Noisy gurgling baseboards

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Old 03-22-11, 02:38 PM
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Noisy gurgling baseboards

I have been in my house for almost two years now and this winter the hot water baseboards are getting nosier. Last year and this year there was the ticking sound when the heat turned on. I know that is from the pipes expanding and rubbing against wood or anything else is was pressing against.

But in the past couple of month the baseboards have been gurgling and it has been increasing. It sounds like there is a decent amount of air in the pipes. I don't know how it would have got in there, there is always pressure in the system (20PSI).

The house was built in 1992. It is a high ranch without a basement. There are pipes in or below the slab, but they appear to be covered in a foam insulation. It's a 2 zone system with 2 circulators.

Is is possible that the boiler is introducing air into the plumbing?

Is it possible that there is a leak in or under the slab that is allowing air in? (I would only thing water would be leaking out.)

I don't see any water leaking anywhere. there is an occasional drop or two of water from the pressure relief valve on the boiler. There is never a puddle just a drop if you feel the end of the pipe from the PRV.

There are what looks to be air bleeders on the two lines leaving the boiler for each zone.

What is the best way to try and bleed the air out of the system?

Is these something I am missing?
 
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Old 03-22-11, 02:56 PM
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Gurgling is ALWAYS caused by air in the system. You state that the pressure is always at 20 psi but have you checked the pressure gauge? Bad gauges are more common than you may think.

What type of expansion tank along with the presence or absence of individual air vents at the baseboards will determine how to remove the air.

Pictures of your boiler and nearby piping along with pictures of the ends of the baseboard heaters with the covers removed will help. To post pictures you need to first upload the pictures to a photo hosting site such as photobucket.com or villagephotos.com. and then post the public URLs for the pictures (or album) here. More pictures are always better than fewer. Please have CLEAR, in focus and well lit pictures and have both close up pictures and ones from a far enough distance that we can see how the various parts are interconnected.
 
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Old 03-22-11, 04:24 PM
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Is is possible that the boiler is introducing air into the plumbing?
Its possible. You may have more make up water entering the system if you think there is a leak.

Try turning the water feed for the boiler off, and see if the gauge drops. Do this test and let us know.

What is the make and model of the boiler?
What does the pressure/temp gauge read at the boiler?
Are the caps on the two air vents loose? They should be. If they leak water when you loosen them they will need to be replaced.

They gauge should be about 20 psi when the boiler is hot. When it cools it should be 12-15psi.

Let us know.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 03-23-11, 09:07 AM
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I checked the pressure with a calibrated gauge from work and it was within a quarter of a psi. Just before the heat kicks on, the pressure was around 10 to 12 PSI. Once the system was on and running for a while the pressure went up to 20 PSI.

I shut off water to the system and it held pressure so I don't think there is a leak. I did not test this that long so I will look at it over the next few days.

Also there are no vents on the baseboard that i have seen. Last year i took off all the baseboard cover to sand and repaint then and did not recall seeing any vents.

The caps on the air vents were not loose, but that's because they leak. So they will need to changed. the one for the lower level had a little air come out of it. The upper floor one just leaks water.

Since it is only myself and my wife in the house the downstairs thermostat has been set to 55. I am thinking that the expansion tank may not be large enough or installed wrong. I am thinking that air in expansion tank (trapped air not a leak) is getting out and into baseboard piping since the downstairs is very cool. Since the expansion tank is mounted what looks to be upside down how would the air ever escape from it (I am assuming it has a bladder type) when the heating system is filled?

Boiler Pictures

Boiler is a NEW YORKER KD-154-AP. How efficient is this? Service tech said it was okay, so i guess not great and not a POS.
 
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Old 03-23-11, 10:26 AM
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If your expansion tank was too small, you would blow water out of your pressure relief valve. Sounds like the problem is that your air vents are closed. Get them replaced so the air can come out of the system. You may also need to power purge the air out once you replace your vents. Hard to tell, but it looks like your system is setup to do that easily with valves on the zones and hose bibs.
 
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Old 03-23-11, 01:25 PM
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When was the last time you had the baseboard zones flushed? It is def. air in the lines, and does occur if there is not enough venting on the system. Depends how it was designed and how much $$ the installer wanted to save. There probably is nothing wrong with your system. I would just flush the lines.... If you have a contract with an oil company have them come out and do it... if you have a service agreement then wont charge. Other wise you can do it yourself. Have them run a hose outside and make sure they pump plenty of water through. Pinch the hose together so you can feel the air coming though and when there is none reclose the system.

Last time my system was tuned the guy purged our lines and did a horrible job. Sounded like running water in the walls. The pressure guage read fine even with these sounds. I called them back out and an experienced guy flushed them again and removed the air, no more sounds. Even with those vents pictured air will slowly find a way in and get caught in the corners of the piping. You want this to get taken care of because low water in the lines can lead to easier freezing of the pipe.
 
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Old 01-20-12, 05:56 AM
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Gurgling hot water pipes

When my oil burner comes on, I too hear gurgling in the pipes in the baseboards. I read "What" to do, but it's the "HOW" I need help with... how does one bleed the pipes? ... expansion tank? ... flush the lines?
 
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Old 01-20-12, 06:22 AM
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What is the make and model of the boiler?
What does the pressure/temp gauge read at the boiler?
What type of heat emmiters?

Pics of your system will help.

Mike NJ

 
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Old 01-20-12, 08:51 AM
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Mike,

My boiler is a Smith Cast Iron, approx 20 years old, can't find the model. Marked MAX 15 psi Steam and 40 psi H2O

Gauge says about 18 psi. A sticker on the expansion tank says 12 psi (I think it's the expansion tank, about 2.5 gallon round tank with a brass fitting on top with a cap screw, on very loose...if i tighten it up to almost closed, I can barely hear a slight hiss. I left it very loose as found). On another water line (going in?) there is a Watts Regulator that is marked 12-15 psi for Normal with 10-25 psi rating.

By 'heat emitters', do you mean the baseboards? ...a simple horizontal copper pipe running about 4 inches above floor with an aluminum cover.

Sorry I can't provide pics other than to email you shots from my phone.

Chef Jeff
 

Last edited by ChefJeff; 01-20-12 at 08:57 AM. Reason: Boiler add-on info
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Old 01-20-12, 08:54 AM
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On the 'bell-shaped' brass piece, there is a relief valve on top. I depressed it and let about a quart of fowl chemical-smelling hot water come out.
 
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Old 01-20-12, 09:34 AM
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You dont want to let any air out of that tank. If should have 12psi air charge. The only way to check is to relieve the pressure off the boiler. To do this you need to drain some water out of the boiler only until the pressure reads 0psi. Of course you need to turn off the water feed to the boiler first.

As far as air in the system do you have anything looks like this? The caps on top of the air can should be loose. If any water comes out they will need to be replaced.




You may have this whole set up or just the air cans. Let us know.

Also the pressure gauge may not be working. Keep an eye on it and let us know if it fluctuates.

Relief valve? The bell shaped item soulds like a relief valve

Look like this?



Mike NJ
 
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Old 01-20-12, 10:20 AM
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you might have a cold spot on the run under the slab and with 180F watet coming out of the boiler it shocks the water there and shocking the water produces seperation of the water and you end up with air in the system....and i'm not even doing 420 but when you have a knocking radiator the chilled wall in winter will produce air within that radiator...just bleed the show.shut the circ/system off open the feed water or let it regulate and bleed till you get water from the highest point or per zone...gurgling sounds like a fish tank filter running...right well their is air and water moving along the baseboard
 
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Old 01-20-12, 12:01 PM
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Mike NJ,

The roundish 2.5 gallon (approx) tank (Air? or Expansion?) has the brass cylidrical thing on top, as in for first pic. Yours has the 'sceww cap' on top, mine is out the side at the top. It was very loose. Should I tighten it up finger tight or leave it barely on as I found it?

Yes, the relief valve above the 'bell shaped' brass looks like your bottom pic. I depress it and it lets very hot water out an escape tube (really smells chemically). I turned the intake cold water off then purged a gallon out by depressing the valve above the bell-shaped brass (your bottom picture). The temp dropped from 190 to 180 but the pressure stayed the same. My one gauge has both the temp (red needle) and pressure(blue needle) in same gauge.
 
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Old 01-20-12, 04:44 PM
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(really smells chemically)
Like anti-freeze maybe?...........................
 
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Old 01-20-12, 05:59 PM
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Never saw a sidways one in a standard type vent. But if it looks like this yhen yes leave it loose.




If its a standard type it needs to be installed veryical. I dont think it will work sideways.

It dont look like this does it?




Hmmm.. possible your gauge aint working. You can get a temp gauge and install on a boilerdrain. This would be temp until you can check yours thoroughly after the winter and replace.



Of course find one that has a lower psi. 100 psi.

Mike NJ
 
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Old 01-22-12, 07:40 AM
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Mike,

It looks just like your top picture. I tightened it up yesterday so will loosen it up today. By the way, after I purged a few gallons of HOT water by depressing the relief valve on the 'bell-shaped' brass (bottom pic of #11), no more 'gurgling sounds'. Thanks!

Chef Jeff
 
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