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Waller House

Rob_38
Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
I have a customer with a problem. He has a Hot Water System with a small 2story house, radiators on both floors. He added a small radiator in his basement. he tied on the supply header in the ceiling and piped down to the radiator and back up to his return header, he also put in a high point vent on the return line. All radiators are heating but the 1 in the basement, the water is cold. I think the flow is taking the path of least resistance. Should I install a Throttling Valve on the main line or add a small circulator in that loop?

Comments

  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Throttling (Wringing Ones Neck)

    As you describe it, it is piped absolutely wrong and what you are asking will make the system not work properly if you do it.

    The basement radiator needs to be on its own zone with its own circulator. If the installer tried to use Mono-flow tees, he probably only used one and you MUST use two. And even then, it won't work properly because I seriously doubt that anyone who installed this as you describe, gave one fleeting thought to "balance" of the system.

    The reason it doesn't work now is because it is out of balance.

    Post photos of this "thing".
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,837
    Not sure what Icesailor read....

    But we;d need a lot more information.



    Is it a pumped system?



    Is it one pipe or monoflow fittings?



    Has the radiator been purged.



    Are you sure a valve isn't already closed?



    Are the mains that the basement branches connected to hot?



    Got pictures?



    If they are COLD, then it indicates no flow. If the lines were hot but the radiator not heating well, then I'd say you may need to choke to flow, but there are a lot of other things to look at first.



    ME
    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.
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    Waller House #2

    Yes, It is a Pumped system, A B&G Series 100 pump.

    No there are no Mono-Flow fittings.

    No, It is 2 pipe Supply and Return in and out of the Radiator.

    Yes, The Radiator has been purged thru the High Point Vent as I checked it several times.

    No Valves are closed.

    Yes, Both the supply and return are hot and are just 4-5' from the boiler itself where this loop comes off at.

    Pictures-no but we can get some.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,834
    Pipe sizes?

    What size are the branch lines feeding radiators that are about the same size as the basement one?



    What size pipe did you use for the basement?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    Waller House #3

    The pipe size for all radiators are 3/4" in and out.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Piped radiator::

    ME,

    I said "as described. The second description didn't change my interpretation. In fact, as described, confirms that it isn't piped properly.  It doesn't have any mono-flows. And we know that Mono-flows are like your former lazy brother in law. He always wanted to take the easy way around the lake.

    An system with a B&G  Series 100 were installed in the day of Mono-flows. If per chance, it was a direct or reverse return, the tees are installed on the supply or return. If it was installed properly on a direct or reverse return, it would be working. Most Likely.

    A very confusing issue here is that a "Mono-Flow" system is called a "One Pipe System" even though each radiator has two pipes. There is only one main pipe though. But a Two Pipe reverse or direct return had two pipes. Many of us didn't know that there was a difference until we learned that there was a difference.

    Photos please. Of the boiler piping, the mains, photos of the connected radiators that work, and the new connections, down fed that don't work.  That way, we will all know.
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    edited March 2012
    waller house pictures

    Here are some pictures of the "mysterious radiator",the boiler, overhead piping, and some existing radiators thru the house. Zoom in on some of the overhead piping to see this piping arrangement. This homeowner had this work done and has ask us to get it right. I want to but, I only want to do this re-do one time. Thanks for all the help so far and hopeful all our heads together we can make this work.

    Rob
  • furnacefigher15
    furnacefigher15 Member Posts: 514
    Stupid question

    Does one side of the radiator tie on to a supply, and the other a return?



    The piping is hard to follow in the pictures once it ties to the piping near the ceiling.
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    waller house

    No such thing as a stupid except the one that you don't ask! Yes it is hard to follow all that white piping but yes it is tied into a supply and return.

    Rob
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,834
    Did they tie the basement rad

    into an existing 3/4" line? If so, that's why it won't work- not enough flow capability. 
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • furnacefigher15
    furnacefigher15 Member Posts: 514
    Found it.

    The air vent is sucking in air instead of letting air out.



    The pump for the system is on the return, but the expansion tank is on the supply, so the pump is pulling a negative on the suction side.



    Vent the air with the pump off, and close the auto vent, and that should do the trick.
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    edited March 2012
    system heat

    Sounds like a idea except the rest of the system 1st and 2nd floors is heating great. If it was sucking air why would'nt it effect the whole system? The vent is also blowing out air from time to time not constant.

    Rob
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Sucked air:

    Raise the system pressure to 18# and the problem will go away.

    And make sure that the gauge pressure is accurate. Like it says "zero" when there is no pressure in the system.

    Just because the gauge says 12# doesn't mean it is reading 12#.
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    pressure

    The system is set at 20psi now and we have checked with a tested gauge.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited March 2012
    Ruled Out:

    Then, you ruled that out.

    It's very hard to tell in the pictures but one shows what seems to be the basement radiator tied in to an upstairs radiator circuit loop. If that is the case, ME's former BIL is at it again. Round and round he goes.

    I still think it is piped wrong. It's just hard to see with all the insulation covering the pipe and where things go. I personally, usually have to cast my eye on the piping and figure out where ME's former BIL is going wrong.

    God Bless ME's BIL, where ever he may be. He has solved a lot of questions for me. Never miss the opportunity to learn something from someone. You never know who will be carrying the message.
  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891
    edited March 2012
    Another stupid question

    Why is he insulating all that pipe only to put a radiator into the space? If he removes all the insulation, chances are he won't need the radiator.



    The issue with the flow is likely that there's no means for balancing it across the (now) parallel loops. For one reason or another, the head loss across the original radiators is much less than across the new radiator and there's not enough residual head across the supply and return to overcome the buoyancy and send hot water down to the radiator below the main.



    If you were to partially close off the valve on the radiator that IS getting hot, you should eventually get some flow through the basement radiator. If not, you've got bigger problems.



    One more thing: you say that the high point vent is on the return line but you don't mention any means of bleeding the radiator itself. You have the means and have used it - right?
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    venting

    Yes we have checked and vented the high point vent on the return and there is a bleed vent at the top of the radiator and it has been bled several times, each time only cold water comes out. Also we have checked the piping where it leaves the main to see when it's venting  does the pipe get warm and yes it does get warm but barely.

    Rob 
  • furnacefigher15
    furnacefigher15 Member Posts: 514
    When you vent

    Is the pump on or off?



    Vent with the pump off. Also vent from the radiator with the radiator valve closed, and again with it open.



    On a direct return system, there is no reason the flow would just bypass.



    If the pump has the ability to overcome the pressure drop to the third floor rads, then it should have no trouble circulating the basement rad.



    If there is no air that comes out, it is a balance problem. My gut tells me one of the pipes that the radiator is tied into is not actually a return. The piping from what I can see almost looks like it may have some of the radiators piped in series, and if that is the case, that is why the basement radiator won't get flow. The water is too lazy, and will bypass every time.
  • Gordan
    Gordan Member Posts: 891
    The reason why it would have enough "oomph"

    to circulate through third floor radiators but not the basement one, would be the same reason why, in a monoflo circuit, you need only one diverter tee for radiation above the main, but two for radiation below. Buoyancy. Trying to push lighter water down and heavier water up.
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    Pump ump

    We have been venting with pump on and off both.

     One of my men had an idea that we could set a tee just above the pump and pipe the return to it instead of going back to the ceiling with it, and let it pull the water thru the basement radiator. Do you guys think that will work? 
  • Fortunat
    Fortunat Member Posts: 103
    Radiator or Valve plugged?

    What happens if you shut the valves to all the other radiators in the house while the circulator is running? Does the basement rad heat up? If so, then you have a balancing problem as others have pointed out.



    If not, then you have a piping problem, major air problem, or the radiator or valve is plugged.



    ~Fortunat

    www.revisionenergy.com
  • furnacefigher15
    furnacefigher15 Member Posts: 514
    Yes

    That would work
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Piped Wrong, You didn't pipe it:

    Not to harp on this, but you need to look at this in a different way. If you understand what you are doing, look at the connection as if it wasn't there and you were asked to connect a radiator into the existing system. You are looking at it as to how to fix it. You need to first look at it by HOW you would have done it.

    In spite of what some of said, I consider the pipes that carry the water from the boiler and back to the boiler as the "Mains" on a direct or reverse return system. Every radiator is a branch. I don't know as I have ever seen the "Old Timers" connect another radiator to a supply to another radiator. Someone may not get heat. I find when something is piped wrong, I need to figure out HOW it was piped wrong. Looking at those pictures gave me a headache.

    The person who installed it, did it wrong. That's why you were called.

    When the system is cold, start it. Follow every pipe and figure out where it goes and how it works. If the radiator that it is connected to is working and the basement one isn't, its piped wrong. If it was piped correctly, it would be working. It isn't. 
  • Rob_38
    Rob_38 Member Posts: 15
    waller house

    Some very good points to check out. The homeowner will be back home on monday 5th and we can try out the ideas you have. Thanks to everyone that has jumped in to help I think we are getting down to fixing the problem. Have a great weekend I will be back posting monday.

    Rob
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    here's a thought

    separate it from the system, and make it another zone. Seldom does a basement radiator work piped like that. Water will take the path of least resistance every time. That also looks like new work.  This looks like old piping, so breaking into it to re-pipe that radiator would be fun.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    New zone, a very good idea.

    The radiator on a separate zone. As it should have been from the start. Probably what YOU would have done in the beginning. The homeowner wanted to save money by doing it himself. The cost of your futzing around, trying to figure out HIS mistake, is costing you both money.

    It will NEVER work as hoped as the way it is. Zone Valves are cheap.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I just noticed

    That you suggested that already Ice. There are a couple of other ways to get around this, but separate zoning is best. 
This discussion has been closed.