Bleeding baseboard lines...

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Old 01-20-15, 01:27 AM
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Bleeding baseboard lines...

So, there is a recurring problem that seems to creep up every winter. Our heating works great on the first floor, but the upstairs always seems weak. We have all baseboard heaters on that level, as well as a hydronic convector underneath a bathroom cabinet space to heat the floor. That particular bathroom has the weakest heat. So weak that the toe kick convector will not kick on because the water flow through it is so low. The general problem is this, the upstairs takes a long time to reach the target temperature set by the thermostat. The baseboard lines also sound like they are half full of water. Another member described it as sounding like a river. Now, there are three total bleeders. One in a hallway bathroom, and two in the master bedroom. I have bled these 1-2 times per day and there is always air coming out of them. When I first open them there is a steady hiss of air and then it slowly gets weaker and weaker, very little water ever comes out, a spit or two but no steady stream. Forgive me, but I'm a total novice at this. Last year we paid $500 to have a heating company come over and bleed the lines for 4-5 hours. The heat then worked great...up until the start of this winter. I wish the man would have told me how he did it. Below I have posted a link to a YouTube video that shows my boiler room. Hopefully I captured enough detail. I want to know how I can bleed the air from there instead of from the heaters. I would love to know what steps are required. From what I understand: 1-shut off boiler, 2-isolate the zone, 3-open a drain? 4-raise pressure in boiler to help push air out. I do know that I have circulator pumps and not zone valves. I also know that my expansion tank was just replaced about 8 months ago. The pressure gauge on my boiler always reads between 10-12psi. Again, I am a novice and really have a vague idea at what I'm looking at in this room. Any help at all is extremely appreciated! If any other information is needing such as type of boiler, etc I will do my best to get it.

http://youtu.be/pSOhqgogRwo
 
  #2  
Old 01-20-15, 01:33 AM
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Your video is almost useless. I need to see still pictures that I can study. Pictures need to be well lit and in focus. In addition to close ups I need to see wide angle shots to see how the various parts are connected. Please also include pictures of the pressure/temperature gauge on the boiler.

I see LOTS of pumps in the video and even one pump that has no power cable. How many zones do you have in total? Also, please include the manufacturer and model of the boiler. What pressures and temperatures do you see when the boiler is at room temperature and also when it is firing?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 01:38 AM
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Forgive me for the horrible quality. You are right, one pump is not in use. I have three thermostats, not sure if that means I have three zones. Since it is so late, I will take high quality pictures of this room tomorrow, as well as pictures of where the bleeders are upstairs. I edited my initial post to include the boiler PSI. It's always at 10psi when "cold" and 12psi or so when on. The boiler is a Dunkirk PW51 Series, Model 235AAW002150. The placard on it always says Carrier...hmm?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 01:49 AM
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The still pictures will be much better. Best to upload them to a photo hosting site and then post the public URLs here rather than to directly upload to the forum.

Do know if you have any leaks in the system? How many feet above the bottom of the boiler is the top of the highest heat emitter? If you do not have enough pressure you will not be able to remove the air. Take the height in feet and multiply it by 0.44 and then add four to the result to get the minimum cold pressure you need on the boiler.

There are several people here that have a vast amount of knowledge on these systems. You will get more answers after posting the pictures.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 09:07 AM
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Also, it is possible that the pressure gauge may not be accurate.

Please read this:

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

The 'hissing' you heard may in fact have been air being sucked IN to the system.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 06:41 PM
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Pictures added! Please let me know what else I can do to help.

All pictures available at photobucket. Click on picture.
Place cursor at top right of picture for zoom functions.


















 

Last edited by PJmax; 01-20-15 at 08:30 PM.
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Old 01-20-15, 06:55 PM
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bleading problem

Eventually you will want to fix the problem not patch it. You will most likely find that if air got in then the water got out, find the leak.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:13 PM
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If there's a mod here please delete one of my picture posts. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:29 PM
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I have to study the pics...

First thing you need to do is verify the pressure gauge. Raise the pressure up to say 15 psi... does the gauge move up?


Need an overall pic of the piping... possibly a link we can zoom in on


Let me study the pics some..
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:32 PM
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First question, how do I raise the pressure? The auto flow valve (bell)? Second, is it safe to raise the pressure while the boiler is on and hot? As of right now the pressure gauge is reading 15psi. It's been running a lot today since it is about 10 degrees outside. Usually when it is not running a lot it reads around 10-11psi. I do not have another gauge to verify the pressure, sorry. The same gauge also says the water temperature is 180 degrees F. The very last picture is all of the piping in the room. I can try to get a higher resolution from that angle if you'd like...?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:33 PM
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I see like seven circulator pumps. Is this an advertisement for a plumbing supply ?

I sent you a PM.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:43 PM
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I promise you it isn't. Not to mention there is nothing but copper lines running throughout, zero plastic here.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:47 PM
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So far I see when you bleed the system you need to shut the yellow handle of the bypass in this pic. Its the yellow handle valve to the left of the dark grn pump...

[ATTACH=CONFIG]45268[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:53 PM
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And shut the yellow handle to the right of that pump and bleed from the blue handle boiler drain there...

Also for each zone you bleed the flow control should be opened all the way for the zone you are bleeding...



[ATTACH=CONFIG]45269[/ATTACH]


Flow controls are above the pumps...

[ATTACH=CONFIG]45270[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 01-20-15, 07:59 PM
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So basically I'm dealing with the top level of pipes in the pictures you mentioned, the horizontal pipe above the expansion tank with the green pump in the middle of the two valves? So if I shut the yellow valve to the left the water will be prevented from returning to the lines. The blue spigot on the right is to relieve the lines of air. Is this correct? Does the valve directly to the left of the blue spigot need to be shut when I bleed? I'm also curious what the red spigot is for on the left lower side of the system. There is also a blue spigot on the bottom of the boiler itself, but I'm guessing that is just to drain the water in the actual boiler?
 
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Old 01-20-15, 08:20 PM
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So basically I'm dealing with the top level of pipes in the pictures you mentioned, the horizontal pipe above the expansion tank with the green pump in the middle of the two valves?
Yes


So if I shut the yellow valve to the left the water will be prevented from returning to the lines.
Yes the water will be forced into the zone you want to bleed. The water comes in from the expansion tank.. You need to shut the yellow handle on right of pump too...

The blue spigot on the right is to relieve the lines of air. Is this correct?
Yes water will go up around the zone and push the air out. The blue handle valve is for this...

Does the valve directly to the left of the blue spigot need to be shut when I bleed?
yes

I'm also curious what the red spigot is for on the left lower side of the system. There is also a blue spigot on the bottom of the boiler itself, but I'm guessing that is just to drain the water in the actual boiler?
Red is for indirect water heater I think. Other at the boiler is just for draining...

Also note you must raise the pressure here. Lift that handle on fill valve.. Although there is a bypass there. The fill valve may not give enough force to push out the air. so opening that yellow handle in back will help better... Dont raise psi over 30 or relief valve will trip..

[ATTACH=CONFIG]45271[/ATTACH]


Last all zones must be closed. Only open the one your bleeding... Yellow handles above pumps...

[ATTACH=CONFIG]45272[/ATTACH]
 
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Old 01-20-15, 08:25 PM
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D,
That bell is how you raise the pressure. They are generally factory set at 12 to 15 lbs. If you're reading below 12 either someone has played with it or your gauge is off.
You adjust the pressure by lifting the handle on the bell. You'll hear the water go in. Do it slowly if the boiler is hot. Raise it to about 20psi and then try to bleed the toe kick upstairs. Bleed it until you get water out of it.
The object of bleeding a system is to put enough water in so by the time you're done bleeding it doesn't need any more water.
If you're trying to bleed without first getting the pressure up it's defeating the purpose because as you're letting air out water is feeding back in bring air with it. Fresh water brings air.
Try that and see if it works. If it does put about 28 psi in the boiler and bleed the rest.
It's best to shut the boiler and pumps down when doing this. After you've got everything bled drain remaining water from boiler until you reach 15 to 20 psi.
You have a relief valve on the boiler that goes off at 30 psi so be careful filling to bleed in case your gauge is off.
If relief valve let's go shut down the fast fill. If it blows at 30 when it drops it should stop by itself when it drops or just tap the silver handle to stop it. That last part is just in case.
When you get to about 25 watch it close until you know. If it starts to drip, shut the fastfill down and go bleed.
Good Luck,
 
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Old 01-20-15, 08:32 PM
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All above pictures are now on photobucket for expanded viewing size.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 09:06 PM
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larosa, when you were describing how to raise the pressure, what did you mean by "opening the yellow handle in the back.."? Are you talking about the one that is barely visible in the picture with the expansion tank? There are two visible ones that are open, one on the right and left of the fill valve, correct? There IS one behind it that is closed but you can barely see it. I'd also like to know if there are ANY other valves that need to be shut other than the ones directly above the circulator pumps of the zones that I'm not bleeding. Thanks.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 09:33 PM
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@spott,

If I try the method you mentioned first, do I still need to isolate the zone or just raise the pressure and bleed without touching anything else? Do I also need to shut the valves that larosa mentioned when doing it that way, or is that only when bleeding from the blue spigot in the boiler room? Thanks.
 
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Old 01-20-15, 10:51 PM
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Are you talking about the one that is barely visible in the picture with the expansion tank? There are two visible ones that are open, one on the right and left of the fill valve, correct? There IS one behind it that is closed but you can barely see it
Yes that valve... That valve bypasses the fill valve. That will fill the boiler very very rapidly . Should only be opened when blledind and blue drain is open..

I'd also like to know if there are ANY other valves that need to be shut other than the ones directly above the circulator pumps of the zones that I'm not bleeding. Thanks.

Not that I can see in the pics


If I try the method you mentioned first, do I still need to isolate the zone or just raise the pressure and bleed without touching anything else?
You need to isolate all other zones but the one your bleeding

Do I also need to shut the valves that larosa mentioned when doing it that way,
Yes becuase you need to bleed that upstairs zone..

or is that only when bleeding from the blue spigot in the boiler room? Thanks.
Anytime you bleed thats what you need to do..

Also forget about the kick heater for now...
 
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Old 01-20-15, 11:02 PM
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Mike,

So I can open that valve and not even touch the filler? Since this is my first time, should I just use the filler to be able to somewhat regulate the flow into the boiler or just "let the floodgate open" lol. Your call.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 05:32 AM
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do both and try it... The only way you will learn...

Follow the advice given here. Make sure boiler is off. No circs running and somewhat cooler..

Also even after you get the air out , the air eliminator/s may not be working. These should remove the fine bubbles that are in the system.

Thats this item here above the expansion tank.. It may need to be rebuilt..




And there is one tucked behind the flue pipe in the back of boiler.. Thats an AAV. These need to the boiler to be drained some and/or isolated to repair..




I feel you may have a combination of failures..

1. faulty gauge
2. faulty air vents
3.faulty fill valve thats not maintaining 15 psi in the boiler cold..
 
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Old 01-21-15, 07:18 PM
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Ok everyone. After three buckets of water here are my observations so far:

The psi in the boiler increases much faster than I thought. I shut the valves as mentioned but did NOT bypass the expansion tank, only used the auto fill valve to raise the psi. I increased it to around 25 psi each time and then opened the blue spigot.

Should I be fluctuating the fill valve and dumping the water at the same time? Or should I increase the psi in the boiler, THEN decrease it by dumping the water from the spigot? The only time I see any air bubbles is when I do the first method, but my bucket fills up very quickly. It almost seems like this isn't doing anything or that I'm doing something wrong. Any further input is appreciated.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 07:40 PM
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Derek,
I'm sorry but I just don't see the value of drawing water from the blue spigot to the right of the tank.
If you are heating alright on the first floor shut off the supply and return to that floor. You only want the valve so pen where your bleeding.
That being said, with your boiler and pumps off I would fill with at least 25 psi and bleed from those bleeders on the top floor making sure your boiler pressure doesn't go below 20 psi while you're bleeding.
You should get a strong flow of water once the air is gone.
Leave boiler about 20psi when done, open up all valves and fire boiler.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 08:22 PM
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Ok. I checked the bleeders on the second floor when the psi was up to around 25 and water came right out. I know there is probably air behind it somewhere in the lines, but at least I am getting somewhere now. I will try what you mentioned and report back. It looks like it would be helpful to get some fish tank tubing to attach to the bleeders or I'll be on the floor for the next couple of hours...

At least I'm not afraid of doing this anymore!
 
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Old 01-21-15, 08:40 PM
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ok keep us updated..

Also it the cap on the air vent behind the flue pipe loose? It should be. If water comes out when you loosen it close it. It will need to be replaced.




Also listen to the devive on top of expanstion tank. That should release spurts of air too. These devices remove the fine air bubbles as the boiler runs. Listen and let us know..





Should I be fluctuating the fill valve and dumping the water at the same time?
Yes. Put the hose out a window if needed.

It almost seems like this isn't doing anything or that I'm doing something wrong. Any further input is appreciated.
Your closing all valves at circs except the upstairs zone your bleeding right?


When your done bleeding keep all zones closed except the one your were bleeding. Turn all t stats down but the zone your bleeding. Turn that one up and fire the boiler. ( Make sure other valves are open left/right of main circ.) That circ should start running.

Increase psi to 20. See if you get heat..

If not use bleeders up stairs. Bleed a little from one then check psi. raise psi if needed and repeat with the bleeders..

You should get heat.. Dont worry about kick heater now..

Also listen for air coming out of those two air vents..

Let us know...
 
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Old 01-21-15, 08:53 PM
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Seems like it's taking forever to get the water up to temperature. I bled all the zones just as a precaution. Still hearing a lot of noise in the pipes. Upstairs still sounds like a river.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 08:59 PM
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Shoot. What I basically did was bleed each zone individually while the others were closed as you said. I could tell that water was circulating because the pipes got ice cold, meaning fresh water was flowing through...I think? It did something that's for sure. Water came right out of the bleeders upstairs after I did it. I'm going to re-do it to just the upstairs and keep the other zones closed after I'm done like you mentioned. I have the psi around 18 while hot.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 09:00 PM
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If you hear it then its moving...

What about air vents?

Are you only running the one zone?

You need to give me info so I can help..
 
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Old 01-21-15, 09:03 PM
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Once the water is moving the airvents take over.. Let the boiler heat up and run that one zone..

Again tell me about the air vents...

If the vents dont work your fighting a losing battle.. You may/will have heat temporarly until the zone gets airbound again...

Also you should of left the working zones alone... Now you may have added air to them. That air will migrate to the top floor and that zone may get airbound again...

At least I hope your learning something... Its hard to teach over the internet...LOL..
 
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Old 01-21-15, 09:12 PM
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lawrosa,

Please forgive this rookie lol. Yes, air vents are working. There is one on top of the water tank, one near the expansion tank, and one on top of the boiler itself. The one on the boiler was a little tighter than I would like. I loosened it.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 09:49 PM
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Yes the caps on the air vents should be 1 1/2 turns loose...

So you here air coming out of them on occasion with the boiler running???

OK hows the heat? IMO if you have heat on that trouble zone start working the other zones one at a time...


Keep the psi at the 18. If it gets too high when hot and close to 30 psi just let a tad bit of water out of the blue handle valve... Not too much..





Let us know...
 
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Old 01-21-15, 09:52 PM
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The psi did creep up so I let some water out of the bottom of the boiler. Hope that was ok.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 10:02 PM
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Upstairs thermostat has moved 1 degree in about an hour. Something still isn't right. I'm going to tackle this again tomorrow.
 
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Old 01-21-15, 11:04 PM
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also what type heat emitters do you have? This was not addressed before but you have two zones with mixers... These are low temp zones usually used for radiant heat... If so it will be slow rise in temp..

Thats these two devices with green handles. Dont tounch them yet until you explain...

1. what does the temps read on the thermometers there?
2. When the boiler is running what is the temps read on the boiler gauge? Does it read 180?f What it and let us know...
3. Feel the pipes and basboard. Are they warM? Hot?





Last I cant tell what this is on far left in pic. Has blue cap.. cant read it..... alsowhy is valve closed under blue handle valve..??


 
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Old 01-21-15, 11:21 PM
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I'm not sure why that valve is closed, but I opened the spigot and nothing came out. The blue valve above that spigot says "Watts Flow Measurement Valve". It's on the closed position. Should I open that valve below the spigot and see what happens? It's been closed ever since I can remember.

Also, went I was bleeding the individual zones, should I have closed the valves below the mixers or was it fine just to close the ones above the circulators?
 
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Old 01-22-15, 05:33 AM
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Watts Flow Measurement Valve". It's on the closed position. Should I open that valve below the spigot and see what happens? It's been closed ever since I can remember.
No... dont open things without following them to know where they go.. Just leave it. see is you can follow piping and let us know..

Also, went I was bleeding the individual zones, should I have closed the valves below the mixers or was it fine just to close the ones above the circulators?
The ones above the circs Yes, and also the two above the mixers need to be close... These stay closed during any zone purge...!!!! Thats why it wasnt purging right...

Im sorry I did not see this or state this before...

Please tell me about your heat emmitters? Finned baseboard? Fan coils anywhere? Snow melt system?

Take more pics...
 
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Old 01-22-15, 03:28 PM
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Thanks Mike. No wonder those mixers were dripping water after I turned all the zones back on. I'm letting the boiler cool down for a little while right now but will retry what I did last night again. If I were to bleed the bleeders on the baseboards themselves, should I try that before or after bleeding from the boiler room like you mentioned?

EDIT: The upstairs only contains finned baseboards and one toe-kick in the master bathroom. It doesn't sound like ANY water is getting to it though.
 
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Old 01-27-15, 07:08 PM
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BIG BIG thanks to everyone that contributed to helping me out with this. I can say that the heat in the entire house hasn't worked this well in years. It was about 5 degrees F the other night and you'd never know it, especially upstairs. The toe-kick works perfectly now as well as all the baseboards. @larosa, couple of questions:

1- The first time I bled the individual zones, those valves above the green mixing knobs were NOT closed. I noticed when I turned everything back on that they were dripping very lightly for about 20 minutes. Did this damage anything? The second time I bled when they were closed there was no leaking.

2- I noticed that an air bleeder on top of my water tank does leak water every once in awhile. Should this be replaced?

3- The device on top of the expansion tank that you said also helps with air looks like it is plugged or calcified? I don't remember what you called it. Should this be replaced as well?

4- I currently have the boiler psi to around 18 cold. It swings as high as 25 psi depending on how many zones are calling for heat and how long it has to run. Is this normal? I will attach pictures of the parts I have in question. Thanks again!
 
 

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