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Steam Radiators: Hissing Vents

peddy Member Posts: 3
I've asked this question before. But I don't think I'm clear on what I should do. I'm in Massachusetts with a (single-pipe) steam heat system in my old house. As most of you know it's been EXTREMELY cold up here the past few weeks, so my system has been cranking. (Well, apologies to those further North. It's been cold compared to what we're used to.)

My radiator air vents are maybe 3 years old. And when the system begins to run, I'll hear a very quiet hissing - more like a whisper - as the steam pushes the air out of the rads.....which I believe is normal. And it's so quiet that it doesn't bother me at all.

But when the rads heat all the way across - as they have been the last two weeks - there's a much louder hiss. So loud it wakes me up in the middle of the night. (And I'm a heavy sleeper!) It's not a continual hiss. It does this for maybe 5-10 seconds, then there's a "click", and the noise stops. But it will start up again every 10-15 minutes - making it hard to fall back asleep. I'm pretty sure that this is the steam coming into contact with the vent, and then the went snapping shut...over and over again.

So my question is, is some louding hissing expected and do I just have to get used to it? (If yes, then my vents are working fine and I don't think I need to do anything.)

Or should my vents shut immediately when they come into contact with the steam, resulting in no loud hiss. (if yes, then I clearly need to replace them.)

We're talking about $6.00 air vents that I got at home depot. (Picture here if interested: http://www.pe-web.com/air_vent.jpg)

Sorry for the long post. But I think my lack of detail in previous posts has led to some "the vents are defective, replace them" responses, and other "that's just the charm of steam heat" responses. Leaving me with no consensus.

Thanks for the help. The knowledge on this site is an incredible resource for homeowners.

whitman, ma.

(heat wave today! 22 deg.)


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