Hydronic baseboard won't turn off. Please help!

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  #1  
Old 04-03-19, 10:31 PM
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Unhappy Hydronic baseboard won't turn off. Please help!

My thermostat is regularly set at a lower temperature than the actual read temperature, yet the pipes to my hydronic baseboards stay hot. During the winter this isn't much of a problem however as the weather warms up, my condo can get quite warm making it extremely uncomfortable. After watching lots of videos on YouTube and reading about this system I decided to take a look at my system to attempt troubleshooting/fixing the issue. I called an HVAC company and they guesstimated $300-600 to fix the issue, and thus I wanted to see if this is something I can do on my own.

I have a single thermostat and one zone valve. The wiring is between the thermostat, zone valve motor, and a 24v transformer. One end of zone valve motor wire connects to transformer (orange), red wire from transformer connects to thermostat, and other zone valve motor wire (yellow) connects to thermostat. There are two red wires coming from the end switch plate off the zone valve that are just cut and don't connect to anything. (These switch end plate wires not connecting to anything is much different than what I saw or read).

When operating, the pipe before and after the zone valve stays hot. The zone valve has one of those manual levers to move between open/close butbit remains in the closed position. Nonetheless, the pipe after the zone valve stays hothand continues to heat the condo. To troubleshoot, I turned off the inflow and outflow valve heads and let the system cool down. I also opened the windows to cool down the inside temperature. Once the temperature was around 68 degrees I opened the valve heads and subsequently turned the thermostat to 84 degrees. My thought was that this would signal an increased desire for heat and cause the motor to turn and thus hold the lever to the open position. However this didn't happen and the motor never moved. Within 45 seconds the pipe became hot.

I'm not sure what to do next or where the problem truly lies. I would appreciate any suggestions/tips. If something isn't clear please ask and I will do my best to clarify.
 
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  #2  
Old 04-03-19, 11:19 PM
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Welcome to the forums.

The zone valve is not closing or is not closing fully. Disconnect one of the wires to it to test it .
If your boiler runs in the summer then it sounds like your are using it for your domestic hot water.
If that is the case.... just leave one of the shutoff valves to the baseboard turned off.
 
  #3  
Old 04-04-19, 04:20 AM
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Thanks for the welcome and the response!

When you say test it, I'm assuming you mean the electric current?

Yes, the boiler does run throughout the year to supply the domestic hot water. The radiators don't run warm during the summer. It's during the transition between winter to spring when the heat becomes noticeable. I want to fully fix the issue so that I can control everything from the thermostat, although I understand the shutoff valve closing would be a temporary fix.

Do you think there is an issue with the wiring if the switch end plate wires (2 red) don't connect to anything?
 
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Old 04-04-19, 11:54 AM
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I’m not one of the experts here, but there must be other controls in your system. I’m sure there should be more than one zone valve. I think normally those red wires from the end switch on the zone valve should turn on the burner and a circulator.

What is the model of your zone valve? Do you have a switching relay somewhere? Do you have an Aquastat?

(wonder if someone did a "redesign" and and actually wanted that zone valve open all of the time, and hence that thermostat would do nothing)
 
  #5  
Old 04-04-19, 12:45 PM
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So I talked to a hvac guy who services our condo building. He said the end switch plate wires don't need to be connected to anything because the boiler and circulator for the building aren't controlled bu my thermostat .The thermostat is directly wired to the motor on my zone valve and then another wire from motor goes to transformer. I've confirmed the wiring is correct. I bought a replacement valve and actuator and replaced the old valve/actuator.
The problem still persists. The thermostat is set at 50 degrees and it's reading the condo temperature at 69 degrees. Thus, the valve should hold back hot water from entering the system but this isn't the case and all the pipes become hot. The manual lever on the zone valve moves to the closed position when I turn the temperature down below the actual room temperature, yet water continues to flow through.
The old valve has no arrow while the new one does. Is the water flow supposed to be the same direction as the arrow?
 
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Old 04-04-19, 01:22 PM
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b,
The arrow must point in the direction of the water flow. It is a directional valve and if installed backwards water will not flow. It sounds like they have the boiler running constantly so you do not need those 2 red wires, just the yellow which opens and closes on demand from the stat.

One thing you can check is if heating water is backfeeding through your apartment. If you can cool down your apartment again and shut your stat off until all pipes are cooled down. After determining where your water comes up and where it returns open your valves on the baseboard but leave the ZV shut off and see which end of the pipe gets hot first. If it's the return end then you are back feeding and it's a piping issue and you may need a spring check valve installed.

If the piping is wrong you may be getting heat by gravity or conduction whenever the boiler runs for hot water. They should have a flocheck on the boiler but maybe figured they didn't one with the zone valves.

Pics of your system would be helpful in determining what you have.

Hope this helps a little.
 

Last edited by spott; 04-04-19 at 01:40 PM.
  #7  
Old 04-04-19, 01:50 PM
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Did you actually replace the entire valve -- draining the loop, remove the old valve and sweat in a new one? Or just replace the power head?

It sounds like the valve itself is not fully seated closed. Even though the stem is moved to the closed position water is still leaking past. This can be caused by simple deterioration of the interior components over time or a piece of crud that has become lodged in the valve preventing the ball from seating.
 
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Old 04-04-19, 02:02 PM
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@spott...
The arrow must point in the direction of the water flow. It is a directional valve and if installed backwards water will not flow.
In this case the water flow isn't stopping. If the valve was in backwards would it allow the water to trickle thru ?
 
  #9  
Old 04-04-19, 02:08 PM
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Thanks for all the responses! I really appreciate the help. I did test as spott mentioned to check direction of flow. The old valve was an Erie 7/16 10 psi 24v zone valve without an arrow. It had an "A" and a "B" marked at either end. The new valve was exactly the same. I did more reading and found a forum mentioning specifically these Erie valves. Turns out the original valve was placed in the wrong direction of flow and it was not allowing the valve to fully close. Interestingly enough, I never had much water hammering (intermittent enough where I never got the motivation enough to fix it).
So I ended up putting on the new valve in the opposite direction and "walah" ebeeveryth is working as it should. The pipe does not get hot when the thermostat is turned down below the actual room temperature and the pipe heats up when the thermostat is raised higher than actual room temperature.

As a side note, I checked all the components of the old valve after completely dismantling it and looks like it was functioning perfectly fine, but not able to do its job due to incorrect placement. Unfortunately, I thought it was dead so I didn't pay attention on how I was taking things apart and couldn't put it back together again. It's okay though as it was date stamped 08/1988 and the new one only cost $45.

Again appreciate all the input and help! Glad this worked as it saved me a good chunk of change.
 
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Old 04-04-19, 02:12 PM
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No water at could get through. It performs like a check valve. That's why I'm guessing the water may be backfeeding due to incorrect piping.

Thanks for the update. Never thought of an Erie ZV. I knew they existed but never saw anyone in my area that sold them and I never worked on one.
 
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Old 04-04-19, 02:14 PM
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The valves don't work properly in backwards as it uses the water pressure to help close it.
Glad the problem is now fixed.
 
  #12  
Old 04-04-19, 06:09 PM
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I was just re-reading the thread and have this to add. Regarding your thoughts spott... I did check to see which end was inflow and outflow. The ZV is connected to the inflow side. I first closed both valves and allowed the piping to cool down. Then I opened what I believed to be the return side (which it was), and it did not become hot. When I opened the other valve, that piping became almost instantaneously hot indicating that as the inflow side.

Initially, I installed the new valve exactly as the old valve but had the same issue after connecting everything (hot water didn't stop flowing despite thermostat reading room temperature higher than the set temperature). I called an HVAC guy who services our condo building and he suggested that the original valve may have been installed backwards. Thus, I flipped the valve around and now it works correctly.

However, what continues to baffle me is that with this correction, the arrow on the new valve is pointing against the flow of water (as stated above in this post). That doesn't seem to coincide with your earlier comments of "the arrow must point in the direction of the water flow." The Erie valve has that "A" and "B" marking at each end of the valve as I mentioned earlier, and now the water flows from side A to side B but the arrow points from side B to side A. All that is very confusing to me, and not sure what to make of it but the system is working appropriately.

Thoughts?
 
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Old 04-04-19, 06:26 PM
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How did you verify what was the supply side and what was the return side. The zone valve can go on either side and work fine as long as the arrow is going the right way. If it's working correctly now I have to assume it's installed correctly without seeing what you have. If interested you could ask the tech to verify where the water comes up and where it returns.

As I said I never worked on an Erie but as a rule if a ZV is put in backwards there will be no flow. I personally had to change some bad installs but they were Taco. As long as it's working just remember what you did in case it happens again.

Look at page 9 on the sight below if you want to be confused.

https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.supplyho...ll%2020132.pdf

It shows the water flow going from B to A. in all cases.
 

Last edited by spott; 04-04-19 at 06:43 PM.
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Old 04-04-19, 07:04 PM
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Something I didn't realize was Erie makes a normally closed valve and a n/o valve. The only one I knew of that made there was Barber Coleman. They are actually called actuators as your is too.

What that means if it's n/c no water will flow until the stat calls and opens it. If it's n/o that means that is you loose power the valve will open to let water flow. The purpose of the n/o was in a case like yours for example. Say your transformer went bad, then your valve would open on power loss so you could still have heat since the boiler system is on a completely different circuit. We used these n/o in elderly housing where the valve was controlled by the tenant but the boiler was controlled by other means, if that makes any sense to you. You need a different stat to run the n/o valves.

Did you get the n/o or n/c valve.

https://www.supplyhouse.com/Erie-Zone-Valves-15921000
 
  #15  
Old 04-05-19, 06:33 AM
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When I opened the other valve, that piping became almost instantaneously hot indicating that as the inflow side.
Are you sure that identifies the inflow side? Donít you need both valves open to get flow through the loop, and thus, to get heat. It seems like if you open the supply first you wonít get flow until you also open the return. Sounds like maybe you have misidentified the direction of flow. That would explain things.

ButÖ maybe I donít understand the piping and flow well enough or actually what you mean.
 
  #16  
Old 04-05-19, 11:22 AM
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Z,
You're right about both valves being open to get flow but I didn't mention it because it was working and I didn't want to confuse him further. I posted the page and short note figuring he would get just what you said. My posts are long enough as it is unless he's got a direct correction but you didn't miss anything.
 
  #17  
Old 04-05-19, 07:54 PM
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Spott
Both original and new valves were n/c valves. I looked at the diagrams and was able to make sense of them. After reading the comment by zoesdad I realized Z is correct because the closed end would keep the water from flowing. So essentially my thought process was wrong, and based on the diagrams from the link, and the fact that the system is now working 100% correctly, the original valve was likely placed in the "backwards" direction. So flow is from B > A which is in line with the arrow. This would also go with what I've read online that the majority of ZVs are on the return side, but I understand that it works correctly no matter which side.
I attached pictures of the original zone valve and powerhead prior to removal and then the new valve (with the actuator "popped" off). Based on the conversation, this should be the return side and flow is going from left to right in the picture, and the valve is marked B > A.
 
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Old 04-06-19, 10:12 AM
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b,
Looks like everything is under control. Hopefully you won't have to go through again but just a thought if you do.

Instead of continuously soldering you may way want to add a couple of unions so you can just valve off and remove it and do your work in the open. In that sight I sent you, you can see they have threaded valves also and they make unions with 1 threaded end and 1 sweat end which means you would solder the ends initially on the pipe and never again. You will just unscrew the pipe from the valve and reinstall a new one.

Unfortunately the post is longer than the job. Just a thought.
 
  #19  
Old 04-06-19, 11:01 AM
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Spott,

It's hard to see from the pictures but those soldering marks are from the original valve installation and they put in unions like you mention in your post. I am not a plumber or HVAC person and very limited knowledge prior to starting this project so if there was pipe cutting and torching involved I would have hired out. The valve was from my understanding of the vocabulary, a "flare" connection so I just screwed both ends of the old valve off and put the new one on.

I do appreciate all the advice and knowledge everyone shared with me. I'm glad I made the post because I learned a lot of new information along the way about how these systems work. Always nice to learn from experienced people so I greatly appreciate the help. Thanks!
 
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Old 04-06-19, 12:33 PM
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Flair is good. Somebody was thinking ahead. Enjoy your weekend.
 
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