5 years of gurgling air sound in pipes

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Old 12-12-09, 07:54 PM
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Unhappy 5 years of gurgling air sound in pipes

Hi everyone. I need some help and I'll try to be as descriptive as possible and I'll accept and appreciate any and all help because I'm so lost.

I had a new boiler installed in 2004 in my 3 floor apartment building with new pumps and refill valve, basically an entire new system, except for the expansion tank (50 year old original) that's up above the boiler. It's original and the HVAC company didn't see the need to replace it since it was holding pressure and working which I didn't understand at all.

Well, since the installation, I've been having gurgling, sloshing sounds in the pipes and baseboards. I called the HVAC company back and they came and concluded that it was my basement's radiant heat pipe that sprung a leak and it wasn't holding pressure. I held off on installing a new baseboard system because I had to fix my foundation from water seepage and they drilled into the basement floor and had to bust into the underground heat piping.

Forward to 2007....I finally got the money to have my foundation fixed ($20,000 bucks ) and then called my HVAC guys to come install the new baseboard system in the basement. They installed it and it was still doing the same gurgling sloshing sound. They installed a new Automatic Refill Valve, Heavy Duty Relief Valve, a new boiler guage and drained the system and got it all nice and quiet.

Pressure of the boiler was showing 12PSI cold, and 20psi hot and temperature at 185-190 degrees F.

Well, the noises came back 2 days afterwards. They came back out, drained all 3 zones (1 zone each apartment) and it was all quiet again. This time, 4 days later same thing and they came back and did the same thing and told me that they can't keep coming out and doing this. I told them to fix it!!! They claim there is nothing else to fix except to replace the Expansion Tank but it wouldn't solve the gurgling slosh sounds in the pipes.

So they said they would raise the boiler pressure to 20PSI cold and installed a new HEAVY DUTY relief valve which pops at 30PSI. Didn't solve a thing.

They left me at that and it's been 2 years that I've been draining the system, every 3-5 days, to quiet down the gurgling sloshing sounds. This is the ONLY way I can make the system purr like a kitten. Also, if the boiler has been running for 1 day and then idle for 3 days, once it calls for heat on the 4th day or 5th day or whenever, the noises are back, regardless and I'm running downstairs to drain the system again.

Sorry this was sooooooooooo long but I tried to give as much information as possible so everyone could understand my confusing and super frustrating problem.

BTW, I did call another HVAC Company and they told me there's nothing they can do to remedy the noises......AM I GOING INSANE???.......there's gotta be SOMETHING wrong.....:helpme 2:

Thanks and if anyone needs more information, let me know.
 

Last edited by HighFive; 12-12-09 at 09:06 PM.
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Old 12-12-09, 10:00 PM
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You say THREE floors? Boiler in the basement...

What's a reasonably close estimate of the HEIGHT of the heating system, from the bottom of the boiler, to the top of the highest point in the system?

Let's just say maybe it's what, 35 feet? If so, then the MINIMUM pressure that system should be set up for is TWENTY PSI when it's cold.

Why? for every foot of elevation, you need 0.432 PSI... then you need to add a few PSI 'headroom' to make sure the entire system is always pressurized to some nominal value... so,

35 X 0.432 + 4 = appx 20

Now, when you set your minimum up at 20, and your boiler is a 30 PSI job, that only leaves you with about 7 PSI allowable pressure increase when the system is HOT... and you will need a pretty good size expansion tank for that.

So, let us know how tall the system is (a close estimate) and we'll go from there.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 05:54 AM
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Is the expansion tank a big steel one up in the rafters, or is it more like a propane tank? How big?

A bit early, but I'm gonna guess that between the building height and the lack of available static pressure, this is going to be a 'not pumping away' problem that can be relatively easily remedied. But NOT by the HVAC company that says there's nothing they can do. Don't let them in the door ever again.

Can you get some pictures of the boiler and nearby piping? Host them at a site like photobucket.com and post links here.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 02:14 PM
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Originally Posted by xiphias View Post
Is the expansion tank a big steel one up in the rafters, or is it more like a propane tank? How big?
Yeah, it's hanging from up above the boiler, I took pics and it's a 15 Gallon steel green tank, see below for the picture link.

A bit early, but I'm gonna guess that between the building height and the lack of available static pressure, this is going to be a 'not pumping away' problem that can be relatively easily remedied. But NOT by the HVAC company that says there's nothing they can do. Don't let them in the door ever again.

Can you get some pictures of the boiler and nearby piping? Host them at a site like photobucket.com and post links here.
Here are the pictures.......Pictures by LTZ_9C1 - Photobucket........I took as many as possible and sorry about the blurred boiler guage picture, but the pressure is at 25PSI and temp is at 130 degrees F and it's currently gurgling and sloshing and I gotta go drain the system again

If you need more pictures of something, please let me know and thank you xiphias and NJ Trooper for the help. Hopefully you guys, and maybe others posters as well, will help me finally fix this 5 year nightmare of mine, I really appreciate it......we'll see
 

Last edited by HighFive; 12-13-09 at 02:35 PM.
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Old 12-13-09, 02:25 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
You say THREE floors? Boiler in the basement...

What's a reasonably close estimate of the HEIGHT of the heating system, from the bottom of the boiler, to the top of the highest point in the system?

Let's just say maybe it's what, 35 feet? If so, then the MINIMUM pressure that system should be set up for is TWENTY PSI when it's cold.

Why? for every foot of elevation, you need 0.432 PSI... then you need to add a few PSI 'headroom' to make sure the entire system is always pressurized to some nominal value... so,

35 X 0.432 + 4 = appx 20

Now, when you set your minimum up at 20, and your boiler is a 30 PSI job, that only leaves you with about 7 PSI allowable pressure increase when the system is HOT... and you will need a pretty good size expansion tank for that.

So, let us know how tall the system is (a close estimate) and we'll go from there.
Well, it's actually 2 floors above the basement which I count as a floor or shouldn't I count it as one? Reason I said 3 floors is because the top, middle and basement are all apartments.

Okay, I measured from the bottom of the boiler to the top of the highest point of the system and it was 7 feet 11 inches, lets say 8 feet even. I hope I understood and measured correctly. The highest point of the system means the ceiling where the copper pipes disappear, right or no?
 
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Old 12-13-09, 02:43 PM
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Okay, I measured from the bottom of the boiler to the top of the highest point of the system and it was 7 feet 11 inches, lets say 8 feet even. I hope I understood and measured correctly. The highest point of the system means the ceiling where the copper pipes disappear, right or no?
No, what we need is the total height from the bottom of the boiler to the top of the radiator (or baseboard) on the top floor of the building.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 03:07 PM
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Okay, the first thing wrong (absolutely wrong) is that you have the circulating pumps on the return side of the system. While this can work in many systems the fact of your system supplying two floors above the boiler can make this difficult. Another thing that I think is wrong (I could be wrong) is that you have the flow-control valves on the return side rather than the supply side.

Another thing is that you have automatic air vents and while I personally have never seen a problem with them in a system with a "conventional" expansion tank the consensus of the residential specialists (my background is commercial and industrial) on this forum is that automatic air vents should never be used in a system with a conventional expansion tank.

From what I see in the pictures it appears that you may have enough valves to make changing the pumps to the supply side fairly easy. That is assuming the supply header has valves to isolate the three different zones. Between moving the pumps and getting rid of the automatic air vents this system should work much better.

I am also assuming that when you write "drain the system" you are really meaning that you are draining the excess water from the expansion tank. Correct?
 
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Old 12-13-09, 04:43 PM
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I'd like to see some shots from several steps back so we can see how all the puzzle pieces fit together. The return side stuff is pretty well documented and easy enough to figure out, but the supply side not so well... and also, the pipe from the expansion tank to the boiler... which pipe is that? and is there a valve between the tank and the boiler?

So, from the bottom of the boiler to the rads on the first floor, is what, like 10' ? then another 10' up to the second floor rads? Maybe like 20-25 feet total? If say it's 25', I would recommend that the MINIMUM pressure be at 15 PSI.

Do you have those automatic air bleeders on the upper floor radiators as well?

Expanding on what furd sed about the pumps location...

When a pump runs, there is a pressure difference developed across that pump. That pressure difference can either be ADDED to, or SUBTRACTED from, the 'static' boiler pressure, depending on the location of the pump, RELATIVE TO the connection point of the expansion tank into the system.

That expansion tank connection is called the "Point Of No Pressure Change" ( PONPC ). What this means is that at that point there will be no pressure change when the pumps run. Let's call it the 'pivot point'.

If the pumps are pumping TOWARD that PONPC, the pressure difference across the pumps will SUBTRACT from the pressure in the zones. If it is pumping AWAY from that point, it will ADD pressure to the zone piping. It is advantageous to ADD pressure when the pumps run.

Let's use an example... say that your static cold fill pressure is 15 PSI, and that the pressure difference across the pump is 5 PSI. Let's also say that your system is 25' tall.

The STATIC pressure at the highest point will be approximately 4 PSI. This is because for every foot of height, you LOSE 0.432 PSI. 25 feet times .432 is around 10.5 PSI ... subtract that 10.5 from 15 and you are right around 4.5 PSI. This is all well and good so far.

Now, what happens when the pump runs, and that 5 PSI is subtracted from the 15? Now there is 10 PSI at the suction side of the pump, but still 15 PSI at the discharge. The other 5 PSI is lost around the system... let's say that exactly half way around the system is the highest point on the 2nd floor. So, HALF of that 5 PSI , or 2.5 PSI will be the pressure drop at the top from the pump running.

Let's subtract that from what we had up there... 4.5 - 2.5 = TWO PSI. OK, so pump runs, pressure at top of system is very low.

This gets more involved...

There is air dissolved in the water. When the water is under sufficient pressure, that air will STAY dissolved in the water. Start dropping the pressure and the air will come out and form bubbles. The situation is made worse by heating the water, which makes it even easier for the air to come out of the water.

With me so far?

more...
 
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Old 12-13-09, 04:56 PM
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What have we established? That when your pumps run, they subtract pressure from the system, enabling the dissolved air to easily form bubbles.

Now, using all these numbers, what happens if your MINIMUM pressure is say 12 PSI on a 25' high system? Take that previous 10.5 PSI away from 12 ... and now you only have 1.5 PSI up top, right? Now, kick the pump on... subtract another 2.5 PSI from the pressure up top... what happens? NEGATIVE... SUB-atmospheric... and if you have any automatic air vents up there, guess what? They'll take a big healthy gulp of air and suck it right into the pipe.

So, that's ONE possibility.

Move the pumps to the supply side, AFTER the point where the expansion tank is connected, and all this mumbo-jumbo just goes away.

That's why furd is suggesting it.

more...
 
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Old 12-13-09, 05:16 PM
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Let's expand on the air vents a bit...

The reason that it is generally recommended that a system with a CONVENTIONAL STEEL COMPRESSION (expansion) TANK does NOT have automatic air vents is because over time, they can cause the expansion tank to become waterlogged... There is SUPPOSED to be air in the expansion tank. If bits of that air get absorbed back into the water and leave the tank, they can come out of solution in the system. Now, if you catch that air and let it out, you are LOSING air from the tank... little by little... until there isn't enough air in the tank, and you end up with TWENTY FIVE PSI at a meager 130 degrees... your relief valve is going to blow, no doubt about it... once that water is heated further and another 5 PSI builds... SPEW!

Why is the pressure in your system at 25 PSI? Is that normal behaviour? How often does the relief valve open?

I notice that you ALSO have a SPIROVENT... and that's wrong too.

What you SHOULD have in it's place is an "Inline Air Separator", and your expansion tank should be connected to the TOP port of that air separator. When the IAS 'catches' the air in the system, it will pass it BACK to the expansion tank from whence it came, and where it belongs. The piping to the tank should ideally be 3/4" and slope UPWARD the entire way so that the air can make it's way easily back to the tank.

Inline Air Separator - Bell & Gossett world leader in supplying the Heating/Ventilating/Air Conditioning (HVAC) industry.

Another option would be to KEEP the Spirovent, abandon the steel tank, and install a BLADDER TYPE expansion tank, piping it to the BOTTOM PORT of the Spirovent. If you did this, all those automatic air vents could stay.

Here is a link to a brochure by Amtrol explaining the bladder type tanks. For your system I don't think the SX-30V would be too small. It's a floor mounted tank so you would need room for it... but it could be piped to the bottom of the Spirovent easily.

http://www.amtrol.com/pdf/extrolbrochure.pdf

more...
 
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Old 12-13-09, 05:23 PM
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To recap everything...

First, determine WHY the pressure is currently at 25 PSI with a relatively cool system. That's a problem all by itself right there.

It could have two causes:

Compression/expansion tank too small (not likely) or WATERLOGGED (likely).

Pressure Reducing Valve (the B&G FB-38 in your first pic) is either improperly adjusted, or leaking through.

At 130 PSI I wouldn't expect more than 18 PSI if the cold fill were set to 15 PSI. So that needs to be diagnosed and corrected FIRST.

Next, think about abandoning the existing steel tank, and going with a bladder type.

Finally, consider repiping the system so that the pumps are on the supply side, AFTER the expansion tank connection.

I don't think that the check valves on the return side is too awful, but it will/can/might allow some 'ghost flow' into the zones when they aren't calling for heat. I would move those at the same time the pumps were moved.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 06:21 PM
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What furd and Trooper said.

The piping stinks. There is nothing about the components and their use/arrangement that is working for you. It's all against.

The air vents are probably sucking air in rather than letting it out.

Here's a couple pictures of how this boiler should be piped.

http://www.comfort-calc.net/pictures...old_Piping.JPG

or this, figure 28 page 46

http://burnham.com/pdf/Revolution%20I&O%2010-09.pdf
 
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Old 12-13-09, 06:47 PM
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Trooper, I think he can leave the Spirovent as long as he can pipe the air vent back to the overhead expansion tank. Or maybe the Spirovent doesn't have a threaded outlet on the air end? Assuming it does it is probably too small to run to the tank with the same size pipe and should be increased to at least 1/2 inch or the 3/4 inch that you noted for a B&G in-line air separator. Still, my preference would be a diaphragm-type expansion tank connected to the boiler with the pumps (and flow control valves) moved to the discharge manifold.

Using the diaphragm expansion tank along with moving the pumps allows the automatic air vents to stay.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 07:09 PM
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Can't really do that with the Spiro furd... it's a pretty small connection actually, and connecting the tank to there would be akin to connecting the tank to the top of a Maid-O-Mist...

Yep, going to the bladder/diaphraghm tank would allow the other air vents to stay... in spite of the fact that they are probably doing next to nothing where they are located. What I mean is, ya gotta get air collecting under them for them to do any good, and it's highly unlikely any air is gonna collect underneath them where they are.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 07:36 PM
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Not that it matters functionally, but just to avoid confusion on the part of the original poster, that is not a spirovent, it's a Honeywell Supervent.

1.25" Supervent

And the sparse info does not explicity show a ~1/2" NPT port on the bottom for expansion tank and fill connection, but I'd be amazed if it didn't have one.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 07:47 PM
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By golly yer right! I din't pay close enuf attention!

Looking at the specs (Honeywell doesn't have a I&O to download on the site), one of the lines says:

1-1/4" Bottom Inlet

Apparently it can be installed as a straight or angle, just like the SA flow check can.

I don't think there's any reason why the bottom couldn't be bushed down to 1/2 or 3/4 to pipe an expansion tank...

edit: just snuck in Honeywell's back door ... found the installation PDF file:

PV Series Residential SuperVent

It do show a 1/2" tapping on the bottom.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 09:56 PM
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Okay, the first thing wrong (absolutely wrong) is that you have the circulating pumps on the return side of the system. While this can work in many systems the fact of your system supplying two floors above the boiler can make this difficult. Another thing that I think is wrong (I could be wrong) is that you have the flow-control valves on the return side rather than the supply side.



Originally Posted by furd View Post
Another thing is that you have automatic air vents and while I personally have never seen a problem with them in a system with a "conventional" expansion tank the consensus of the residential specialists (my background is commercial and industrial) on this forum is that automatic air vents should never be used in a system with a conventional expansion tank.
The automatic vents were installed by the HVAC company that originally installed the boiler. They installed 6 of them (as you saw in the pics) and said that these vents would "cure" my gurgling, sloshing sound issue and I basically wasted $400.00 because they didn't do a thing.



I am also assuming that when you write "drain the system" you are really meaning that you are draining the excess water from the expansion tank. Correct?
No. What I meant about "draining the system" is that I turn off the boiler switch and pumps and then hook a hose up to the Basement's drain valve or zone valve, I don't know what they are called, (from these 3 here, 1,2 and B http://i435.photobucket.com/albums/q...lerPics008.jpg ) then I twist open the red water valve and let all the water and air drain into my sewer.

It's a loud racket while all that water is coming out and I wait till the pipe gets cold and silent, sometimes it take over 30 minutes to get silent, then I shut it off. I do the same for the other two. Then I wait for the refill valve to pressurize up to 20PSI, and then turn on the boiler and pumps. It's a real pain and I've been doing this for a longgggggg time......
 
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Old 12-13-09, 09:59 PM
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Originally Posted by furd View Post
No, what we need is the total height from the bottom of the boiler to the top of the radiator (or baseboard) on the top floor of the building.
Okay, I measured 19' to 19' 7" from the bottom of the boiler, to top of 2nd floor's baseboard.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 10:19 PM
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Oh, man, have you ever been taken for a ride. First, you should have a pressure of 13-15 psi in your boiler when the system if fully filled and at room temperature. If you are getting 20 psi then your "automatic fill valve" (properly called a pressure reducing valve or PRV) is incorrectly adjusted.

You should rarely need to drain the system the way you have been doing. Adding fresh water (and lots of it because of the draining) also adds air that is entrained and dissolved in the water so by draining and refilling you are accomplishing no good and much bad.

The ONLY place you would drain if the system were properly piped is the drain valve on the expansion tank and you would first close the red handled valve on the pipe coming from the center of the expansion tank. Use a short hose on the drain valve and understand that while draining a partial vacuum will develop in the tank so it will be necessary to allow air back into the tank periodically. This can often be done by partially unscrewing the hose connection and let it gurgle until the water flows out again. Be sure to completely drain the tank and then close the drain valve.

Next, after making sure that you have 13 to 15 psi water pressure on the room temperature boiler you slowly open the red handled valve between the expansion tank and the boiler. The pressure will drop and the PRV should make up the drop bringing the pressure back to the set point.

Do you have any manual vents on the radiators, baseboards or whatever? Do you need instruction on lowering the set point of the PRV?
 
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Old 12-13-09, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
I'd like to see some shots from several steps back so we can see how all the puzzle pieces fit together. The return side stuff is pretty well documented and easy enough to figure out, but the supply side not so well... and also, the pipe from the expansion tank to the boiler... which pipe is that? and is there a valve between the tank and the boiler?
I hope from these new pictures.....http://s435.photobucket.com/albums/q...e%20I%20Think/....... you can probably figure out what you're looking for because I have no idea which pipe is going from the expansion tank to the boiler. This is the entire system I've taken pictures of, I see nothing else unless you know of something that should be there but isn't. Let me know........


Do you have those automatic air bleeders on the upper floor radiators as well?
No, The only automatic air bleeders I have are those 6 that I show in the pictures. All downstairs connected to the pipes of the boiler.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 10:58 PM
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Originally Posted by furd View Post
Oh, man, have you ever been taken for a ride. First, you should have a pressure of 13-15 psi in your boiler when the system if fully filled and at room temperature. If you are getting 20 psi then your "automatic fill valve" (properly called a pressure reducing valve or PRV) is incorrectly adjusted.
The HVAC company raised it to 20PSI (cold) because when it was at 12PSI (cold) it always made the gurgling sloshing noise. So they adjusted the refill valve or PRV to 20. Once they did it, the noise went away and was running extremely well. Then 4 days later, the same noised returned even with a pressure of 29 (hot).........so I guess it's not the pressure?

You should rarely need to drain the system the way you have been doing. Adding fresh water (and lots of it because of the draining) also adds air that is entrained and dissolved in the water so by draining and refilling you are accomplishing no good and much bad.
The HVAC company told me the same thing but they ALSO showed me how to drain it the way I am to temporarily remedy the noises, which it does work and I don't know why either.

The ONLY place you would drain if the system were properly piped is the drain valve on the expansion tank and you would first close the red handled valve on the pipe coming from the center of the expansion tank. Use a short hose on the drain valve and understand that while draining a partial vacuum will develop in the tank so it will be necessary to allow air back into the tank periodically. This can often be done by partially unscrewing the hose connection and let it gurgle until the water flows out again. Be sure to completely drain the tank and then close the drain valve.

Next, after making sure that you have 13 to 15 psi water pressure on the room temperature boiler you slowly open the red handled valve between the expansion tank and the boiler. The pressure will drop and the PRV should make up the drop bringing the pressure back to the set point.

Do you have any manual vents on the radiators, baseboards or whatever? Do you need instruction on lowering the set point of the PRV?
Wow, this is all Greek to me.......I do understand but I'm a super novice at this stuff. I have no manual vents on any of the baseboards throughout my building though, this I checked about 2 years ago and so did the HVAC company.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 10:58 PM
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The pipe that comes off of the bottom of the expansion tank and goes to a red handled valve at the very bottom of the picture...where does this pipe connect at the boiler? Or does it connect somewhere else in the system. Picture please.


It's eleven PM here and I will be signing off shortly. I have a fair bit of business to attend to tomorrow and may not get back until late tomorrow.
 
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Old 12-13-09, 11:12 PM
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Originally Posted by furd View Post
The pipe that comes off of the bottom of the expansion tank and goes to a red handled valve at the very bottom of the picture...where does this pipe connect at the boiler? Or does it connect somewhere else in the system. Picture please.


It's eleven PM here and I will be signing off shortly. I have a fair bit of business to attend to tomorrow and may not get back until late tomorrow.
This will be my last till tomorrow and thanks a lot.......here's a few pics...........the first pic follows the down to the second pic.......




2nd pic.......it connects to the boiler and Supervent......

 
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Old 12-13-09, 11:15 PM
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And leads here.........

 
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Old 12-14-09, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
To recap everything...

First, determine WHY the pressure is currently at 25 PSI with a relatively cool system. That's a problem all by itself right there.
It's at 25PSI because the HVAC company adjusted the refill valve to 20PSI to remedy the gurgling, sloshing sounds, which it did but only for a few days so I raised the pressure to 23PSI by adding some water from the refill valve and it is holding pressure (I guess that's a good thing?)

When the pressure was at the normal 12 to 13PSI range it always made the sloshing sounds until the 3 zones were drained but raising the pressure must've been a "phantom" cure because it is still making noises with a PSI of 29. Basically the only fix for this BOTCHED up installation is for me to keep draining it which is NOT good at all.

Maybe I should call a 3rd HVAC company to come out and tell me what their opinion(s) would be? I'm sure a competent company (that knows what they're doing, excluding my original installer) will give me the same answers that you and Furd and the others have given to me.........that everything was installed improperly and backwards, etc.

It could have two causes:

Compression/expansion tank too small (not likely) or WATERLOGGED (likely).

Next, think about abandoning the existing steel tank, and going with a bladder type.

Finally, consider repiping the system so that the pumps are on the supply side, AFTER the expansion tank connection.
Okay. 1 question though.......which is the supply side in the pictures I posted?

I don't think that the check valves on the return side is too awful, but it will/can/might allow some 'ghost flow' into the zones when they aren't calling for heat. I would move those at the same time the pumps were moved.
Funny that you mentioned "ghost flow"........since day 1 of boiler installation my tenants above have been complaining about getting heat when their thermostat is OFF. I had my heat turned on and apparently it's also heating up the upper floor's zone as well. This also happens with the basement's but not my floor. If the upstairs or basement is running/heating I don't have any "ghost flow" coming into the my baseboards. Weird how the 2nd floor and basement have this issue but my floor doesn't.

Wow, you know your stuff NJ Trooper to even have figured out that "ghost flow" will/can/might be an issue for me....you were rightBeer 4U2
 
  #26  
Old 12-14-09, 11:42 AM
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Start calling people. Ignore whoever you've had there before. They don't understand the problem or how to fix it.

The people who do understand the problem will suggest what's been suggested in this thread. Namely,

build a proper header/manifold for the supply,

move the fill water and expansion tank connection to the supply side,

put the circulators on the supply side, down stream of the point where the expansion tank connects to the system, with flow checks after them (or use circulators with integrated flowchecks),

install a properly-sized diaphragm expansion tank,

build a proper header/manifold for the return,

cap or replace all the extraneous vents with standard elbows.


This won't be super-expensive, nor will it be super-inexpensive. It'll probably take 1-2 guys a full day. They probably will suggest using new major components, rather than reusing what you've got. So be it.

You are definitely not alone in this. I had the same problem four years ago, and it's quite common. Took six months to figure out something very simple, and in my case, only an hour to actually fix.

Oh yeah, the supply side is the side with the Supervent.
 

Last edited by xiphias; 12-14-09 at 12:15 PM.
  #27  
Old 12-14-09, 12:42 PM
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Yep, what Xiphias wrote. In fact it was his problem that caused me to join this forum. He was having sever air problems after making an addition to his system. His installer was completely baffled as were many (not all) of the regulars on this forum. He finally found the problem but the fix that was detailed involved quite a bit of work in re-piping that he was not willing to go for at the time for several reasons. I suggested a fairly simple revision and that was able to keep him going through the heating season until he could do the proper rework.

The way that your expansion tank is piped is absolutely wrong and I cannot for the life of me understand why anyone but a complete hack who knows absolutely nothing about hydronic heating would have done it that way. The pumps being on the wrong side is a fairly common mistake and is a holdover from how it was done more than fifty years ago. The flow-control valves are also a fairly benign mistake in most installations. The air vents are not exactly wrong but the type and placement is also not correct. The piping is a nightmare in my opinion.

I agree with Xiphias that a pair of experienced pipefitters should be able to do the necessary work in a day, maybe a long day or maybe having to come back the second day for some system purging and/or air bleeding. I disagree that it would be any better to discard items like the flow-control valves, pumps or the Supervent. I would most assuredly remove that expansion tank and substitute a diaphragm tank. In fact, that should have been done when the new boiler was installed. The automatic air vents would then be okay although it would only take a few minutes each to remove them and plug the connection.
 
  #28  
Old 12-14-09, 10:55 PM
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Okay I will call up another two different HVAC companies and I'll post back what they told me.

I want to thank ALL three of you (NJ Trooper, furd, Xiphias) for being kind enough to provide the most accurate solutions to my problem since I'm a total novice when it comes to this stuff.

I will keep you guys updated but when I do come back to post, should I create a new thread or find this one and revive it again?

Let me know, talk to you guys soon and THANK YOU once again.....
 
  #29  
Old 12-15-09, 12:39 AM
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Best to locate this thread, you can easily do that by accessing your "control panel" and then finding your own threads.
 
  #30  
Old 12-15-09, 02:44 PM
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Lots of air

Probably half the boilers in the country have the circulators pumping into the return and they are still working. I think High needs one or more manual air vents at the highest point in his system [third floor etc ] as it is very hard to pump air down to the bsmt unless he has super pump.
Sid
 
  #31  
Old 12-15-09, 04:21 PM
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I bet it's WAY more than half Sid! And yes, the manual bleeders up top would help a lot. I would put them wherever the piping turned downward, on the downstream ends, and bleed with the circ running.

That said, it's obvious that since this system hasn't performed properly for five years, that High would benefit from the changes we've recommended.

By the way High, the 'bleeding' procedure you were given is all messed up... the way you should have been instructed was to hook a hose to the red drain valve above the pumps, and CLOSE THE BLUE VALVE ABOVE THE PUMP. Then, open the drain valve and LIFT THE FAST FILL LEVER on the FB-38 in order to get a fast flow through the loop. When only water comes out, close the drain, and open the blue valve and go on to the next one.

By closing that blue valve, you end up forcing the water up through the heating loop, and back out the drain under pressure, rather than actually draining and refilling the system.
 
  #32  
Old 12-15-09, 04:30 PM
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You CANNOT have a air elimination system, (ie Supervent) with an air cushion tank as what is here.
There is NO way this will EVER work.

The spirovent / supervent removes the air that the expansion (air cushion) tank REGUIRES to function properly.

Pumping into the boiler will and has worked fine with air cushion tanks, it's not what you want to do with this set-up but it could be made to work.

Close all the air vents, the one on the supervent, and the ones on the auto vents.
Drain the air cushion tanks.
Purge each zone with the system OFF, by closing the shut off valve before the circ. attach hose to the hose bibb on the copper pipe above the shut off valve you just close.
Place hose into a buck in a sink or over a drain, purge zone until there are no more bubbles.
Do THIS for EACH zone.

Reset auto fill valve to 12 to 15 psi.
Close the fill valve supply off when done for now.
Start boiler, and run it with all stats calling until the boiler gets hot.

Make sure the pressure doesn't change too much, a few PSI is normal.

STOP draining the boiler REALLY. You are going to kill it and your system.

If after all this, you still have air problems then call a good reputable company to come in.

This system is not all that complicated, if you get all the air out on filling, and you get sloshing sounds it's getting in somewhere on the suction side of the system.
 
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