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Noisy radiator even when off

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PamD
PamD Member Posts: 8
I live in an apartment with steam heat. I have two radiators in my apartment but one has been turned off for more than a year. The other one has been on and has recently started to make a nearly continuous hissing noise. The noise appears to be coming from the radiator itself vs the air vent. It’s so loud that I can’t sleep so I tried turning the valve completely off and it’s quieter but not silent like it used to be. (see video: https://youtube.com/shorts/h_a5Ig5a3PY?feature=share  It will occasionally be silent for a short period but it always comes back. I mentioned this to my landlord and they replaced the valve but that did not make any difference. I’ve lived here for about 18 years and the radiators have had occasional noise but nothing that’s persisted like this. Since Jan 2020 the heat is now on 24/7 so I can’t get a break from the noise. Can anyone figure out what might be going on?  

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,650
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    Somebody turned up the pressure.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    EdTheHeaterMankcopp
  • PamD
    PamD Member Posts: 8
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    @Jamie Hall how/where would someone turn up the pressure?  The boiler room is locked. 
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,795
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    Surely someone has the key :sweat_smile:

    NJ Steam Homeowner.
    Free NJ and remote steam advice: https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/new-jersey-steam-help/
    See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,650
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    Nobody ever checks the boiler? Really?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,167
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    Somebody turned up the pressure.

    Not just anybody... Somebody that has a key. The guy with the key may have let someone in the boiler room to make some maintenance or repairs or perhaps solve a problem that a different tenant may have complained about. This "Somebody" could have tried to fix that aforementioned problem by turning up the pressure. That repair never solves the problem and often causes more problems than it was supposed to solve.

    Do you have an approximate date of the beginning of the noise problem? If yes, then a letter or email (something more than just a phone call so there is a record of it) with the date of the new noise problem sent to the management company, including your problem, when it started and a specific question to the point of your problem. Like:

    On or about March ?, 2023 there was a new noise coming from the steam pipes near or around my (Name of Room). After exhaustive research I am of the opinion that a pressure adjustment may be causing this new noise. Has there been any service or maintenance to the steam boiler or the controls thereof that may have caused this increased pressure.

    This noise has caused interruption in my ability to sleep in my unit. The noise is less when I turn off my radiator however, it is still too loud for me to get a good night's sleep. As the lease and applicable law specifically states that my paying rent gives me the right to "Quiet Enjoyment" of my living quarters, and the aforementioned noise is interrupting the "Quiet" portion of the "Quiet enjoyment" provision of the lease and the law, I hope that you can search the records for any boiler repair or maintenance on or around (Date the noise started) to determine if the pressure adjustment can be placed back to the pressure prior to the setting that previously worked without noise.

    I further learned that higher pressure operation can result in higher operating cost, excess noise, and heating system imbalance. Much of this information can be found easily at www.heatinghelp.com if you care to research the problem yourself. I do not expect you to take my word for it. All I am asking for is to have less noise. Thank you for taking the time to promptly address this problem.

    If that correspondence does not get a quick reaction, then you can always take this to the next level.


    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

    PamD
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    The pressuretrol’s pigtail also may be clogged if no one is doing regular maintenance. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • neilc
    neilc Member Posts: 2,716
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    dammitt,
    I wanted to say pigtail,
    #pigtail
    known to beat dead horses
    Erin Holohan Haskell
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,961
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    The pressuretrol’s pigtail also may be clogged if no one is doing regular maintenance. 
    An apartment building NOT doing regular maintenance!
    impossable! :)
    EdTheHeaterManethicalpaul
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 16,568
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    Yeah. 
    Retired and loving it.
  • PamD
    PamD Member Posts: 8
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    Thanks everyone for the comments. My landlord finally sent over a heating repair guy and he checked the pressure in the boiler room and said it’s 1 psi. He changed my valve again and he turned the boiler back on and noticed that my valve is hot to the touch even though it’s completely off (and brand new). My other valve ( which is also off) is cold. He’s not sure what’s going on and it seems like the noise is still going to be there but I’ll know for sure in a few hours. He said he’s never seen something like this before and he’s going to consult with his colleagues but I thought I’d also post the question here in case anyone has any ideas as to what’s going on. 
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 8,167
    edited April 2023
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    There is the possibility that the replacement valve is designed for a hot water system. I'm not sure if there are many of those valves still being sold, but you never know. If the valve is a 180° turn from on to off and the closed side of the valve has a small orifice in it, then the valve will never be truly closed. The orifice in that hot water radiator valve is designed to allow a very small amount of water to move past the closed valve in order to keep the radiator and connecting pipes from freezing. There is a detailed discussion with examples of this valve here https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/comment/1736251.

    I can't say for sure that the replacement valve is incorrect, I can only suggest that there is the possibility that there is a hot water valve where there should be a steam valve. The wrong valve can be a problem.

    Edward Young Retired

    After you make that expensive repair and you still have the same problem, What will you check next?

  • PamD
    PamD Member Posts: 8
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    @EdTheHeaterMan I'm pretty sure he used the right valve. It's the same as my other radiator and that one is completely off and cold to the touch. He also installed a TRV and it doesn't seem to be working. Four hours ago I turned the TRV to zero but my radiator is as hot as ever (and making the same loud noise).
  • 109A_5
    109A_5 Member Posts: 1,388
    edited April 2023
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    Folks, what is wrong with this picture (from the OP's video above) ?



    What confidence would I have that the valve is correct ?
    And it was changed twice ?

    Watch
    If you don't want to watch the whole thing, watch 3:00 through 3:50 and 5:38 through 6:04.

    https://youtu.be/xe52k4JQWuk


    A 1" and 1-1/4" Steam valve. And in stock. And other sizes are in stock too.
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-RVST100-1-FIP-x-Male-Union-Steam-Angle-Radiator-Valve
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Bluefin-RVST125-1-1-4-FIP-x-Male-Union-Steam-Angle-Radiator-Valve

    National - U.S. Gas Boiler 45+ Years Old
    Steam 300 SQ. FT. - EDR 347
    One Pipe System
  • PamD
    PamD Member Posts: 8
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    The valve is a steam valve. Is bulbous like in the video referenced above and you have to turn it several turns to get it on or off. The technician returned today and confirmed that it's a steam valve. He is still not sure why it won't completely turn off or why it's making so much noise. He's going to install a cycle timer on the boiler to see if that will help. I'm on the first floor of a 6 story building and other tenants along my 'stack' are also complaining of noise so there's definitely something going on.