Top floor still cold...

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Old 11-13-13, 07:52 PM
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Exclamation Top floor still cold...

Hi all and thank you in advance for your help and guidance.

Moved into a new house and the previous owners had a new boiler installed. Now that the cold weather set in we are finding the top floor ice cold and the main floor very toasty. Fortunately, my neighbor helped me out with figuring out the system I inherited and adjusted some of the setting. We drained the water and checked that the water levels are set to prevent the system from shutting off.

After they, we went through and checked the air vents to make sure that enough air is passing through and found that a few of them were super rusty and clogged. I purchased a few new ones and replaced them along the house based on the distance from the boiler (using a schematic they had at Home Depot). The problem hasn't been solved though. The units upstairs are now heating up but not too hot to a point where there is a difference in temperature upstairs.

I tried to take the air vent off to see whether there is air trapped in the system that is blocking steam from coming up. I read that I would need a screwdriver to open something so the unit will bleed the air out bit there is just a hole in the radiator (?). I screwed the vent back on and am now unsure of what else I need to do.

There is one radiator upstairs that makes a little thudding noise from time to time like someone's knocking but I am not sure what it really means.

Thank you for reading and would greatly appreciate help before I need to call a professional.
 
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Old 11-13-13, 08:33 PM
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You need to at least tell us the make and model of the boiler.

From your description of things, this sounds as if it may be a STEAM system, and not a HOT WATER system, is that correct?
 
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Old 11-13-13, 08:34 PM
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First of all forget about the screwdriver thing. That's if you have hot water heat. You didn't specify when you posted and it was assumed you had hot water but reading this I know you have steam.
Replacing the vents is a start. I would say try to balance the system with the vents, the larger openings the furthest away but if nothing happened with the vent completely off it goes beyond that.
When installing a steam boiler piping is very important. In most cases you can't just hook up to what's there like you can with hot water.
Is it possible to take pics of the boiler and the near boiler piping. What is your Pressuretrol set at. If you could get closeups of the controls I could explain better what I see.
Installing a good steam job can get a little involved mainly because it's gravity. There's nothing to force the steam up.
 
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Old 11-14-13, 06:27 AM
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Apologies and thank you for your replies. Images below.
 
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Old 11-14-13, 07:15 AM
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Yes... it's a STEAM system.

From what I can see, I'm sorry to say that you have 'issues' with that install.

First off, the general rule is; NO COPPER ABOVE THE WATER LINE of a STEAM boiler! And sure enough, that's all I see is copper. Shame, cuz that stuff ain't cheap!

Return piping appears from what I can see to be all rwong (sic). Compare the piping on your boiler to the diagrams shown in the manual.

I'm sure there's more... but from what I can see... it's improperly installed.

What you think Spott?
 
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Old 11-14-13, 07:18 AM
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I don't see any insulation on the steam pipes either... that's a MUST. You want the steam to remain steam and not condense in the piping.

Please tell me that power strip and extension cord is not what's powering the boiler!
 
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Old 11-14-13, 02:29 PM
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Remember I'm only the messenger.
I don't know where to begin. I would like to see some pics of the pipes above the boiler if possible

Let's start with what you have and that is COPPER which is no no with steam.
First the pipe size is different. Copper is OD while Blk. Is ID.
Copper expands at a different rate and with steam there's a good chance of breaking solder joints.
If you read your warranty I believe it does not cover any steam boiler piped in copper above the water line.

Next, from what I can tell this looks like it's piped for hot water. I can't tell what you have for headers and I don't see any Hartford Loop or Equalizer line from supply to return.
In short the only thing that copper is good for is scrap

As Trooper said, you have a piping diagram in the book and it must or should be followed.
Steam is a game of inches. They want your headers 24 in. Above the water line, Hartford Loop starts 2 in. below. A lot of boring stuff but very necessary and last but not least is the pipe covering. Very important in steam.

You want the steam to reach the rads. In order for that to happen it must travel through the pipes as steam and not condensate.

As soon as the steam leaves the boiler it starts losing temp. and without insulating the pipes it starts condensing almost immediately and never makes the rads.

I would like to see more pics of everything around the boiler and the piping above and going out.
From what I can se so far you need an overhaul from someone who knows steam.
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-14-13 at 02:50 PM.
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Old 11-14-13, 02:52 PM
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Old 11-14-13, 03:00 PM
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Thanks Mike, my neck feels better already!

Anybody wants to look at the manual, it's here:

http://www.weil-mclain.com/en/assets...ler_manual.pdf
 
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Old 11-14-13, 03:31 PM
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Thank you Lawrosa, unfortunately is doesn't look any better.
 
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Old 11-14-13, 04:02 PM
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unfortunately is doesn't look any better.
Yeah, it looks just as wrong!

I do have to say that someone did a nice job painting that one pipe silver though!
 
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Old 11-15-13, 04:13 AM
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So I see a lot of good news for me well, I am not surprised since this was installed prior to the house being sold. Also, with the home being built in 1940, I'm sure they directed the installer to use whatever is available and that won't cost them much. So here we are.

In lieu of an overhaul, which is just not financially possible at this time. Insulation sounds like the top priority, correct? Will include more pictures of the piping shortly.

Thank you very much.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 04:35 AM
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I'm sure they directed the installer to use whatever is available and that won't cost them much.
Interestingly, the use of copper is FAR more expensive than the use of "black iron" pipe and fittings.

The fact that copper has been used is actually MUCH less important than the fact that the boiler is simply not correctly piped.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 07:33 AM
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I'm wondering if you have any recourse with the seller, your home inspector, the installing contractor, etc. Were permits required for the new installation, and did the installer pull them? How about the boiler manufacturer - was the installer on the manufacturer's approved list? I would squeal like a pig pinched in a gate.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 07:56 AM
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Also, with the home being built in 1940, I'm sure they directed the installer to use whatever is available and that won't cost them much.
I don't know what the house being built in 1940 has to do with this. But, if the seller or anybody else "directed" that the manufacturer's installation instructions or applicable codes be ignored, then I would expect there could be he!! to pay.

In lieu of an overhaul, which is just not financially possible at this time. Insulation sounds like the top priority, correct?
No, adding insulation to the house is an economic issue, unrelated to the boiler installation problems. And, adding insulation to the upper floor won't accomplish much if you are getting no heat there in the first place.
 
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Old 11-15-13, 08:23 AM
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No, adding insulation to the house is an economic issue, unrelated to the boiler installation problems. And, adding insulation to the upper floor won't accomplish much if you are getting no heat there in the first place.
I think he's talking about insulating the steam pipes...
 
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Old 11-15-13, 01:19 PM
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Some pics of pipes above the boiler and what there feeding. Maybe things aren't as bad as them seem. Would be very interested how they tied in to the main.
Thanks
 
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