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Hi,

My home was built in 1950 and has the following radiators throughout the 1st and 2nd floor. The basement has water baseboard heating with a single copper fin line. Lately I have been hearing a lot of banging noise in the walls/pipes and I’m trying to research and understand what kind of heating radiators are these (name of this type) and how do I maintain them. I was unable to find anything online on these type. I know with cast iron, there are options to drain the radiators when loud banging occurs but I’m not sure what I can do here. My gas boiler service company technician has suggested replacing the air vents on top of each radiator. The air vents do make a low to medium hissing sound.

Also, I should note my gas boiler had an issue a few months ago where the low water cut off did not stop the boiler from overfilling and that caused water to rise up and leak from the radiator air vents. The low water cut off has been replaced and is working fine now, but I’m not sure if the banging in the walls has resulted from this incident. Thank you for assistance.

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  • Is that a wood floor? Or wood paneling we're looking at? Was there a cover, maybe 3 feet tall, over the pipe/fin assembly? – SteveSh Jan 4 at 20:11
  • That is wood floor as far as I know. There is a cover about 3 feet tall that covers the whole radiator, which is recessed into the wall. I have added additional photos. Thank you. – Nis Jan 4 at 21:16
  • Is your system hot water or steam? Baseboards can be either. – Ecnerwal Jan 4 at 22:59
  • Hot water. There is a valve on top to release steam/pressure but it releases cold air only right before the radiator gets hot. – Nis Jan 5 at 1:31
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OK I got it. I had one of those in my kitchen, under a counter. Not sure of the official name for it, but I've heard it called a "heatilator". It's basically part of your baseboard hot water heating system. I think the purpose of the metal cover is to provide a sort of chimney effect, where the rising air gains a bit of velocity and helps pull cooler air from the floor through the fins.

Here's picture of mine from when I was tiling the floor.

Heatilator Under Counter

Sounds like you might have some air in the lines. There should be provisions to bleed them - a little valve of some sort near the highest point in the run. Could also be multiple bleed valves.

Bleed valves vary in shape and size. Sometimes they look like a garden hose spigot, and other times they're more like an automobile tire Shrader valve.

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  • Thank you for your response. Could you please share with me what a bleed valve should look like? I have to drain the gas boiler once a week as the water gets dirty inside but I’m not sure if that bleeds the radiators. Thanks – Nis Jan 4 at 21:53
  • Thank you for the response. I’ll look for the drain valves. Are there any precautions I should take when bleeding the drain valve? Can you please also share with me the steps to take. I would think I should turn off the boiler in the basement, drain the water from the boiler completely, and then drain the valve(s) from the radiator. Thanks – Nis Jan 5 at 1:33
  • @Nis It is normal for the water in radiators to get dirty, you don't have to drain it once a week, maybe once a year at most from my experience. Every time you drain your boiler you're introducing more air into the system, which introduces more banging. Here is how I used to bleed my radiators - diy.stackexchange.com/questions/130769/… – cutrightjm Jan 5 at 7:41
  • Thanks for sharing the guidance, I will follow it as soon as I find the bleed valves on my radiators. In regards to weekly draining, I have been informed by two boiler device technicians that my boiler has a float type of low water cutout switch, and once a week I need to blow the gunk out of that valve by opening the flush valve. Not fully but until the water goes from brown to clear. I had drained it only once in a few months during the summer based on the guidance I had received and unfortunately that had destroyed my LWC float switch, I was suppose to do it more frequently apparently. – Nis Jan 9 at 3:49
  • About the name of these radiators, I have searched for heatilator as SteveSh has noted and I only found results for fireplaces. Does anyone know the name of these radiators or how the function? I’m trying to figure out how they work within my walls and piping and hence I figured I’ll start with the name. They seem to function like a baseboard heater, however, there is no circulator pump on my boiler for them but rather the water and steam float upwards like a standard cast iron radiator. Also, it appears as if there is a return pipe to the boiler but I don’t see one on the radiator ends. – Nis Jan 9 at 3:58

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