Hello I have gas fired steam heat with the old cast iron radiators.
My question is that recently over the past 2 years when the heat is turned
I hear the cast iron pipes banging or clanking in the first few minutes and
then it stops.
All the radiators get very hot which leads me to believe they are not
All of them have new vent valves. Only some of the exposed pipes in the
insulated. This banging has become more frequent as the years pass.
What could cause this? Is there air in the system or does that problem only
hot water baseboard. Should I insulate the pipes? I also frequently drain
the low water cut off valve and refill it to the proper level. Should the
also be insulated? Thanks for any info.
I highly recommend www.heatinghelp.com . The "Questions" button at the top
will take you to "The Wall" which is a bulletin board for problems. Do a
search on banging pipes or such and read some before you ask. I have found
the folks there to be very helpful. Buy Dans book, The Lost Art of Steam
Banging pipes is not unusual but really shouldn't happen. Since you ask
about insulating the return pipes, I will guess you have a 2-pipe system.
The only noise I hear in mine is the sound of thermal expansion in a couple
of rooms where the pipe rubs the wall. Very minor.
Pressure setting varies a lot based on the system you have. My home was
built in 1926 and had a Trane vapor system when built. I run my pressure to
cut out at 3/4 pound and back in at 1/4 pound. Every system is different
but most residential systems run with very little pressure. More pressure
is rarely the answer to anything.
I hope this helps a little. I love my steam heat but it is getting hard to
find anyone who knows how to set them up any more.
The banging you hear is water hammer from condensation in the system. Very
normal for a steam heater. Some of us think of it as music rather than just
Insulating the pipe won't make any difference. The exposed pipe are giving
off heat, just like the radiators are. It is not lost heat because it is
heating the house. If the pipes pass through areas that you do not want
heated, they should be insulated there. Check the water level in the system
and be sure thee is room for the condensate to all return.
You may want to get a book about steam heating
It should give you some tips to lessen the noise, as well as other steam
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