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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
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    Default Hot Water Baseboard Banging... Need Help

    I own a cape code house where the basement contains a furnace that provides steam to radiators on my first level. Two years ago, I finished off the attic area to make a bedroom and a local plumber ran a loop off the furnace that connects to a section of baseboard to be heated by hot water. Ever since this has been assembled, the baseboard section bangs like crazy when the upstairs is pulling the water through it. My question is, is this an acceptable design or is the design incorrectly setup as it should not use baseboard hotwater units to heat it? If it is not the correct design, what is the best and most economical means to heat the attic: steam radiators, electric radiators... etc?

    Thanks,
    David

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    556

    Default Re: Hot Water Baseboard Banging... Need Help

    David,

    It's an acceptable design---but it's somewhat complicated to maintain.

    You should be able to get this "hot water loop" to work without any banging, so that the arrangement you have now is the best way to heat the attic, given you have a steam system.

    As the articles mention, trying to cut into old steam pipes to put steam rads in the attic causes problems all its own, and the steam boiler and the sizing of the pipes may not be able to handle the addition---try to get the original plumber back that did the job---most heating techs are not familiar with steam setups---if the original guy is not available, check the Yellow Pages under "Heating Equipment-Parts" to get the phone # of local heating supply houses---the counterman can recommend someone who is familiar with steam heating.

    You're getting the banging because of one of several things---the baseboard & its piping lost some of its water & steam is banging thru the pipe.

    The hot water is not supposed to flow thru the baseboard circuit unless the boiler water is below 180 degrees, so it doesn't flash into steam---so check the aquastat settings and the function of the switching relay to make sure they're working.

    Make sure there are no air vents open on the baseboard section---this will make the water drop back down to the boiler.

    You may have to purge the air out of the baseboard loop, as described in the article, or call the plumber to do it who put in the system, or someone familiar with this type of circuit.

    Read & study the two articles below & give it a shot if you want to diy---the 2nd article has a diagram of how these loops are set up, with the components mentioned in the text.

    At the bell-gossett site, scroll down and click onto article 7: "Hot water zone on steam boiler".


    http://www.oldhousejournal.com/magaz...ydronics.shtml
    http://bellgossett.com/homeowners/BG-Library.asp
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 01-07-2010 at 11:35 PM.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Hot Water Baseboard Banging... Need Help

    Quote Originally Posted by NashuaTech View Post
    David,

    It's an acceptable design---but it's somewhat complicated to maintain.

    You should be able to get this "hot water loop" to work without any banging, so that the arrangement you have now is the best way to heat the attic, given you have a steam system.

    As the articles mention, trying to cut into old steam pipes to put steam rads in the attic causes problems all its own, and the steam boiler and the sizing of the pipes may not be able to handle the addition---try to get the original plumber back that did the job---most heating techs are not familiar with steam setups---if the original guy is not available, check the Yellow Pages under "Heating Equipment-Parts" to get the phone # of local heating supply houses---the counterman can recommend someone who is familiar with steam heating.

    You're getting the banging because of one of several things---the baseboard & its piping lost some of its water & steam is banging thru the pipe.

    The hot water is not supposed to flow thru the baseboard circuit unless the boiler water is below 180 degrees, so it doesn't flash into steam---so check the aquastat settings and the function of the switching relay to make sure they're working.

    Make sure there are no air vents open on the baseboard section---this will make the water drop back down to the boiler.

    You may have to purge the air out of the baseboard loop, as described in the article, or call the plumber to do it who put in the system, or someone familiar with this type of circuit.

    Read & study the two articles below & give it a shot if you want to diy---the 2nd article has a diagram of how these loops are set up, with the components mentioned in the text.

    At the bell-gossett site, scroll down and click onto article 7: "Hot water zone on steam boiler".


    http://www.oldhousejournal.com/magaz...ydronics.shtml
    http://bellgossett.com/homeowners/BG-Library.asp
    You say this is an acceptable design, but I don't see how. Here's some additional information and questions. The upstairs system is run as a slave system to the downstairs. Namely, the upstairs cannot have heat without the downstairs system running. So, when the downstairs asks for heat the pressure and temperature builds which is too hot for the hot water system to handle.

    You seem to know an aweful lot about this stuff. Is there any way I could directly contact you or, if it is easier, you could call me? Please reply if this can be arranged.

    Thanks,
    David

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    556

    Default Re: Hot Water Baseboard Banging... Need Help

    David:

    Well, I'm certainly not an expert on steam heat systems, or a modification like the one you have.

    But I DO know that this type of arrangement is widely done with steam systems.

    I know it's aggravating to hear it banging all the time, but your solution is to find someone locally that can come over & get it back running, or to make the minor modifications it needs to work effectively.

    Make some phone calls---consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Contractors" & look for a display ad that states the tech does work on steam boilers.


    Also consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Systems-Parts"--these are the heating parts supply houses--when they answer the phone ASK FOR THE COUNTERMAN, who will recommend someone he knows is experienced in steam systems.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jan 2010
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Hot Water Baseboard Banging... Need Help

    I have actually brought in 2 local guys... both of which said this is not a good design. While this is not verbatim, they said something to the effect that:

    Running a loop off a steam system is fine providing you are not trying to push the water up 2 floors (from basement thru main level to attic). If it was just pushed up to the same floor as the main level, the main heating area, it would've been just fine.

    David

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Montana
    Posts
    2

    Default Re: Hot Water Baseboard Banging... Need Help

    We have a similar crazy system and all the banging to go along with it. Finally after 6 years of purging and purging air from the system the heating guys listened to me when I said I didn't think there was enough water in the system and that was the cause for the water hammer. So they turned on the faucet that supplies the system and after purging excess air in the boiler tank...no more hammer and *** suddenly more efficiency to boot!! They've been replacing valves and everything else all these years and nothing worked. But I guess once again females are not supposed to know about such things, so that's why I got the deer in the headlights look.

    Not sure if that will fix your problem. But I wish you luck!!

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2009
    Location
    Northeast
    Posts
    661

    Default Re: Hot Water Baseboard Banging... Need Help

    Quote Originally Posted by VRL View Post
    We have a similar crazy system and all the banging to go along with it. Finally after 6 years of purging and purging air from the system the heating guys listened to me when I said I didn't think there was enough water in the system and that was the cause for the water hammer. So they turned on the faucet that supplies the system and after purging excess air in the boiler tank...no more hammer and *** suddenly more efficiency to boot!! They've been replacing valves and everything else all these years and nothing worked. But I guess once again females are not supposed to know about such things, so that's why I got the deer in the headlights look.

    Not sure if that will fix your problem. But I wish you luck!!


    Good for You!!!

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