Zone trouble: One baking room upstairs


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Old 12-13-03, 07:30 PM
Mason156
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Zone trouble: One baking room upstairs

I am having a strange problem with my heating system.

I have a wood stove that heats most of the house and I back that up with an oil-fired boiler and baseboard hot-water heat. The base-board hot water heat is divided into two zones with the circulators on the supply pipes - one of the zones is the upstairs and the other is the downstairs. I have the downstairs loop set up so that it heats a part of the house that the wood stove does not.

On a typical winter day, the wood stove is cranking out the heat and heating most of the house. The part it doesn't heat - which is the kitchen - is being heated by the oil heat. We have noticed that one room upstairs is getting incredibly hot. We had been blaming it on the wood stove, but the other day we did not burn the woodstove and we had the same problem.

It seems like the room that is on the very END of the upstairs loop is getting heat when the downstairs loop is running a lot. It almost seems like the water coming back to the furnace after passing through the downstairs loop is hot and it is somehow moving up the return end of the upstairs loop to bake us in our sleep. When I touch the START of the upstairs loop, the radiators are not hot. It's only at the end.

My question is - does this seem reasonable? If not, any ideas why this would happen? And, if it is true, is there some kind of check valve that I can use to prevent mixing on the return line?

Thanks,

Steve
 
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Old 12-14-03, 01:35 PM
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If there is a second floor return that rejoins the main return pipe for the kitchen loop on its way back to the boiler, you may get some convection in that loop. Depending how it is piped, you may prevent all circulation if you install a flow check. Unless you can sketch it for me, I would suggest having a professional look at it for you and tell you how to repipe to prevent the unwanted circulation.
 
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Old 12-15-03, 07:39 AM
Mason156
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Thanks for the reply.

The downstairs loop and the upstairs loop meet in a T - where they are both running horizontal and the perpendicular leg is running down to the boiler. A flow check would be easy to install in the horizontal return leg in the basement. Any idea where I can find one that I can sweat inline in 3/4" Copper pipe?

Steve
 
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Old 12-15-03, 07:46 AM
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Lightbulb boiler

A Johnstone supply Co would have them if you have one around there. Or try any Plumbing supply house there. ED
 
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Old 12-15-03, 05:14 PM
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Had a call almost exactly like yours today and found a small solder ball stuck in the zone valve. It would allow circulation on gravity through a toe space heater. No other baseboards on the loop seemed to be getting heat. I had to take the valve apart to verify what I thought, and there it was. What brand of valve does your system use and are they in the supply or return?
 
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Old 12-16-03, 04:40 AM
Mason156
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My zone valve is on the supply.

It sounds like the diagnosis you made on that call was a pretty tricky. Congratulations.

Steve
 
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Old 12-16-03, 05:10 AM
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If your valve is mounted in a vertical position, the same thing is possible, however I doubt that anything would move inside the pipe in a direction opposite to water flow. The one I worked on was in the return and in a vertical pipe. If it is a Honeywell or Erie valve it may be tight and not closing all the way. If it is a Taco, they have fairly strong springs and don't usually stick open. It doesn't sound like piping is the problem there but weird things can happen and without seeing it, it is tough to say for sure. You may get an idea if you turn the second floor thermostat down and see what pipes get hot when the first floor is making heat. You may have to do it quickly before all pipes are at full temp. You may even have to turn the first floor thermostat down and wait 15 minutes and start with a cool system again just to trace the flow by temperature. I think you would learn something about the flow by doing that and maybe even enough to figure out whats going on with the overheating loop.
 
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Old 01-11-04, 04:41 AM
Mason156
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This thread is long dead, but I wanted to post a conclusion in case someone was searching the archive.

I installed the flo-check in the return side of the upstairs loop and it works perfectly. I do not get the convection circulation and the room at the end of the upstairs line no longer bakes. $30 later, I have a comfortable house again.

Thank you very much to all who contributed. I would not have come up with that solution without your input.

Steve
 
 

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