Is steam heat noisy compared to forced hot water?

I currently have forced hot water and the only noise is an occasionally hum from the pump (which can be annoying) and sometimes the sound of water can be heard running in the pipes. Also, sometimes the pipes will creak as they expand. In general, it is pretty quiet.

Does steam heat hiss or make other sounds?

  • Do you mean correctly installed two-pipe steam heat with modern fixtures, or canonical, wacky, ancient steam heat? Commented May 18, 2018 at 17:12
  • I mean the old steam heat that comes in radiators that look like hot water radiators, except they are more skinny. Commented May 18, 2018 at 17:31
  • 1
    You probably know that many people have noise problems with their older steam heating systems. I'm not convinced that those problems are inherent to the technology. Commented May 18, 2018 at 17:33

1 Answer 1


Either system is quiet if installed and maintained correctly. Steam heat could become more noisy if the system is not maintained properly. There were 2 distinct steam systems employed for heating using either the older 1 pipe system or the slightly newer 2 pipe steam system. Of the 2sysyems the 1 pipe system always made more noise than the 2 pipe system. A hot water system should be dead quiet if installed correctly. Even the noise of the water flow does not have to be there. I have seen all types and installed many. My choice would be hot water for my home however steam was my life and love.

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