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how to diagnose where banging is coming from

elwood Member Posts: 2
<span style="font-size:12pt">Less than a year ago I moved into a coop apartment on the top floor of a 7-story building. Pipes under the floor connected to the radiator in my living room and bedroom bang (although being under the floor, the noise is somewhat muffled) and the living room radiator bangs much, much louder. (Infrequently, the bedroom radiator also bangs although for about half the time as the living room radiator does, and only on occasion.) I am the only building occupant experiencing this problem. We have tried a number of things (in the living room) to resolve it, none of which has been successful: 1) steam pipe above the floor was re-pitched and the steam valve replaced; 2) new radiator installed and properly pitched; 3) boiler pressure lowered; 4) air valve replaced twice; 5) steam pipe under the floor reconfigured (there were 2 additional elbows so a more direct connection to the riser, I think, was installed). I hired a plumber for the work on the steam pipe/valve and radiator; the building manager hired the plumber that did the under-the-floor work. </span><span style="font-size:12pt">As a temporary measure (I hope), I have been closing the steam valve on the radiator in my living room every night in order to get some sleep (the radiator is on the other side of my bedroom and so loud it would wake me throughout the night. The heat in the building is turned off when the temperature is below 40 degrees. Oddly, the temperature must fluctuate a lot around that temperature given how often the banging occurs!)</span><span style="font-size:12pt">This has helped some but I am still often awakened by the banging in the pipes. By the way, the banging in the pipes can be heard about 30 seconds before the radiator starts to bang. Water also runs from the living room air valve when the banging occurs. </span><span style="font-size:12pt">I have asked the building manager to send the plumber back to try to identify where the banging in the pipes might be coming from since he never actually heard it himself. She is refusing to do so but I intend to pursue this. Can you recommend what steps one might take to figure out where the clogged or improperly pitched pipe might be in the system that is causing the noise in my apartment? Any other advice? Let me know if you need more information. Thanks so much.</span>


  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    coop steam problems

    is this a 1-pipe, or 2-pipe system?

    I consider the entire steam system from boiler to each radiator as a common element in the building, and no one should be making any changes to any part of it, willy-nilly, for changes made in one part of the building can have adverse effects on the whole.

    when you say that the pressure has been lowered, do you know what the pressure is now?

    I think you may need a steam professional, and not just a plumber. this is likely a system-wide problem, and needs competent expertise. this water-hammer is not a normal occurrence with steam heating systems, and would certainly not have been tolerated when the building was first built! what is your location?--nbc
  • elwood
    elwood Member Posts: 2
    not sure yet of the system type

    Nicholas, I must admit, I don't currently know if it is a one-pipe or two-pipe system but since there is currently a hole in my floor from the last repair, I can tell you that it appears that steam comes up a riser into the steam pipe and then connect with a pipe that runs acrossfrom the living room to the bedroom (though I don't know what is under that floor so maybe its even the other way around?). I can ask the super tomorrow about the type of system we have. And here is something else that will show my "ignorance" -- is a steam specialist the same as a boiler mechanic? Such mechanic did check out the boiler and my radiator but was of no help.

    I am in NYC.
  • nicholas bonham-carter
    nicholas bonham-carter Member Posts: 8,564
    Steam professional qualifications

    Use the find a contractor button here to find a list of pros in NYC.

    Use the search button to find any postings which any of them have made. You are looking for one with good communication skills especially to deal with the manager, and some likely deferred maintenance with the rest of the system.--NBC
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