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Zone valve issue

jim post
jim post Member Posts: 58
So I just start to drift off to sleep last night and my wife wakes me up for a quick......discussion of the temperature in the kids zone of our hot water heating system.  Initially I thought it was an air problem but after further review I've decided it's more likely a valve problem.

Is there a way to manually open this type of automatic zone valve? The little metal tab that sticks out the bottom doesn't seem to do much when I move it to the 'open' setting.

The valve doesn't respond to calls for heat from the tstat?  Here's a couple of photos of the valve in question.  My first inclination was to take out those 2 silver screws and remove the big silver disk to see what's behind it.  I decided it would be more prudent to consult the authorities on the wall so here I am.

I did remove the cover and watch the other zone valve work through a couple of cycles but I can't 'easily' move anything on the misbehaving one.   Any advice would be greatly appreciated.


  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    You have to prop it in the open position.

    You will see a small notch in the slot that the lever slides back and forth in. You have to pull or push the lever into that position to keep it open. The spring tension of the motor should keep it there once in that position.

    I don't remember if it actually opens the valve enough to activate the end switch to bring on the boiler and pump, but it could be a bad motor, or a bad thermostat, or bad wiring, or.....

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • jim post
    jim post Member Posts: 58
    Motor replacement

    Thanks for the


    Is the motor on these units replaceable or would I need a complete zone valve?

    The small notch in the slot on the bottom of the zone valve housing does not retain the lever when I push it over there.  There isn't any resistance on the lever when I move it...so I am not sure it is affecting the valve at all as I move it.  I'd bet not.  I see the levers on the working zone valves move as the tstats call for heat.

     I'd really like to be able to manually adjust the valve for the duration of this heating season....
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853
    Stripped gears...

    There is a pinion gear on the motor, and a ring gear on the valve. One of them is stripped, hence you need a whole new valve. There are unions on the valves to facilitate replacement, but depending upon how it is isolated and piped will dictate whether or not you have to drain the system, and then refill and purge, If you are not comfortable, might want to call in a Pro.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • jim post
    jim post Member Posts: 58
    Thanks for the info

    Ok.  Thanks for the info Mark.  I will look into a replacement.  I think there is a ball valve above and below each zone valve...Somebody musta been thinking ahead...not usually my luck...I better go buy a lottery ticket.  :-)
  • Matthew Grallert
    Matthew Grallert Member Posts: 109
    edited February 2011
    old style honeywell zone valve

    from the pictures it looks like that is an old style honeywell valve.  That means you will have to not only replace the power head but you will also have to replace the valve mechinism which might actually have cause the power head to fail in the first place.  So you'll need a power head and a powerhead conversion kit for  V4043 or V8043 zone valves.  And no, manually opening the valve will not close the end switch.



    P.S.  Isn't it nice to have lots of ball valve in the right places?

    I like to say, you can't have too many valves...  Well you probably can, but you know what I mean.

    After looking at the pictures again I see they are not honeywells....  I take it all back...  except the valve statement:-)
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,608
    Those are old Erie zone Valves

    I recommend when you replace them to replace both of them and save yourself some problems later on. Mu experience with these valves is that they often fail in pairs within weeks of one another.

    Honeywell V8043's are good replacements and fit nicely into the same footprint as the Erie valves.
  • jim post
    jim post Member Posts: 58
    In the mean time...

    So if I wanted to manually open this failed zone valve just to keep the rooms comfortable until I can get a replacement.  What would be the recommended  procedure?  Can I pull that big silver disk  (motor?) off the valve body to gain access to something that will allow me to open the valve?
  • Eric_32
    Eric_32 Member Posts: 267
    Is it my eyes...

    Or does it look like 3/4" copper those smaller zone valves are connected to. Looks like they are reducing down for smaller sized zone valves.

    If you get new ones replace them with the same size as the line it is connected to.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,853

    What you see is what you get.

    All Erie valves are connected with a flared union, and they all neck down to the same size.

    Following the lead of the famous Robert Bean, you WANT the control valve to be roughly 1/3 of the total pressure drop for the circuit. Goes counterintuitive for most folks, but he has good reason for recommending that.

    As for temporary repair, you could pull the motor off, and open the valve. You may have to lodge something in there to keep it from closing, and it won't give a call for heat, but if the valve is open when other circuits are calling for heat, then it will allow some water to pass.

    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I would

    lose the Erie and have Honeywells installed warmer weather. The end switch won't activate when you manually open them. There will be resistance on the lever, but slowly pull it into the manual position and latch it in. The actuator motor is replaceable, and is a very inexpensive repair if that is what is wrong. If the lever moves each way freely, then it is open, and you have another problem.  good luck
  • RobbieDo
    RobbieDo Member Posts: 131

    When are they going to come out with Propress zone valves, that would make it easier.
  • jim post
    jim post Member Posts: 58
    upon further review...

    As I was about to remove the motor, I broke the circuit to the motor by undoing the first wiring nut, and the valve closed.  So I guess billtocase gets the prize for correct virtual diagnosis...not that I don't appreciate the other information offered...It always amazes me how quickly things are diagnosed on THE WALL.

    Anyways back to the zone valve issue...I am at a loss for why I've got no heat in this zone if the valve has been open the entire time....Could something (grit, grime or crud) be plugging the piping through the valve body or could I have air in the zone.

    Previously, I had ruled out air because I was able to get a good flow of water out of the zone with the other zones isolated.  And...the piping is hot below the zone valve and only warm above  and down right cool in the fin tubes on the zone.  Hmmmm...I'm thinking plugged piping at the reduced flange before the zone valve or trapped air.

    Any suggestions on how I should rule out one or the other or offers of differing diagnosis would be greatly appreciated.

    I suppose if the piping didn't freeze at -12 F last night we should be ok with the -3 predicted for tonight.  :-)
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385

    It might be frozen, or possibly a valve off down stream. If it wasn't heating when another zone was calling for heat, then no water was flowing thru it. As you said the valve was opening. My guess it could also be in the zone valve base. They don't use balls like Honeywell, and possibly the flat rubber stopper has become lodged and not allowing heat to flow. 
  • jim post
    jim post Member Posts: 58
    Ding Ding Ding...

    We have a winner...Billtwocase!!!  

     It was frozen......Just as my 10 year old was going to bed he said he heard water running thru the radiator....hmmm I go down to the lp boiler (shut off when wood heating) and see there is very little pressure...I open the fill valve and add water...and then more water...Where O Where is it going....hmm I check my wood boiler loop not much pressure there...better add more water...hmmm not good...could the 45 year old copper in basement slab finally have let go...check the basement bedroom...I hear water...I see water dripping from the ceiling...my drywall ceiling UGH! The freeze looks to be right above the egress window I cut into the foundation in 2004. Probably should have insulated that piping alittle better over the window...Now I know where the water was going...AND why the zone valve seemed to have issues.  Hindsight sure is 20/20.  I guess  the zone didn't survive the -12 temps the other night after all.

    So what to do...I needed  to isolate the leaking zone and hopefully keep the other two zones going...unfortunately...while there were ball valves on each side of the zone valves, there was only a gate valve after 3 zones come back together on the return...Hmm do I have any ball valves left over from my wood boiler install in 2005?  Where's that box of fittings I almost scraped...Ah ha!  Found a 3/4 ball valve...Now where's my pipe cutter...torch...solder...flux...emory cloth...WOO HOO found it all...Ugh!  Gotta drain the zones, cut the pipe and sweat the valve in. Now do I remember how to sweat in a valve?  Been a while...3 years at least...Just like riding a bike...Although that bottom joint isn't gonna win any wallie awards. Will it hold water pressure?  Fill up the piping...YES! I am back in the game and we've got two zones of heat!  Not exactly the most fun I've had on a Friday night but pretty exciting just the same.  Thanks to all that offered advice!  First on the agenda tomorrow...go buy another ball valve.  Just in case.

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