Abnormal Noise in Baseboard registers. Not the banging and tinking.

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Old 02-16-08, 10:02 AM
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Unhappy Abnormal Noise in Baseboard registers. Not the banging and tinking.

Hello everyone. I have a hot water baseboard heating system. Powered by Natural Gas. I understand it will make tinking and banging sounds. But just last night, 2 sections of the registers throughout the house just starting "Grinding" or "Howling". Best words I can think of at the moment. Just wondering if anyone has any clue as to what happened or what I can do to remedy this? Any info would be great. Thanks much.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 10:15 AM
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My first thought is something happened to the circulator pump.

What kind of circulator pump (or pumps?) are on your system ?

There could be a broken coupling between the motor and the pump portion.

Did you go to the boiler when the noise started ? Was it very loud there ?
 
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Old 02-16-08, 01:01 PM
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Ok, I am unsure of what is what on the furnace, And I can't get pictures just yet. But this is what I see.

It is a dual pump system. One is leaking. It looks like where the pump is mounted into the water line that heads to the registers, it is leaking right where it is bolted in. 4 main bolts are holding the pump on. I am not sure, but maybe that seal in there is shot, Or the weight of the pump has caused it do drape down a bit and then cause a leak. But it is a slow drip of water coming out right below that mount. Am gonna call some local stores to check on seals and such. Looks like I can take care of it myself. But let me know if what I am saying sounds a bit off the wall. I may have no clue what I am doing.

Also, if water is leaking out. I am left thinking that air is getting in. So will I end up bleeding the lines after this? If this is all it ends up being?
 
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Old 02-16-08, 02:08 PM
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I seriously doubt that if that circ was the cause of the raucous noise that you heard, simply replacing a leaking seal is going to be the cure. Chances are that you had a bearing fail, which caused the grinding noise, and then the seal to fail.

To change that bearing assembly, and seal, and what-not, you will have to drain the heating system, unless you have isolation valves installed ahead and after the circulator...

How handy are you ? Have you tackled this kind of job before ? Do you know how to drain / refill / purge air from the system ? You might want to consider whether or not to call someone ...
 
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Old 02-16-08, 02:12 PM
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Wait ...

I might have mis-read your post...

Do you mean that a FLANGE is leaking ? I think that's what you are talking about...

Those are relatively easy to change, but still require draining, etc ... unless you have the isolation valves installed.

Still, it's unlikely that is the cause of the noise. If it was as loud as you say, and a grinding noise, I don't think a leak at the flange will cause that kind of noise.

Does it make the noise anytime one of the circulator pumps is running ? Can you run the system while you are at the boiler and see if you can localize the noise ? It might just pay to pick up a new circulator if we can determine that's the cause of the noise. Hopefully, it's the one that has the leaking flange gasket...

What brand/model of pumps are they ?

Pictures would help us a great deal ...
 
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Old 02-16-08, 02:57 PM
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I called a local "heating" repair guy. I can't remember the term he used for the part that malfunctioned. But I believe he said it was in between the pump and the flange??? Where the springs and other partare located. You can see them through the gaps on that end of the pump. He also said that the seal he believes will end up being around $80 and that you can now buy new pumps that require no greasing and such for cheaper than that. And they will come with everything to mount up to that flange. We can shut down that part of the system right now and heat off the other pump until monday when the stores around he open up and I can go price out a pump and seal, whatever it may be.

Answers to some of the questions.

Yes, to me it looks like the flange is leaking. But I am guessing the Flange is where the pump mounts to the water lines.

About Isolation valves. Would these be the shut off valves located above and below where the pumps are mounted at?

I will get some pictures taken and post them on here trying to identify parts so I get a better idea of what I am doing.

I repair RVs for a living so I feal like I am at least half way handy. But havent messed with anything like this before.

Thanks for keeping up with me though. I will post back with pictures later. And if ok. maybe afterwords I can grab some directions on how to isolate that pump so I can change it out.

Thanks again.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 03:11 PM
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Originally Posted by cutnell View Post
Where the springs and other partare located.

Yes, to me it looks like the flange is leaking. But I am guessing the Flange is where the pump mounts to the water lines.

About Isolation valves. Would these be the shut off valves located above and below where the pumps are mounted at?
He was probably referring to the "coupler" which connects the motor shaft to the pump shaft. This MIGHT be the noise that you heard, but that is usually better described as a HAMMERING , or CLATTERING noise, rather than GRINDING...

Yes, the flange is the part with the two bolts on each side that connects to the piping.

Yes, above and below the pump, shut-off valves. If you have those, changing the pump will be a piece of cake.

Depending on the existing pump, you may be able to use a TACO 007 as a direct replacement. Measure the flange to flange distance to be sure. A 007 should be under $100 ...
 
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Old 02-16-08, 03:19 PM
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Old 02-16-08, 03:27 PM
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Yeah, your noise terms matched much better.

I do see a shut off valve above the flange. But nothing below.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 03:33 PM
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I will try to describe what I see in terms I know, lol. The Flange is mounted in series with the water lines. Mounted to the side of the flange by 4 bolts is what looks to be a housing for the motor which then sits inside the housing. I am unsure of what parts are in between the motor and flange inside that section of the housing
 
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Old 02-16-08, 03:57 PM
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OK, you've _probably_ got a busted coupler. That's the part that you can see in the 'windows' between the motor and the pump. Those are fairly easy to change, especially for someone with the skills required to rig up a CPU fan such as you do !

You will need a wrench, and an allen key (5/32") ? I _THINK_... and of course the parts.

The FLANGE I was talking about are the 2 bolt things, above and below the pumps.

I don't see where it's leaking though... is it from INSIDE the housing with the windows, between the pump and the motor ? That will require a seal replacement, and draining SOME water from the boiler. But it looks like you have enough valves that you won't have to drain the baseboards also ...

So where exactly is the leak ? If it's on the pump to the RIGHT, and it's leaking from the seal inside the housing, then you want to prevent any more water from dripping on that gray box on the side of the burner... rig something up ... maybe a fan to blow the drops away ... KIDDING! ... a piece or sheet metal, or heavy aluminum foil , something non-flammable is preferred.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 04:10 PM
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Ok, on the close up shot on the blue motor. The housing (red section). It is leaking underneath it. Near the bottom bolt (Blue). But underneath. I didn't see water leaking down from anywhere and pooling there before it leaked though. Just looked like it was coming right out of the crack where the housing is mounted.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 04:49 PM
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I added one more pic to that same link you can check out. It is not the one that is leaking. But I can't find a tag on the leaking unit. Hopefully they are the same. I saw you talked about 007, and I read about the 100 in other posts. So i guess this one looks like the 100. Will search the other unit for tags again tommorow.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 05:20 PM
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Circulator Parts

Just so everybody is on the same page here: Those circulators have three main parts; the motor (pretty obvious), the bearing assembly (red part on the blue circ.), and the body (part which attaches to the pipes).
Between the motor & bearing assembly is a coupler. This coupler can be either springs & bars in an X shape or just a coiled spring about 1 1/2" in diameter.

From your description, it sounds like the bearing assembly seal is leaking. If that is the case, it would be cheaper to replace the whole circulator with a Taco 007. The 007 will go in as a direct replacement for the B&G 100. The flange to flange measurement is the same & the flanges are oriented the same (parallel with the motor).
 
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Old 02-16-08, 07:11 PM
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And, the 007 will use lots less electricity too !

In the pic that shows the expansion tank, above the tank is the 'air scoop', and that brass thing screwed into that is the automatic air vent. That vent looks like it 'took a hit' and is bent. It also looks as though it may be leaking ? (streaks down the side of it?). Since in the following procedure, you will have the pressure off the boiler, and partially drained, it would be a very good time to change that part also. AND at the same time, check the air charge on the expansion tank.

If you do decide to swap out pumps, first turn off the boiler, and let it cool to under 100.

Close both of the valves above both circs.

Close the green handle valve on the left side of the boiler near the expansion tank.

Close the water supply valves, either the red or black or both by the red bell shaped thing above the boiler.

Since the valves you are closing are GATE valves, they may not close completely, and you may still get some water dripping when you pull the pump, so have everything ready to get back together, and protect the electrical parts and the gas valve from water.

Connect a drain hose to the boiler drain, and drain only enough water so you can remove the pump. You don't need to drain a lot, just enough to get the water below the level of the pump. Do NOT be tempted to 'flush' the boiler with clean water. It is not necessary, and NOT desirable! The more fresh water you introduce, the more air that will come along with it. Boilers LIKE stinky old oxygen starved water, so only replace what water you have to.

Remove the old pump, scrape the flanges clean, install the new pump.

Before you pressure the boiler back up again, have the new air vent ready to go on (teflon tape or pipe dope on the threads, etc) and remove the old one. You may have water come up from the hole, but it won't be under pressure, so just put a finger over the hole. Move yer finger and put the new air vent on.

On the bottom of the expansion tank is a Schrader (tire) valve. Using an accurate tire pressure gauge, check the air charge in the tank. It should be 12-15 PSI. If it's low, add air with a small compressor or bicycle pump until it's there.

If any water comes out the tire valve, it means the tanks bladder has a leak, and the tank should be replaced. If you do have to replace the tank, install a ball valve between the tank and the air scoop to make future changes easier.

OK, all done ?

Open the water supply valves, open the valves above the circulators, open the valve by the expansion tank.

Check for leaks. None ? great !

Make sure you've got 12-15 PSI showing on the pressure gauge.

Fire the boiler back up and make sure all is working ...

You may hear some air in the pipes, but if you didn't drain a lot of water, shouldn't be too bad and that new automatic air vent should take care of venting it. By the way, the cap on the top of the vent should be left loose for the trapped air to escape.

While you are at the hardware store, pick up a brass hose bib cover. You may need this in case the drain valve doesn't close completely and drips. If it does, you can put that cover on and change the valve another time...

Grady, did I forget anything ?
 
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Old 02-16-08, 08:11 PM
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It will be a couple days before I can do this. But gonna ask some questions now.

I don't have it in front of me. But does the gauge on the boiler measure Pressure and Temperature?

Approx how long will it take to cool down below 100?

You say the red or black or both valves above the boiler. Best for safety reason to just do both? Or can I mess something up if it supposed to be just one on this unit?

Other than kicking the breaker to kill power, Can the boiler be shut off by the small black on/off switch just up and to the left from the pressure gauge located on the side of the unit?

With draining water. Do this before I remove the pump I am assuming. But how am I to know when I have removed enough. Just a guess on what I would believe is between the pump and shut off valve above it? I don't see where any other water would be a problem. Other than if the valve doesnt shut all the way like you stated.

And with removing water. I assume more has to go in to replace it. Where do I fill it back up to the right level at? Or will it do it on its own once I start it back up. I didnt know if input water lines ran to it from my house or if it was self contained. Will check this on my own also.

Thanks again for all the help. Sorry for so many questions. I just want to make sure I have a good idea of what I am doing before I take this on.
 
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Old 02-16-08, 09:21 PM
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But does the gauge on the boiler measure Pressure and Temperature?
Most do... looking at what I can see of yours, can't tell.

Approx how long will it take to cool down below 100?
Well... that depends... on whether it's a steel or cast iron boiler... how cool it is in the basement ... reason to cool it off is so you don't hurt yersef with scalding water of course, and also so that when you add cold water back in, you don't "shock" the boiler. I dunno, maybe an hour or so ?

You say the red or black or both valves above the boiler.
I was thinking that since they are gate valves, you might get a more positive shutoff if you shut both, but no, you won't hurt anything if you only closed one or the other. That red device is your "Pressure Reducing Valve" and that is what feeds water to the boiler from the house. Think of it as a 'pressure regulator' it takes the house water pressure and drops it down to 12-15 PSI for the boiler system.

Can the boiler be shut off by the small black on/off switch just up and to the left from the pressure gauge located on the side of the unit?
Yes, but it's safer to shut off the breaker. When you have the wires disconnected from the pump and just laying there exposed, it might be too easy to accidentally bump the switch back on ...

Do this before I remove the pump I am assuming. But how am I to know when I have removed enough. Just a guess on what I would believe is between the pump and shut off valve above it?
Yes, before ... pretty much a guessing game, but you know it's not going to be a lot of water, just what's in the pipes above. (BOTH circs...) Maybe a gallon or so at the most, AFTER the pressure is dropped. When you open the drain, you will also be draining the expansion tank because it's on your side of the closed valves. You might have to 'crack' the top flange on the pump in order to drain those pipes, cuz there will be a slight vacuum when the pressure drops to zero. You will spill _some_ water to be sure. When you crack the top flange open, you will probably hear air going IN to break the vacuum.

Where do I fill it back up to the right level at?
See answer about about the red and black valves. When you open those valves after it's all buttoned back up, it will automatically fill to the proper pressure (assuming the reducing valve is adjusted correctly, and we have to assume that it is...)

Sorry for so many questions
Not a problem! I do the same thing before I tackle something I've not done before !
 
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Old 02-16-08, 09:32 PM
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One last thing, then it's off to dreamland for me ...

If the gate valves don't shut completely, you might want to try de-pressurizing the baseboards. Not draining, just taking the pressure off. You can do this by leaving the valve on the left, by the expansion tank open until you see the boiler gauge go to near zero. Then close that green valve to isolate the heating circuits. With no pressure on that side, you will get less 'blow by' if the gate valves don't seal 100%.

'nite!
 
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Old 02-18-08, 12:12 PM
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Well, changed out the circulator pump and the air vent on the tank. All seems to be running great now. The drain valve did leak like you said. So capped that. The drain valve also leaked out the handle to. Replaced the seal and that was good.

Gas seems to be kicking off when temp reaches about 180. And pressure at that point was a bit over 30. This is hoping my gauge even works correctly. Also, set the expansion tank to 13 PSI. Hope all those numbers sound about right.

Anyways, thanks for all the help. Not used to getting so much help on forums. Am to used to people fighting with each other on them. Will stick around here and maybe I will be able to help others like you have helped me. Thanks again.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 03:00 PM
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Burner kicking off at 180 is fine, but...

30 PSI when hot is too high. It is as you say very possible that the gauge is not correct. You should probably verify the gauge accuracy, because if it really IS that high, then there's something else going on ...

What is the pressure when the system is cool ?

You should see 12-15 PSI cold, and maybe 5 PSI higher when HOT ...

When you checked the expansion tank for the proper air charge, there was no pressure on the boiler, correct ?

Here's something you can do as a quick check of the pressure gauge on the boiler:

When you put the tire gauge on the valve on the expansion tank, it will read the HIGHER of two things... either the air charge in the tank, or the boiler pressure.

If the boiler pressure is higher than the 13 PSI air charge you put in there, that tire gauge will read the boiler pressure. So, check the pressure at that air valve and tell us what it reads when the boiler gauge is reading 30 PSI .

There is one other possibility: Some gauges have TWO SCALES on the pressure gauge. One is PSI, and the other is FEET . Perhaps you are reading the FEET scale ? If so, then your pressure will be around 13 PSI ... There are 2.31 FEET / PSI ... check that out.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 05:01 PM
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The reason that I thought the gauge might be shot was because of this. When I drained water and removed the circulator. The gauge was still reading over 20 PSI.

Ok though, I just went and check it out. At 100 degrees. The port on expansion tank was at 14 PSI. By the time it got to 180 degrees. It was at 17 PSI. So it looks like it is fitting into range of a 5 PSI difference.

The gauge did seem to stay at about double what I was reading on the expansion tank. So maybe it is refering to FEET. But there is no label on it so I cannot be sure.

What does FEET stand for anyways? Not sure if I have seen that term before.

Also, I remember hearing water run through the registers when I used to turn the zone with problem on. Now I am not hearing it. I did test the other zone with old pump. And could hear water running through those registers. Is this something that should occur or not?

I will probably test each zone periodicaly for differences withen the next couple days. I assume both need to be ran to bleed the system of any air that was brought in from the job so.

Ok, thanks.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 05:07 PM
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30 Psi?

Is the relief valve opening? If not, either it is bad or the pressure is not 30#. As Trooper said, it's a common mistake for people to read the "Feet" scale & think it is PSI.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 05:12 PM
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Naw, not even a drip out of the relief valve.

I have seen relief valves do what is called "Weeping". Would that happen in these systems?
 
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Old 02-18-08, 05:18 PM
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Yeah, if that gauge was sitting at 20 when the boiler was drained, it's a goner ... I think yer pressure is OK based on what you are saying. Might wanna think about replacing the gauge some time in the future, it is nice to know what the pressure REALLY is in the system.

If you can hear the water running in the pipes, it's a pretty sure sign that you do have air circulating also. Are there any air bleeder valves on the heating circuits? I forget what you said they were... fin tube baseboards ? or radiators ?

Take a flashlight and look inside the baseboards (if that's what you have) and see if you can see any small 'vents' that might be operated with a screwdriver, a coin, or a square 'clock key' ... those would be air bleeders. You would open those to vent the air that gets trapped in the pipes.

The automatic air vent might eventually take care of the air too, so maybe just give it a few days and see how it goes.

Did you also replace that automatic air vent ? and leave the cap loose so the air can escape ?

FEET vs. PSI ... In a column of water (or the pipes in your heating system), 1 PSI of pressure will raise the water 2.31 FEET. It's a handy way of determining how much pressure is needed to get the water to the highest radiators. If your heating system is 30 feet from the boiler to the highest radiator, you need at least 13 PSI to get the water up there.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 05:26 PM
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Feet Scale

The "Feet" scale is just another way of expressing pressure. One pound per square inch will push a column of water up 2.31 feet.
Many many moons ago boilers had an open expansion tank above the highest point of any radiation. If the tank had water in it, there was enough pressure to allow water to circulate thru all of the radiators. The homeowner could look at the gauge & see how many feet of water column he had in the system then add water if needed. My folks had a tank like this in an upstairs closet. It was a left over from the old boiler.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 05:28 PM
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Yes, I did replace the Automatic Air vent and leave it open. Was happy to hear air being released out of it when I started the boiler back up for the first time.

Nice to know that about FEET. Thanks.

Well, the zone with replaced pump I cannot hear water in. That was my concern so I am glad that I don't hear it.

The zone that I did hear. I didn't think about it until now, but it was the first time I started that zone up since opening the system up. So I would expect there to be more sounds then. Hopefully that will go down by tommorow. Was more concerned about the zone I changed the pump on so I ended up forgeting to test that zone.

I was worried about something though. When draining water I wondered if air pockets would get into the boiler. Wasnt sure if this is something that could happen. Or if they would even stay in there once the pumps kicked on. Just worried a bit when I thought about it. I have no reason to think this happened, it just got in my head as I was doing this.
 
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Old 02-18-08, 05:34 PM
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Air pocket

No need to worry about an air pocket in the boiler. Any air in the boiler will come out, probably circulate thru the system a bit, & be removed by the auto vent.
 
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