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Ame_Evil's avatar

What is causing this radiator to make a lot of noise?

Asked by Ame_Evil (3033 points ) February 19th, 2010

Ok. My housemates are really annoying and insist on having the heating on overnight. We have a spare room that has had some problem with mold and cold so they also insist having the radiator in there on all the time. This room is located just next to mine, with the radiator being annoyingly placed on my bedroom wall.

At night I find it really hard to get to sleep because it makes 5–6 thud/tapping noises (grouped) every 30 seconds. What could be causing this?

I have thought of a few factors – that it needs bleeding. But also the room in there is really small with a wardrobe being placed in front of the radiator so I thought maybe that may have stopped the heat circulating and thus caused problems?

Also as a side note, sometimes when my radiator is turned on (I turn it off overnight because a) I hate wasting energy and b) I like to snug up in a nice warm bed with cool air outside) I find it also makes my radiator make these noises but not as frequently.

Thanks for any advice.

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9 Answers

Ame_Evil's avatar

P.S. Is it wrong to ask that I pay less on the gas bill because I hardly use my radiator (have it on like 30–60 mins a day just to warm the room up) and generally want the temperature of the house cooler than my housemates? I really hate paying money for something that I am not using and which is indeed making me uncomfortably hot at times because their temperature tolerance is pathetic.

The only problem is that they’ll get hissy about me suggesting this because a) they suck.

HungryGuy's avatar

Expanding and contracting pipes, probably because the pipes are attached too rigidly to the beams, which doesn’t let them expand without making noise. If the pipes are exposed, you can loosen the fittings that they’re hung to the beams from, letting them expand and contract more freely. If you want to get fancy, there are special rubber fittings used to support heating pipes that give them some “play” so they don’t make noise. Otherwise, there’s not much you can do.

Ame_Evil's avatar

I know radiators make noise when they first turn on, but this radiator is constantly making these noises every 30 seconds. I just thought that if they had hot water in it, the expansion is over and they won’t make as much noise anymore. Am I wrong then?

HungryGuy's avatar

The next time you have the system serviced, ask about the noise. I also have a hot water heating system, and it pings and pops constantly when the flame is on and the circulator motor is running. I’m like you, I prefer to keep my house cool, and sleep in a cozy warm bed with lots of blankets—even in the summer (my nighttime temp is 60F and my daytime temp is 70F—winter and summer). But I live alone, and have that luxury :) In my last house, I had a forced air system with central air, and my A/C bill in the summer was way higher than my heating bill in the winter. The nice thing about a hot water system is that they are VERY efficient, albiet noisy if pings and pops bother you :( My heating bill is even lower than my last house. And the window AC units, while not as fancy as central A/C, are cheaper to run as well and keep me just as cool.

dpworkin's avatar

That is called air hammer. In a two-pipe system, with a condensation return pipe, it means that there is air in the return, interfering with the draining of the condensate. If you see one pipe entering where the valve is, and the opposite pipe exiting on the other side, you can try to shim up the valve side, to let the condensate drain better. With a one pipe system, or a circulating hot water system, the radiator needs to be bled. There will be a bleed valve you can open to let the air out. Hold something under it, because eventually water will begin to run out, then shut the valve.

Cruiser's avatar

It’s air…needs bleeding…simple fix.

lilikoi's avatar

What @dpworkin and @Cruiser said.

To your second question – maybe you should move out and find roommates that like it colder like you do rather than venting to the world about how much they suck. You sound a little hissy yourself.

Ame_Evil's avatar

@lilikoi Yeah poor communication on both of our parts is not good and is probably leading to a never-ending circle of hissiness.

I shall try to bleed the thing and see if it improves. We can’t really do much or anything permenant since we are just renting the house for 2 years.

LuckyGuy's avatar

The air bleeder is located on the downstream side of the radiator. You will need a special tool bit that looks like an old skate key i.e. round on the outside, square in the center.

If you have access to the pipes that go to and from the radiator you can check and see if the they are rigidly held to the floor. There are rubber inserts that you can put in the hangars allow for movement. They are cheap to install.

The paying for heat issue is like going to a restaurant with a group. You order the salad while “Josephine” orders the steak with 2 glasses of wine and then insists the bill be split evenly. Of course you smile, pay the bill but vow to never go out with Josephine again. The roommate issue is more difficult. You are stuck. Smile, pay the bill but never room with them again.
Also know that you are losing about 10 calories per night by keeping your room colder.

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