Baseboard heating problem


  #1  
Old 11-24-05, 07:57 AM
John Butcher
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Baseboard heating problem

My baseboard hot water pipes are rattling and gurgling, particularly when the circulator comes on and the system is cold. I have to two air bleeder valves, one at the lower level of the house and the other at the top level, and have tried bleeding the air out. When the bleeder valve at the lower level is opened, a nice steady stream of water comes out. When the valve at the upper level is open, water comes out in a dribble with just an occasional spurt of air. I'm not certain if this is because the bleeder valve is faulty, i.e., plugged or something, or whether there is not enough water pressure in the system. Is there a way to "purge the system" and put in new water or is replacement of water in the system done automatically? We have a Weil-McClain Gold oil furnace. Any suggestions will be appreciated. John Butcher
 
  #2  
Old 11-24-05, 11:09 AM
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Air in system

I have been most successful in removing air with the circulators off. It may take several "bleedings". The pressure on your system should be 12-15# for a two story house. Insure the pressure is up by checking the boiler gauge & try bleeding the upper floor again. The water should be automaticly fed into the system via the pressure reducing valve. You don't want to purge the system if you can avoid it. Adding large amounts of fresh water to a closed heating system is one of the worst things you can do to it.

Note: If you have zone valves, you will need to manually open the one for the zone you are trying to bleed.
 

Last edited by Grady; 11-24-05 at 11:22 AM. Reason: More info
  #3  
Old 11-27-05, 08:21 AM
John Butcher
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Baseboard heating problem revisited

Grady, I have been bleeding my hot water baseboard system as you advised, with the circulator off. Perhaps I'm being impatient but how long might this bleeding process take? As I mentioned in my last post, the water comes out in a fairly strong, steady stream at the lower level bleeder but the upper level bleeder just gives a steady trickle. (Mine is a one zone system.) Should I just leave the bleeder valve open until I get a steady, stronger stream of water, like the one that I get at the lower level, or should I continue doing a shorter bleed job every once and a while? (It could be that the stream that I'm seeing recently is steadier than when I first started but I still hear considerable gurgling when the furnace and circulator kick in.) Thanks, John Butcher
 
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Old 11-27-05, 09:57 AM
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John

You might want to look at the pressure on the boiler. It should be in the area of 15# for a two story house with the boiler in the basement. Low pressure will certainly cause low flow at the second floor bleeders. Air wants to go to the high point so I would not worry about the downstairs at this time.
 
  #5  
Old 11-28-05, 05:59 AM
John Butcher
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Baseboard heaing problem revisited II

Grady, The gauge on my Weil McLain oil furnace has one gauge with two needles on it. The upper needle rcords the temperature. The lower one indicates PSI and reads 30. Is that the pressure in the baseboard system? If so, it is double the 15 PSI you mentioned in your last response. Is its being that high a problem? Also, it is hard to believe that there is 30 PSI in the system and that I'm getting such a smal dribble of water out of the bleeder valve at the second story. One would think that there would be quite a blast of either air or water; instead, I just get what is more like a dribble of water. John Butcher.
 
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Old 11-28-05, 05:26 PM
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Gauge

I too doubt the accuracy of the gauge. If indeed the system has 30# on it you should read 30# with a tire gauge at the bladder tank. Gauges have a bad habit of going bad.
 
  #7  
Old 12-02-05, 04:09 PM
John Butcher
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Baseboard hot water heating problem again

Grady, The bleeding of air at the second level of my split level house is still yielding no results. In fact, the upper level is receiving no hot water through the system at all. This is a single stage zone system but there is a point where the hot water pipes split off, one servicing the lower level and the other the upper level. The lower level is being heated nicely but there is a definitely gurgling sound when the furnace first kicks in. Recently, there is also a sound that might be coming from the circulator pump. If the circulator should be going bad, is one of the symtoms the inability of the circulator to pump the water to the higher level? At present, when I bleed the upper level vent, I get long periods of air coming out followed by a slight dribble of water, and no longer is that water hot whereas a couple of days ago it was hot. I am really perplexed. Any suggestions would be helpful. Thanks, John Butcher
 
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Old 12-02-05, 04:21 PM
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System pressure

Have you checked the pressure on the bladder tank? It's pressure should be the same or greater than the pressure on the system. The fact you only get a dribble of water seems to indicate low system pressure. The sound from the ciculator is probably air.
 
  #9  
Old 12-04-05, 02:43 PM
John Butcher
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Bladder tank on boiler

Grady, Sorry to keep bothering you but I'm a novice at these boilers. Is the bladder tank the same as the expansion tank? If so, how does one check the pressure? My tank has a faucet-like attachment at the bottom but I don't see a valve anywhere that would allow me to check the pressure. I keep getting air from the system at the upper level of the house; there seems to be more air each time I bleed it. Does this indicate that there is a leak somewhere? I have checked the pipes and see no evidence of water. Could the leak be within the furnace unit itself? Thanks for your help. John Butcher
 
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Old 12-04-05, 03:24 PM
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Tank pressure

There is no way to check the pressure on that type of expansion tank. I made an error in assuming you had a bladder type tank.
 
  #11  
Old 12-05-05, 04:23 PM
John Butcher
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Boiler,baseboard heater problem revisited again

Grady, I finally gave my service man a call about the problem of the gurgling in the pipes and the lack of heat at the second level of the house since my bleeding didn't seem to be having any results. Unfortunately, he arrived while I was out and my wife was at home, so I couldn't ask him the questions that I wanted to ask. But, he seems to have solved the problem. He went down to the basement, without bothering to try bleeding the valves, hooked up a hose and "bled" the air out along with some water, into our sump. He told my wife that trying to use the bleeder valves was ineffective. There are two return pipes to the furnace, one for the upper level and the other from the lower level. They merge just above a spigot, each with its own ball valve to open and close them. He first shut off the valve for one "branch", bled the other "branch", then shut that branch off, opened the other and bled it. As of now, about 8 hours later, everything seems fine - no gurgling and ample heat at both levels. He told my wife that this wasn't really a furnace problem and wasn't covered by our service agreement. But then he told her that since it was so easy to fix, forget it and have a Merry Christmas. You got to love a guy like that! He also told her that if it happened again, he might have to bleed the whole system, which I don't understand since ther are only two branches to the system.
Another thing that perplexes me is that I went upstairs and opened the bleeder valve. No air but only a trickle of water. I had expected a steady stream to come out.
Anyway, thanks for all your advice. I've learned a lot from this experience. I hope you have a very happy holiday season. Take care, John Butcher.
 
  #12  
Old 12-05-05, 05:22 PM
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Thumbs up All is well

Your service guy sounds like a man after my own heart. I've done similar things numerous times. Certainly glad you got it fixed. I guess you just could not generate enough flow to force the air to come up into the heating element. It is rare but once in a while things like this happen. It's been good working with you & hope you & your's have a safe, happy, & healthy Holiday season.
 
 

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