Loud Gurgling sounds 2nd floor

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Old 01-28-08, 10:40 AM
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Loud Gurgling sounds 2nd floor

I've recently had some very loud gurgling sounds coming from my 2nd floor HW baseboard (loud enough to wake me up). I have an oil fired HW systems with 1 circulator and 4 zones (Taco valves). The 2nd floor is on its own zone. I have done some searching in the forum and it looks like it must be air in the loop. However, I don't see signs of water leakage anywhere. As for purging air with this type of system, can someone please post the link to the proper procedure. I do know that my auto-fill valve is shut off so I'm not automatically adding water if a leak does exist.

Thanks.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 04:05 PM
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Mike, there won't really be a 'link' to the proper procedure as all systems are piped differently, depending on what the installers had to drink the night before ... KIDDING! ... but seriously, they are all different.

Do you have the proper pressure on your boiler ? That's the first thing to check, if that's low, all sorts of air problems can occur.

If you take pics (didn't you do this ? I can't recall ...) and post them on www.photobucket.com (free) and provide a link, we can take a look and give better advice.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 05:57 PM
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Here are some photos of the subject. 1st photo- The yellow handle valve shuts off return water to the boiler, red handle valve (which I normally keep closed) admits pressure regulated water into the boiler. Blue handle valve is (I think) for purging.
2nd photo- the whole boiler, 3rd photo- return group of 3 out of 4 zones, 4th photo- return of 4th zone and main return (black pipe). This last zone has a balance valve but screw slot indicates it is full open and so not doing much. Other returns have no balance valve. 5th photo- zone valve set up
Not shown in photos is a conventional bladder expansion tank

http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...A/DSCN0409.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...A/DSCN0408.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...A/DSCN0407.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...A/DSCN0406.jpg
http://i169.photobucket.com/albums/u...A/DSCN0405.jpg

The boiler pressure gage reads about 7 psi at the low temp (140 F I think)) and goes up to around 15 psi at 180 F. This is where the thing normally runs. The PRV is labeled as 12-15 psi. This is a 1975 vintage boiler- how accurate can the pressure gage be?

From what I've been able to read, purging should go like this:
open the desired zone valve (manually), close the return valve (yellow), open water supply (red). This should force water around the heating loop. Then opening the (blue) drain valve will vent air/water. Keep water flowing until no more air comes out then shut drain valve. If this is correct, I guess you have to do it with a cool boiler so as not to shock a hot boiler with cold water....
 
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Old 01-28-08, 06:30 PM
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Nice plants !!!
 
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Old 01-28-08, 07:18 PM
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Originally Posted by jetmx View Post
Nice plants !!!
I'm ... uhhhh, speechless ... no comment !

Mike, I think first things first... the gauge could be accurate, or not. Only way to tell is to verify it, so I would suggest doing that first. 7 PSI is way to low ... you can hook up a gauge to one of the drain valves.

So do that first...
 
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Old 01-28-08, 07:26 PM
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Believe it or not, that is a fake tree... I know it looks like uh.. hemp.
 
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Old 01-28-08, 07:31 PM
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The other thing I forgot to mention is that the gurgling problem is intermittent. It doesn't happen every time the heat comes on. In fact, I'm not 100% sure it's not coming from the toilet although I wasn't able to get that much noise by simulating a leaky flapper valve... I'll have to get a pressure gage...
 
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Old 01-28-08, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Mike C5 View Post
Believe it or not, that is a fake tree... I know it looks like uh.. hemp.
Awwwww man. Now that photo isnt funny anymore!!!
 
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Old 01-29-08, 10:42 AM
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Hear the gurgling again last night and I'm 99% sure it is coming from the baseboard in the bathroom. I'm going to try and pick up a pressure gage tonight (anyone know if HD sells them?). Should I shut the boiler off for a few hours before puring? I'm concerned about cold water shocking the hot cast iron...
 
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Old 01-29-08, 10:57 AM
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LowesPo often sells a small Watts unit with a tell-tale (shows max) that screws right onto a boiler drain (spigot).

As for adding water, just add it really slowly... better to purge hot, less entrained air that way. It's when you add a large volume of cold water to a very hot boiler that you have issues. I'm not sure what the others will say on this.
 
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Old 01-29-08, 05:08 PM
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Problem with those units that Who mentions is that the gauge itself is 0-200 PSI, and the resolution at low pressures is really bad ... the brass fitting is pretty nice though ... you could get one, (around $10) and unscrew the gauge it comes with, replacing it with one from the plumbing supply store in a 0-30 or 0-50 PSI range. (if you are lucky, HD or L0w35 will have the gauge also, but don't count on it)

Here's what I use, made with parts from the junkbox, and the garbage:



That's a piece of an old washing machine hose...
 
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Old 01-29-08, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by Who View Post
As for adding water, just add it really slowly... better to purge hot, less entrained air that way. .
The whole idea of "purging" is NOT to do it slowly ! You wanna get that water moving through there FAST in order to move the air bubblies out ... if you wanted to go slow, you could just let the circulator and auto-vents do their thing, but that might not be enough velocity to move the air...

Mike, your procedure is correct, add this though, after you open the manual fill valve.

Pull up on the FAST FILL lever on your pressure reducing valve.

If you wanna purge, let 'er cool down to under 100F, and let 'er rip ...
 
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Old 01-29-08, 07:18 PM
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Thanks guys, I did make a trip to Lowes and found the 0-200 psi gage. I thought exactly what NJ said, '0-200 = poor resolution but hey that brass fitting will work with other gages'. Still, I screwed it on there, opened the valve and the gage didn't budge at all so I'm thinking the system pressure is low. I also tried it on the HW heater and it showed 90 psi, which I suspect is a little high (even for city water). I did open the fill valve and then pulled up on the PRV lever (gently) and this did raise the pressure on the boiler gage - I brought it up to 12 or so. I think I'll wait for a relatively warm day to do the purging. I need this old boiler to last for at least this heating season. I'll try to get a 0-30 psi gage this weekend.

I suppose the low pressure might also be the expansion tank (bladder type) not charged properly but it's definitely not full - I don't think it's even 1/4 full.
 
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Old 01-29-08, 08:16 PM
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Mike, if the expansion tank isn't charged properly, it will cause HIGH pressure, not low ... unless ... you run with the feed valve closed, and when the boiler heated up, the relief valve opened, let out some water. When the system cools again, the pressure will be lower than when it started.

When the tank isn't charged properly, you will see large swings in the system pressure between cold and hot.
 
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Old 01-30-08, 05:32 AM
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That makes sense NJ, if the tank was full and the water had no where to expand - high pressure. No evidence of leakage at the pressure relief tube, nor does pressure range vary much.

I wonder if PRV isn't working properly. When I originally opened the fill valve, I could not hear any water enter the boiler. When I pulled up on the PRV lever a bit, I could hear water enter and could see the increase in pressure (on the boiler gage) go from 7 to about 12 psi (boiler temp was about 150 F). It's supposed to be a 12-15 psi PRV...
 
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