Radiant heat system not working

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Old 01-04-14, 12:36 PM
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Radiant heat system not working

We have owned our Eichler for 5+ years and during that time seen the heating efficiency of the radiant heating system go down. Nowadays, it is not able to hold the house temperature at even 63F. In the past it did much better.

In examining the components in the boiler room, one thing I noticed is that the copper pipe leading into the slab/flooring is not particularly warm to the touch (and the temp meter reports sub 100 F temperatures). In addition, the exhaust for the flue gases leaving the boiler is hot. To me it suggests a bad pump or a a clogged boiler. Not sure which one. Any ideas on how to determine if the pump is working or not? It does hum when its turned on - just don't know if it is pushing any water.

I have to admit that these past 5 years I never paid attention to it. Infact I did not even know that the pump I had was one that needed oil every year for lubrication - so I never lubricated these past 5 years. Could it be that the pump is hosed? I did take off the cover on the coupling and saw the motor spinning, and the coupling does not rattle as if broken - not sure if the pump is working though. Could it be anything else?

Any thoughts on how I should proceed are welcome. I am still learning the system.

Any help is much appreciated.
 
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Old 01-04-14, 03:09 PM
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owned our Eichler for 5+ years
What's an " Eichler " ? Never heard of it.

I noticed is that the copper pipe leading into the slab/flooring is not particularly warm to the touch (and the temp meter reports sub 100 F temperatures)
IN-FLOOR RADIANT (that IS what you have right? Tubing in a slab and/or under the floor? Not baseboards or radiators?) is not supposed to be much over about 120F or so.

Your pump is probably OK, but DO get some 30 weight NON-DETERGENT oil and do the oiling. Don't go NUTZ with the oil... you don't want to put so much in that it leaks out and gets on the rubber motor mounts...

Can you take a series of CLEAR, WELL LIGHTED photos and show us what you've got ?
 
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Old 01-05-14, 08:02 PM
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Yup, the pump seems okay

Oh, Sorry. An Eichler is a type of house - flat roof, lots of floor-to-ceiling glass. Most were built in the 1960s - as is mine. And yes, it is in-floor radiant heating.

Looks like the pump is all right. It had a metallic cover over the coupling area that I took off and verified that the motor and coupling were rotating fine.

One other data point - normally, I don't get a high enough temperature in the water coming out of the boiler. But if I shut off the system, the water temperature rises to about 140-150 degrees. Then, as soon as I start the system again, the hot water dissipates (as expected) and the temperature of the water drops right away to about 80 degrees - this suggests that the pump is moving the water successfully. The odd thing that I can't make sense of is why (1) the water temperature post-boiler remains at 80-90 degrees when water is being pushed through and (2) why the temperature rises when I shut everything off.

Any tips on how to clean the boiler?

I will try to get some clear pictures and post. It's a 50 year old system and may be having the original equipment in place.
 
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Old 01-06-14, 05:59 AM
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Apparently the 'Eichler' designed homes are well known in SoCal, but not much elsewhere...

What is the make / model of the boiler?

Can you take a series of photos to show us what you're working on and how it's being controlled?
 
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