Common Steam Boiler Problems

Steam boilers are great to have in large businesses. They work overtime to deliver hot water and heat evenly throughout the entire area. It works better than the average oil or gas boiler and is better used in large buildings than in smaller homes. The worst thing that can happen is a problem will occur and you will not know what is causing it. It is important to understand common problems that can occur in your steam boiler so that you will be able to fix it on your own or hire someone who can.

Banging Pipes

How many times have we been sitting at work and heard the banging pipes from the large boiler in the basement. Some say it is a sign of ghosts – but we say that it is one of the most common problems that can occur. The problems will start when condensed water is coming into contact with the steam. The cold water and hot steam will expand and contract the pipes in a rapid motion.

This could mean that the unit has trouble returning the condensing water to the loop and boiler. It could also be a sign that the strainer or tap is blocked by a sediment and is limiting the amount of water that is able to get back to the unit.

Steam Vents

If the steam vents are leaking water than you have a problem. The steam radiator on the pipe system should not be level. It is not uncommon for the floor to settle and the radiator to leak water directly from the steam vent. Place a shim under the legs of the radiator that is on the other side of the pipe. This helps the condensed water to run out and back into the boiler.


Did your radiator stop heating? This is a harder problem to figure out because it can be caused by many things. You should start by checking the valve at the bottom of the radiator and making sure it is open. Turn the thermostat all the way down and see if the valve shuts. Turn it all the way back open and it should close. If this does not happen than it is time to call a professional.