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Help! Save me from my clanking radiator!

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Posted by Nate on February 16, 2007 at 18:38:01:

Hi everyone,

I live in a rental unit in a very old building. I have a one-pipe steam radiator, that clanks continuously for a good 10-15 minutes at the start of each heating cycle. Air is heard rushing from the air vent, then a short while later, the clanking starts. It is the radiator itself, not the piping, that clanks, and it makes noises similar to the sound of shaking a spray paint can.

I tried shimming the radiator with two wooden furniture shims under each leg to ensure it pitched back towards the pipe for drainage, and it did not seem to make a difference in the clanking. I also was afraid I'd cause a leak if I shimmed it any more while it was still connected to the boiler pipe.

The steam valve handle has been removed by maintenace, but as far as I can tell, it's fully open. The valve stem is covered by some sort of nipple, which I can grab and turn somewhat with pliers, and I've opened the valve as far as I could with this method (but as soon as there's resistance, the pliers give out). It seemed to be in the "full open" position already.

I've called maintenence several times and they haven't done anything, saying "it's just an old building." I don't buy this as my friend's radiator on the first floor of the same building is nearly silent. It'd be amazing if my radiator didn't clank and wake me up every night!

Please let me know if you have any ideas! Thank you!

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