.