Hot water heating: heat won't stop!


  #1  
Old 11-20-04, 07:10 PM
karl gauss
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Unhappy Hot water heating: heat won't stop!

Here's a weird one. Even if we turn the thermostat way down, the hot water still circulates through our apartment's radiators. It gets hot in here! Anyone have any ideas? Looks like the pump is always on? How would i fix this?
 
  #2  
Old 11-21-04, 09:58 AM
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You mention that you are in an apartment. Most likely, there is one (or more) pump serving the entire building. The pump probably runs all the time, providing constant circulation throughout the building. Each apartment has a zone valve controlled by a thermostat in each apartment, which opens the valve as needed to control the temp in that apartment. Most likely, your valve is stuck open.
Have the landlord check the zone valve.
Good luck!
 
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Old 11-22-04, 12:06 PM
karl gauss
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Heya Andrew, thanks for the hint. Where would i find the zone valve for the apartment and how would i go about unsticking it? I have full responsibility for making the repair/fix.

Karl.
 
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Old 11-22-04, 12:16 PM
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Without knowing the layout of your building it's hard to say. Most likely, it is in the basement--it may or may not be near the boiler. Look for it near the ceiling. It will have low-voltage wires connected to it from your thermostat. There will probably be other zone valves for each apartment, so take a flashlight and hopefully they are marked by apartment number. I can give you further hints to identify yours if necessary.
Onec you find it, try GENTLY rapping it with a hammer- this might be all it needs to loosen it up. More likely, the operator will need replacement.
Get the make and model #'s and we'll proceed from there.
 
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Old 11-22-04, 12:57 PM
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Wink

You can pull the R wire off the tstat there and see if that stops it first. if so its in the tstat if not then on down to find if its a zone valve are a pump for your unit there.

ED
 
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Old 11-22-04, 03:54 PM
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Richard Trethewy just had similar issue on Ask This Old House this past weekend..... these steam radiators each had a valve, he replaced it with one that had a thermostat on it to regulate that radiator only
 

Last edited by shirtlessdriver; 11-22-04 at 04:39 PM.
  #7  
Old 11-24-04, 05:32 PM
karl gauss
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Heya Andrew and Ed, thanks for the hints! Here's what i found:

I was going to check the basement, Andrew, but i noticed a black wire underneath the hot-water radiator. I removed the radiator cover and the black wire goes into a tiny 3" black box, i took the cover off the box and there's a round metal doodad that says Synchron on it. I'm guessing but is this the motor to turn the zone valve on and off? There is a lever right on the doodad which i flipped both ways. This had no effect on the hot-water flow which was still coming through all this time. I could still hear the rustling water.

Ed, i removed the cover from the thermostat, but couldn't see any R (red?) wire. I don't have an instruction manual for the stat. What i did notice is that
it still seems to be drawing power okay -- when i flip the temperature control lever so that it passes the current room temp, i can see a tiny spark inside the mercury bulb. Didn't remove any wires though.

Any thoughts on next steps? Oh, i should mention this building is 40 years old, the thermostat looks pretty 1960s, "Erie Motortrol", the radiator is a 10 foot long pipe in each room with 6 inch fins on it, if that helps identify what i've got.
 
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Old 11-24-04, 07:14 PM
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You have found the zone valve, and it is probably bad or set for "manual open". The manual lever should have opened and closed the valve when you moved it. Does it feel like it is just flopping freely, or does it feel like it is actually connected to something? On some models, you need to lift the lever from a "catch" to make it work manually.
If the lever is on the catch the valve should work on auto, but if it is off the catch, it is manual open. Check this very closely.
Since you do have a small spark in the stat, I think we can rule out a lack of power.
It is likely that the operator is bad, since it is 40 years old. It may or may not be repairable. If the valve itself is bad, the entire thing may need a replacement, which might entail draining the system, not something you want to do during the winter when others need heat.
Others here will have more ideas, I'm sure.
 
 

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