No circulation to 2nd floor

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  #41  
Old 01-10-15, 10:45 AM
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Any tips on finding the frozen section?
 
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  #42  
Old 01-10-15, 01:00 PM
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Were the pipe is pex can you disconnect the feed end to the baseboard and the end were it is attached to the baseboard and then attach an air compressor to the pex and pump up to 75 psi into it to see if the air will come out the open end of the pex. If it does do the same for the return pex .
 
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Old 01-10-15, 01:14 PM
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I wouldn't recommend that...

Believe it or not, chunks of ice can come out the end of that hose like BULLETS!

This is true... I once broke a finger getting hit by a piece of ice out the end of a frozen garden hose.

This is DANGEROUS believe it or not!

Think about what Hail Stones can do to an automobile! And they are only falling with gravity, not being shot out of a hose.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 01:27 PM
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If you are afraid of what may come out the end of the pipe using an air compressor and as I am a great believer in Murphy Law maybe a better solution would be to pour some methyl hydrate into the higher end of the pex and hope it will melt the ice . I would use a wet and dry vacuum first to see if the line is open this would be safer .

[ MODERATOR NOTE: Methy Hydrate is also known as METHANOL and is EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE! Do NOT go pouring this stuff into piping! Especially indoors! ]
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-10-15 at 05:01 PM. Reason: bad advice
  #45  
Old 01-10-15, 01:34 PM
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Just because I have one I'm borrowing and it sees amazing things. Do any rental places by you rent thermal imaging camera? You can find the cold and hot spots inside the walls.

My parents have a Cape Cod with rear dormer. When they built the dormer there was a section of either siding/insulation missing. The cold air came through the soffit at first floor and froze the pipes going to the new bathroom.

If you know where the pipes run look for things like this scenario.

My friends pipe froze it was in the ceiling bay close to outside wall. Basement was finished, nice and warm but wall ended right there cutting off heat and air flow to that bay. I opened the ceiling tile where I could only get my arm in. I put a hair dryer in that side, and by boiler room (15 feet away) put a small desk fan (like using the shop vac) blowing in that direction also. 20 minutes later it thawed.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 01:53 PM
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Thanks for the tips. What about using a shop vac on the drain valve? I have space heaters on the baseboard ends right now. Been on for a few hours with nothing yet.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 02:13 PM
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Yes shop vac on drain valve may help speed up the thawing if you can disconnect the pex at the rad. be carful of drawing methyl hydrate into vac may cause a fire or worse.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 02:18 PM
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I have no way of disconnecting the pex, I was just going to see if I could suck anything out, whether it be any little trickle of water or anything to help get the flow going and maybe melt the ice.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 03:56 PM
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Put the vacuum hose on the OUTLET of the vac and BLOW the hot air across the baseboards.
 
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Old 01-10-15, 04:04 PM
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Been doing that as well. Using the vac and space heaters.
 

Last edited by NorthMaine; 01-10-15 at 04:26 PM.
  #51  
Old 01-10-15, 04:57 PM
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maybe a better solution would be to pour some methyl hydrate into the higher end of the pex
Methyl Hydrate, also known as METHANOL is EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE!

One must NOT POUR that stuff into your piping indoors. Even a static electricity spark can ignite the vapors.

Funny Cars burn this stuff as fuel.

Furthermore:

Methanol is toxic by two mechanisms. First, methanol (whether it enters the body by ingestion, inhalation, or absorption through the skin) can be fatal due to its CNS depressant properties in the same manner as ethanol poisoning. Second, in a process of toxication, it is metabolized to formic acid (which is present as the formate ion) via formaldehyde in a process initiated by the enzyme alcohol dehydrogenase in the liver.[14] Methanol is converted to formaldehyde via alcohol dehydrogenase (ADH) and formaldehyde is converted to formic acid (formate) via aldehyde dehydrogenase (ALDH). The conversion to formate via ALDH proceeds completely, with no detectable formaldehyde remaining.[15] Formate is toxic because it inhibits mitochondrial cytochrome c oxidase, causing the symptoms of hypoxia at the cellular level, and also causing metabolic acidosis, among a variety of other metabolic disturbances.[16]
Just breathing the vapors or getting on your skin is dangerous... I bet a splatter in the eyes would not be fun!
 
  #52  
Old 01-11-15, 05:32 AM
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Heaters on all night, still nothing. It's about 84 in the rooms up there. Doesn't help its single digits outside. Any other methods I could use simultaneously? Back flushing through the return with water?
 

Last edited by NorthMaine; 01-11-15 at 06:27 AM.
  #53  
Old 01-11-15, 08:36 AM
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2. Shut all supply valves except trouble zone.
You are absolutely certain that you know which valve on the supply is for the troubled zone?

You don't need to close any of the supply valves, only the returns, and in fact, you only need to close the return on the troubled zone. Water will only flow through the zone with the closed return valve and open drain and zone valve.

Any other methods I could use simultaneously? Back flushing through the return with water?
I don't think it could hurt anything to try that, a bit more pressure from the city water might help... but I don't have high hopes. You will of course over pressurize the system if you have city water hooked to that drain and the ice lets loose, so be prepared for the relief valve to open.

I have never tried that zone, so it's hard to say if it worked before this cold spell.
Interesting... who knows? maybe there is some other problem...

Any tips on finding the frozen section?
In another post saves suggested the use of an IR thermometer... it's worth a try if you can buy, beg, borrow, or steal one.
 
  #54  
Old 01-11-15, 08:48 AM
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Has this zone ever worked correctly,when did this first start?this system has only one cir,and all the other zones are working,correct?
Geo
 
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Old 01-11-15, 08:58 AM
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What other problem could it be? I am certain of the supply valve yes.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 09:01 AM
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Zone was working when we bought the house. Pretty sure I could hear water flowing in the ceiling above our bedroom (where pipes run for that zone) before the cold spell beginning of this week which points to a freeze. System only has one circ yes. All other zones are working.
 
  #57  
Old 01-11-15, 09:02 AM
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What other problem could it be?
A hidden closed valve someplace... but it's doubtful there would be such...

You are absolutely certain that you know which valve on the supply is for the troubled zone?
Or for example, a closed supply valve if you are not 100% certain of which zone goes where.

Which is why you should leave all the supply valves open. Water won't flow through the other zones because it has nowhere to go.
 
  #58  
Old 01-11-15, 09:04 AM
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With the hose on the drain valve open, if you momentarily open the ball valve below it, you do get flow, right? (this doesn't prove much, just a sanity check really)
 
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Old 01-11-15, 09:15 AM
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Yes I do get flow by doing that. Is there any way to verify the zone valve is in fact open? It is in the open position but. Just trying to eliminate things here. I guess I would know if I could determine whether or not there was water in the pipes leading to the return.

Also all the supply valves are open and always have been. If there is a hidden valve I have no idea where it would be haha. Nothing in the basement that's for sure.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 09:24 AM
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Is there any way to verify the zone valve is in fact open?
I think that by removing the power head and turning the shaft, you've pretty much verified that.

Have you tried the same procedure you're doing on that bad zone on another zone momentarily? Just another sanity check...
 
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Old 01-11-15, 09:30 AM
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Ya, all other zones are working fine. Temp on thermostat upstairs is pegged with the heaters running blowing on baseboards.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 09:52 AM
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What was the model and mfg. Of the zone valve?
Geo
 
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Old 01-11-15, 09:54 AM
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The zone valve is an Erie AG13A01A.
 
  #64  
Old 01-11-15, 10:22 AM
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I wonder if the valve could be isolated and the top removed so as to be sure the actuator is really doing it's thing,check the lower pages of this link,it states that the actuator maybe replaced.
http://www.kele.com/Catalog/04%20Con...structions.pdf
Just a thought
Geo
 
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Old 01-11-15, 10:25 AM
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Thanks for the link. I have actually taken the actuator off the valve body and manually turned the stem to the open position. I know the stem is in the open position, but have no way to verify of the ball is off the seats. Assuming it's a ball or whatever the sealing mechanism is.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 10:41 AM
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I am really lost at this point. It has to be frozen. Just wait it out I guess.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 10:51 AM
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Why not try the reverse pressure idea from earlier? What have you got to lose?
 
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Old 01-11-15, 10:57 AM
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Nothing really. Would the zone valve want to close under reverse water pressure? Just need to rig whose with female female ends.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 11:19 AM
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Have you got a spare washing machine hose laying around?
 
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Old 01-11-15, 11:22 AM
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I do not. Need to make a run to Lowes. Only way o can do it is from an outdoor faucet too soo will get a valve to control it downstairs as well.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 11:31 AM
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Should I backflush with the supply open or closed? Do I need to shut down the boiler and let it cool?
 
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Old 01-11-15, 02:08 PM
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NorthMaine
Zone was working when we bought the house. Pretty sure I could hear water flowing in the ceiling above our bedroom (where pipes run for that zone) before the cold spell beginning of this week which points to a freeze. System only has one circ yes. All other zones are working.
If you heard water flowing before wouldn't that mean there was maybe air in that zone prior? It might have been air locked so had standing water in it especially if it is at the high point of the house.

Not sure where besides the return valve bleeder to add water to system. If it's pex the clamp DC heaters I don't think will work (unless the water conducts it also. I was almost thinking along the lines of taking water from the hot water heater (mine has a hose bib on the out to flush it also). Maybe a faucet adapter or even a 1/2" IPS to garden hose and remove the shower head. At least you'll flush hot water through, not cold. I'm thinking back feed with hot water as best as possible, drain, repeat many times so that you get hot into the pipe more or less flowing and starting to warm it.

Do the same thing but drain from a different zone into the frozen one. short washing machine hose should do for that. Yes you'll need to possibly bleed the system later from air getting introduced but that is normally much easier than frozen burst sections.
 
  #73  
Old 01-11-15, 02:21 PM
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Problem is when backflushing is there is air in the pipe right so the water isn't even making it far. I hook it up and get just a quick burst back out when I take the hose off. Even tried sucking with the shop vac, closing drain, hooking up hose, turning on hose before tightening onto drain, then opening the drain and hose. Close drain, undo hose, and again barely any water just a quick burst. This further leads me to the zone valve. I am still not convinced it is really open but am not sure how to test that theory. It seems like the amount of water I get out is very close to what would occupy the pipe between the ball valve and zone valve...

I can't imagine that with using the vac to purge the pipe of air prior to hooking up the hose I should have gotten a lot more water in there than what came out. Regardless of whether there was still a bit of residual air.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 02:37 PM
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Question.

The very first time I closed the ball valve and opened the drain on the trouble zone like NJ said to do, shouldn't I have drained at least the water that was in the piping downstream of the "blockage" via gravity? A zone that is not open/flowing is full of water corrext? The circ pump doesn't pull unless flow is available correct? Ie the short length of pipe between the manifold and zone valve should always have water in it even if another zone is circulating right?

So when I first closed the ball valve and "manually" opened the zone valve and hen opened the drain and got just a burst of water, doesn't that mean the zone valve wasn't actually open. Shouldn't I at the very least drained the water out of the 10 or so feet of pipe above the zone valve via gravity? With the short burst wasn't I just draining whatever water was between the zone valve and drain valve (which is hardly anything, like 3" of pipe).
 
  #75  
Old 01-11-15, 03:09 PM
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I have never tried that zone, so it's hard to say if it worked before this cold spell.
Zone was working when we bought the house
So, which is it?

Should I backflush with the supply open or closed? Do I need to shut down the boiler and let it cool?
Supply valve should be open, return ball valve closed.

I don't think it will matter much if it's frozen... nothing is going to flow anyway, unless the extra pressure breaks the ice jam loose. That's why I said to watch the boiler pressure gauge so the relief valve doesn't spew.


Shouldn't I at the very least drained the water out of the 10 or so feet of pipe above the zone valve via gravity?
Not necessarily... think about the 'drinking straw analogy'. Put a finger over the end of the straw and lift out of the drink. Drink stays in straw. That vertical pipe is a big straw.

Do the pipes to that zone run up into the attic and back down again? You said you heard water noises in the ceiling... is there an attic above that ceiling?
 
  #76  
Old 01-11-15, 03:21 PM
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All zones worked when we bought the house. Didn't have it running since then. Thought I could hear water creaking, cracking in our ceiling the other day which would be going to that zone. Our BR is on first floor. Pipes do not go into atic. They run from basement through walls into second floor floor then run through the floor to various rooms.

Supposed to be warmer tomorrow. I will have to try everything again tomorrow. Heaters still cranking though so...
 
  #77  
Old 01-11-15, 03:23 PM
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You would have to have it vented ,think about draining a HWH from the bottom ,unless you open a HWF or the PT valve it's hard to get water out.
Geo
 
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Old 01-11-15, 03:26 PM
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That makes sense now. Just getting so frustrated with this!
 
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Old 01-11-15, 03:28 PM
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They run from basement through walls into second floor floor then run through the floor to various rooms.
Sometimes that between the floor stuff is a problem. Very often (probably more often than not) the 'rim joists' are not insulated between the floors and you end up with a cold sandwich between the floors. My home is just that way... I can see the temp diff on the first floor ceiling with IR thermometer. As I approach the end of the joist it gets MUCH colder. That's a project I need to get to one day I guess.
 
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Old 01-11-15, 04:18 PM
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It finally came out of it!!! I think that's the exact issue here. Keeping it manually open right now so it always flows on any calls thanks a ton for all the help everyone!! Glad this is finally sorted out.
 
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