Help needed: Drain hot water zone/ baseboard to replace unit...then refill zone


  #1  
Old 05-13-14, 05:46 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Question Help needed: Drain hot water zone/ baseboard to replace unit...then refill zone

I have a bunch of pics that are in high-resolution posted in the album linked below of our 5 zone system. I would like to complete this job with my own hands if someone could offer me the proper steps for this process.

I am replacing a baseboard and heating element in the top level of a two story + unfinished basement level house. To do that I will need to drain the baseboard/zone of water.

The zone I am working at is connected to valve labeled R(red)#1 in my pics. It has a cap for a hose connection. I can provide any other relevant info or more pics when requested for the complete process of draining, refilling, and bleeding.

I'd like to get to it later this week one way or another, if I can. I'm prepping for it now.


High-res album link will not post for me. I don't know why

This is where it's at on the tinypic(dot)com/4dulqe5z

Cheers
 
Attached Images      
  #2  
Old 05-13-14, 06:24 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
First off... since you will be depressurizing the system it would be a fine time to perform some very likely needed maintenance tasks.

Read these two threads... the first has instructions for checking/charging the air in the expansion tank, which by the looks of it is at least 25 years old. The second is an easy way to verify the pressure gauge.

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

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

You're going to want to know the gauge is accurate when you refill the system.

If you're doing the top floor, there is no reason whatsoever to completely drain anything. All you need to do is shut off the supply water to the boiler and drain the several gallons that are in the highest pipes.

What's with the two pumps? One is obviously on the return pipe to the boiler, but the other seems to be on the supply pipe out? Unless my seeing isn't good...

I haven't looked at your album yet, tinypic is not liked by the forum software and that's why you can't post the link.
 
  #3  
Old 05-14-14, 03:24 AM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thank you for your reply-
Feel free to correct any incorrect terminology if it occurs..

First off... since you will be depressurizing the system it would be a fine time to perform some very likely needed maintenance tasks.

Read these two threads... the first has instructions for checking/charging the air in the expansion tank, which by the looks of it is at least 25 years old. The second is an easy way to verify the pressure gauge.
The heating company performed a clean/service this past October right before we started heating the house. There is a log of all services performed posted on our wall. It has always been regularly maintained by professionals- If that makes any difference. (They were here 2 months ago to replace a powerhead on a Taco valve in which I had isolated the problem- it cost $275, I could have done it for $20- so, I am trying to master this whole system myself)
What's with the two pumps? One is obviously on the return pipe to the boiler, but the other seems to be on the supply pipe out? Unless my seeing isn't good...
If this helps, I will add a basic diagram of the heating zones in a cross-section view. I am in the learning process here so I will tell you what I do know.
There is an addition on the far end of the house that is about 33 years old(zones 4&5) in a 1960's colonial. The pipes that branch off of the pipe with the R3 and Bk valve all go up to the the ceiling and straight across to that area in the far end of the house. Maybe that makes more sense now.
Name:  zoneDiagram.jpg
Views: 2042
Size:  39.5 KB
Name:  sideMed.jpg
Views: 1751
Size:  34.8 KB
I'm going to working in zone 3 which is 3 bedrooms + full bath(labeled R1 water valve). I plan on working in zone 1 on my next project when I finish this to replace wood panel with drywall. I will need to move the baseboards out on those walls far enough to adjust for the thicker drywall. So, I will be needing to do this drain process again.


I haven't looked at your album yet, tinypic is not liked by the forum software and that's why you can't post the link.
I will read over the links that you provided and how they apply to me. If there is a preferred image hosting site let me know and I will move the images over there and edit the link in my original post or post a new one.

I'll catch up later


-Cheers
 
  #4  
Old 05-14-14, 03:45 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I can not edit my above post so I will add and confirm that the pipe connected to the valves marked R3 and BK (red and black) is the RETURN from the addition zones 4&5 only.

I am studying this complete system for the first time so please excuse me for basic questions. I'm wondering why 3 valve handle are red, two are blue, and one black. The ones on pipes that do not connect the the boiler system at all are green and that is clear to me why- they are outside water faucets and appliances.

-Cheers
 
  #5  
Old 05-14-14, 04:12 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
...heating company performed a clean/service this past October right before we started heating the house...
Apologies to all the techs that read this and know what they're doing, but the sad fact is that the majority of them these days do not. Dollars to donuts they didn't touch the expansion tank, and if they did, they tapped on it in the mistaken thinking that they could tell how much air pressure is in the tank... and I'm saying that there is NO WAY that anyone can tell the condition of air charge in an expansion tank by tapping on it.

Techs (most of them) have no idea that the tank will lose 1-2 PSI / year and require charging at LEAST bi-annually. They don't know that you can't properly charge the expansion tank with pressure on the system.

It's the single most neglected system component. You should check/charge it when you have the opportunity, and consider adding the optional valves I showed in the thread I mentioned.

Maybe that makes more sense now.
I suppose that it does. I'm presuming that since you mentioned zone valves, that 'added later' zone does not have a zone valve. They piped that zone on it's own circulator.

Thing is, where they brought the return back to the boiler from the added zone is technically incorrect. When they added it they were lazy. They didn't want to cut into the existing piping any more than necessary so they brought the return back to that upper port... near the TOP of the boiler... and that's just wrong. Returns to the boiler go back to the BOTTOM of the boiler.

OK, so it's wrong, but it's been working so far... I guess leave it alone and don't worry about it then, I'm just ejumicating ya a bit.

more...
 
  #6  
Old 05-14-14, 04:16 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
If there is a preferred image hosting site let me know and I will move the images over there and edit the link in my original post or post a new one.
I prefer Photo and image hosting, free photo galleries, photo editing myself. It's free...

I'll address more of your questions a bit later................
 
  #7  
Old 05-15-14, 02:24 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Boiler Project Photos by snowday133 | Photobucket

That's a link to the high res photos that I moved. I'll add more there as requested.

I'm giving myself the next 2 weeks to learn about this heating system because I have other things going on, as well. I'm currently mapping & labeling the outbound feed pipes and return pipes of the different zones.

I'm sure I'll figure it out but is there an obvious reason that some of the valve wheels are red and some are blue?(R1,2,&3-B1&2)

[edit] Answered: Upon closer inspection it looks as though that the handle colors are just the size of the pipe that the water flows through. The red ones are 3/4" and blues are 1/2"- simple as that.


What I'm mainly looking to do is drain water from the zone #3 (R1 valve)* and reinsert it afterwards. If there is a tutorial available on regarding this process or another post that I could not find feel free to point me to it.


I have been scouring youtube for videos relating to this but I feel I need to know the whole system first.

*edited: I meant R1 valve, I mistakenly wrote R3valve
 

Last edited by SnowDay; 05-15-14 at 05:21 PM.
  #8  
Old 05-15-14, 03:02 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
I'm sure I'll figure it out but is there an obvious reason that some of the valve wheels are red and some are blue?(R1,2,&3-B1&2)
No, not at all... no reason or rhyme whatsoever. The color of the valve handle is irrelevant. I know it seems logically that there SHOULD be some reason, but there's not. And no, has nothing to do with the size of the pipe either, that's pure coincidence.

I'm trying to come up with the best way to explain what you need to do, but before that, we need to move you up the learning curve a bit so that you know WHY you are doing what you are doing... teaching you to fish, as it were.

I'm going to study your pics on PB now, and will add comments to them also.
 
  #9  
Old 05-15-14, 03:11 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
WARNING - DANGER WILL ROBINSON !

This photo:



shows a PLUGGED PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE! The device on the left side...

Marvin the Martian will be proud when there is an earth shattering kaboom as the boiler explodes into supersonic bits of shrapnel and steaming hot water.

That is... IF there is no other pressure relief valve mounted on the boiler itself.

One must NEVER, EVER PLUG A PRESSURE RELIEF VALVE!

I'll let you know after I look at the rest of the pics if I see another relief valve on the boiler so that you can sleep at night.
 
  #10  
Old 05-15-14, 03:23 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
Give us all the information off the data plate on the boiler... model number, etc.
 
  #11  
Old 05-15-14, 03:28 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
OK, in this picture:



We can see that there IS a pressure relief valve on the boiler itself. It's at the upper left above the gauge, on top of the boiler, on top of the right hand pipe.

What we can't really see in this photo is whether or not that one is plugged also.

Please check to be certain that there is a pipe coming off this valve and elbowed down to another pipe ending with NO PLUG OR CAP on the end to within 6" of the floor.

[edit] I do see a pipe off that relief valve in other pics, and it's probably OK... as long as there is no plug on the end of it. It MUST be open!
 
  #12  
Old 05-15-14, 04:23 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
model V-14A-T
Minimum relief valve capacity 124
Water 30 PSI
LT OIL GPH 1.05
Water MBH 107.8

 
  #13  
Old 05-24-14, 11:08 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I had a chance to finish the baseboard replacement on the 22nd. I gave myself two weeks to learn about the heating system or turn it over to a pro. This whole pipe system used to look as confusing as a bowl of spaghetti to me. But now I know where every single pipe goes to and comes from


First,I updated my HZ diagram and color coded the individual heating zones

I then bought a pack of different color electrical tapes at HD and put bands along the pipes following the loops to where they converge or separate.


After each loop was assigned its own color I then added a white band or a black band on the front-end of the color. White denotes feed and black is for return.


[NOTE: That zone#4 Taco ZV just above is next on the list for this coming week. That will get it's own thread. It surprisingly functions fine but I have a replacement in hand. You can see Z4&5 return pipes in the back but they were not labeled yet in that pic.]

Now that I knew where the water comes from and goes to I concentrated on the external components. I found a lot of good basic info here:

Hot Water Heating Boilers, How to Inspect, Diagnose, & Repair Residential Heating Boilers - Hydronic Heating Guide

After learning the external components, different valves, their functions and how it applies to my individual systems' setup I let the info settle for a few days and banged out the DIY that I started in the thread linked here
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/bo...t-install.html

Thanks for the help along the way
 

Last edited by SnowDay; 05-24-14 at 11:28 PM.
  #14  
Old 05-25-14, 08:01 AM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
So at this point, do you have the basic understanding of how to use the purge stations?

If so, explain your understanding and we'll see if you've got it...
 
  #15  
Old 05-27-14, 03:56 PM
S
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Dec 2013
Posts: 31
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
So at this point, do you have the basic understanding of how to use the purge stations?

If so, explain your understanding and we'll see if you've got it...
Well, I'll tell you what I did and you can tell me if I did anything wrong or inefficiently. I know that I made an inefficient 'non-fatal' mistake that may have added a little extra bleeding-from-the-radiators time. There is some type of what I think is a shut-off valve without a handle that I did not utilize just below purge station 1(valve R1). I just didn't recognize it as one and it was never noted to me in my pictures. It looks like a perfect spot for a ball valve now that I understand the system much more. top_zpsb6cceb2f.jpg Photo by snowday133 | Photobucket

1. I flipped the boiler shut off switch
2. Shut off main water supply to boiler(valve B1)
3. Shut off feed valve (R2)
4. Uncapped purge station 1(R1) and attached hose in to bucket
5. Depressurized system using the purge valve watching the gauge go from 20 to 0
6. Once the needle hit 0 I went upstairs and opened the bleed valve on the radiator preceding the one that I was replacing. This was to break the water vacuum and let drain the minimal amount of water from the system as you recommended. Bleed valves were closed at the end of this step when the radiator was empty.

The radiator that was replaced was at the end of the upstairs HZ loop(HZ#3), just 16 feet or so above the purge station and boiler. So now the radiator was completely empty but the zone was still 80% full.

7. After the replacement was completed I opened up the main water feed valve(B1) then zone feed R2. The purge station was open with hose and bucket. Fast fill was used just enough to get a good flow going in to the bucket.
8. Once the main air pocket was pushed through I closed the purge valve and let the pressure raise to 12psi in the cold boiler.
9. I bled the air from the radiators in that zone. I even checked the air bleeds in the other zones connected to that purge station.
10. I flipped the switch to the boiler


Like I said at the beginning, there is a shut-off valve just below the purge station that was not utilized. It uses a flat head to open and close. It's somewhat frozen but I'm spraying it with liquid wrench for future use. This accounted for me not being able to completely purge all the air with the hose and having to bleed a little more than usual.

After doing research on the forum and webpages, and watching soooo many youtubes of people working on old systems, new systems, and systems that were updated throughout the years(like mine) I gained some insights:
An ideal system has shut off valves and purge stations for every loop. Some even use ball valves to isolate the loop from the rest of the system after it branches and before it converges. This makes tasks easier such as replacing a zone valve or shutting down a zone for maintenance or remodeling zone much easier.

 
  #16  
Old 05-30-14, 05:07 PM
NJT's Avatar
NJT
NJT is offline
Member
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
Posts: 23,539
Received 4 Votes on 3 Posts
I'm surprised you were able to purge the zone at all without having closed the screwdriver valve below R1.

Any water you fed into the system was not traveling up and through the zone at all, just up from where R2 connects to the zone through the open screwdriver valve, and out drain R1.

By closing that valve, water would have had to travel through the boiler, around the zone and finally out R1, pushing the air ahead of it.

Also, you would have needed to manually open any zone valves that are in the path of the water.
 
 

Thread Tools
Search this Thread
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: