1 Zone out of 3 not working... Need help diagnosing

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  #1  
Old 02-05-11, 12:48 PM
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1 Zone out of 3 not working... Need help diagnosing

My home was built in the mid 90s (not sure if that helps). I've got a 3 zone water/baseboard heating system. The zone for the second floor and the zone for 3 of the 4 rooms on the first floor work fine. The 3rd zone I have, which just goes to the great room is not working.

I read up online and I've got the feeling I do have air in the system. I think it's my fault as I let a little water out of the system 6 months ago. I've read that air bleeders should exist throughout the system, but haven't found any yet (other then directly above the steel tank near the boiler). I haven't followed the pipes completely yet, though. Regarding the one above the steel tank, that one I'm guessing won't help, since 2 of the 3 zones do work and it's located before the zone separation (correct me if I'm wrong in assuming this).

What should I do next? Is it possible the solenoid is at fault here? I am doubtful about that since the copper pipe is hot right on both sides of the solenoid. I followed the pipe for 10-15 feet and it progressively got cooler (all in the basement). What does that mean?

Any help is greatly appreciated.. Thanks!

Tom
 
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Old 02-05-11, 03:19 PM
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Ok, so I have some more updates.. Found a great video on youtube explaining how baseboard heating works, so I think I can communicate some stuff better to you guys. Also, I have pictures.

One thing I wanted to add - I do, from time to time, here something that sounds like a gong (not as loud, slightly higher pitched) in zone 2 (1st floor). Perhaps that is air?

Anyway, on to the pictures..

Pic1

As I said, Zone 3 is the problem. I did notice, after turning zone 3 on earlier, I did hear noises coming from the zone 3 pump. Wasn't very loud, but did sound slightly like swooshing noises. I didn't hear that from the other two pumps. It was the audible one, really.

Pic2

This is behind the furnace. To the left of the "Pipe behind furance" arrow, I'm guessing this is the pressure relief valve. I was thinking of letting some of the water out of the system, to see if air would bubble out with the water (using the hose connections in pic1), but I have no idea how water gets back into the system. Is it through the pipe I just mentioned above? I assume it's automatic?

Pic3

Temperature looks fine. Pressure, obviously, is off. However, I think this is a bad sensor more than bad pressure. I will probably need to replace this I assume. Tried tapping on it , but that didn't work...

Any help, again, is greatly appreciated.. Thanks!

Tom
 
  #3  
Old 02-05-11, 03:39 PM
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Before you can fix your zone, you need to get a good pressure gauge installed. That one looks like it can be replaced. NJTrooper has posted several times a gauge that you can fasten together that will hook up to the boiler drain.

The ball valve on the 3rd zone looks like it is closed. Hard to tell in the pic.

If your problem is air, you need to power purge that zone. Use the ball valves to shut off your other zones that work fine. Those green things that you think are shut off valves are check valves. They prevent reverse flow through the zone. To power purge your 3rd zone, shut off the ball valve that is below the hose bib. Connect a hose to the bib and run it to a sink or a large bucket. Set the auto fill valve to fast fill to purge the zone of air.

Your pressure should be 12psi. This is why having a working gauge is imperative to fixing your problem. You should also be careful not to go above 30 psi when you purge because that will cause water to dump out of your pressure relief valve.

The thing you marked as the pressure relief valve looks like your auto fill valve. In one of your pics, it looks like you have a pipe going into a bucket. That is most likely connected to your pressure relief valve.
 
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Old 02-05-11, 03:52 PM
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Check out post #12 for the gauge.

http://forum.doityourself.com/boiler...esnt-work.html
 
  #5  
Old 02-05-11, 05:27 PM
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Thanks drooplug. You're right - the valve is closed on zone 3. That's not the problem, since I was playing with the valves right before I took the picture.

Is there a big problem with air going through the system in the short term? I've got some big gurgling noises now, since I drained some water without setting the auto fill valve to fast fill (I'm still not clear on how to do this). I just need to know, since I need to be out for the next few days and have run out of time (unfortunately )

Tom
 
  #6  
Old 02-05-11, 07:07 PM
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The only auto vent you need is on the air separator providing it is working. You do not want auto vents in the system with pumps on the returns as they drop pressure in the system and system auto vents will suck air in.
 
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Old 02-05-11, 07:15 PM
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. You do not want auto vents in the system with pumps on the returns as they drop pressure in the system and system auto vents will suck air in.
I have pumps on the returns. I have auto vents. I am not dropping pressure. I dont have an issue. What are you saying. I dont understand that auto vents suck???????


Mike NJ.
 
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