Weil-McLain Gas Boiler - 2 zone system - 1 zone not circulating

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  #1  
Old 01-28-14, 04:49 PM
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Weil-McLain Gas Boiler - 2 zone system - 1 zone not circulating

Hey all,

New here, out of necessity - a Google search led me to a few of the threads here, and everybody seemed pretty decent and reliable - so here I am!

My system is a propane powered, forced hot water/radiant baseboard system from Weil-McLain, running 2 zones. Water + Glycol.

Monday morning, it was running fine, both zones in operation, as it has been all winter. Courtesy of our most recent Polar Vortex, we ran out of propane yesterday. Not because we used more propane than expected during the -20 degree nights, but because the gauges on the tanks froze, leaving us to think we were set for a couple more weeks!

After getting a propane drop this afternoon, I fired the furnace back up. Or tried to... It took an excruciatingly long time to fire up, but we got there.

Now I've got 1 zone (Zone A) that's working as it should, and another (Zone B) that's not. Of course, the zone that seems to be FUBAR is the zone we actually live in!

The system is set up as follows:

Furnace -> Outbound Piping -> Expansion Tank -> Swet Chek -> Radiators -> Return Piping -> Taco Pump -> Furnace (Circuit Complete)

Pictures will break things down a little better for you guys, I'm sure. I do have an isolation valve before and after each of the Tacos, but none in relation to the Swet Chek's.

I do not have bleeders on any of the baseboards. An add on project I'd like to complete someday, when I've lost my mind enough to do so.

I've got power at the Zone B taco, and it feels and sounds like it's running. The return pipe is hot right above it, and gradually goes to cold about 4 feet above the pump. I've operated the Zone B swet check, and it's currently in the closed position (as it was before, and as the Zone A valve is). The pipe on the outbound side of the Swet Check is moderately warm, and the pex a few inches beyond that is just slightly warm.

System pressure is right around 50psi.

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Clarity leaves a little to be desired in the photos - needed a flash, didn't have one - I'll get some better ones tomorrow.

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 01-28-14, 05:58 PM
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Thats feet you're reading the pressure is the inner reading. You don't need bleeders on the baseboard if you have a loop system, sometimes it takes longer to purge if it goes up and down several times but usually you can get most of it out.
Have you tried shutting the valve above the pump and bleeding the line? Make sure you follow the sticky on how to properly purge.
 
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Old 01-28-14, 06:59 PM
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If it was running before you ran out I doubt it's air related. You said the pump is running. Could a pipe have frozen.
If you open the flocheck on the bad zone and turn up the t-stat on the good zone the water will flow to both and heat.
If it still doesn't flow through the bad zone I would think frozen pipe.

If you run the system that way until it thaws. Shut off your t-stat to the bad zone so the pump doesn't burn out.

This constant hot water in the zone will help it thaw if that's the problem.

Good Luck,
 
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Old 01-28-14, 07:22 PM
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I would be down with the frozen pipe scenario if you hadn't mentioned the glycol ...

Are you SURE there's glycol in the system? and when was the last time it was tested for freeze and PH levels?
 
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Old 01-29-14, 02:17 AM
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Positive on the Glycol, not a clue when it was last tested. No part of the house got below 45* while we were out of propane, the basement included - so I'm not too sure about the frozen pipe scenario.

I am going to open the flocheck before I head out to work, see how things are tonight when we get home.

Thanks guys!
 
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Old 01-29-14, 05:08 AM
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It doesn't necessarily have to do with the temp inside the house but if a line is poorly located like in a cavity with a bad draft, that could do it.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 02:02 PM
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Thought about it on the way to work this morning, and realized it was a lot more plausible than I originally thought.

Left the flocheck open all day with that zones pump off. The pipes for that zone weren't impressively warm when I got home, and the radiators upstairs were still cold. The most likely locations for a frozen pipe in my home, are areas that I don't have easy access to - like above the finished drywall ceiling in my unheated garage, for instance.

Thoughts and ideas? Thanks again.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 03:28 PM
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Cab,
If it frozen in those unreachable areas there's not much you can do except try to heat the area or just keep that flocheck open and it will break through eventually.
They do have pipe thawing machines that work on electrical current but they charge you a fortune and it still takes forever.

If the pipe is in the ceiling it would probably cost you less to replace the ceiling than to get these guys in with a machine.

With that hot water in that circuit it will brake through. Just be patient and hope the weather breaks.
 
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Old 01-29-14, 04:19 PM
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Well, I've pulled probably 35% of the insulation out of the ceiling in the semi-finished side of the basement to trace the lines, and cut a few good size holes in my garage ceiling. If I weren't so cold, I'd say "Gee, this is fun!".

My house is a split level ranch, built in 2008 - so the whole front side of the second story overhangs the first story by...12 to 18 inches? Which, you may be guessing right about now, is where the lines to some of the baseboard heaters were run! The 2 largest units, of course - and both on the zone that isn't circulating. Annnd the insulation all the way out in the overhang leaves a lot to be desired

I still have one more end to locate in the garage tomorrow. I'm not sure if any lines I've found so far are actually frozen or not - they're definitely darn cold, since we hit a whopping high of 18 today - but I'm not sure if they're filled with ice. A laser thermometer might make this a little easier tomorrow.

Next question - when I do find the area that's frozen (since I don't think this weather is going to break anytime soon...June, maybe?) how does one go about safely thawing PEX?
 
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Old 01-30-14, 05:59 PM
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Ph is in the 7.0 ballpark.

All the areas likely to freeze have been exposed, and had heat for the day. Since there was pex involved, I didn't apply direct heat - just propane heat below the areas.

Took the pump out of the system, dismantled it, put it back together, and tested its function at several different points in the process. Unless it's supposed to do something spectacular that's above and beyond the normal spectrum of a circulator pump, it's working as it should.

Put the pump back in the system, opened the isolation valves, called for heat from that zone, and I can definitely hear water going through the pump now.

Still no luck getting circulation in the zone though.

What're the chances the check valve isn't working properly?

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