[Another] Rushing water in baseboard question

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Old 01-11-12, 07:48 AM
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Question [Another] Rushing water in baseboard question

First of all I need to say that I love this board, as I'm always ending up here after my google searches and get a lot of good info.

I have a gas Peerless 210k BTU boiler (old but internals are supposedly only a few years old). 3rd floor bedroom has always been a pain since we hear LOUD rushing water noises coming from the baseboards at the point where the pipes return down towards the boiler in the basement. It can be heard every time the thermo calls for heat. The other 4 zones are relatively quiet.

There is a bleed valve at the start of the line in the bedroom, but when I bleed it a little air comes out, then it stops (water usually doesn't come out). It actually seems that when I bleed it, it makes the rushing sound even louder when it kicks on. I have also tried purging that zone from the basement but not 100% sure i've done it correctly as the problem still persists.

some basic info about the system:
-5 zone gas heat with manual thermostats and taco valves
-boiler gauge lately reading about 20psi when running at 180-190 degrees (i think about 12-15psi when off)
-i recently checked the expansion tank, and it appeared to have 0 pressure. i followed instructions i found on this board to re-pressurize it to 15 psi. checked the next day and it was at around 20psi just like the boiler.

here is the only pic i have of the setup at the moment, if it helps:
http://i.imgur.com/ph2a7.jpg

any advice for us?
 

Last edited by endlive; 01-11-12 at 08:46 AM.
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Old 01-11-12, 09:34 AM
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Originally Posted by endlive View Post
There is a bleed valve at the start of the line in the bedroom, but when I bleed it a little air comes out, then it stops (water usually doesn't come out). It actually seems that when I bleed it, it makes the rushing sound even louder when it kicks on.
My hunch is that instead of bleeding air at the 3rd floor, you have been admitting air. It's likely that your boiler gauge is faulty - you need to shoot for about 15-16 psi, cold. Try raising the system pressure a bit by raising the automatic fill valve's lever - you need enough pressure to get water out the 3rd floor bleeder.

When you checked the pressure in the expansion tank, did you depressurize the system, as required?
 

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Old 01-11-12, 09:43 AM
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letting air in...that's what it seems like, but i didn't know that was possible by opening the bleeder.

how exactly do i raise the system pressure? the valve from the incoming water line is always open. i thought it stayed like this and automatically took in water when it needed it?

when i checked the expansion tank, i drained water out of the boiler until it hit 0 psi. then pressurized the expansion tank to 15 psi.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 09:48 AM
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Agreed with Gilmorrie... being that the 3rd floor is where the trouble is, you evidently do not have enough MINIMUM pressure in your system. I might even suggest as high as 17 MINIMUM when COLD pressure... though you may be ok with 15-16... but 17 gives a little extra 'margin for error'.

I agree that the gauge may be inaccurate... but try bumping the pressure up and see how that goes.

Did you use the 'step by step' instructions for the tank maintenance that I've posted around the forum many times?

After the system is re-pressurized, if you read the charge on the tank again, it will read the HIGHER of the two pressures, either the system pressure or the charge pressure, whichever is higher... so if you had 15 with the system at 0 PSI, and 20 with the system at 20, it's probably just fine.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 10:09 AM
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how exactly do i raise the system pressure? the valve from the incoming water line is always open. i thought it stayed like this and automatically took in water when it needed it?
See the green tag or something green in the upper-left of the photo? The auto fill valve is just above that. There should be a fast-fill bail on that valve. Lift it to add water (and pressure) to the system.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 10:16 AM
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See the green tag or something green in the upper-left of the photo? The auto fill valve is just above that. There should be a fast-fill bail on that valve. Lift it to add water (and pressure) to the system.
thanks, i'll give it a try tonight after work. if the pressure is already reading about 20psi when it's running, is it bad to increase it even more? or is this a normal pressure for a 3 story home?
 
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Old 01-11-12, 10:21 AM
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Did you use the 'step by step' instructions for the tank maintenance that I've posted around the forum many times?
yep, that's what i used. so yes i had 15 at the tank after recharging and 0 at the boiler. when the boiler was at 20 the tank was at 20.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 10:33 AM
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Hard to tell from the photo but it does not look like the feeder has a fast fill feature. There does not appear to be a bypass either. To raise the pressure slightly loosen the lock nut on the top and turn the screw down a bit and wait to see where the pressure stops. If need be screw down a little bit more. Since you always need a minimum of 4 psi at the high points of the system I would set to a true 18 -20 psi. Get a gage from a big box store that you can screw onto the system and double check the pressure. I would screw it onto one of the return valve purge drains to get near the feed valve height. We know that every 2.31 ft or about 28" you go up or down will change the pressure by 1 psi.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 11:43 AM
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Hard to tell from the photo but it does not look like the feeder has a fast fill feature. There does not appear to be a bypass either. To raise the pressure slightly loosen the lock nut on the top and turn the screw down a bit and wait to see where the pressure stops. If need be screw down a little bit more. Since you always need a minimum of 4 psi at the high points of the system I would set to a true 18 -20 psi. Get a gage from a big box store that you can screw onto the system and double check the pressure. I would screw it onto one of the return valve purge drains to get near the feed valve height. We know that every 2.31 ft or about 28" you go up or down will change the pressure by 1 psi.
can i just adjust the auto fill valve, or do i need to open any other valves or bleeders while i do it?
 
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Old 01-11-12, 12:51 PM
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Adjust the auto-fill as suggested earlier but I suggest you check wit another gage to see where the pressure actually is.
A less effective way is add water slowly until water comes out of the vent and add 4 psi more. This of course would take two people with communication.
 
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Old 01-11-12, 03:49 PM
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do i need to open any other valves or bleeders while i do it?
No.

if the pressure is already reading about 20psi when it's running, is it bad to increase it even more? or is this a normal pressure for a 3 story home?
Your boiler has a 30 PSI 'relief valve' on it. You want to stay about 10% below that, so consider the maximum pressure for your system to be 27 PSI.

The minimum of 17 PSI would be normal for a 3 story home, yes.

The amount of increase when the boiler is heated depends on the capacity and condition of your expansion tank. You might see 8 PSI increase on that. As long as it stays above 17 and below 27, yer good to go.

rbeck said to SLOWLY adjust the valve. This is because those valves take some time to 'stabilize' at a new setting. So only adjust about a half turn of the screw and then wait say a half hour for it to line out at the new setting.

The best way to do this is to shut the boiler off and let it cool to where the pressure is BELOW the point you wish to adjust up to. If you try to adjust the valve when the boiler is ABOVE the pressure you are adjusting to, you won't be able to tell if you're adding the correct pressure.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 06:34 AM
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so i adjusted the auto fill valve and messed around with some things, and i think it's going to be alright now. last night the heat on the 3rd bedroom was working fine, there was still a slight water sound but wasn't a problem at all. the boiler gauge was reading about 24-25 psi while running.

i'd still like to get a 2nd pressure gauge as mentioned to see how accurate the boiler gauge is.

NJ Trooper - where about in NJ are you? we're in camden county right outside of philly.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 03:44 PM
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I'm everywhere! thanks to the internet.

OK, so now, open the air bleeder on the 3rd floor and check that when the boiler is COLD and the pressure is the LOWEST you get a stream of water out the bleeder. You need to be sure that you have at LEAST 4 PSI at the top of the system when it's cold.

Can you do me a favor? Take another picture?

On your boiler, the 'antlers' on the left side where it comes up and splits into two... on each of those 'branches' you see them red things where the copper starts? Are there any markings on them?

Can you 'photo-document' those please?

You might still get some air kicking around... might have to do some minor bleeding to get all the air out.

Back in the corner, there is an 'air scoop' barely visible in the pic... and on top of it is an 'automatic float-type air vent' ... it has a red plastic cap on it I believe. Is that cap screwed down tight? or LOOSE so the air can escape? Is there also a black cap hiding behind the pipe?

If it leaks when you open it, replace that... and leave the cap loose.
 
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Old 01-12-12, 03:48 PM
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One more thing... the more I look, the more questions I have...

Looking at the way the expansion tank is piped... how does that pipe 'meet up' with the tank? I'd like to see that if possible.
 
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Old 01-13-12, 06:57 AM
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OK, so now, open the air bleeder on the 3rd floor and check that when the boiler is COLD and the pressure is the LOWEST you get a stream of water out the bleeder. You need to be sure that you have at LEAST 4 PSI at the top of the system when it's cold.

Can you do me a favor? Take another picture?

On your boiler, the 'antlers' on the left side where it comes up and splits into two... on each of those 'branches' you see them red things where the copper starts? Are there any markings on them?

Can you 'photo-document' those please?
i'll get some better pics tonight and post them up.

as for the 3rd floor, how do i measure the pressure up there?

where the return lines merge into the circulator pump, there is a red dial that says "purge" on one side and "balance" on another - i have never touched them since we got the house last summer.

You might still get some air kicking around... might have to do some minor bleeding to get all the air out.

Back in the corner, there is an 'air scoop' barely visible in the pic... and on top of it is an 'automatic float-type air vent' ... it has a red plastic cap on it I believe. Is that cap screwed down tight? or LOOSE so the air can escape? Is there also a black cap hiding behind the pipe?

If it leaks when you open it, replace that... and leave the cap loose.
yes the red cap on the air purge is kept loose. when the water feeds in from the domestic line it spurts out a little water, but that's the only time water comes out from there. i think the bottom of that purge has a black cap or ring thing but i'm not sure what it is. i'll get a pic of this too.
 
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Old 01-13-12, 03:08 PM
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as for the 3rd floor, how do i measure the pressure up there?
You don't actually have to measure it. If you open one of the bleeders, you should get a steady stream of water, that's how you know that the pressure is POSITIVE ... of course you should do this when the boiler is cold and the pressure is at it's minimum.

there is a red dial that says "purge" on one side and "balance" on another
Interesting... no 'Maker's Mark' on them? B&G maybe?

but that's the only time water comes out from there.
That's OK... as long as it doesn't continually drip-drip-drip... it's doing it's job then.
 
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Old 01-13-12, 03:42 PM
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i took some pictures of the entire setup.

how the expansion tank is piped:
http://i.imgur.com/vPo7gh.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/C8EQdh.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/EbZTah.jpg

where all lines return into the pump:
http://i.imgur.com/rTJvOh.jpg (sprinkler system on back wall, not part of the boiler)
http://i.imgur.com/ybLXgh.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/uNbLih.jpg (close up of the dials)

auto fill valve:
http://i.imgur.com/AI24wh.jpg

air purge (didn't see any black cap):
http://i.imgur.com/yitWKh.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/iAuiIh.jpg
http://i.imgur.com/ZOqwJh.jpg

boiler gauge:
http://i.imgur.com/aeJCqh.jpg
 
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Old 01-13-12, 05:47 PM
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just a side note...turned on the heat today after snapping the pictures below. check it a little later and the gauge is reading 35 psi . checked the pressure relief valve and it was bone dry, so i went ahead and tried to open it and a big wave of this black tar-looking liquid just kind of popped out, and then the hot water started pouring out. i shut off the boiler and it drained until the pressure got down to about 20 psi.

so it seems like the relief valve was clogged up, good thing i accidentally opened it up so it could relieve some pressure...
 
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Old 01-13-12, 05:48 PM
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Nice... Is it possible to get a closer shot of the 'purge/balance' thingys? I hain't seen them before... I wonder if any of the young guys here... like Grady... have ever seen them? Where's Furd been?
 
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Old 01-13-12, 06:08 PM
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a big wave of this black tar-looking liquid just kind of popped out,
Are you sure this is the right forum? You h'aint confused, is ya?

You definitely need to verify the gauge... just to be sure.

I think you should plan on replacing the relief valve.

Do you know who did the piping? previous owner perhaps?

I wanna talk about that expansion tank a little...

What you've got there is a "FILL-TROL" setup, and it's not needed. I don't think it's gonna hurt anything, but not needed. What that thing is is a replacement for the regular style pressure reducing valve, which you've ALSO got.

I'm sure the installer re-used existing stuff when this was done... if this was a 'from scratch' install they would not have used that type of tank.

The FILL-TROL is often mounted sideways like that... but technically speaking, it's better to HANG them from the tapping on the bottom of the 'air scoop'.

If the piping from the bottom of the air scoop were to be removed, would there be room to hang a tank on the bottom of the scoop? Would it be in the way? (i.e. bumping into it)

This is the so-called 'proper' way of mounting an expansion tank:


image courtesy masterplumber.net

Adding a few extra bits makes servicing an expansion tank so much easier, and they SHOULD be serviced! The air charge should be checked every year or two.



This lets one 'pressure down' the water side of the tank to check or charge or CHANGE the tank without having to mess with the boiler drains. Turns a PITA job into a 5 minute wham-bam...
 
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Old 01-14-12, 07:55 AM
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ok...new problem. heat was working fine last night. go check it this morning and the pilot isn't light. tried a few things but no dice. it tries to light but isn't catching.
 
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Old 01-14-12, 08:40 AM
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Coincidence? You might have a bad thermocouple.

What do you mean, "it tries to light" ?

Explain how it's 'trying' to light.
 
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Old 01-14-12, 09:09 AM
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meaning i hear the gas come on, but it doesn't catch or spark. it's an automatic ignition.
 
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Old 01-14-12, 09:37 AM
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That's a PEERLESS boiler ? What is the MODEL ?
 
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Old 01-14-12, 09:49 AM
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peerless 85-210-wpc-h

here's a quick video i took this morning. you can hear the gas running, but it doesn't ignite and then it stops. it usually makes a 'whoosh' sound when it ignites, which isn't happening now. (the rumbling sound in the background is not part of the boiler/heat).

IMG_1519.mp4 video by endlive - Photobucket
 
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Old 01-14-12, 11:39 AM
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For some reason, my system won't play the video... probably a missing codec...

I can't find a manual for the series 85 on Peerless site... there is one for the series 81 though, maybe it's similar?

What make/model gas valve, and ignitor module is in there?

Did you say you own and know how to use a multimeter?
 
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Old 01-14-12, 01:31 PM
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ignitor is a honeywell S8910U "hot surface ignition". unfortunately no multimeter. here's some pics of the setup:

Photo Album - Imgur

we do have a call into our home warranty company who is going to be getting us in touch with someone within 24 hours to hopefully come out and take a look. i think it may be a little over my head at this point, given my basically non-existent knowledge of boilers.

one question...if we don't get it fixed in the next few days, with temps here dropping down to the teens at night, do we have to worry about any pipes freezing that quickly? is it better to leave the circulator running to keep the water moving, even tho it's not heated?
 
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Old 01-14-12, 01:51 PM
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Why within 24 hours? No-heat should be ASAP!

Call them back... isn't no-heat in the winter an emergency?

What if the pipes DO freeze... are they going to pay for that too?
 
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Old 01-14-12, 01:56 PM
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What's that wire connector hangin off in the air?
 
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Old 01-16-12, 01:59 PM
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This thread has a lot of useful info.
I am very new to the home boilers. I have owned/lived in this house less then a month.

My setup/issues are similar to the OP. I am working with a fairly large three story house with some heating issues on the third floor as well.
My heating setup is as follows (pardon the technical grammar, I am very, very new to this system). The first floor is thermistat controlled (controls 1 pump) and my second and third floor are on a second circuit, with a thermistat controling a pump for that circuit.
The circuits are still setup with the main loop (2" pipe) with each rad setup in parallel (feeding and returning the loop).

The history I know is that the 75yrs old house went from some sort of wood heat, to electric/boiler, to the setup I have now. The temp was originally controlled at each rad. This was changed to a single t-stat with a large pump. The large pump was replaced by two small pumps with the two t-stats now.

When I was shown the system by the previous owner, I was told to keep the preasure between 12-20PSI and stay below 30 (relief valve is set to go off at 30). I was also shown how to bleed each rad as they do get air-locked.

To get my third floor rad working, I had to turn that pump to high (it has three settings), turn the heat up to activate the pump, and keep running back and forth from the bleed screw on the rad to the bi-pass valuve on the plumbing to keep bringing the preasure back up to ~20PSI. About 4 runs like this, and I got hot water out of the bleed screw.

The info above will definately help when I look at my system and figure out what needs to be done to it. I don't think it has been cleaned out or maintained very well over the last number of years. My first two nights in the house was with two failing pumps and limited heat.
 
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