Help please. No heat in upstairs loop....


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Old 11-12-10, 12:51 PM
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Help please. No heat in upstairs loop....

A little background. I do not reside at the home at issue. It belongs to my 80 year old mother and I am a NY city boy with little familiarity with the care and feeding of a hot water baseboard heating system and oil fired boiler.

Here is the issue. Home has a Burnham boiler less than 10 years old that supplies heat and hot water to the house. There are two zones of heat: one for an extension to the house and the second zone heats the main part of the house which is two stories tall.

Heat in extension zone and first floor of main house and domestic hot water are fine, the issue is with a loop that supplies the entire second floor. This loop runs up one side of the house and along 3 of the 4 upstairs exterior walls and then back down on the opposite side of the house.

All baseboards upstairs are cold with no sign of heat in them. I did locate a bleed valve at one of the upstairs baseboard units that I bled. I am pretty sure this is the only bleed valve in the upstairs loop. Some air did come out and I ran several basins full of water out of the system until the water bleeding out became hot. This did not solve the issue. When I checked again several hours later the upstairs units were still all cold. I did the bleed procedure again. Still no heat. I might note that the flow of water out of the bleed valve was not always consistent. Sometimes the flow was stronger than others. At times it became not much more than a trickle. I could hear the burner kicking in down in the basement when I did the bleed. Not sure if this was coincidence or not. I did jack the temp on the thermostat up to the mid 80s while I was doing the bleed.

I managed to trace the pipes from the suspect loop back to the boiler but I am not sure which side is the supply and which is the return side. Here are some things I noted when tracing the pipes back to the boiler: on one side of the boiler there is what I think is an expansion tank, the pipes from the suspect loop on the side of the boiler with the expansion tank were hot to the touch as far as I could trace them which means all the way back into the wall. On the other side (no expansion tank side) the pipe was warm but not hot to the touch and then became cold at a point about 10 or so feet from the boiler and was cold to the touch the remainder of the run I could trace by touch until it went back into the wall and up.

I will add that I know my mother had the burner serviced this past Spring.

I plan on making a trip to the house over this weekend and would appreciate any and all advice I might get on this problem. I will have internet access from there.

Thanks in advance.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 02:34 PM
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Hi Jack, probably the most important piece of information you can give us is the readings on the PRESSURE / TEMPERATURE gauge on the boiler.

Probability is high that there is an air blockage in the upper loop that may be compounded by low pressure in the system.

Bring your camera when you go... take a wagon (clever, huh? )load full of photos. Try to get everything that is connected to the boiler in the pics... then step back and take some shots of the whole system so we can see how it all fits... try to get them as well lighted, in focus, and as large as possible so we can see what you are working with. We'll be looking to see what valves you have to help you get the air out of that upper zone.

Set up a free account at Image hosting, free photo sharing & video sharing at Photobucket and upload the pics there. Come back here and drop a link to your album so we can view it.
 
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Old 11-12-10, 02:52 PM
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Roger Dodger Mr Trooper. Packing my cam in my bag right now! Thanks.
 
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Old 11-13-10, 05:13 PM
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Got Pics.....

OK I got some pics and am going to try to attach a link to the Photobucket album they are in.

I tried to get as many shots as I could but I think I ended up repeating a few...sorry

Thanks very much...

Boiler Pics pictures by cowboy_020 - Photobucket
 
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Old 11-13-10, 05:28 PM
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A little darker than I like, but I think I can see what I need to see...

First, the pic of the gauge is showing around 12 PSI when the boiler is at about 160 or so degrees. That's probably a bit on the low side.

Are you there for a while? Do you have time to shut the boiler off and let it cool to 100 or less? this does mean that there will be NO heat of course, but that boiler is also supplying the domestic hot water, so there won't be any of that either... if that's a problem, we might be able to work around it...
 
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Old 11-13-10, 05:40 PM
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In this image there are a few things you will be working with:



I don't know how 'hip' you are to boiler 'jive', so I'll be wordy... and explain as I go.

The black thing to the right of the gauge is the CIRCULATOR PUMP. Following the pipe up from that is a yellow/orange handle 1/4 turn valve in the OPEN position. Above that is a BOILER DRAIN or hose bib with a red handle. At the lower right is a gold colored bell shaped thingy... that is your PRESSURE REDUCING VALVE that feeds water to the system, and is supposed to maintain the water pressure in the boiler to 12 PSI when the boiler is COLD. There is (should be, can't see it well in the pics) a 'lever' or 'bail' handle on that valve. We may be working with these three valves.
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-13-10 at 08:41 PM.
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Old 11-13-10, 05:45 PM
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In this image:



There are two silver boxes on the left side. Those are your electric ZONE VALVES. On one side of those valves there is a lever in a slot. When you move that lever to the MAN side of the slot, you can lock it into the tab at the end. That is the manual opener for the valve. We will be moving that lever.

Do you know which valve controls which zone? You will need to know which one controls the upstairs heat that isn't working.
 
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Old 11-13-10, 05:48 PM
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I think the easiest thing to try first would be to simply increase the pressure in the system...

On that bell shaped valve, while watching the pressure gauge on the boiler, lift up the 'bail' on the valve slowly. You should see the pressure increase and hear water feeding into the system as you do this. Go slowly, and add about 5 PSI to whatever reading you have at the time ... (the pressure changes with temperature, in the pic is about 12 PSI and 155-160).

See what happens with this...

After you do this, try the heat... if we're very lucky this may be all you need to do.

If it doesn't help, go back to the boiler and raise the pressure up to 25 PSI and go back up and try bleeding the loop again. Also look again for more bleed valves too, and if you find any, bleed them too.

If that still doesn't help you'll need to get out the garden hose and we'll tell you how to do a 'power purge'.
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-13-10 at 08:48 PM.
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Old 11-14-10, 04:45 AM
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Sorry about the darker pics.. I brought my dig cam with me but it picked a great time to crap out on me so I had to use my phone cam.

It is now Sunday AM and I will be here for another 24- 30 hours. I can shut the boiler down to let it cool. I cant believe I dont know this but do I do that by merely turning the Red Electric switch to off? In the interests of moving this along, I am going to do just that (turn off electric) and see what happens and await further instructions from you and how to proceed after temp gets down to 100.

Jack
 
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Old 11-14-10, 04:48 AM
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Sorry Please disregard my past post.. for some reason my computer didnt refresh to show that you had posted other instructions for me so sorry

Iam going to read over the posts left and follow instructions.....


THanks
 
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Old 11-14-10, 05:13 AM
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Ok... Have lkocated valves and have shut down Boiler

Sorry about the confusion but I think I am sort of up to speed now.

I have shut down the boiler and located all the valves and switches you mentioned

1/4 turn yellow is in open position

Pressure Reducer ( this bail valve handle is wired in the closed postion for some reason and not sure how to proceed with that )

Boiler Drain Valve located

I do know which Zone switch feeds the upstairs loop and I have located the the slide switches on the bottom of the Zone switch housings.

So to repeat at this point all I have done is shut down the boiler and located those items. I wasnt sure if you wanted me to wait for it to cool down before opening the pressure relief bail and I wasnt sure what to do about that bail on the pressure reducer since it was wired in position.

So the boiler has been off for about 15 mns now and I am going to watch the temp and await further instructions...


Jack
 
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Old 11-14-10, 06:41 AM
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Update: Cooled Boiler to 100, Increased pressure to 15

Went ahead and assumed you meant to cool the boiler before increasing pressure, so thats what I have done. Its 9:40 AM here and I have unwired the pressure bail so I could add some water to boiler. Temp was at 100 when I did it and pressure was down to about between 5 and 10 I think.. I brought the pressure up to 15 and have turned on the boiler at the red switch again. Waiting for heat to come up.

Jack
 
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Old 11-14-10, 07:35 AM
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Not sure if we're in the same time zone or not...

Let's start today by a little info.

When the boiler is cool, that reducing valve is supposed to maintain the boiler pressure at appx 12 PSI. It seems clear that it's not doing that, so perhaps it's something to put on 'the list' for maintenance. We can work around that for now.

The EXPANSION tank is where the extra volume of water must go when the boiler is heated and the pressure increases.

Do you have an accurate tire pressure gauge and a bicycle pump, or a small compressor with you?

If you increase the pressure in the boiler above nominal in order to get a better 'bleed' on the upstairs loop, when you are finished you should return it to nominal before firing it up. (you would do this by opening a boiler drain to let some pressure off)

Check your PMs
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-14-10 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 11-14-10, 07:37 AM
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By the way, I have a habit of 'twittering' my replies, and this page will not auto refresh, so as long as you see the green light next to my name, hit 'refresh' on your browser from time to time to see my replies.

I'll be in and out doing chores today... checking messages throughout the day.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 08:45 AM
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Expansion tank service procedure

1. Shut off boiler and allow to cool to under 100F.

2. Shut off water supply line to boiler.

3. Drain only enough water from the boiler drain to drop the system pressure to ZERO. Don't drain any more water than necessary to drop the pressure to zero!

4. With an ACCURATE tire pressure gauge, check the air charge in the tank on the air valve opposite the end of the tank that's connected to the system. If ANY water comes out of the air valve, the bladder inside the tank is shot and the tank needs replaced. If no water comes out the air valve, and the pressure is less than 12-15 PSI, continue to step 5. If the pressure is OK, turn the water supply to the boiler back on and repressurize the system, turn the power back on to the boiler, no service is necessary.

5. Using a bicycle pump, or a small air compressor, add air to the tank until you have 15 PSI air charge.

6. Check the boiler pressure gauge again, and if it has risen off ZERO, drain some more water from the boiler drain until it is again at ZERO.

7. Check the air charge on the tank again. If it is below 15 PSI, add air to the tank until it is at 15 PSI.

8. Repeat steps 6 and 7 until the boiler stays at ZERO and the tank stays at 15 PSI. At this point, the tank is properly recharged and the water supply can be turned on to re-pressurize the system, turn the power on to boiler and return to service.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 08:56 AM
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Aquastat readings

High = approx 182
Low = approx 140
Diff = approx 14

And what I did last (up to 25 psi, bleed upstairs) so far hasnt solved the issue. In fact the little hot water I had drawn into the area of the bleed valve now seems to be gone and pipes are getting cold again. That was about 25 mins ago now.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-14-10, 09:14 AM
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Aquastat settings are fine...

I guess it's time for a 'power purge'.

You will need a garden hose directed to a drain, out the window, etc...

Connect this hose to the red handle drain above the yellow handle ball valve above the circulator pump.

Turn boiler off, and let it cool again... you don't want to put large volume of cold water into a hot boiler...

On the zone valve feeding that zone, push the manual open lever over and lock into the 'notch'.

CLOSE the yellow handle ball valve and OPEN the red valve with the hose on it, then lift all the way up on the bail on the pressure reducing valve. By closing that yellow valve, the incoming water will be forced through the boiler, the open zone valve, up through the loop and out the hose. That yellow and red valve together are known as a 'purge station'.

When you are pretty sure that all the air is out of the upstairs loop, lower the bail on the reducing valve, close the red valve, open the yellow valve.

At this point, it might be a good idea to go ahead and check the expansion tank and correct that air charge if necessary.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 09:20 AM
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10-4 Starting that power purge procedure now. Will post when I am done.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-14-10, 01:45 PM
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Did it all... still no good

Did the power purge and the expansion tank check by the numbers. Still no heat upstairs.

The expansion tank registered at 12 psi initially... I tried to pump it up to 15 but I wasnt able to get it there. Not sure if the pump was no good, it is a very old pump, or if the tank was releasing the extra pressure. But it was at 12 when I put the system back in service.

I found the mfg tag on the boiler. The whole system was installed new in early 2005, including expansion tank.

Gonna call it a day at this point. Oh well.

For what its worth, I did a little bleed upstairs just to see and no matter how many times I bleed I still get air in the system up there.
Very puzzling.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-14-10, 01:54 PM
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Are you absolute certain that the zone valve you opened is the one for the second floor?

Are there any more valves on the heating pipes that can't be seen in the pics?
[ a premonition of the future... NJT - 11/30/10 ]

There are two zone valves, is one for the downstairs, and one for the upstairs? What's the layout?
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-30-10 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 11-14-10, 02:05 PM
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Yes. I just double checked. There are two zones. One feeds an extension on the house and the other feeds the main original structure, both upstairs and downstairs.

I dont see any other valves in the system other than the ones in the pics by the boiler and I havent touched any other valves other than the ones you pointed out.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 02:25 PM
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Zone Switch...

OK I think I may have screwed up the power purge procdure. I just closely examined the Zone switch and I dont think I had the switch locked in the MAN position. I didnt realize it needed to be locked in that position. My apologies, I didnt have my glasses on when I did it and didnt see the locking slot for the switch.

I will try the power purge again first thing in the morning. Do I need to do the tank check again or is it ok to assume thats ok?

Sorry and thanks...
 
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Old 11-14-10, 03:42 PM
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Actually, I'm glad you 'screwed up' ! cuz I wuz sittin' here scratchin' out the last few hairs on me haid...

As long as the tank checked out OK according to the procedure, then no, you don't have to do it again.
 
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Old 11-14-10, 04:13 PM
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HA HA yes I did .. so I wll try it again first thing in the AM..

Thanks again
 
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Old 11-15-10, 07:47 AM
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Did Power Purge again (correctly) Still NG

I did the Power Purge procedure again this AM. Here is exactly what I did:

Killed power to boiler, let cool to 100
Put zone switch in MAN position and assured it was locked in the MAN position slot (put on my glasses and used a drop light to be sure )
Attached hose to red valve
closed yellow valve 1/4 turn to closed position
opened red valve fully
Opened pressure reducer bail fully
Checked flow of water at end of hose-steady stream

I did not know how long it would take to get all air out of upstairs loop but I let water flow as above for about 5 minutes. I did not detect any pockets of air discharging , steady stream the whole time.

Closed Pressure Reducer Bail
Closed Red Valve
Place zone switch in original position
opened yellow valve 1/4 turn to open position
restored power to boiler

It has been over an hour now and still no heat upstairs. I am even more puzzled than before.

I will have to leave here shortly so I will have to leave it for now. The good news is my mother doesnt use upstairs much, lives and sleeps downstairs mostly. There is a bathroom upstairs but at this point it doesnt get cold enough up there to risk pipes freezing. At worst its just chilly up there right now.

Hate to make you start scratching your head again.
Thanks
 
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Old 11-15-10, 08:20 AM
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Did you check the pressure in the system was 12-15 after done?

One of the reasons I asked if there were any other valves... since that zone is both upstairs and down in the original home, it is very possible that it splits into two paths after leaving and before returning to the boiler. I was hoping that you would say there was another valve in the line to the downstairs... that way you could shut that and force the water through the upper loop. The majority of that water was probably running through the downstairs loop...

So, before you leave, make sure there is about 12 PSI with the boiler cold.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 02:50 PM
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Back home again.

I didnt have time to cool the boiler before I took the pressure reading but I did check it as it was after running since I did the purge this AM and just as I was heading out the door. I think it looks low. I am attaching a pic for your review but the markings on the dial are not very helpful in locating 12 psi, at least for me. This pic was taken after the boiler had been running about two hours since I did the purge. I did not take a specific reading on the pressure right after the purge but I did glance at it and it wasnt very different from what it shows in the pic.



As far as other valves on the system, I understand what you mean about maybe the purge moving mostly water on first floor. Unfortunately I guess it is not a well designed system. The way it is layed out is that there are several un-valved branches coming off the line that run directly to the several baseboard units on the first floor and then there is the loop that goes upstairs.

After I posted here this AM I went upstairs and did a little bleed and there was still some darn air coming out of the bleed. I dont know how this air is so persistent up there. It always seems to go away after I bleed it for a bit but somehow it seems to return after the boiler has cycled a few times.

Is it possible I have a persistent low pressure problem? A badly designed system?Should I have opened the bail on the pressure reducer after doing the purge?

For what its worth, I might add that I do recall my dad tinkering with that bleed valve at some point, unfortunately I cant say precisely how long ago that may have been. My feeling is it was likely before the new boiler was installed (early 05)because he wasnt with us much longer after the new system was put in and his health was such that I doubt he would have been messing with it much after it was put in. I cant say whether he was doing a bleed as part of routine maintnenance or if he was trying to correct a problem.

By the way, I am curious, could you tell me which side of the boiler is the supply side and which is the return side? I hope I have the concept and terminology correct.

Thanks
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-15-10 at 03:14 PM.
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Old 11-15-10, 03:05 PM
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Yeah, that pressure is too low...

... and that is why you have the persistent problem in the system. The pressure should never be below 12 PSI, especially on a 2 story home. You can sometimes get away with lower on a ranch style... but it's not recommended.

I probably wasn't clear in my posts that you need to manually raise the pressure to the minimum... I did say that we would work around the fact that it doesn't seem the reducing valve is feeding water, but then I don't think I went back and explained the work around. My bad, sorry...

That valve MIGHT just need to be adjusted... if lifting the bail allowed water in, then it's obvious that it's not plugged up. I wonder if at some point somebody adjusted it down for some reason? The adjustment is pretty easy...

If it does turn out to be defective though, I would highly recommend that it be mounted horizontally, and since the home is on well water, it is VERY strongly recommended to also add a BACKFLOW PREVENTER to keep the boiler water out of the domestic water in the event the domestic system pressure drops below that of the boiler system. There is, I think, a check valve in the reducing valve, but it is not a 'fail safe' device. The proper backflow preventer IS.

The SUPPLY side is always the higher of the two in/out pipes. As I recall, the zone valves on that system are on the supply side, and the RETURN is the one that is down low, to the right of the burner, with the pump, and the reducing valve feeding it.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 03:13 PM
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WARM START vs. COLD START

A COLD start boiler can go completely cold in the absence of a heat call, because there is no need for it to stay warm... not all boilers use the 'tankless coil' to produce domestic hot water as yours does.

Boilers that do produce domestic hot water are always set up as WARM START in order that hot water is available without having to wait 20 minutes...

In the case of a warm start boiler like yours, it may be OK to keep the pressure around 12-15 PSI when the boiler is at the LOW LIMIT (i.e. instead of COLD). Since the boiler is always warm, this could theoretically be the 'starting point' of the thermal expansion.

When do you think you will be going back? next weekend? is there someone that you trust that can go and put a little pressure in the system?
 
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Old 11-15-10, 03:47 PM
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I expect to be making another trip there before Thanksgiving but not exactly sure what day. Kind of depends on when I can get a day or two free from work. I do have a brother in law nearby who, if necessary, could probably add pressure to the system. Am I at a critical level there with those readings as I left them? Not sure of his boiler proficiency as he has electric in his house. But I think I could talk him through pulling the bail on the pressure reducer if needed.

You think theres enough pressure to keep the downstairs warmed and make some hot water?

I am guessing that to adjust that pressure reducer you need to turn that screw looking affair on the face of it? I dont know if anyone would have adjusted it down at any point. I cant imagine why. It was wired in the closed position and the only people in the house regularly were my mom and dad and now just her.

When you mentioned that the Pressure reducer might be defective , how would I determine if it is? IF it has to be replaced I will be sure to get it mounted horizontally and get the Backflow Preventer installed. I may urge my mother to get it done next summer anyway even if its not defective.
I asked about which is supply and return because, given what you have told me, the supply lines get red hot to the touch but its the return line that is barely even warm. The funny thing is though when I trace the suppy line upstairs that end of the loop is dead cold and the bleed valve would be situated near the point where the loop makes its run back downstairs through the wall. If thats true, then why is it that when I do bleed a sufficient amount of water upstairs I start to get hot water coming out? While the rest of the loop remains cold? Am I drawing hot water up from the return side somehow? I guess I am just trying to make sense of it in my head and what I just told you was already obvious to you....
 

Last edited by Jack Wagon; 11-15-10 at 04:02 PM.
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Old 11-15-10, 04:51 PM
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Pressure Reducing Valve

In just looking at your pictures it appears the pressure adjustment screw is turned out more than normal. Loosen the lock nut & turn the screw in 1/2 turn at a time, allowing at least a couple of minutes between adjustments, until the pressure gauge shows just short of the mark below 20 on the red scale. Right now you are showing about 5# on the gauge.
Once you get the pressure up, retighen the lock nut & secure the bail to the pipe with a piece of string, wire, a zip tie, or even duct tape. This will prevent accidental lifting of the bail.
 
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Old 11-15-10, 05:15 PM
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Am I at a critical level there with those readings as I left them?
Critical? ummm... let's just say that it's lower than when you started I think?

All that needs to be done is to lift the bail slowly while watching the pressure gauge. I would leave it at 15 PSI if the boiler is already warm. Make sure he understands how to read the gauge.

You think theres enough pressure to keep the downstairs warmed and make some hot water?
Hot water, yes, as long as there's water in the boiler. Downstairs warmed... maybe...

turn that screw looking affair on the face of it?
Yes, that's pretty much it. You need to do this slowly though, and give the pressure time to equalize between adjustments... they are very slow to react. Loosen the 'jam nut' then turn the screw clockwise say 1/2 turn at a time. At some point you should see the pressure start to rise and may hear water flowing through the valve...

BUT, if you are fairly certain that nobody has 'messed' with it since it was installed, there is no real reason to have to adjust it... they are factory pre-set at 12 PSI and usually hold that setting well.

why is it that when I do bleed a sufficient amount of water upstairs I start to get hot water coming out? While the rest of the loop remains cold? Am I drawing hot water up from the return side somehow?
You are getting flow from whichever side of the bleeder valve does NOT have the air blockage.

But the main thing that you must keep in mind is that if you don't have enough pressure in the system, the flow won't be great enough to actually MOVE the air bubble... even with a lot of pressure in the system, those little bleeders move so little water that they have to almost be directly over the air bubble in order to let it pass... IMO, the absolute best place for the bleeders is two-fold... the HIGHEST point of the loop, and this is best bled with the pump OFF and after the system has sat for a while to allow the bubbles to float to that point, and at EVERY elbow were the flow turns to go back DOWN... in other words, at every downstream elbow that flows down... and these are best bled when the pump is RUNNING because air bubbles will be pushed to those locations.

This little graphic might help to illustrate:



What is probably happening is that you are in fact drawing the water up the supply side, and after a time enough that it feels hot. The block is probably AFTER the bleeder.

Have you always bled with the zone calling for heat? If so, then try it again with the zone OFF. Run the pressure up as high as possible short of spilling the relief valve. With the zone valve closed, the flow _should_ come up the return side and _may_ push the air backward and out the bleeder. If that doesn't work, then try closing the yellow valve above the pump, and lock the zone valve open... raise the pressure to 25-ish before trying...

Always go for as much flow as you can out the bleeder.
 
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Old 11-17-10, 03:16 PM
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Hey. Sorry I havent responded here. Was all day at work yesterday and today.

Apparently the heat has functioned well enough to keep at least the downstairs warm and supply sufficient hot water since the other day. I have placed my brother in law on notice for quick response should that situation change. So now I am just waiting for an opportunity to get back there to take another shot at resolving this problem.

Your last post gave me a lot to digest. The bleed valve upstairs is situated at the point where the loop makes its downward return run but I am not exactly sure if it is precisely the highest point in the loop.

I am a little confused as to what will be the best way to attack this next. Should I try to do it with the pump off or should I try to jack the pressure up and try to move the air that way.
Since it may be a couple of days before I get to actually lay hands back on the system it might be better if I reconnect with you on this closer to that time so I dont risk forgetting something and am in better postion to actually have the system in front of me to follow instructions.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-17-10, 03:37 PM
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The bleed valve upstairs is situated at the point where the loop makes its downward return run but I am not exactly sure if it is precisely the highest point in the loop.
Since it's at the end of the run, I would BOTH jack the pressure up as high as possible, turn the pump ON, and try to bleed.

But remember, that if you jack the pressure BEFORE you heat the boiler, there is a chance that the pressure might go OVER 30 PSI as it gets hot... BUT, as you bleed, you will be letting pressure back out again, so you should be OK. I know you are going to wanna minimize the trips up and down the stairs, but while bleeding you really don't want to let the pressure drop too far. Might not be a bad idea if you bribed your BIL to meet you there... he could stay in the basement with the cell phone, and you upstairs...

it might be better if I reconnect with you on this closer to that time
That's fine... check your PM's...
 
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Old 11-29-10, 06:18 PM
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Hi again;

I am back at my moms place and I have reviewed all your previous posts. I have been here for several hours now and in that time I have raised the pressure in the boiler to about 25 psi and gone upstairs to do more bleeding. I didnt let the pressure drop much and I made several trips up and down keeping the pressure at 25 psi as much as I could while still bleeding upstairs. Still no good.

Using the info I got from reading your posts I did a more detailed trace of the loop upstairs and where it comes up through the floors etc. I feel reasonable confident in saying that what seems to be happening is that when I do get hot water out the bleed valve (and it does get scalding hot) it is coming up through the return line (the line that runs back into the boiler at the low point). Where the supply side comes up through the floor on the second floor the pipe is ice cold and remains that way all the time. The temp of that pipe does not change at all when I am getting scaldiing water out the bleed. However at the point in the basement where that same supply pipe disappears into the wall to make its run up to the second floor, the pipe gets scalding hot to the touch. Somewhere in that run up to the second floor is where I am losing my circulation and bleeding doesnt seem to pull any water up to the second floor on the supply side.

It is about 9 pm here now and if its ok with you I will try to contact you about this tomorrow.

Thanks
 
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Old 11-29-10, 07:43 PM
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Hi Jack, doesn't the pipe that goes up to the second floor also feed the first floor? My understanding was that one zone feeds both up and downstairs in the old part of the home, and the other zone feeds the addition... so wouldn't that pipe branch and feed both up and downstairs? That would make sense that the pipe was hot since the downstairs is working.

Yup, you know how to reach me...
 
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Old 11-29-10, 07:52 PM
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OK, another idea...

Shut off the boiler and let it cool a bit so ya don't burn yourself. Leave it off for the time being.

CLOSE THE VALVE ABOVE THE PUMP. DON'T FORGET TO MANUALLY OPEN THE ZONE VALVE!

Try bleeding again. Same routine, keep the pressure jacked... when you open the bleed valve with that valve closed, the water HAS to go up the supply.

Try to get as much flow out of that bleeder as possible... but I'm afraid it won't be enough to move the air.

In an older post, one fellow removed the teensy little bleeder and replaced it with a small valve that he could hook a hose onto. In this way he was able to get enough flow to bust the bubble. (luckily his bleeder was in the bathroom, and the hose went in the terlet, you will need a bucket?)
 
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Old 11-30-10, 03:23 AM
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Good Morning.
Thanks for getting back to me.

Am shutting down boiler right now and will try that procedure you described to force water up supply side. And I will be sure to manually lock the zone switch in proper position! I will open the bleeder as far as I can without unscrewing the stem.

As to the system layout: yes the branch in question feeds both the upstairs and down on that zone. When I described the pipe being hot I was referring to the sub-branch of that zone that goes up into the wall and supplies the upstairs loops. Sorry I didnt describe it well enough. That sub-branch where it disappears into the wall and up is scalding hot. Where it reappears, approx 10-13 feet above vertically in the back of a closet on second floor the pipe is cold.
Based on what you described to me, that is the supply side of the loop upstairs. From that point in the closet around the perimeter of the house to where the bleed valve is (bleeder is at elbow in loop where it returns back down stairs) the pipe is and has been cold at every time during the procedures we have tried. I am nearly certain at this stage that when I do get hot water up stairs it is because I am drawing it up through return side. I can feel pipe on the return side of the bleeder getting hot as I bleed off.

So I am going to let the boiler cool a little and try what you said.

About what you mentioned about installing a larger valve in place of bleeder - what size and type of valve would I be looking for? I may have to make a trip into the HD this AM for some stuff and I could pick one up just in case.

Talk to ya later. Thanks
 
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Old 11-30-10, 05:20 AM
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Just finished the bleed with valve closed..

Just completed the bleed procedure you last recommended. Valve above circulator closed, zone switch in MAN. Boiler off. Pressure Jacked. (What I did was leave the bail on pressure reducer open to try to keep pressure up, hope that didnt screw anything up. thought it would help to keep system pressures up without having to run up and down while I did bleed.

So, I opened the bleed as much as possible for best flow. Water that bled out was cool. Did a few basins full. About 1 -2 gallons total. On the 3rd or 4th bleed I got a few gulps of air out. I was encouraged. Then I was even more encouraged when the water started to turn warm. Boiler was off so I was assuming the warmer water was residual in the system that was finally starting to be forced up supply side according to this procedure. Did another bleed or two and got no more air.

Restored system to normal. Valve open. Zone Switch auto. Pressure bail closed. Boiler power restored.

Much consternation when still no heat upstairs and that pipe where the supply side appears in closet on second floor is still cold! I am puzzled as to where the warm water came out the bleed since I am assuming all water was being forced up supply side during that procedure.

I still havent gone to the HDepot yet so maybe this larger valve might be an idea. What size and type woulld I get? Hopefully a relatively simple install since I have very limited , but not non existent, plumbing skills.

Jack
 
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Old 11-30-10, 04:19 PM
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A short note to put some 'closure' on this... we found the problem... it's all fixed.

And for Jack's sake, don't ask what it was! Right Jack?
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-30-10 at 04:35 PM. Reason: hint: see post #20 in this thread!
 

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