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How to Quiet a Banging Steam Radiator

This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey silences a rattling radiator

In this video, This Old House plumbing and heating contractor Richard Trethewey silences a noisy radiator.

Steps for Quieting a Steam Radiator:

  1. Turn down the room's thermostat to ensure the heating system doesn't start up.
  2. Use a 48-inch level to check the radiator for level.
  3. Use a pipe wrench to loosen the nut holding the radiator to the steam pipe.
  4. Lift the low end of the radiator and slip furniture pads under each foot of the radiator.
  5. Raise the opposite end of the radiator and set it down onto furniture pads.
  6. Check the radiator for level, and add or subtract more furniture-pad shims, if necessary.
  7. Tighten the nut to reconnect the radiator to the steam pipe.
  8. Unscrew the old air vent from the radiator.
  9. Wrap Teflon tape around the threads of a new air vent, then install the new vent onto the radiator; hand tighten it only.

Shopping List:

  • Furniture pads, used as shims to level tilting radiator
  • Air vent, for replacing the existing air vent
  • Teflon tape, for sealing the threads on the new air vent

Tools: