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In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating expert Richard Trethewey silences a rattling metal heating unit.


1. Turn off the heating system, then drain water from the hot-water baseboard pipes in one heating zone.

2. Remove the front covers from the baseboard heaters.

3. At the midway point along the baseboard, clean the upper copper pipe with emery cloth. Then, use a close-quarter tubing cutter to cut a 1-inch-long section from the upper pipe.

4. With aviation snips, cut away four or five aluminum fins from the heating element on the lower copper pipe.

5. Now use the tubing cutter to cut a 1-inch-long section from the lower pipe.

6. Solder the ends of the pipes back together with couplings, effectively shortening each pipe by 1 inch.

7. When you can't shorten the pipes, install flexible copper connectors. Start by cleaning and cutting the pipes, then solder a connector between the pipe ends.

8. Install plastic carriers beneath the heating element at each hanger bracket. Clip the bracket onto the underside of the aluminum fins and set the element back down onto the brackets.

9. Replace the baseboard covers and turn the heating system back on.