No heat from 3 baseboard radiators

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Old 05-04-14, 10:35 PM
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No heat from 3 baseboard radiators

I bought a house built around 1961 that is heated by a boiler and closed loop hot water system with a recirculating pump. From following the pipes in the basement, it seems that there are 2 loops of piping. One loop has the majority of baseboard fin-type radiators, about 10 or so, and the other loop has only 3. The 3 radiator loop was working for the 6 years that I have owned the house, but those rooms were always colder than the others. Now they seem to have stopped altogether. Since the 2 loops are in parallel, I think that there has to be a method of controlling the flow in the 2 loops. The only possible valves I have found are in the return lines of the 2 loops before they are joined by a tee and then go to the recirculating pump. These 2 devices are not very accessible, and I would like confirmation that they are indeed valves, or whether they are simply for bleeding purposes. I have attached a picture of them.

Edit: There are actually 10 radiators in one loop and 4 radiators in the other loop.
 
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Last edited by bobbygee; 05-04-14 at 10:50 PM. Reason: Correct number of radiators
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Old 05-05-14, 07:49 AM
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Can you tell us the pressure and temperature of the boiler? Are there 1 or 2 thermostats in the house? Can you post clear pictures of the boiler including the piping by the boiler. Is the cold section on the 2nd floor?
 
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Old 05-05-14, 11:03 AM
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No Heat from 1 loop

While getting pictures in response to tomf63, I discovered that what I thought was the big loop of 10 radiators is actually 2 loops. So, there are 3 loops, not 2. There is only 1 thermostat in the house. It is a single storey, but there are radiators in the basement as well as the main floor. I haven't traced out the newly discovered loop, but the 2 loops together supply the 10 radiators. The cold section is on the main floor. Attached are pictures of the pressure/temperature gauge and piping. The gauge picture was taken when the pump was running.
 
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Old 05-05-14, 03:15 PM
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Bobby, if your gauge ain't whacked, then your pressure in the system is way low. This could easily account for crappy heat distribution.

READ:

http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...ure-gauge.html
 
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Old 05-05-14, 05:47 PM
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OK, I'll have to go buy a test gauge and test it. In the meantime, can you tell me what the device is in the return line? There is one also in the return line of the 3rd loop which is more accessible. I tried to turn the center shaft on that one, but it is stuck, even after loosening the collar with a wrench. Could it be a shut-off valve that could be used to balance the flows in each loop?
 
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Old 05-05-14, 09:15 PM
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Update . . . I found an installation sheet for my pressure reducing valve and read that there is a built-in screen filter that should be serviced 2 times a year. My heating system has had nothing done to it for at least 7 years. So, thinking that the screen might be clogged, I activated the fast fill lever for about a second. I heard the water running for that one second, and then the pressure gauge started to rise. It finally peaked out at about 17 psi. I then checked the cold loop, and the first radiator inlet was getting warm. By then, the house temperature was warm enough for the thermostat to shut off the circulation pump. But I believe that the low pressure was indeed the cause of no heat in that 1 loop.

So, my pressure gauge is OK. However, I would still like to be able to adjust the relative flows in the 3 loops. I am becoming convinced that the devices in the return lines of the loops are quarter-turn shut-off valves, and by throttling back on the 2 loops, it should increase the flow in the 3rd, with the result of more heat there. I have attached a better photo of the device in the 3rd loop and will wait a day or so for someone to positively identify what it is. If no one can, I will take the bull by the horns and apply a vicegrip to it and see what happens.
 
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Old 05-06-14, 09:41 AM
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So, my pressure gauge is OK
Just because the needle moves doesn't mean the gauge is accurate. I'm not saying that it isn't accurate, but the needle moving is not conclusive.

Those old square type gauges are worlds better than those cheap crap ones that are supplied with modern boilers, and your's could well be OK.

Just raising the pressure might not be the end of the issue though... you could have air in the system which might slow the flow... your expansion tank may be 'waterlogged' and now that the pressure has been raised you may find the relief valve opening...


I would still like to be able to adjust the relative flows in the 3 loops.
You are going to find your quest a futile one. You will have very little luck in attempting to balance heat output by adjusting flow in the loops. It just doesn't work that way, sorry to say.

That device that you've pictured does not appear to me to be a valve of any sort... What I see is a standard copper tee fitting with something soldered into the side port... it looks more like a drain to me... I would say it looks like a bleeder but they are pointing DOWN and I would expect a bleeder to be pointing UP... but I can't be sure from the pics.

If no one can, I will take the bull by the horns and apply a vicegrip to it and see what happens.
Best advice I can give you is: Don't do it. I think you'll be sorry.
 
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Old 05-06-14, 12:02 PM
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I now have heat in all the radiators with the higher pressure. I will wait till summer when I can shut down the boiler and do some troubleshooting. I appreciate all the good responses in this forum - Thank you.

I will try and get a bleeder key to test for air on each radiator. There is also a bleeder on the input to the expansion tank, and when I opened it a little last week, air came out, so I don't think the tank is waterlogged. However, I will check it out come summer.

I will take the picture of the device to Home Depot and see if they know what it is. I doubt that they are drains because of where they are located. Anyway, come summer, I am willing to try to turn the slotted shaft with a vicegrip just to satisfy my curiosity as to what it is. Worst case, I will remove the T completely and simply join the 2 ends.

From scouring the internet, I found a post somewhere where there were gate valves in the return lines to the boilers, so that is why I think these may be quarter-turn shut-off valves. I will definitely find out this summer.

Thanks again for the help.
 
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Old 05-06-14, 01:36 PM
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I will take the picture of the device to Home Depot and see if they know what it is.
That's funny! I needed a good laugh! thanks...
 
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