Downstairs zone not heating

Reply

  #1  
Old 02-27-19, 08:53 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Downstairs zone not heating

Hi all,

I lost power for nearly a day, earlier this week, and after power was restored, I'm able to get heat in the upstairs, but not downstairs. The heating company came out, and it appears the pipe for downstairs forced hot water baseboard heat may be frozen. The pipe is warm, coming out of the Weil-McLain boiler, then it gets cold rapidly. The baseboard heat pipe never leaves the house, but it goes along a number of outside walls, and it's been very cold lately. It was 8 degrees F this morning. I have two electric space heaters running, as well as the oven heating the downstairs. I also have fires going in the fireplace sometimes. We're not getting above freezing till day after tomorrow.

I have a bunch of questions:

Assuming that the pipes are frozen, How long does it take for them to thaw, if the house is kept warm?

And should I shut off the heat downstairs to save the circulators, if nothing is moving in that zone?

I've had issues with the downstairs hot water not circulating in the past - is there a chance that it's not just frozen pipes, but something else?

Is there any way to speed up the process?

I can't see any leaks anywhere along the baseboards, but I seem to smell antifreeze now and then, so I'm wondering if there may be a leak somewhere. I keep checking, but I'm not seeing anything that indicates a leak.

Thanks for any thoughts you may have.
 
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 02-27-19, 12:46 PM
S
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2,998
Received 50 Votes on 47 Posts
B,
The main thing is to keep an eye open for leaks. When that pipe thaws if it has split you could have a flood. You may want to shut off your cold water feed to the boiler in case you have a burst pipe it will not continue to feed as it leaks.

By running the pump continuously against itself or deadheading as it's called you could burn out the pump. Since you have pumps and not zone valves you can manually open your flocheck on that zone so whenever the other zone calls it will send heated water to that zone also. This will save your pump and still provide heated water to that frozen zone.

The most important thing is to try and locate where the draft is coming from that's causing the problem and stop the draft and insulate the pipe. Even though the house is warm all it takes is a cold draft directly on the pipe for it to freeze. Hot water freezes faster than cold. If you have a heat gun if you can find a general location of the freeze. Be very careful of your surroundings when using any type of external heat to thaw pipes.

You mentioned you smelled antifreeze. Does that mean you have antifreeze in the system. If so, the question is why the freeze up. Maybe time to have it checked.

Hope this helps a little.
 
  #3  
Old 02-28-19, 05:15 AM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
Thanks Spott,

I'm keeping a constant eye open for leaks and floods.

I actually do have zone valves. I've been shutting them off at night, per instructions from the heating guy, but I have them open during the day. I've had intermittent issues with the heat not kicking in for the ground floor, over the past year, and the heating guys they sent out could never seem to isolate the issue. Might be time to find new heating guys.

None of the pipes are openly exposed - they are either in the basement, or they are running through baseboards. I don't have anything going through a crawlspace, in other words. I'm heating up the baseboards wherever I can.

I did have sufficient antifreeze in my pipes till about 10 years ago, when the system was partially bled, and the antifreeze was never topped off. It hasn't been a problem till now. I suspect there's something else going on. Like water's not moving when it should - which might explain the freezing this year.

Thanks again
B
 
  #4  
Old 02-28-19, 08:45 AM
S
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2,998
Received 50 Votes on 47 Posts
B,
With zone valves you can manually open the zone valve to the frozen zone but leave the stat for that zone turned down so when the good zone calls it the pump will send hot water to both and the pump will only run when the good one calls.

If you are having periodic problems with that one zone it will either be your stat or ZV. If the other zone is fine remember the pump and aquastat are common to both zones so let them sell you either part. You can always check your stat by jumping the 2 wires at the stat to see if the zone valve opens. Once it open then their is an end switch that makes in the valve and sends a signal to TT on the aquastat to start the boiler and pump.

So it's possible for the ZV to open but still be defective. If that happens in the future you can manually open it and get heat to both zones when the other stat calls until you can replace the power head.

Just being nosey. With all exposed pipes why did they use antifreeze, although you obviously need it, instead of looking and sealing the place where the air leak is. It might be time to look into insulation. You don't have baseboard running under a bay window that juts out. I had one that froze there because the builder never properly insulated that area and the first cold night froze solid.

Hope this helps a little, good luck.
 
  #5  
Old 02-28-19, 10:03 AM
PJmax's Avatar
Group Moderator
Join Date: Oct 2012
Location: Northern NJ - USA
Posts: 59,069
Received 1,110 Votes on 1,030 Posts
I actually do have zone valves. I've been shutting them off at night, per instructions from the heating guy
Now or have you always done that ?
I'm not sure what the idea is behind shutting off the zone valves at night.
 
  #6  
Old 02-28-19, 12:18 PM
B
Member
Thread Starter
Join Date: Feb 2019
Location: USA
Posts: 3
Received 0 Votes on 0 Posts
I've just done it over the past few days.There was never any need to do it before.

I think the rationale is that, if there is a leak in the pipes, then if /when they thaw, keeping the flow off will keep the water from flooding the house.
 
  #7  
Old 02-28-19, 01:14 PM
S
Member
Join Date: Oct 2013
Location: United States
Posts: 2,998
Received 50 Votes on 47 Posts
Figured that was the reason as long as you understand that by shutting off the heat, stops the water flow and has a good chance to refreeze the pipe until the cause is found.
 
  #8  
Old 03-01-19, 04:50 AM
A
Member
Join Date: Mar 2010
Location: USA
Posts: 4,103
Received 81 Votes on 75 Posts
If you do uncover any water or heat pipes in an exterior wall, remove insulation between the pipe and the inside wall at least the worth of a triangular wedge following the entire route of the pipe as wide at the inside wall as it is deep towards the pipe.

Meanwhile, the space behind the pipe out to the exterior wall needs to be well filled with insulation.
 
Reply
Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


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