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Common Household Remedies Request

Dammit, after a quiet heating season, some idiot "turned down" a steam radiator. But that can't be done: A steam radiator should be on or off. So the result (as steam geeks know) of partially turned-off radiators is that the steam doesn't fully heat the radiator and water can end up accumulating when the heating cycle ends. (I hope I got that right.) Then, when the steam hits the water, at a hundred miles an hour or so, the radiator bangs. Any solutions besides waiting it out?

If the radiator can be drained, I don't know how. Perahps if I tilted it more?

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twonine's picture
Submitted by twonine on

Have you checked the pitch with a level? As radiators expand and contract hundreds of times over the years, they can gouge pretty deep in the already uneven floor and could need quite a bit of shimming. Also, a long radiator could sag in the middle, creating a pocket that doesn't drain even when pitched properly end to end. The valve's seat could come loose from the stem so it may not actually be opened fully.

Any work done on the system recently? Asbestos removed and hangers not put back properly; heavy items hung from pipes in basement; new air vents?

Does it hammer on start-up, mid cycle or end of cycle? Hammer could be from elsewhere in the system.

Submitted by lambert on

However, the hammer has now abated, though it took two or three cycles. I always level check the radiators at the start of the heating season, and I checked this one again, and it was tilted in the right direction. However, just for grins, I tilted it some more, and that seemed to do it.

Good suggestion that the hammer could be coming from elsewhere, but I was certain from listening to it.

As for work done, no, nothing but "turning down" that radiator. Also, I'm in a "this old house," so settling does happen. (The system is also single zone, and this radiator is in the room where the thermostat is, so it's crossed my mind that a tenant attempted to game the system. I've heard stories of tenants hanging bags of ice cubes on thermostats...)