Zone Issues??

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Old 12-05-12, 09:19 AM
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Zone Issues??

Hi,

I have a three zoned home: zone0 basement, zone1 first floor and zone2 second floor; oil based forced hot water baseboard fairly old system, (60-70’s?).

Every summer I turn off the electric to the system and purge it of air by flushing out each zone to remove sediment etc. Starting on the basement, first floor and then the second.

This fall for some reason I have lost the second floor zone, nothing is circulating....the circulator pump does NOT kick on when zone2 thermostat requests heat?

I tested the power head for the zone valve, it is a Taco 550 series and I didn’t trust the readings. Not sure I knew how to read the ohm’s.
In any case, I replaced the power head thinking this was the source of the issue. I still have no circulating water.

I have read other posts and tested moving the manual switch down and it moves freely.
I then took a working thermostat from the basement, installed to the second floor still no circulation.
I removed the thermostat entirely, clicked the wires together there is spark, so I left them together to see if that would force the circulator on, nothing.

The zones are wired together, so zone1 is the only zone talking directly to the furnace thermostat.

Wiring from the second floor thermostat in zone2: one wire goes to the transformer and one goes to terminal one of the zone2 valve. Zone2 terminals two and three are wired to go to terminals two and three of zone0. The basement thermostat goes to terminal one of zone0. Zone0 terminals two and three are wired to terminals two and three of zone1 who’s thermostat wire is hooked to terminal one of zone1. Zone1 two and three go to appropriate wires on the furnace thermostat and transformer.
So....Basement and First floor, (zones 0 and 1) work fine.
This wiring has existed for 20+ years I'm guessing, so it should be fine.

I rewired the wires between zones 0 and 2 thinking perhaps the wire was damaged.

Any thoughts on potential issues I may not be aware of?

Thanks in Advance!!
 
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Old 12-06-12, 07:46 PM
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Every summer I ... purge it of air by flushing out each zone to remove sediment etc.
First off, that is not needed, and not recommended and possibly over time causes MORE sediment and mineral buildup.

Here's why: That old nasty water that has been circulating in your system for a heating season has become INERT. All of the dissolved O2 has been driven out of the water. Rust and corrosion require 3 things... WATER, FERROUS METALS, and OXYGEN. You can't run a heating system without the first two, but by NOT flushing the water each year, you are NOT adding oxygen back into the system after you've heated it all out.

Additionally, the calcium and magnesium in your fresh water is also separated from the water, but it doesn't leave the system. It remains as hardened minerals all throughout the system, a lot of it precipitates and falls to the bottom of the boiler where it will usually NOT be 'flushed' out by your practice.

Add fresh water each year and you add a fresh supply of minerals.

Bottom line, you are not doing yourself any favors by flushing the system out each year. You are doing more harm than good and will shorten the life of your system by doing so.

If you put a new powerhead on the valve with no change, then it would lead me to suspect the wiring. This graphic should give an idea of how the Taco valves are supposed to be wired.



Note that all the terminals 2 and 3 are wired in parallel to the boiler control.

Terminal 2 also goes to one side of your transformer, and each terminal 1 goes to one wire of the thermostat.

You have three valves I think you said, but the wiring is the same for the third valve, wired just like the other two.

Your wiring doesn't have to be routed exactly like this, as long as the ultimate connections are the same.

Does the zone head you replaced get HOT when heat is called for by it's thermostat? It should.

Measuring with an ohmmeter is as you have found, pointless if you don't know what you should be seeing.

When the thermostat is calling for heat, you should see the transformer voltage (24VAC nominal) between terminals 1 and 2.

Disconnect the wire on the suspect zone valve from terminal 3.

Using your ohmmeter, you should measure continuity from terminal 2 to terminal 3 after the zone valve has opened. When the heat call ends, and a few minutes later after the zone valve has closed, you should measure OPEN, INFINITE resistance between 2 and 3.
 
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Old 12-09-12, 05:55 AM
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Question

“Your wiring doesn't have to be routed exactly like this, as long as the ultimate connections are the same.”
I believe the wiring appears sound at this point. I thought the wiring as well, and started replacing wires that appeared rather old or of poor quality, with no difference.

“Does the zone head you replaced get HOT when heat is called for by it's thermostat? It should.”
No.

“When the thermostat is calling for heat, you should see the transformer voltage (24VAC nominal) between terminals 1 and 2.”
It does roughly 24 / 26 VAC.

“Disconnect the wire on the suspect zone valve from terminal 3.
Using your ohmmeter, you should measure continuity from terminal 2 to terminal 3 after the zone valve has opened. When the heat call ends, and a few minutes later after the zone valve has closed, you should measure OPEN, INFINITE resistance between 2 and 3."
I’m sorry; I am really not following the logistics here.

This zone is not functioning properly?

Thus, if the zone valve is not functioning as expected, (be it due to wiring or whatever), I really am not sure when it is open as the piping after the zone valve never really heats up like the circulator is moving the water.

Plus, this is something else I have noticed, is as I stated earlier, I tried to rule out the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] floor thermostat, by crossing the wires on the 2[SUP]nd[/SUP] floor and leaving them crossed, the circulator never kicks on?!?

Appreciate the input.....and still

Very perplexed....
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-09-12 at 09:19 AM.
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Old 12-09-12, 10:07 AM
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I replaced the power head

“Does the zone head you replaced get HOT when heat is called for by it's thermostat? It should.”
No.

“When the thermostat is calling for heat, you should see the transformer voltage (24VAC nominal) between terminals 1 and 2.”
It does roughly 24 / 26 VAC.
So you replaced the zone head with a NEW HEAD?

And after a few minutes of the thermostat calling for heat, it does NOT get even WARM?

I’m sorry; I am really not following the logistics here.
Let me see if I can help clear this up...

When the thermostat calls for heat, it completes the circuit from the transformer to the 'heat motor' in the valve, terminals 1 and 2. When 24 VAC is applied to these terminals, the heating element inside the head heats up a closed 'bellows' inside the valve head that expands the wax inside that bellows and pushes the valve open.

As it does so, there is an ENDSWITCH inside the head that also gets pushed. This is wired between terminals 2 and 3. When the endswitch is pushed, it's contacts CLOSE together. It is these closed contacts that signal the boiler to fire. The thermostat itself does not directly signal the boiler that there is a heat call. The thermostat calling for heat is 'relayed' to the boiler through the zone valve.

So, if the valve is CLOSED, the endswitch is OPEN.

Removing the wire from 3 will isolate that endswitch for testing.

By measuring resistance between terminals 2 and 3 one can tell if the endswitch is open or closed.

With thermostat NOT calling for heat, you should measure an open circuit there which may display as " OL " on a digital meter.

When the thermostat IS calling for heat and the zone valve OPENS, you should measure 0.0 ohms, a short circuit between 2 and 3.

Helps?
 
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Old 12-10-12, 05:37 PM
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Hey Trooper!

Thanks for the patience!...I obviously have no clue what your referring to.....but...I can do as instructed! lol

"With thermostat NOT calling for heat, you should measure an open circuit there which may display as " OL " on a digital meter."
Ok, I do not have a digital meter, but, mine I believe is showing infinity: ∞
Actually it kept jumping even past the infinity symbol!!

"When the thermostat IS calling for heat and the zone valve OPENS, you should measure 0.0 ohms, a short circuit between 2 and 3."
It did, it measured 0.0 Ohms when calling for heat.

Let me qualify a bit what I stated earlier.

Yes The zone valve gets warm..but...just warm, in other words is it hot to the touch like a zone valve in use, No. All the other zones when in use, you can barely touch them. This one, it definetly is not circulating hot water.

Thanks !
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-10-12 at 06:16 PM.
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Old 12-10-12, 06:06 PM
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Ok, I do not have a digital meter, but, mine I believe is showing infinity: ∞
Actually it kept jumping even past the infinity symbol!!
Murph, you sure your hands weren't shaking and causing the needle to 'bob' around? If you had the wire taken off terminal 3 of the valve, and the meter leads on 2 and 3 of that valve, there should have been no reason for the meter needle to even move at all when the valve was closed.

"When the thermostat IS calling for heat and the zone valve OPENS, you should measure 0.0 ohms, a short circuit between 2 and 3."
It did, it measured 0.0 Ohms when calling for heat.
This all sounds as if that valve is opening... and should be calling the boiler to fire...

Perhaps we need to back up a little bit and explore the symptoms more definitively. I'll be back with some questions after I re-read the whole thread... standby.

just warm, in other words is it hot to the touch like a zone valve in use, No. All the other zones when in use, you can barely touch them
I'm not sure the significance of this. We'll explore this part further, later, if we need to.
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-10-12 at 06:23 PM.
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Old 12-10-12, 06:15 PM
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go to appropriate wires on the furnace thermostat and transformer
Semantics: in a hot water system, the unit is called a BOILER, we call hot AIR systems FURNACE. Makes it easier if we use consistent terminology.

Q: What are the "appropriate wires" they are going to? What are the terminals labeled?

Q: You say "furnace (boiler) thermostat and transformer". Are there any make/model numbers on this part? I believe what you are referring to is called an AQUASTAT.

Q: What is the make/model of the boiler?

Q: How do you know that the circulator is not running when zone 2 is calling for heat? Are you able to HEAR and SEE a DIFFERENCE from when zones 1 and 3 are calling for heat?

Based on what I've learned so far, it would seem that perhaps zone 2 IS calling the boiler and that you may have an air blockage in that zone which is preventing the water from flowing.
 
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Old 12-10-12, 06:25 PM
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OH... one more thing... I'm still not clear on:

I asked:

So you replaced the zone head with a NEW HEAD?
and I don't think you answered... I would like to know... a BRAND NEW HEAD?
 
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Old 12-10-12, 08:12 PM
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Hey Trooper....ok..mybad.

Back to your first question I replied to tonight about the infinity reading.
I answered too aggressively. I forgot to take the wire off of terminal 3, (which is why it was bobbing), with terminal 3 off and the thermostat not calling for heat, I do get the infinity with no bobbing, (pretty much doesn't even look like it's being read) off an analog meter! Apologize for this!

Remaining questions:
Q: What are the "appropriate wires" they are going to? What are the terminals labeled?
A: Your correct, I was a bit elusive about Zone 1; due to the way it's wired!
Coming clean here: Zone 1 has two wires coming off of terminal 2. Red goes to one terminal of the Aquastat and it has a Yellow wire going to one side of the transformer, (the other side of the transformer has the partner wires from all three thermostat's). Terminal 3 has a black wire running off it which goes to the other terminal in the Aquastat.

Q: You say "furnace (boiler) thermostat and transformer". Are there any make/model numbers on this part? I believe what you are referring to is called an AQUASTAT.
A: You are correct; I believe my wording should have been, boiler, aquastat and transformer. It is a Honeywell Aquastat. I can't find any legible part numbers on it.

Q: What is the make/model of the boiler?

A: It's an old Ford Products Corporation Model FD95A, 112 MBH. I'm guessing maybe early / late 60's?

Q: How do you know that the circulator is not running when zone 2 is calling for heat? Are you able to HEAR and SEE a DIFFERENCE from when zones 1 and 3 are calling for heat?
A: I'm kind of anal about piping near the boiler. What I've done is labeled the returns for each zone and the direction the water flow should be running. All one has to do is hold you hand on the pipe at the end of the zone, (before the circulator), if it never heats up, then this zone is not receiving any hot water.
To make it even easier, I simply turn off or down the other two thermostats. Then turn on the problem one and set it on 80 or however high it will go.

The real truth is my wife.......she'll be glad to tell you we have no heat on the second floor!!! lmao

Q: and I don't think you answered... I would like to know... a BRAND NEW HEAD?
A: Yes brand new. I felt it was worth the money...thinking I had it solved. (I couldn't decipher what else it could be???).

Thanks!!

 
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Old 12-11-12, 02:54 PM
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Hi Murph, still not clear on the questions... or your wiring...

Q: What are the "appropriate wires" they are going to? What are the terminals labeled?
Perhaps I should have asked:

What terminals, and what are they labeled, are the "appropriate wires" going to on the AQUASTAT? (trying to determine what your aquastat is) These wires should go to terminals in the aquastat labeled " T T " or " T TV ".

I can't find any legible part numbers on it.
Is there no paper label inside the aquastat cover?

Take and post a picture.

I've read your descriptions of the wiring a few times, and I believe that what I read is telling me that it is OK, but just to clarify once and for all...

Looking at the diagram I posted;

Terminal 1 of each valve goes to one wire of it's respective thermostat.

The other of each the thermostat wires are together and going to one leg of the transformer.

All terminal 2 of all valves are wired together, AND to the other leg of the transformer, AND to one of the aquastat thermostat terminals.

All terminal 3 of all valves are wired together, AND to one of the aquastat thermostat terminals.

Please, just answer yes or no.

Again, it doesn't matter exactly how the wires are physically connected... it doesn't have to be exactly like the drawing, AS LONG AS the connections are ultimately the same. For example, in the drawing, the wire that is going to terminal 2 of the valve from the transformer... that wire could go to terminal 2 of ANY valve, or even to the correct thermostat terminal in the aquastat.

Ford Products
Even late 50s ... probably original equipment to the home... when was it built?

if it never heats up, then this zone is not receiving any hot water.
OK, got that, but what I was trying to get at is this:

We know that there is no flow.

Is there no flow because there is an air blockage in the zone?

Or is it because the circulator is not pumping because that zone is not calling the boiler?

In other words, how do you KNOW that the circulator is not running?

When the functional zones are calling for heat, can you TELL by listening or looking that the pump IS in fact running?

And when the non-functioning zone is supposedly calling for heat, can you tell that the circulator is NOT running?

Some circulators are so quiet that you can't tell by listening.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 02:59 PM
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I guess that what I'm saying is...

Why don't you try PURGING zone 2 only and see what that gets you?

For all you know, the problem could be just that simple...

Unless you somehow KNOW that the pump isn't running.
 
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Old 12-11-12, 05:52 PM
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Hey Trooper!

What terminals, and what are they labeled, are the "appropriate wires" going to on the AQUASTAT? (trying to determine what your aquastat is) These wires should go to terminals in the aquastat labeled " T T " or " T TV ".

Yes!

Is there no paper label inside the aquastat cover?
No...unfortunately....See attached for requested picture.

Wiring
I've read your descriptions of the wiring a few times.....................................Please, just answer yes or no.

Yes!

Home was built around 1917, (so I don't think it's original..though probably the second one...lol).

OK, got that, but what I was trying to get at is this:
We know that there is no flow.


Yes, I do have one of those silent circulators and it drives me nutz...but your query made me rethink.....so...

I shutdown the other two zones and gave it like 10 minutes.
Then I had my wife go to the second floor where we are having issues and cross the two thermostat wires, (they're now hanging loose till this is resolved). All the while I had my hand on what was a completely quiet circulator, about 2 or 3 minutes later, I heard a click, (probably the aquastat switch), and I felt the hum of the circulator!!!!

So...yes...it's one of those damn silent ones!

OK...I'm excited...and also heartbroken!!!

How can I flush the zone, (even though I did this summer), without cracking the head of the cast iron boiler?
I usually did it in the summer, as I would let the boiler cool down for a few hours and would then flush it.

I'm not sure if that's feasible this time of year?
I'm sure you've dealt with this quagmire....what would the process be ?

Thanks Trooper!


PS: Just reading another post....I haven't seen any bleeders on any of these zones. I have one of those air bleeders for the whole system...but..nothing for seperate zones...can this cause more headaches?
 
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Old 12-11-12, 07:14 PM
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All right! Now we makin' some pogess !

I actually have been thinking all along that it might just be air, but I kinda had to lead you there... half the fun of internet troubleshooting is coming up with novel ways to get the poster to solve his own problems... it's like a logic puzzle, with a little bit of long distance mind reading thrown in.

Your aquastat looks like one of the varieties of an 8124, but I think it might be an older model... in any case, the functions are the same, so I know what you've got now. Don't matter though, becuz the problem isn't there, or in the zone valves.

At this point I'm going to ask for more pics so I can see what valving you have around the boiler and how to instruct you to just do a quick purge of that zone...

I would need pics of all the piping around the boiler, and some from a distance back so I can see how any closer shots fit together. Take pics from several different angles... the more the merrier. Remember I can't see where pipes go, so too many close ups are useless... I need some though so I can see the valves and such. Again, for this to work, the pics have to take me into your basement.

Please make sure the pics are well lighted, in focus, high enough resolution for old eyes to see, and my recommendation is to set up a free account at Photo and image hosting, free photo galleries, photo editing | Photobucket and upload the pics to a PUBLIC album there. Come back here and drop a link to your album so we can go off-site to view them. Cell phone pics are generally not high enough quality... unless you got a real good phone. Would prefer REAL camera pics if possible.

If you upload pics to the forum directly, they get re-sized too small to see the details I need to see.
 
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Old 12-14-12, 05:07 AM
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Hi Trooper!

I can provide more in-depth pictures, but, here is one just to get our discussion primed.

I was looking at other discussions off this site and then inspected my system.
I have an air scoop for the entire system, as well as air purge devices associated with each zone, (you should be able to spot them in the picture).

On the second floor, I see no air bleeder valve's, in fact, I don't see a single one on any of the three zones. Yet there is a section of pipe which runs up and around a door frame and then returns down again. In other words, there are plenty of spots I can see a potential airbound section.

I'm contemplating perhaps it would be wiser to install an air bleeder valve on that section of piping wrapping the door frame. It's fairly accessible, (near the attic); thus I wonder if this might not be wiser than attacking the flushing.

Thoughts?

 
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Old 12-14-12, 03:36 PM
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I can't make anything much out in that pic...

Are the three pipes coming down on the left side the returns from each zone?

I can see that there are ball valves there, is there a drain valve just above the ball valve?

It looks like the one on the right has been leaking from somewhere...

Another valve leaking long time at the upper left, the one with all the crud and the blue handle.

Yeah, higher res pics with better lighting... flush the cell phone down the terlet.
 
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Old 12-17-12, 02:50 PM
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Hey Trooper!

You didn't really read my last update!!! :NO NO NO:

Pretty much, this is resolved now...
Essentially it was an airbound section of pipe I had told you about in my prior update.

I replaced a corner section of the pipe that went up and around a doorway with a corner vent, and this has resolved the problem.
All I did was bleed the air out by the manual vent, and voila, zone works.

Thanks for the assistance Trooper!
 
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Old 12-17-12, 05:15 PM
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You mean this?

I'm contemplating perhaps it would be wiser to install an air bleeder valve on that section of piping wrapping the door frame. It's fairly accessible, (near the attic); thus I wonder if this might not be wiser than attacking the flushing.
I did saw it... but me being the lazy type who would rather open a valve and flush with a hose... well you know how that goes.

So you replaced an elbow with a 'baseboard tee' and installed a manual bleeder?

If it worked, great! Glad to hear it!
 
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