Need to increase system pressure

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Old 11-30-18, 12:25 PM
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Need to increase system pressure

Hi all,

First post here, I really need some help with our heating system. I have a 3 story 1920s victorian in south central PA, heated via water boiler with indirect water heater, distributed to all 3 stories via cast iron radiators. First and second stories heat up fine, but 3rd story radiators are ice cold and only bleed air, not water. Pressure gauge on boiler is at 12 psi. I know it should be higher for steam/heated water to reach the 3rd story, but I dont know how to increase that pressure.

Pics attached. Sorry for being such a noob; I'm not originally from the Northeast and have never dealt with anything besides forced air. :P If I need to provide additional info, please let me know.

Thanks!
 
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Old 11-30-18, 01:48 PM
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Follow the piping from your domestic water supply (well or city water) to your boiler. Find a device called an automatic fill valve or pressure reducing valve. Post a picture of it.
 
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Old 11-30-18, 02:03 PM
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None of your pics show your feed valve as gil described. This is just a guess but could it be behind that plastic bag hanging up on the pipe.
 
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Old 12-01-18, 04:39 AM
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Look up a B&G pressure reducing valve, model FB-38 or B7-12 and see if an item similar to one of these is mounted in a water line near your boiler. If you find one of these, turn the screw "down" to increase the pressure in your heating system. Set the cold fill pressure to 20 psig and vent the 3rd floor rads. To find the cold fill minimum pressure you need (if you are interested), , measure from the highest point in the heating system down to the pressure gauge and multiply that footage by .433. then add about 2 psig to that figure. Vent the top floor rads until water comes out the vent.
 
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Old 12-19-18, 09:51 AM
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Sorry for the delayed reply, had to tend to a family emergency.
Anyway, theres no press ctrl valve that i can see, but there is a b&g sa flow ctrl valve. I guess i open up that bugger to let additional water into the system?
 
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Old 12-19-18, 10:55 AM
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You have a plastic bag hanging from what may be your B&G flo control valve which has NOTHING to do with adding water to your system. Behind that bag you have a 1/2" copper pipe that might have your feed valve attached.

If you can remove that bag and post a pic of that pipe it would be helpful.
 
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Old 12-19-18, 11:38 AM
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That is the b&g control valve
 
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Old 12-19-18, 11:48 AM
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here's what's behind the ctrl valve (now on the upper left in the pic below). there are 2 lines behind the boiler; I think the line in the middle of the pic is the one from city water that feeds the boiler. Not sure why it feels hot though. The other line slightly to the left of the first feels cold and has an inline taco pump; my amateur guess is this is a cold water line.

The guy who serviced the system earlier this year said theres no autofill valve on thr boiler and that he opened the ball valve to increase sys press.
 
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Last edited by immanuehsu; 12-19-18 at 12:05 PM.
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Old 12-19-18, 02:38 PM
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Without an automatic fill valve, then the only way to increase the system pressure is to carefully crack open the ball valve while watching the boiler pressure gauge to avoid over-pressurizing.

I would recommend that you have an automatic fill valve (a.k.a. pressure reducing valve), a backflow preventer, and a low-water cutoff installed. You have a relief valve - but, they should be replaced periodically, say every 5-10 years, and manually opened for a few seconds every year.

I'm seeing from your photos signs of a lack of maintenance.
 
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Old 12-19-18, 03:21 PM
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alright, yeah the house was a foreclosure, unoccupied for 5+ years, thanks for your help!
 
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Old 12-19-18, 04:32 PM
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You have 2 choices then. Install an automatic feeder in that 1/2" copper line between the 2 ball valves or manually open that ball valve and pressurize the system to 20 PSI yourself.

All this is done with the pump and boiler off initially. You want at least 20 PSI cold pressure.
 
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Old 12-19-18, 05:13 PM
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how long to raise press from 10-20 psi? Our 3rd floor radiators, which are cold, are about 15 ft above the 2nd floor ones, which are hot. Im guessing I'll have to wait maybe an hr at least bc the gauge isnt moving much at all.
 
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Old 12-19-18, 06:21 PM
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I think something may be wrong with your pressure gauge. Doesn't seem right.
 
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Old 12-19-18, 06:22 PM
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No way to tell. Depends how fast your feeding the water. You must go by the gauge.

If it was that low, you will most likely have to bleed the rads so I would put in as close to 30 PSI without relief valve going off and if you end up with anything over 20 just drain a little water to bring the pressure down.

The trick is to have plenty of pressure when you start bleeding so you don't have to keep refilling.
If you go below 25 fill up to 28 or so and continue bleeding until done, then drain off remaining to 20 and you should be good.
 
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Old 12-19-18, 08:53 PM
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And... check that the gauge is working. Without going into a long story, I've had a stuck/broken gauge cost me many hours.
 
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Old 12-20-18, 01:30 PM
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Figured it out. Gauge is fine, my system has a cold water return line thats used to recharge the system. Opening that up fixed the problem. Thanks for all the help!
 
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Old 12-20-18, 02:02 PM
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I,
Thanks for the update.

Merry Christmas!!
 
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