Purging air from 2nd floor zone - SIEGE


  #1  
Old 01-24-13, 02:58 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Purging air from 2nd floor zone - SIEGE

I have a 4 zone (4 thermostats on 3 floors- basement, 1st and 2nd floor and each has a pump) plus a radiant heat system in the new kitchen floor with a mix valve, and its own thermostat and taco pump )

The heating system is old. -- House was built in '55. I am assuming it is the original 1955 boiler -- There is a 1967 service sticker on the unit and I doubt it would be a replacement unit at only 12 years old. )

I own the house for 3 years and last February I had to bleed the valves on the 2nd floor. I got some air and then it spit air and water and then just water and it was done. Easy.

This year I had to bleed the radiators on the 1st floor. On Christmas Day. Each rad had a key valve and that was easy, too, but boy there was a lot of air in the system. (Where did it all come from?)

Now that the 1st floor is toasty, the air seems to have traveled up to the 2nd floor. (is this possible that the air bubble moved, that I never purged it all out of the system?) I now have NO HEAT on the 2nd floor baseboards. The whole 2nd floor zone is cold. I have 5 bleeder valves- one in each BR plus one in the batheroom.

I open the bleeder valve and it hisses for about 4-5 seconds and then it is quiet. No more air, no spitting. I close the valve and move to the next room, same thing but hisses for 2 or 3 seconds, then quiet. I have done all 5 bleeder valves at least 3-4 times a day for 2 days, and nothing but the same few seconds of hiss.

I once helped my dad purge the 3rd floor of his old house, and that required us to open the "street pressure" valve, that let water flow in at full city water pressure. This he explained, was enough pressure to push the air bubble all the way up to the 3rd floor and then back down to the basement where we had buckets and hoses at the cleanout stopcock. Eventually the pressure relief valve opened and we had a lot of water to mop up but the heat was working on the 3rd floor.


I have no such "street pressure" valve. It seems as if I have a copper 1/2 inch cold water supply tubing going past the tee to the expansion tank (Rusty and nasty looking) and then right into the boiler.

Is it possible that I have no street pressure valve? If I open a draincock will the street water enter the zone?

Any advice at all on how to purge the air on my 2nd floor zone ? I need to get thru this heating season and then will be replacing with new. Thanks in advance... I have learned a lot from y'all already.

(Also we are in a deep freeze in Long Island so my family will appreciate your help too.)




Which bings me to my 2nd question:

I am looking at getting a new boiler(in the off season) -- my house was built with a 100,000 btu boiler but at the time it was a small cape cod and it was expanded twice including a full dormer (4 bedrooms and a bath upstairs) and a bump out. Should I up size? Are the newer ones better at heating, and waste less so I can stay the same? How is the best way to figure out BTU's for the whole house?
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-24-13 at 06:41 AM.
  #2  
Old 01-24-13, 04:24 AM
lawrosa's Avatar
Super Moderator
Join Date: Dec 2010
Location: Galivants Ferry SC USA
Posts: 18,159
Received 69 Votes on 61 Posts
  #3  
Old 01-24-13, 06:46 AM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
Please read the pressure and temperature gauge on your boiler. Report both readings.

It sounds to me as if you don't have enough pressure in your system.

Read this also:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ure-gauge.html

"Street Pressure" valve would also be known as a 'fast fill valve', or a 'pressure reducing valve bypass'.

Take some pictures of your system and we can better advise.
 
  #4  
Old 01-24-13, 05:29 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Need a new gauge...

Temp is between 200-210 and the pressure is reading zero. It cant be zero, right?

So I will need to buy a new gauge to replace the 50 year old one on the boiler. But I will first make a doohickey out of it as described in the link... and get a real reading.

FYI I made a call to 3 local plumbers/ heating companies and all are busy due to the cold snap etc. There are people without any heat who get priority over my zone. Seems fair.

Also a call to a neighbor who is a full time hospital staff plumber and another neighborhood handyman. --

No one is available to help until Friday night. So I am on my own for the next day.


In the meantime, I opened a draincock and got some water to trickle out, I even closed the valve between the draincock and the pump but there was only a trickle. I also opened up the ceiling to see if the previous owner sheetrocked over the fast fill valve but haven't seen it yet.

The expansion tank is really rusty and is connected at a tee on the cold water supply line... Is this right? I thought it was for the hot water...

There is a valve that looks like it controls the entry of water into the boiler, but it is open all the way. I will buy an expansion tank while I am shopping... please advise if I should replace it. I can always return it if the old one is OK.


I saw an automatic bleed valve on the top of the boiler, (looks to be very old- lots of scale and corrosion) and I slightly loosened the cap and it started hissing a lot-- it was going on hissing on and off for more than 2 hours this morning, until I needed to go to sleep then I closed the cap down tight like I found it. ( I work overnight so I had to get some sleep in the deep freeze) .

Should I have left it open?

There is some rust near the bleeder on the top of the boiler -- I saw some mist land on the rust spot and evaporate quickly. I suppose that is the reason for the rust.

So Here is my shopping list :

New auto bleeder valve
New expansion tank
New gauge for pressure an temp.
fittings to make doohickey to measure pressure.


I will have all the stuff and an answer to the pressure question in the am.


If you think I need anything else, let me know.


Thanks


Siege
 
  #5  
Old 01-24-13, 07:14 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
the pressure is reading zero. It cant be zero, right?
Yes, actually it CAN be zero, and it may actually BE zero.

I open the bleeder valve and it hisses for about 4-5 seconds and then it is quiet. No more air, no spitting.
Another sign that you don't have any pressure. The hissing you heard may well have been air being drawn INTO the system.

expansion tank is really rusty and is connected at a tee on the cold water supply line... Is this right? I thought it was for the hot water...
Could be 'right'... the expansion tank only needs to 'communicate' with the boiler piping. It may not be 'right'... but may still work... (obviously it HAS worked all these years, so it can't be all THAT wrong.

There is a valve that looks like it controls the entry of water into the boiler, but it is open all the way
Probably not. If it was, there would be pressure in the boiler. It might not be what you think it is.

I will buy an expansion tank while I am shopping... please advise if I should replace it.
We can't do that. We haven't seen your system. Even pictures won't help us determine. Sometimes one needs to be 'on site' in order to make determinations like this.

Siege, it sounds as if there are quite a few things wrong with your system... sounds as though it has not had proper maintenance in the many years it has been working... and no disrespect or anything, but I fear that you may be in 'over your head' on this one. I wish I felt better about this, but I have to go with my instincts.
 
  #6  
Old 01-27-13, 12:44 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Jan 2013
Location: USA
Posts: 7
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks for the info--

I hooked a hose up to the draincock and added water manually.

I then got pressure to the 2nd floor. I now have heat.


SO I am assuming (!) that the fill valve ( plumbing supply man called it a Fluid-trol?) is clogged.....




A QUESTION FOR ALL WHO CARE TO WEIGH IN:
Would you all:

Hope that nothing else happens for the rest of this heating season and then get a new boiler...



OR


Be proactive and change out the inlet valve for a new pressure reducing valve assembly even tho I am planning to replace in the next 6 months...
 
  #7  
Old 01-27-13, 06:38 AM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
Hi Siege, glad you got the heat back...

"Fluid-Trol" ... I think he meant " FILL-TROL " ... and that may be partially correct.

Easier than trying to describe would be if you can post a picture of the fill valve that you have.

If you have the correct valves on the system it might be easy enough to change out and not disturb the heat. Pics will tell... take a bunch from all different angles, as clear and well lighted as possible. Not only the fill valve but the piping all round the boiler as well.

You can upload them here, but I prefer seeing larger pics, so if you can, set up a free account at Photo and image hosting, free photo galleries, photo editing | Photobucket and upload them to a PUBLIC album. Come back here and post a link to your ALBUM and we'll have a look and advise.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: