2 pipe hot water heating system - cold pipes/radiator

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Old 11-09-17, 12:24 PM
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2 pipe hot water heating system - cold pipes/radiator

I am new to hot water heating, grew up with and have owned two houses with force hot air heating. Since this is all new to me and my new house (ca 1935) uses a two pipe system I thought I'd test it out before it got cold here in Philadelphia.

The system is based on a Crown boiler from 2006. There are eight radiators, 3 on the main level (living,dining,kitchen), and 5 on the 2nd floor (2x master bed, bathroom, small bed, large bed). Each radiator is individually connected to a supply and return main bus pipe that runs the length of the house. The thermostat is located in the dining room, about the center of the house and roughly 6 feet from a radiator.

The living room radiator is recessed, the remaining radiators are factory enclosed with bleed valves in the upper left corner of the front face.





The 2nd floor is noticeably cooler than the main level. This might be an issue of pressure, the orientation of the boiler makes reading the gauge very difficult.

***THE MAIN ISSUE***

The bathroom radiator on the 2nd level is cold, as are the supply and return pipes in the basement coming from the 2 main bus pipes. The radiator was replaced with a baseboard fin type unit at some point and there is no bleed valve on radiator or the plumbing. It is a very short, maybe 3 feet long section of copper with fins, an elbow at each end that connects to vertical runs down to the supply and return mains.

I am thinking that there is air in this node and since there is no bleed valve the only way to remove the air is to purge the entire system. Of course, now would be a great time to simply drain down the system, replace the return elbow with a bleed valve, fill it up, purge, and then be cozy warm in when brushing my teeth

Does this sound like an airbound issue or does this point to a blockage? I purchased the house 4 months ago and based on other things i am finding, the previous owner was happy to ignore things, like no heat in the bathroom...

-Steve
 
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Old 11-09-17, 12:42 PM
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It sounds as if you have air in the bathroom radiator. If there is no bleed valve anywhere on the radiator there should still be a way to vent the air. Look all over the radiator for a way to bleed it. If there really is no way to bleed the rad, go to the basement and see if there is a way to purge this radiator. Look for a shut off valve right next to a drain valve that you can add a hose to. Shut off the valve, attach the hose, and open the valve to push the air to the drain valve. If there is no way to remove the air a vent elbow may be your only recourse. You are sure that this is a hot water system and not a steam system.
 

Last edited by Steamboy; 11-09-17 at 12:45 PM. Reason: add to answer
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Old 11-09-17, 01:32 PM
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Hot water system - has expansion tank and circulating pump, no sight glass.

This is the bathroom radiator. If there is air in there, then to get it out means purging the entire system. It's fun to learn new things, but I'd rather do something other than purge the entire system.

 
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Old 11-09-17, 04:41 PM
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Being new to hotwater heating how did you determine this was a 2 pipe and not a loop or monoflo system.

No offense, just curious because it does make a big difference in how you bleed the system.

Do you have pics of the basement piping and the tee's that feed the individual units. If it turns out to be monoflo you will not be able to bleed that baseboard by bleeding the system and may create more problems.

Just a word on the stat placement. If you have only 1 stat for both floors and it's that close to radiation there is a good chance it will shut off before the house gets comfortable in the other rooms.


Hope this helps a little.
 
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Old 11-09-17, 04:44 PM
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It can be hard to offer help without being on site. Many times it takes increasing the boiler pressure temporarily to force the air out. It is critical to know the boiler pressure so you need access to the gauge.

Another issue is...... are those monoflow valves or standard tee's ?
Pictures of the piping around the boiler can be very helpful. How-to-insert-pictures
 
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Old 11-10-17, 08:57 AM
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It is a 2 pipe system as traced back to the boiler - feed and return - rather obvious since my house is a rectangle and the pipes are an easy to see dead end runs along the length. With the boiler off and cold (did not run for nearly 18 hours) I was able to wiggle in and see the pressure/temp gauge and it was displaying 3psi. I used the lever on the automatic valve to add water, the needle moved to 5psi and then the blow-off valve tripped and about a gallon of water came out onto the floor (ugh).

Here is a list of known issues thus far:

Pressure gauge not displaying correct value
No bleed valve on bathroom radiator (air-bound)
No water control valve in bathroom
2nd level radiators have corroded water valves - turned one and it began leaking, others can not be turned without fear of more leaking...

I purchased a home warranty when I purchased the home in June. I have decided to spend the $100 service fee and get a professional on site to review the entire system and resolve the issues. The previous owner clearly neglected the system and now it's my turn to be a good steward of this classic 1930's Philly twin.

For the scale of the issues that need addressed, and having the warranty to fall back on, it seems the prudent route. Once it has been serviced and is back in good working order, maintaining it should be rather trivial (I hope!)
 
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Old 11-10-17, 11:07 AM
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Given the circumstances that sounds like a good decision.

Good luck,
 
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