Knocks in steam pipes ? ? ?

Sorry to be such a pest, but I have another question about our aging steam radiator system in our six-unit apartment building. Last night, an hour or so after the weekly flushing of the systerm, we heard a very loud knock in the pipes. As if someone had hit the pipe with a sledgehammer.
Is this dangerous? What should I do? Was the knock, which we heard only once, probably tied in with the flushing?
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probably a steam trap releasing , wouldnt worry about it unless it persists,

9so after the weekly flushing of the systerm, we heard a very loud knock in 4the pipes. As if someone had hit the pipe with a sledgehammer.<PIs this dangerous? What should I do? Was the knock, which we heard only .once, probably tied in with the flushing?
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Banging steam pipes come from water in the pipes being shot by the flowing steam. Dangerous? Usually not on a low presure system, certainly on a high pressure system. The water can be condensate laying in pipes that are not properly pitched, or it can be "carry over" where the steam picks up water from the top of the water and carries it into the pipes and slams it into the fittings at elbows and such. Filling too high can cause that also. I've seen 12" steam pipe bounce and shake violently from water hammer. It can also break open or fitting fly off. Try to avoid it.
You may want to consider how you perform the maintenance. Instead of a weekly flushing, a daily blowdown is peferable. There is no sensible reason to do a flushing as you are just adding fresh water and all the oxygen it contains. You want to flush the minerals that condense out by doing a blowdown of the bottom of the water chamber. If you have a lot of minerals, a softener would be a big help. Most industrial boilers also have water treatment to reduce oxygen and scaling of the tubes. Residential cast iron boilers usually don't do that.
If it continues, get the advice of a professional that knows steam and how the system works. Get your water tested.

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I think that by "flushing" I mean the same thing as you mean in "blowdown."
Daily? No one ever suggested that often before. The guy who installed it suggested weekly.
I've never been clear what the "blowdown" does anyway.
-- Ray

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OK we are probably talking about the same thing. The frequency depends on the quality of the water and how much loss you have.
In a perfect system, you'd fill the boiler to the recommended level and you'd never had a loss and you'd never add water, and you'd never have to blowdown the system.
reality is, you do have some losses of water or vapor through leaks and vents so water is added as needed, usually through an automatic valve. As you add water, you also add dissolved solids that are in the water. When you make steam, the water is turned into vapor and the solids drop out. Over time, the solids accumulate and can form a mud on the bottom of the boiler. This coating inhibits heat transfer, plugs up tubes and other potential problems depending on the boiler type. So, to get rid of them, you blowdown (or as you say, flush) out the bottom of the boiler. Some have a mud drum for that reason. You do this while the boiler is hot, under pressure, but you don't take the water level down out of the sight glass.
Again, using industrial boilers as an example, the water is checked daily. We have a meter to tell us what the TDS (total dissolved solids) is and we do the blowdown accordingly. In our case, this is a process boiler and we use up to 10,000 gallons of water a day for steam so a lot of stuff can be left behind. We also add chemicals as I noted before to assist in keeping the insides clean, keeping the solids dispersed, and driving off oxygen.
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wrote:

You most likely have a one pipe steam heating system. The "knock" was steam hitting the cold condensate water coming back the same pipe. Yes, it can be VERY destructive. Bubba
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Yes, ours is a single-pipe system delivering steam.
But what do I do about the "knocking" problem?

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You may have radiators not pitched to drain the water if you have removed them to refinish floors or paint, or the building settled, just check they angle, a shim or wood can be used to raise one end. In blowdown I do the low water shutoff and a drain at the bottom of the boiler for about 5 seconds maybe every week or 2 if it continues and you are not overfull maybe the building has settled changing the pitch of a pipe.
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In short, everything from the radiators to the boiler has to have the radiators and piping with a slight pitch back to the boiler. This includes all of the piping. Even that hidden in walls and floors. Not always the easiest of fun jobs. A bad steam trap at the radiator or in the lines can cause this problem too. Bubba
wrote:

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Thanks -- This very loud 'knock' has happened only once, so far as I know. It happend shortly after I did a flush or 'drawdown' -- I wonder if it might have been a one-time problem.

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Dont know. Im not there. Only once is a good sign but none is better. Wouldnt hurt to look the piping over with a level and see if there is anything pitched the wrong way. Bubba
wrote:

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Is the repair guy's van still in your driveway a week later? Does he have a couple cough drops and six asprin, like the two cleaning ladies who got caught in the elevator?
--

Christopher A. Young
.
.

"Ray" < snipped-for-privacy@DELTHISverizon.net> wrote in message
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