Only 1/2 my house is being heated. Need help to determine problem.

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Old 03-25-14, 07:10 AM
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Only 1/2 my house is being heated. Need help to determine problem.

I have a Tekmar Boiler Control 260 - One Stage Boiler & DHW. It seems to have 4 zones 3 of which are wired. Only 1/2 of the house is heating. I don't know what zones go where. I just purchased this home 2 days ago and am unfamiliar with this system. The pipes that lead to the side of the unheated house are at a lower temperature than the pipes that lead to the heated side. The 3 sets of pipes read out 100 degrees, 140 degrees and the last one (the pipes that go to the unheated portion) read about 87 degrees. My friend at work told me I had to close the other valves a bit to force the hot water to the 3rd set. I tried, no go. If it helps, I have a honeywell R7284 Oil primary Control and a camera that I am not afraid to use. Any help would be GREATLY appreciated!!
 
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Old 03-25-14, 07:34 AM
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Hi HC,

Let's start with the pictures so we can see what you're working on.

Give us make/model of the boiler...

When you say " 4 zones ... 3 wired ... " what exactly does that mean?

Find the pressure/temperature gauge on the boiler and tell us BOTH readings.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:11 AM
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Pics and Video of Boiler

Here are some pics I will send more it only let me attach these.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:14 AM
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You missed the most important part..... the gauge on the boiler.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:15 AM
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Pics cont...

More pics on the way.. Thanks!
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:18 AM
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Pics cont...

Making Video as well.. coming up.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:36 AM
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Pics cont...

Sorry video is not uploading. Thanks again for all your help. Let me know what else I can provide for you.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:46 AM
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Tekmar boiler control 260 one stage boiler & DHW Settings

occ 68
unocc 64
outdr desgn 0
t unit 4
indr 70
dsgn 180
max 170
min 120
fire delsy 0:10 min
diff 25
wwsd occ 65
wwsd unocc 60
 
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Old 03-25-14, 08:50 AM
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Boiler Model #

Sorry about all the pics but I thought the more the better to diagnose.
 
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Old 03-25-14, 02:50 PM
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My friend at work told me I had to close the other valves a bit to force the hot water to the 3rd set.
Start off by opening any of the valves that you had partially closed. Your friend didn't realize that you have individual pumps for each zone so there will be no help at all by fiddling with those valves...

I think first thing to check is if all three of the pumps are operating.

Take a long screwdriver. Have one of the good zones call for heat so that one of the pumps runs. Put the HANDLE end of the screwdriver to your ear and the pointy end touch to the pump and listen to what it's supposed to sound like for reference.

Shut that zone off and set the non-working one to call for heat and do the same for that pump. Does it sound the same?

Do you own and know how to use a multimeter?
 
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Old 03-25-14, 02:55 PM
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This system was obviously owned by an 'experimenter' type... why else all the temp gauges? and then, the piece de resistance, is this crazy thing... what on earth?



I can't for the life of me figure what that might be for. What's it wired to?
 
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Old 03-25-14, 10:36 PM
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piece de resistance

He named it the "Heat reclaimer and condensate tank". It blows hot air from the barrel (pictured) out the vent and raises through a grate in the floor joists. Keeps the cellar warm! I'm kind of wondering about emissions on that. New thread? Sorry such delay in response (2nd shift) and young children so the pipe taps will have to wait until the AM. However, tonight while I was at work.. my wife cranked the thermostats to 85 and got the heat to come on. I cant go in the rooms right now so no read outs available. Now the wife is God. :NO NO NO:
 
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Old 03-26-14, 02:13 AM
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piece de resistance

PLEASE tell me that you have at least one (hopefully one on each floor) Carbon Monoxide (CO) detectors in there. From what I see he has something rigged up on the flue pipe (no clue how or what) that he is trying to utilize the heat (from combustion) that would normally go out the chimney. Any gaps/cracks in that setup and you and the family have a good chance of NOT waking up one day.

I've never seen the barometric damper separated through the block wall like that before. Is there access to other side of wall to see how it is hooked up with all the flue piping after the "reclaimer"? Is the chimney lined with stainless or is it just the cinder blocks?

Did you have an inspection done on this house prior to purchase? any questions raised on that?

Also the Beckett air boot. Where is that supplying from? it goes into the joists but then where to the outside?
 
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Old 03-26-14, 08:49 PM
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Bought carbon monoxide alarms today.

So no camera right now. Will have complete pictures of the reclaimer tomorrow. Yes had home inspection and nothing was ever said about the system. I put the CO detector right next to the reclaimer, no detection was made. There is a note written on the exhaust pipe that says "Carbon Monoxide is extremely low 12 pp.." 12 pp.. something (it wore off and I can't read it). PPM perhaps? The boot goes directly outside and is freeeezing cold to the touch right now. So that covers the safety. Now back to the matter at hand...

My wife cranked the thermostat to 85 in the kitchen (1/2 of the house that worked) and the bedrooms (1/2 not working), started working?!?! Then she said she turned the kitchen down to 70 and the bedrooms remained working. She thinks she has solved the mystery. I think something is wrong somewhere. What do you guys think?
 
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Old 03-27-14, 06:27 AM
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Wife and kids froze again last night..

Heat never came on again. Suggestions?
 
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Old 03-27-14, 06:40 AM
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I made suggestion that the place to start diagnosing was to determine if the pump was running... it appears that blew right by with no action.

You need to logically diagnose, and a good start would be to determine if the pump is running. We can't do that for you!
 
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Old 03-27-14, 07:15 AM
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Checking pumps now

I'm terribly sorry with that CO scare I forgot about that will have info today. Now you say shut off the working one. Do I do this via shut off valve?
 
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Old 03-27-14, 07:21 AM
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All 3 pumps are working. I used the screwdriver and all three sounded identical. A light humming. If it helps.. the first pump was hot as hell, the second I could keep my hand on it for 30 seconds if I tried, and the 3rd was luke warm.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 07:24 AM
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No, just use the thermostats.

Turn all the way down the ones you aren't checking, and turn all the way up the ones you are.

It's possible that there is an air blockage in that one zone and that the pump itself is working but not able to move water against the air bubble.

We need to do some diagnosis to determine the most logical path to pursue.

I don't like that 'heat reclaimer' at all... even if it does not pose a safety hazard from CO leakage, the fact remains that one should not cool exhaust gases below the 'dew point' of the gas. When long term condensation occurs in flue pipe and chimney, the acidic condensate eventually 'eats' metal and masonry.

In the long run, the heat that is being 'reclaimed' will cost more in repairs than any 'savings' from reclamation.

That would be one of the first things I would remove if it were mine.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 07:42 AM
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I am with you 100%. I will remove the rclaimer and replace it with a straight pipe this weekend. I will post pics.

When I did what you said to do with the thermostat. I turned the working one down 2 degrees below room temp, waited for the click and went down to check pumps. All 3 pumps shut off. Thermostat 1 and 2 are still calling for heat and none of the pumps are running.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 08:05 AM
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Update:

I just went to give my son a bath and the boiler kicked on. I turned the working thermostat all the way down and all 3 pumps are running still. Strange thing is zone 1 and 2 are averaging 130 degrees and zone 3 stays at 85 degrees. The pump is running the pipe is luke warm but when I put my hand 6 pt down the pipe I feel no heat at all. By the time it gets toward zone 3 heating area the pipes are colder than room temp. Also, is a domestic hot water reclaimer box normal? I just saw the note on the side of the box attached to a pipe. God I hope so but i'm afraid of the answer.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 08:32 AM
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Why is your fire delay on the tekmar set to 10 minutes?
 
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Old 03-27-14, 09:20 AM
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Tekmar settings

Where should I have them?? Thats where they were. Please give ideal setting on Tekmar and I will set them there. Thanks!
 
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Old 03-27-14, 09:50 AM
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That setting is for a fire delay, like if you had an inducer motor, then HSI startup, then fire. My boiler takes about a minute and a half or so to startup once there's a call for heat. I would time your burner and see how long from when the blower comes on to the time the burner actually fires and set it to that. Shouldn't be more than 2 minutes at the most.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 09:57 AM
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Will do, thanks so much! Keeping fingers crossed. Does anyone have ideal setting for everything on my tekmar?
 
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Old 03-27-14, 11:12 AM
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Everything looks decent. I would bring up the minimum to 140 and max to 180. Try not to go too low on boiler temps because that can cause condensing issues within a cast iron boiler.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 11:19 AM
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Will do. Thanks! I'd love to get this zone working tonight so we can be warm. Im off to work. My wife will be on the forum to comply with any and all instruction that will help us get heat. Thanks everyone!
 
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Old 03-27-14, 04:11 PM
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This is a tough one because of your 'experimenter' previous owner.

Is this a thermometer? And it's all melted? Is that reading 500 some odd degrees? I doubt it's working.



You've opened these ball valves again, yes?



Note in this picture that above each of the valves there is a drain valve.

These can be used to 'purge' the zones, but what I can not see in any of your pics is the 'pressure reducing valve' that feed the water into the boiler system from the domestic supply. I need to see that so I can instruct how to do the purge.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 04:13 PM
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What do all those 'notes' say that are written all over the water heater and other places?
 
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Old 03-27-14, 04:28 PM
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Looks like the valve is hanging out in front of the HW heater ?

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Old 03-27-14, 04:47 PM
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So it is! Thanks for rescuing my tired old eyes PJ!

OK, here's what you can try.

First, turn off boiler and allow to cool to 100F or less! This is important as you do not want to feed cold water into a hot boiler, nor do you want to burn yourself with high temp water.

Connect a garden hose to the drain valve on a zone that is not heating. (the drains that I pointed out in previous post).

Direct the hose to a floor drain, laundry tub, etc...

CLOSE COMPLETELY ALL THREE of the ball valves above the pumps.

OPEN the drain with the hose on it and while that drain is open LIFT THE LEVER on top of the PRESSURE REDUCING VALVE in front of the water heater.

This will force water through the zone and push air out ahead of it. When there are no more bubbles coming out, lower the lever on the pressure reducing valve and close the drain valve ... IN THAT ORDER.

Do this for any zones that are not heating.

When finished, OPEN FULLY the ball valves and start up system.

See if you get heat in all zones.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 05:40 PM
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Hello everyone and thank you. HCP's wife here.

Yes, that is a thermometer, it is melted, but the temp reads 55.4 degrees.

Yes, all the ball valves are open again.

The notes on the water heater describe the warranty, how it works and how efficient it is. Many of the other notes are similar for different parts of the system. In some areas he calculated how much oil or energy he saves.

I greatly appreciate your help and thanks to your notes, we will definitely try the purge, but it will have to wait until hubby comes home.
 
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Old 03-27-14, 09:51 PM
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Purge results

I went ahead and purged all 3 zones. While draining zone 3 (dead zone) the temperature spiked to 120 degrees then dipped to 60 real quick. Right now I am shutting off all of the thermostats and calling for heat 1 room at a time. I will let you know the results tomorrow. Thank you!
 
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Old 03-28-14, 07:46 AM
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It worked!

We have heat!! Thanks for the awesome advice. I definitely couldn't have done it without you. Thanks from my family and I. You guys rock!! Just a couple more questions if you don't mind. In my previous apartments I have had oil burners. When I turned the thermostat up past room temp I would hear a click from the thermostat and I would hear the boiler kick on immediately after. With this system it's not the case. I can turn all the thermostats up and it seems like it takes forever for the boiler to come on. Almost as if one of the time settings is telling it to wait.
Also, when I turn down all the the thermostats except for one, it takes a long time for the heat to come to that zone. Like it has a mind of its own. Is that because the boiler heats zones in order, heating 1 through 4 regardless if that zone is calling for heat?
What if I wanted to heat my daughters room right now without waiting and only my daughters room? Is that possible?
 
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Old 03-28-14, 09:15 AM
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Zones are supposed to heat independently regardless of what zone is calling, unless something is wrong with the piping. Do you still have that long delay even after you changed the tekmar setting from 10 minutes?
 
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Old 03-28-14, 09:24 AM
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OK, here's the bad news...

In a properly piped and designed system with proper 'air removal' devices in the proper locations, and no leaks, once the system is filled with water and working, there should be no reason to ever have to purge the air.

Also, once you add fresh water, since there is tons of dissolved air in that water, you are adding air BACK to the system again... it's a 'catch 22' thing.

Bottom line is that it MIGHT happen again.

When I turned the thermostat up past room temp I would hear a click from the thermostat and I would hear the boiler kick on immediately after. With this system it's not the case. I can turn all the thermostats up and it seems like it takes forever for the boiler to come on. Almost as if one of the time settings is telling it to wait.
Without being there, all I can do is guess... but my guess is that your PUMPS start immediately, yet the burner is being delayed by the 260 control.

What the 260 does is to 'modulate' the water temperature based on outdoor temperature. When the weather is the coldest, the home needs the most heat and the water temperature is the hottest. Warmer weather demands less hot water. The 260 may be 'using up' residual heat that's in the boiler water.

In other words, the 260 will not allow the burner to fire unless the water is below it's " TARGET " temperature, the one that is calculated from the outdoor temperature.

it takes a long time for the heat to come to that zone. Like it has a mind of its own. Is that because the boiler heats zones in order, heating 1 through 4 regardless if that zone is calling for heat?
No, there is no sequencing of the zones. This may be related to above... The heated water may be circulating, but not as HOT as you are used to from previous homes, thus the perception that the heat isn't coming... it may be, but not as screaming hot as you are expecting.

Take a look at the Tekmar and find the 'target' and compare this to the temperature on the boiler gauge dial. You should see correlation.

What if I wanted to heat my daughters room right now without waiting and only my daughters room? Is that possible?
Because of the 260, and it's 'slow and easy wins the race' attitude, you may not get INSTANT gratification. You might have to anticipate the needs for temperature changes and act in advance of the need.
 
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