In the kitchen of an apartment I've just moved in there's a vertical pipe running floor to ceiling, not connected to any radiator nearby. It gets hot, so I assume it is a part of steam heating system. There's a vent on the pipe that emits very loud hissing time after time, especially at night.

I'd like to stop this noise. Can I just plug the hole in it or remove it altogether?

As far as I understand, such vents serve to let the air and excessive steam out from radiators which only have one pipe connection. The pipe in question obviously has two connected ends (going to the floor and to the ceiling), so a vent on this pipe looks superfluous. But I never encountered steam heating before, so I'm being extra careful.

Vents on other radiators in the apartment hiss seldom and reasonably softly, and the radiators are hot; I suppose these function correctly.

  • 4
    Give the landlord a call, this is what they're paid to handle. You'll also need to figure out if this is steam or hot water. Hot water radiators have a bleeder valve to remove air that would block the flow of water. Not sure about steam systems, but I would imagine a pressure relief valve, and shutting off one of those would turn a pipe into a pipe bomb.
    – BMitch
    Dec 2, 2011 at 1:17
  • You might be able to reduce the annoyance by putting some kind of sound baffle in front of the vent — don't box it in and stop airflow, just remove the direct line between the vent and your ears.
    – Kevin Reid
    Feb 4, 2012 at 14:01

1 Answer 1


The vents on a steam system, by releasing the air, allow the steam to rise. Often, the risers far away from the boiler will have their own vent to get the heat there quicker. If you capped it it would probably take longer for that part of the house to get warm. From an efficiency point of view you want that air purged ASAP.

You can balance a system with adjustable vents.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.