No Heat in 1 Zone and Purged Air of System Feed pipe is Hot But Return is Cold

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Old 01-07-14, 10:08 PM
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No Heat in 1 Zone and Purged Air of System Feed pipe is Hot But Return is Cold

I just lost my detailed thread before I could post it so ill make a quick one.

Main floor zone is working fine. Basemnet zones (1 and 3) are not working. When calling for heat zone vales open properly and feed pipe gets extremely hot but 5' down the line I notice pipe temp drops. Return side is cold.


-problem started about 2 weeks ago, system worked fine before

-noticed the problem after Oil tank was extremely low on fuel

-noticed Air purge valve releasing air several times and leaking water on expansion tank

-also noted loud pipe banging from air in system

Symptoms:
-No heat Zone 1 and 3 basement rooms near heating system small loops

-Zone 2, Main floor of ranch style house working without problems

Actions:
-Bled entire Hydronic system of air with several buckets per zone. confident no air in system. All zones seem to work fine for a short period of time.

-Bled zone 3 individually since its a very short loop but still doesn't work. no air came out system seems to flow without a problem


Other notes:
-All Zone valves are functioning properly when calling for heat

-1 circulator pump working fine for Zone2

-Operating at 15psi Presure reducing valve is working ok

-Temp between 180 and 200 degrees


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Old 01-07-14, 10:19 PM
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Did you try closing off the second zone and just run either zone 1 or 3?
 
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Old 01-08-14, 07:17 AM
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Well I guess technically. I shut off zone 2 at the thermostat so zone valve was closed and still doesn't work.

The zones do not have independent shunt off valves other than the zone valves.
 
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Old 01-08-14, 11:40 AM
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So no ideas out there on what's going on with m y system? Any help will be appreciated.

Tonight I am going to try to manually open the zone valve and let the boiler run. If the zone valve is ok then I should still have the same problem. If I get heat then maybe it is an intermittent zone vale?
 
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Old 01-08-14, 08:37 PM
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Boiler temp and pressure?
 
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Old 01-08-14, 08:41 PM
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Sorry,
See both in your first post.
Someone asked if you tried heating only one zone only, one of the non-working zones, while the others are off.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 05:13 AM
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Yes I tried that by lowering both zone 1 and 2 thermostats to lowest position while heating zone 3. Still didn't work.

I manually opened zone valve for zone 3 and eventually felt warm water at return side pipe. Does this mean I have a bad or intermittent zone valve.

Is it possible that zone valve 1 and 3 both need to be replaced? If so I suppose I'll replace all 3
 
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Old 01-09-14, 10:25 AM
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-noticed the problem after Oil tank was extremely low on fuel
This should have absolutely no bearing at all on the problem you are describing.

UNLESS the system shut down and PIPES FROZE. I know... you are going to say it can't be frozen pipes... and I'm gonna say that I hear that all the time and guess what? It IS frozen pipes.

-Bled entire Hydronic system of air with several buckets per zone.
Please describe the exact steps you took to bleed the zones, which valves you opened, closed, etc.

It's very possible that what you were bleeding did not travel through the zone at all, but rather the shortest route it could find through the boiler and out the drain.

-Operating at 15psi Presure reducing valve is working ok

-Temp between 180 and 200 degrees
At 180-200 degrees your pressure should be higher than 15 PSI.

However, since you are talking about zones in the basement not heating the 15 PSI should be enough pressure for those. It would be the upper zones that you will ultimately have trouble with low pressure.

That is IF and ONLY IF your pressure gauge is accurate, read this:

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

The next thing that you should do is service your expansion tank. A boiler is a PACKAGE and the entire package needs to be correct before you start troubleshooting smaller parts of it. If your tank hasn't been serviced in some time (they NEVER are!) then I GUARANTEE it's low on air charge.

See: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...sion-tank.html

I doubt that you have any 'intermittent' zone valves.
 
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Old 01-09-14, 04:41 PM
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Thanks NJ for replying. I have seen your posts around the forum and was contemplating on changing my subject to NJ please help.

-Luckily the system did not shut down when oil was low there was ~10 gal before it was filled.

-Bled Hydronic system:
1) Shut other zone vales by lowering thermostats to lowest.
2) Shut return valve to boiler (see picture below with Zone 3 loop highlight in red, valve cuts off main return path in blue)
3) manually opened zone 3 valve
4) attached hose to spiket and drained several buckets at a slow flow

The base board is located behind wall and comes up right away

Thanks for the additional info I was abut to change some zone valves . I also believed they were working fine until my most recent test. I will do some research on expansion trouble shooting. I saw some good threads already and will refer to those
 
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Old 01-09-14, 05:07 PM
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Keep in mind that the expansion service is general preventative maintenance, I need to re-read the whole thread to be sure of that, but probably not part of the current problem.

Going to read back now...
 
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Old 01-09-14, 05:32 PM
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OK, here's what I'm going to recommend that you try... a little different procedure, but before you do this, check and charge the expansion tank per the procedure in the 'sticky' thread I posted:



In this picture we see the main return to the boiler coming down vertically to a drain valve with a yellow handle ball valve below it, to the right of the expansion tank in the pic.

I want you to use that drain for your hose, and close that yellow ball valve below it. Leave the one on the ceiling open.

You are probably OK to do this with the boiler hot... since the water will not flow through the boiler, only through the zone. It won't hurt to shut it off and allow it to cool for a while though... perhaps you should, in case you get some super hot water out the hose. Don't get scalded!

Note that lever on top of your pressure reducing valve. That's a "Fast Fill" lever. You will be using that lever to feed water at a FAST rate through the zone. Lifting that lever bypasses the regulating portion of that valve. If you've got an air block, purging SLOW will not help because it won't bust that air bubble loose.

Close all but the zone valve your want to purge.

With yellow ball valve below return drain closed, open the drain valve above and LIFT UP the lever on the pressure reducing valve.

WATCH THE PRESSURE GAUGE as you do this. You should be able to 'modulate' the fast fill lever to keep the pressure around 25 PSI as you purge the zone.

When no more bubbles out the hose, release the fast fill and then close the drain, in that order.

Take a look at pressure gauge, you should be around 12-15 PSI at this point.

If you have more than one non-heating zone, repeat for those. Do not purge just for the 'hellofit' because the less fresh water you introduce into the system, the better. Only do what you have to do to get it working.

Re-open the yellow ball valve, set the zone valve back to automatic and try it.....................
 
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Old 01-10-14, 09:42 AM
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Actually the first time I bled the zone 3 system I used this spiket you pointed out at the end of the main return line with the ball valve at the boiler in the off position. I also used the bypass on the pressure regulator to feed about 20 psi for a bit.

I will try it again tonight and raise the pressure up to 25 psi. I was a little afraid of going too high with the pressure.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 02:20 PM
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NJ, You said you don't think there is an issue with the zone valve. Does it make sense when I manually open the valve the heat flows through the system without any problems?

Wouldn't this mean if there was air in the loop the water would be air bound and unable to circulate regardless if the zone valve is manually opened or not?
 
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Old 01-10-14, 02:30 PM
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I have to confess that I jumped in the middle and may not have read all the posts... so perhaps there could be a problem with a valve ...

I'll be home shortly and will spend some time and re-read...
 
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Old 01-10-14, 02:39 PM
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Thanks NJ. I'm not a plumber and only knowledge is the research I've done for this situation, but the more I think about it the more it seems like there is an issue with the zone valve.

I just think its odd that both zone 1 and 3 went at the same time.

I suppose if it is the zone valve I should replace all 3... even the working one.

The system was built in 2006
 
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Old 01-10-14, 03:26 PM
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OK, let's retreat and start over.

First, some things in your first post...

-noticed Air purge valve releasing air several times and leaking water on expansion tank

-also noted loud pipe banging from air in system
This is not normal. Your system appears to be fairly well designed in that it is 'pumping away' from the expansion tank, and has a quality air removal device.

WHY was the purge valve releasing air? HOW did air get into the system?

THIS is why I suspected an air blockage in the zone before a bad zone valve. It sounded to me as if the system went very low on pressure and sucked some air in.

Also, I commented on this in post #8 (please re-read that post):

-Operating at 15psi Presure reducing valve is working ok

-Temp between 180 and 200 degrees
This indicates to me that there is something ELSE going on that needs to be dealt with either before, or along with any zone valve problems.

Charging the expansion tank is not difficult. It does require that you have an accurate tire pressure gauge that will read down to 12 PSI and a decent pump or small air compressor to get air into the tank.

This is the only thing you need to read in order to maintain the expansion tank:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...sion-tank.html

And you should do this now, or very soon...

=================

OK, on to the zone valve problem.

We need to check each zone valve. Let's take a logical approach first, determine that they are actually opening and closing and that they fire the boiler.

Turn all thermostats all the way down.

Stand by the zone valves and have a helper turn up a thermostat all the way.

Listen for the motor running and the gears whirring. This is the valve opening.

The pump should start, and if the boiler is cool, the burners should light.

Have helper turn down thermostat and listen for the whirring of the valve closing, burner shutting off, and pump stopping.

Repeat for each of the three zones and report what you find.

Do you own and know how to use a multimeter?
 
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Old 01-10-14, 08:40 PM
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Hi NJ,
Got your comments will start the expansion tank service tomorrow. I have a bike pump and a compressor if that's not enough. I do have an accurate gauge.

As for the zone valve test. I know the " working" zone, zone 2 valve is ok I hear it open occasionally when I'm in the boiler room. Secondly zone 3 thermostat is close enough (~10 steps) where I can turn on the TS and walk over and hear it engage. Works ok. I will have to test zone 1 tomorrow when my wife is awake.

As for using a multimeter got that skill... I'm an electrical engineer. I know the valve should be getting 24V when TS calls for heat but did not check yet since I was assuming zone valves are working fine
 
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Old 01-10-14, 08:45 PM
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Ok so interesting note for tonight. I manually opened zone 1 ( the other non working zone in the basement) and water did not circulate through the system like zone 3 did. But the feed pipe after the zone valve got extremely hot to the touch. This leads me to believe there is still air in the system. I will try to bleed the system using the techniques you described for this zone.
 
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Old 01-10-14, 10:12 PM
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Ok I used the method you suggested. I bled zone 1 and 3 at 25-30psi 3 buckets each zone. Still does not work.

I'm starting to believe there is still air in my system and I am not getting the air out properly.

Zone valves operate normally. When I crank the heat an indicator light on the boiler electric box labeled zone valve turns on and the manual zone valve lever has no tension indicating it's already open.

When the zone 3 TS was cranked the valve opened and the boiler kicked on. The feed after the zone valve got extremely hot but not the return. I did hear some light pipe knocking and some gurgling as if I was listening to a robots tummy rumble. It must be air. So I closed the ball valve on the return to the boiler and drained the return. The return pipe got hot for a moment then Cold again.

I opened the ball valve at the return with the TS cranked whole zone 3 pipe got hot for a few moments then cold again.

Obviously there is still air in the system and I'm not bleeding it correctly. Any tips?
 
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Old 01-11-14, 06:03 AM
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NJ I read your expansion tank thread. That is the ones I read previously. I will service the tank this weekend and report back
 
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Old 01-11-14, 07:59 AM
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Zone valves operate normally. When I crank the heat an indicator light on the boiler electric box labeled zone valve turns on and the manual zone valve lever has no tension indicating it's already open.
Just to clarify this; You've verified this for ALL THREE zones... correct? Each and every zone operates normally in this regard, valve opens and boiler shows that it is receiving the call... INDIVIDUALLY, one at a time... because the 'endswitches' on the zone valves are OR'd together by being wired in parallel.

This testing is telling us that the zone valves are NOT suspect.

Obviously there is still air in the system and I'm not bleeding it correctly. Any tips?
I suppose that this could be true, but at this point I'm beginning to suspect the circulator pump.

Wasn't it Einstein that defined insanity by saying something like; "Insanity is repeating the same action again and again and expecting a different result" ?

Are you absolutely certain that the pump is receiving power, you can feel a light vibration, and that the motor is getting warm, is that correct?

Yet you say that zone 2 which I believe is the entire upstairs of the home is working perfectly. I would like to verify this because it's 'possible' that it is only working on GRAVITY flow.

Because the two basement zones are at or below the level of the boiler, there will be little or no gravity flow when they call for heat.

How soon after zone 2 calls for heat do you feel the return pipe get within 20įF of the supply to that zone?

Does your circulator pump indicate that it contains an IFC (Internal Flow Check) valve in the model number? (If it does, it's possible that the pump itself is air-bound)

Centrifugal pumps can not pump air. If the pump volute is full of air trapped behind an IFC valve, it won't pump.

[LATER EDIT: Looking at the pics again, I see that it is not possible for air to be trapped in the pump even if it DID have an IFC. This is because the purge water would travel through the pump and blow any air out of it when purging... so disregard...]

These pumps are also known 'teasers' in that they can be powered, and feel as if they are pumping, yet the motors do sieze up from time to time.

Does your pump have a 'plug' with a flat blade screw slot in it in the center of the end of the motor housing?
 
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Old 01-11-14, 08:05 AM
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All the pics you've posted thus far only show 2 zone valves... I presume the third is farther to the right and simply cut off in the pics?

What is the pipe with the closed ball valve to the left of the zone valves for? Where does it go?
 
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Old 01-13-14, 09:38 AM
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Hi NJ thanks for the responses. I had a very busy weekend and did not get a chance to do anything. But I will get back to this project tonight.

You made some good suggestions:


Just to clarify this; You've verified this for ALL THREE zones... correct? Each and every zone operates normally in this regard, valve opens and boiler shows that it is receiving the call... INDIVIDUALLY, one at a time... because the 'endswitches' on the zone valves are OR'd together by being wired in parallel
I checked Zone 1 "zone valve" and saw zone 1 indicating light receiving the call, then without turning off zone 1 did the same for zone3 and saw both lights on at the same time. I will have to go back and do them individually.

I suppose that this could be true, but at this point I'm beginning to suspect the circulator pump.
you have interesting points here:
-I didnít do any specific circulator troubleshooting since up to now have been assuming the circulator is operating fine. I did briefly feel the pump and confirm that the pump was getting warm and confirmed I could hear a small vibration indicating the pump is actually doing something. I will double check this. I will also confirm the pump is getting voltage.

-Yes zone 2 is the entire upstairs of the house and is working perfectly.

-I will check how fast the return heats up after zone 2 calls for heat. I donít have a thermal coupler so I wonít be able to tell the exact temp.

-I donít remember seeing a valve on the pump but sounds like this may not be an issue according to your edit comment.

-I need to check if the motor has a Ďplugí


All the pics you've posted thus far only show 2 zone valves... I presume the third is farther to the right and simply cut off in the pics?

What is the pipe with the closed ball valve to the left of the zone valves for? Where does it go?
-yes the other zone is cut off in the picture and is just to the right of the 2nd zone. This is actually zone1 that is not shown in the picture.


-The pipe with the closed ball valve I believe is going to a radiator in my mud room. I briefly tracked this pipe during my study of my system and looks as if it goes directly up to my mud room. I donít use that radiator and honestly thought it was an electric heater previously. It has its own thermostat and must need to be manually opened but not 100% sure how it works. I do know the radiator in the mud room is not your standard baseboard heat. Perhaps the zone valve function is built into the radiator?
 
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Old 01-13-14, 09:41 AM
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One other observation.

I knocked on the expansion tank with my knuckle and the top had a "thud thud" sound as if it was filled with water (like it should I believe) and the bottom had a "ting ting" sound as if it was filled with air (like it presumably should)
 
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Old 01-13-14, 07:13 PM
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I checked Zone 1 "zone valve" and saw zone 1 indicating light receiving the call, then without turning off zone 1 did the same for zone3 and saw both lights on at the same time. I will have to go back and do them individually.
There are TWO indicating lights for each valve. One indicates that a thermostat is calling and the valve is getting power, the second indicates that the valve has actually opened and actuated the 'endswitch'. You need to see BOTH lights.

-I donít remember seeing a valve on the pump but sounds like this may not be an issue according to your edit comment.
You won't see the valve. It's INTERNAL to the pump. The only indication would be something on the label, like " IFC " on the end of the model number... but yeah, I don't think that's part of the issue.

-The pipe with the closed ball valve I believe is going to a radiator in my mud room. I briefly tracked this pipe during my study of my system and looks as if it goes directly up to my mud room. I donít use that radiator and honestly thought it was an electric heater previously. It has its own thermostat and must need to be manually opened but not 100% sure how it works. I do know the radiator in the mud room is not your standard baseboard heat. Perhaps the zone valve function is built into the radiator?
How cold does it get in the mudroom? Below freezing? Better hope that rad doesn't freeze and split.

The 'thermostat' on that rad is probably a 'thermostatic radiator valve'. So yes, in a way it has it's own 'zone valve' in very loose terms.

Where does the return pipe come back to the system? Is there a valve there also?
 
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Old 01-13-14, 07:16 PM
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I knocked on the expansion tank with my knuckle and the top had a "thud thud" sound as if it was filled with water (like it should I believe) and the bottom had a "ting ting" sound as if it was filled with air (like it presumably should)
I don't put any stock in the 'tap test'.

No, the top should not really be 'filled with water'. In fact, when the system is COOL/COLD, there should be almost NO water in the tank.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 12:39 PM
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No worries about the Mud room temp its wide open to the rest of the house not closed off by a wall or a door.

The return for the mud room zone? I need to check into that. I didn't have any time to check last night but I will have time tonight.

I will also check the double lights for the zone valve indicators. I remember seeing both lights on for zone 1 but i have to double check for zone 3
 
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Old 01-14-14, 06:50 PM
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I have 3 images to post. One is a picture of all 3 zones. you can see the return from the mud room feeding back to the return of zone 2 (main floor) just above the extendable duct in the back.

Zone 4 is the water heat
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THis is a pic of the circulator pump details
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Here is a pic of the control unit. I tried each zone individually and both lights turn on for all 3 zones
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Last edited by djpardi; 01-14-14 at 07:17 PM.
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Old 01-14-14, 07:06 PM
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Now I see FOUR zone valves? What's that fourth one for?
 
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Old 01-14-14, 07:14 PM
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you can see the return from the mud room feeding back to the return of zone 2 (main floor) just above the extendable duct in the back.
I can't see it... but I'll take your word for it, not part of the problem anyway.

THis is a pic of the circulator pump details
Does NOT appear to be an "IFC" model.

====================

So we digressed a bit... let's regroup.

At this point, you still have no heat from either zone 2 or zone 3 ?

Did you get a chance to take care of the expansion tank?
 
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Old 01-14-14, 07:15 PM
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I don't know if this helps but here is a diagram of my house. basement level is shown on the top diagram and main level is the bottom diagram.

The dark lines on the inside walls represent base board heating areas


Mod Edit****Diagram removed at request of member..
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 01-28-14 at 09:05 PM.
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Old 01-14-14, 07:39 PM
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I don't put any stock in the 'tap test'.

No, the top should not really be 'filled with water'. In fact, when the system is COOL/COLD, there should be almost NO water in the tank.
Here is a 2 min video I just found on you tube about expansions tanks.
Hot Water Expansion Tanks - YouTube (just skip the ad)

Almost makes the tap test make sense? but I dunno. If the expansion take does need to be serviced then according to your thread you posted i need to remove the tank. Im a little worried about doing this but I guess I can give it a shot.

To start I checked the pressure on the 'bike' valve at the bottom of the expansion tank. It read exactly the same pressure of the system at the boiler ~17psi
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Last edited by djpardi; 01-14-14 at 08:12 PM.
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Old 01-14-14, 07:52 PM
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I don't put any stock in the tap test. Period. There are several errors in that video showing that he doesn't really know what he's talking about. He pointed to the AIR VENT and called it a RELIEF VALVE. That one single error tells us that he really knows only enough to be dangerous.

according to your thread you posted i need to remove the tank.
No. There's nothing in that thread telling one they have to remove the tank. There's a step by step instruction that explains the process. If you follow those directions to the letter, you will have no problem.

It's really quite easy, but you MUST have an ACCURATE tire pressure gauge and a decent pump or small compressor to charge the tank.

So we digressed a bit... let's regroup.

At this point, you still have no heat from either zone 2 or zone 3 ?
 
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Old 01-14-14, 08:17 PM
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ok never mind that video then :-/

Yes I updated the post below with a quick pressure test I did on the expansion tank. I didn't see the valve at first but realized later it had a cover on it. I think I may have confused replacing the tank with servicing the tank in your post.

According to the information I gathered with what i believe to be an accurate pressure gauge seems the tank is doing what its supposed to do? tank and system have the same normalized pressure.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 08:21 PM
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And correct there is still no heat in Zone 1 or 3.

From what I can gather everything seems to be operating as normal which again points to me not bleeding the air correctly.

One note: since I bled the system I have not heard the pressure relief valve release air on top the expansion tank nor did I find any drip marks on the boiler from the relief valve.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 08:26 PM
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Now I see FOUR zone valves? What's that fourth one for?
Zone4 is for the hot water tank
 
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Old 01-14-14, 08:39 PM
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Some new observations.

I felt the temperature of the expansion tank. 90% of the tank was cold or room temp and the top 10% of the tank (where the tank curls into the top valve) was very warm to the touch.

The circulator pump was very warm and I could hear a light humming coming from it.

I still have no tested how long it takes for the return to heat up after heating the main floor. I have to wait for the next cycle since the pipe is hot.
 
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Old 01-14-14, 09:12 PM
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According to the information I gathered with what i believe to be an accurate pressure gauge seems the tank is doing what its supposed to do? tank and system have the same normalized pressure.
You need to re-read that thread. You can NOT check the air charge in the tank if there is ANY pressure on the water side. You will NOT read the pressure of the air charge correctly.

I have not heard the pressure relief valve release air on top the expansion tank
You need to forget you even saw that video. That device on top of the air scoop above the expansion tank is NOT a 'pressure relief valve', it is an AIR VENT, nothing more.

I felt the temperature of the expansion tank. 90% of the tank was cold or room temp and the top 10% of the tank (where the tank curls into the top valve) was very warm to the touch.
Something else flawed with that video that you need to forget.

Even if the air charge in the tank is low, the bottom will always be cool. "Feeling" the tank for temperature difference is not an accurate test.

HOT water is pushed into the tank VERY slowly and will ALWAYS float on top of any cold water already in the tank. It's called 'stratification'.

If you don't believe me, go drain a gallon of water from the bottom drain on your water heater and tell me what temperature it is. (don't actually do this because you probably won't get the drain to shut off again, so I'll tell you that it will be barely luke-warm.)

If you don't want to take care of your system, just say so, and we'll call it a wrap.
 
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Old 01-15-14, 10:35 AM
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ok I'll really forget about video this time and ill stop making assumptions.

I should have re-read that thread again before I tried to service the expansion tank. I'm not ready to give up yet, if I methodically think about this and carefully review your instructions I should be able to single out the problem.
 
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Old 01-16-14, 05:36 PM
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I followed the steps of the expansion tank service thread precisely and looks like a little bit of water comes out of the bottom air valve. So I presume this is "ANY"?
 
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