Help? One heat zone not working?

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Old 02-12-13, 03:38 AM
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Help? One heat zone not working?

Hello, I've been looking at a lot of other posts here that were very informative and want to thank everyone in advance. If its possible to help me too, I really would appreciate it, so here goes....
I have a ranch home a little north of NYC, that has a four zone gas hot water baseboard heating system. Three of the zones (all upstairs above ground) are working, the downstairs one is not. Pipes are cold to the touch at the baseboards (but not painfully so). At the heater itself, two pipes go down into the foundation. One is hot, one is cold (cold pipe has the zone valve, a Honeywell, and it is cold on both sides of the valve.). All other pipes are hot or warm. Gauge reads 190 with about 25 psi.
Steps taken so far:

I replaced the battery in the thermostat (they were dying)...no good.

I opened cover on valve pump and had wife adjust thermostat. Motor working when called for. No good.

Left bad zone open with call for heat in other zones. Boiler fires. No good.

Bled baseboard at the elbow, water did come out.....

Do I have a frozen pipe? How do I thaw it in the foundation?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 
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Old 02-12-13, 05:04 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
I wouldn't think that it would freeze in the foundation if it's below grade.
Have you made any changes or done anything to the heating system prior to it stop working?
 
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Old 02-12-13, 05:41 AM
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Not clear on issue, maybe a totally misdirected shot in the dark here.

You were able to bleed a baseboard. Can you go one step further and purge the zone you think is frozen by running water through it via valves around the boiler? That'd show if the zone is frozen or otherwise blockedl.

Assuming you have multiple pumps and not zone valves, one might be running with a bad impeller.
 
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Old 02-12-13, 06:23 AM
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Originally Posted by thatoldguy
Assuming you have multiple pumps and not zone valves, one might be running with a bad impeller.
It sounds like valved zones based on what was said in the OP.

Hello, I've been looking at a lot of other posts here that were very informative and want to thank everyone in advance. If its possible to help me too, I really would appreciate it, so here goes....
I have a ranch home a little north of NYC, that has a four zone gas hot water baseboard heating system. Three of the zones (all upstairs above ground) are working, the downstairs one is not. Pipes are cold to the touch at the baseboards (but not painfully so). At the heater itself, two pipes go down into the foundation. One is hot, one is cold (cold pipe has the zone valve, a Honeywell, and it is cold on both sides of the valve.). All other pipes are hot or warm. Gauge reads 190 with about 25 psi.
Steps taken so far:

I replaced the battery in the thermostat (they were dying)...no good.

I opened cover on valve pump and had wife adjust thermostat. Motor working when called for. No good.

Left bad zone open with call for heat in other zones. Boiler fires. No good.

Bled baseboard at the elbow, water did come out.....

Do I have a frozen pipe? How do I thaw it in the foundation?

Thanks in advance for any help!
 
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Old 02-12-13, 12:19 PM
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Thanks for the quick response guys. If I follow correctly, purging the zone would mean opening the valve to the troubled zone. The motor looks to be working and is open when other zones fire. I can't bleed that zone without the others.

The motor is working in the valve, but could the valve be stuck in place? Maybe not letting the motor open it? How would I check? I moved the switch on the bottom of the valve to manual with no effect, as it opened freely with the motor open already.
 
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Old 02-13-13, 06:11 AM
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Northern Mike, sorry for delay. No, theres been no changes to system that im aware of. No parts of pipe are what Id call "icy" to the touch.

I know the motor to the bad zone is working. Could the valve be stuck? How would I know? Can I manually open the zone valve thats behind the motor? Is it a huge job to switch out a valve?
 
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Old 02-13-13, 06:23 AM
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Hi Dennis, is it possible for you to take some pictures of the system piping around the boiler and such? If we could see the setup, we can probably give better advice as to how to diagnose the problem.
 
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Old 02-13-13, 11:42 AM
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pics of system

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Sorry for the wait. One pic is of the heater itself (ancient, I know, but still does well) one should be of the Honeywell motor for the valve (pipe on both sides of the valve is cold, even with burner firing and motor working) and the other pic is of the two pipes side by side going into the ground towards the cold rooms (pipe with valve is cold, as I said before, but the other one is very hot.)
 
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Old 02-13-13, 11:51 AM
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better pic of system

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[ATTACH=CONFIG]9175[/ATTACH]

Here is the system itself, as I said, all pipes are hot when the boiler fires except for the ones on either side of that zone valve. If the pipe isn't frozen, might the valve be stuck in place? Motor unable to turn it?
 
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Old 02-13-13, 03:16 PM
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Not enough info...

What we are looking for is a way for you to force water to flow through the zone, and only the zone. For that we would need to see IN FOCUS, well lighted pics of ALL the piping around the boiler, all the valves, etc...
 
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Old 02-13-13, 08:42 PM
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Just my 002..

Disconnect the red wires on that zone valve and hook an ohmmeter to them.. when you turn up the tstat for downstairs, do the wires go very low resistance (shorted) after a brief period ? (a minute wait would be fine)

I dunno about Honeywells, but Wirsbo valve end-switches only short out once the valve carriage fully travels. Also, one possible fault on a Wirsbo valve is that the carriage pin can break.. the motor will turn and turn but not move the valve (nor click the end-switch).
 
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Old 02-14-13, 12:10 PM
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new pics again, and update

Here' s the newest enigma....now, the baseboard in the main room in the cold zone is getting hot, but not the other two rooms in the zone. I aldo waited by the heater while my wife turned on every zone from the thermostat one at a time....each motor went off, even the cold one. The boiler clicked with each thermostat as well.
 
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Old 02-14-13, 12:44 PM
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New set of pics (hopefully clearer)

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The blue knob is the water shut off for the system, the red I believe is to drain the water.

The two vertical pipes below the expansion tank go to the troubled zone. the pipe on the right (without the valve) is hot, but the return pipe with the valve is cold.

The yellow handled ball valve can only shut down the troubled zone, as it was the last one added to the system.

As I said, originally I thought the pipe might be frozen, but there's no part of the pipe that I can reach that is ice cold to the touch. My untrained mind is starting to wonder if the valve for the zone isnt opening. Iis there a way i can manually open the valve if the motor isnt doing it?
 
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Old 02-14-13, 03:26 PM
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Is the pipe with the red valve for the troubled zone?



Look just below the drain valve... see that 'screwdriver slot' ? That's a shutoff valve. When the screw slot is perpendicular to the pipe, the valve is shut off, when parallel, it's open.

That pair of valves together is known as a 'purge station'.

Below that, do I see the water fill valve for the system?

If that is the troubled zone, what you want to do is to CLOSE THAT SHUTOFF VALVE by turning perpendicular to the pipe.

Attach a hose to the drain valve.

Direct hose to a floor drain, laundry tub, a bucket, out the window.

Open the drain and the water will be forced to go through that zone because of the 'detour' in place below the valve.
 
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Old 02-15-13, 03:49 AM
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Thanks Troop....actually that drain valve in red is to the whole system, not just to that zone. If I still do what you described, will I still force water through the whole system? How do i fill it back up once I've done that? Sorry, realize I am probably asking a lot of questions I should know already...
 
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Old 02-15-13, 06:12 AM
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You won't get as much 'force' behind the flow as it will split into separate paths, but if the problem is air trapped in the pipes, it might be enough to push it through and out.

Is the blue handled valve that feeds water to the system normally left open?

If so, the system will automatically refill itself... PROVIDED THAT THE FILL VALVE IS WORKING PROPERLY!

That's one of the problems when working on systems... sometimes you go to do one thing, and find another thing is broke too!
 
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