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Thought I was on the right track

So I recently purchased A home built in the late1890's that was a forclosurelast year. The boiler is a hydro-therm that was installled in 1997. Before I purchased it it had been winterized as it was sitting vacant since march of 2011. I am able to get the boiler to ignite and cycle through normal opperation and it is pretty accurate with the thermostat in maintaining the temp. There was, however, significant LOUD knocking. I followed the tips on this site and released the air ( a significant amount!) that reduced the knockin to some degree. two of the upstairs radiators do not have the bleed valves on them so I am searching for them. Finally, my questions... in order to get the upstairs radiators to heat at all I need to have the thermostat set at at least 76 degrees and eventually they will heat each bedroom(3) heat to varying degrees the bath heats well but only at a high setting on the thermostat. Today the main radiator valve was left off the radiator and of course for the first time a large amount of water was released (large) leaked to the basement and no damage was sustained, whew! I secured it and turned up the thermostat a bit to 72 now the boiler temp gague will not heat past 165 degrees and the system is silent!! Alarming!!! all radiators are cold but are still releasing air blasts from the bleeders. Now I am really confused!! So there are really 2 qestions, one why do I have to raise the thermostat so high to get the upstairs radiators ( 2 of the 4) to even heat up, one wont at all, and what seems to be this new problem of the boiler not going past 165 degrees and refusing to heat the water? The burners are chugging away but no increase in temp at the boiler and NO knocking!! I apologize for being long winded, just trying to be thorough. Any help that anyone can offer would be greatly appreciated!!


  • is it steam heat

    i am mystified by your statement that the boiler would not go past 165 degrees. what system have you-hot-water or steam?

    if you have hot-water, then a post to the "wall" may bring more responses.

    if hot water, then there may still be air in the system, as you say it had been drained for the winter. in order to fill it the fill valve must be open, and the air vents opened one at a time on the upstairs radiators.

    when i hear problems like these with hot water, it reminds me of the benefits of steam, with no water to leak out suddenly!--nbc
  • Patrickc
    Patrickc Member Posts: 3
    Possibly back closer to the right track

    Thank you so much for your reply!! After about and hour has passed since my original post, the boiler has returned to its original function cycle! Good news! Heating to about 220 deg then shutting down, dropping back 15 deg or so and then repeating the process. The only thing that is extremely and noticeably absent is the LOUD banging!!!! The system is very suddenly SILENT after this evenings little "water blast incident" The upstairs radiators are still cold while the first floor ones are as warm and cozy as can be! 2 of the 4 on the second floor are missing their little removable bleed valves and are occasionally puffing light air and making a very very quiet "gurgle" no heat though, until I crank the thermostat to 75 or higher.THe pipes leading up to the second floor are very hot right up until they connect to the radiator. Now I am second guessing myself as to weather tis is steam, or a hot water system. Not to sound like too much of an idiot rookie, but could you point out what to look for so I can determine that?
  • steam or hot water

    generally radiators should not have open holes in them. if they are puffing air, then they should have the appropriate air vent installed. if they are steam, then the opening can release a lot of steam into the room, which will remove wallpaper in a few minutes, or burn someone.

    why not get a pro in there, or post a picture of the boiler, and piping, as well as one of the radiators.

    in the meantime, the boiler should be switched off.--nbc
  • Dave in QCA
    Dave in QCA Member Posts: 1,785
    edited November 2011
    Sounds Like a Hot water system

    From your description, it sounds like you might have a hot water system.  If it is not fully filled, there might not be enough water to get up to the upstairs radiators, and as it is operating and heating the water which expands, you might be able to feel slight puffing at the bleeder valves, if they were open, missing, or if you had removed the needle portion of the valve.

    There is a very big difference between a steam system and a hot water system.  If you are firing your boiler on a hot water system and it is not fully filled with water, that might cause it to bang loudly, and also possibly crack your boiler, causing you to have to replace it.

    Why don't you take some pictures and post them on there so we can see your boiler.  Several shots, all sides.  Also, some pics of the radiators showing the air valves you were talking about.  In the meantime, follow Nicholas' advice and shut the boiler off.

    Steam boilers almost never have a temperature thermometer on them, they have a pressure gauge.  If you have a hot water boiler and it is getting up to 220F, you have a serious problem...   Do NOT operate it until you get this resolved or you are likely to ruin it.
    Dave in Quad Cities, America
    Weil-McLain 680 with Riello 2-stage burner, December 2012. Firing rate=375MBH Low, 690MBH Hi.
    System = Early Dunham 2-pipe Vacuo-Vapor (inlet and outlet both at bottom of radiators) Traps are Dunham #2 rebuilt w. Barnes-Jones Cage Units, Dunham-Bush 1E, Mepco 1E, and Armstrong TS-2. All valves haveTunstall orifices sized at 8 oz.
    Current connected load EDR= 1,259 sq ft, Original system EDR = 2,100 sq ft Vaporstat, 13 oz cutout, 4 oz cutin - Temp. control Tekmar 279.
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