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Knocking in Heating system

I realize this will probably seem like a very basic question - I apologize in advance, but I'm trying to get some solid info to take to my landlord to get him to fix a heating problem. I approached him about it but he dismissed my concerns. I moved into a basement apt in the city a few months ago and have had no end of problems with a rotting bathroom ceiling, sewerage gas venting into the apt, broken appliances from previous tenants etc so my landlord is sick and tired of me coming to him with problems and is brushing me off about the heating problem. I'm not sure if it is a steam or water based boiler system (I can hear water draining in some of the pipes that are knocking)

The heat was turned on this week for the first time, as a basement apt I have all the piping inside my apt along with three radiators fixed up high on the walls. All of the exposed piping gets extremely hot (i.e. burns to touch) and two of the radiators get hot but the third does not (despite the pipe attached to it getting hot). The problem is that it is not cold yet so the heat really only comes on about 10-11pm at night (sometimes 2am) and cycles on and off all night- when the heat first comes on there is a terrible banging in the walls and ceiling above my bed (sounds like 20 hammers hitting the wall and ceiling, this eventually stops but there is continuous bang about every 30-40secs while the heat is on, only stopping when the boiler is off (boiler is in storage room beside my bedroom). The racket then begins again when the boiler turns back on (this happens 3 or 4 times a night making it impossible to sleep even with ear plugs). I have taken to sleeping on the couch in the living room because the banging wasn't as bad in there, but last night the pipe attached to radiator in living room that does not get hot started banging so loudly that it sounded like a child was banging pots and pans together and I could hear water trickling inside the pipe, this eventually stopped and didn't bang for the rest of the night unlike the piping in the bedroom which continued to do it's usual thing.

I realize that I live in a basement so I have to put up with more noise than other tenants but this doesn't seem right to me - every other apt that I lived in with radiators did not make this kind of noise even in the basement. It sounds to me like like their is either condensation in the pipes (if it's steam boiler) or air in the pipes if it's a water boiler - which is something that a plumber should be able to take care of with routine maintenance? It also sounds like the the radiator in the living room may be blocked or full of sludge? To clarify the problem it is the pipes not the radiators themselves that are banging.

Re: Knocking in Heating system

From your description, this sounds like a very dysfunctiional steam heating system, in addition to the other problems you are experiencing.

Regardless to what it is, it sounds like you're stuck with a landlord who doesn't want to live up to his responsibilities to fix these things, but is glad to take the rent every month.

It's probably time to start thinking of moving elsewhere; this type of landlord seems to be the type who ignores problems.

Insist that he have a boiler serviceman in or consider contacting your town's minimum housing dept at city hall.

All the things you mention are housing code violations; some towns are very good at intervening & putting the rent in escrow until the problems are cleared up; other towns are very lax & don't want to hear it & are no help.

Even if the city or a lawyer gets results, you'll probably end up with a landlord with a grudge who'll just make life miserable for you later on.

It's going to be a long, loud, noisy winter if it's this bad in October.

The problem is NOT yours to fix, it's the responsibility of the landlord; if he keeps balking in servicing your legitimate needs, find another apt. before you go nuts.

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