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Replace a Noisy Radiant Baseboard Heater

  • Transcript

    LESLIE: Next up, we go to Richmond, Virginia where Paul has a heating question.

    Paul, what’s going on?

    PAUL: Yeah, we recently bought a house – I guess about four months ago; right around February – and we have radiant baseboard heat with an oil furnace in the basement. And what happens is when the heat comes on – I know pipes creak all the time …

    TOM: Right.

    PAUL: … and you can especially hear it down in a basement; it sounds like a horror show. (Leslie chuckles) But we’re wondering – there’s no other bedroom, or actually no other room, makes that crackling sound and we were wondering if there’s anything you can do to maybe stop it.

    TOM: Well, there is a name for that. It’s called charm. (Leslie chuckles) When you buy an older house and you’ve got metal radiators, they do make a loud racket. Now it’s possible that you could have some air in those lines and that sometimes causes a little extra noise that can sometimes be eliminated. But with baseboard radiators, they are fairly noisy; as compared to, say, cast iron wall radiators which are very, very silent.

    PAUL: Right.

    LESLIE: Mm-hmm.

    TOM: And so there’s not a whole lot that you can do that will quiet those up. It’s possible that a different brand of radiator would sound differently but it’s probably not worth the expense. So I wouldn’t recommend you do anything about it unless it really, really bothers you.

    PAUL: Well, actually it does. It drives my wife crazy, so – I mean is there – could you maybe put like an air hammer in there? But would that help?

    TOM: No, because what you’re hearing is the expansion and the contraction of the metal radiator and all of those fins …

    PAUL: OK, so there’s really not much you can do. It’s just, like you said, the charm of the room?

    TOM: Exactly.

    LESLIE:  Well, maybe you can update that aluminum baseboard heater that’s in front of your copper pipe. Because we have baseboard heating in our house, too, and in the basement it’s cast iron, it’s silent; in the living room, it’s aluminum and that thing just makes a ruckus like tingle-lingle-ling, like somebody’s folding up aluminum foil. So maybe if you …

    PAUL: Pretty much. And it’s always at like 3:00 in the morning. (chuckles)

    LESLIE: Yeah.

    TOM: Yeah.

    LESLIE: So maybe if you actually replace that heater itself, maybe a newer unit will make less noise for you.

    PAUL: Alright, well we’ll have to look into that, then.

    TOM: Alright, Paul. Thanks so much for calling us at 1-888-MONEY-PIT, 888-666-3974.

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