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pump turns on and off constantly then works normal sometimes??

chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
my home is heated with electric radiant heat in the floors. it worked great the first 8 years but the last two years ive had a recurring problem with it turning on and off over and over. sometimes it works like normal but sometimes i hear the pump kick on for a minute or less then it turns off then a couple minutes later its on and off again and it will repeat this for hours at a time then it will work fine for a few days or weeks at a time. in the last two years ive had my plummer here atleast 5 times and a couple of the times he charged me 50 dollars and said he couldnt find anything wrong. one time the spring bearing thing in the pump had seized up(i assume from turning on and off so many times), another time he replaced the small tank thing that hangs from the bottom of the heater, then last time it cost 590 dollars to replace that tank again and he put some kind of a valve inline before that small tank, and a different time one of the short wires inside the unit had burned in two(again i think this is from turning on and off over n over) that time he replaced the burned wire with a heavier gauge wire. i am not very handy when it comes to things like this but i cant afford to have a plummer come out and replace parts that dont solve the problem. can someone please help with some ideas of whats causing this. my bedroom is above the basement utility room so i normally only hear this at night and the strange part is that the tempurature in the house normal stays where i have it set except when the wire burned and the pump seized up but i think this on and off thing is going to continue breaking parts causing me to lose heat. in an hour it will turn on and off 20-40 times when its doing this. any ideas would be greatly appriciated. thanks -chris


  • Jean-David BeyerJean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,532
    electric radiant heat in the floors ... the pump kick on for a minute or less

    "electric radiant heat in the floors. it worked great the first 8 years

    but the last two years ive had a recurring problem with it turning on

    and off over and over. sometimes it works like normal but sometimes i

    hear the pump kick on for a minute or less then it turns off then a

    couple minutes later its on and off again"

    What pump when you have electric radiant heat in the floors?
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    edited November 2013
    You have Hydronic heat

    Not electric. All though the circulators run on electricity.

    Is your emitters base boards, radiant floor, or radiators?

    I assume from your description you have a three piece circulator with a spring coupler between the motor, and the pump. The plumber replaced this spring coupler once correct?

    Sometimes its hard to diagnose intermitent problems when they are not happening at the time of visit.

    Is the boiller gas, electric, oil?

    What wire was replaced with heavier gauge? in the circulator, or possibly electric boiler? wiring should not be up sized to prevent this there is a reason the standard gauge wire burned.

    Do you have the ability to post pics on here of the boiler room and piping, circulator etc?
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,516

    You may have hydronic heat with an electric boiler.

    Let's see some pictures of the boiler and associated parts.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
    here is pictures

    thanks for responding. here is pictures. i guess my wording was bad. the entire system runs on electricity, it pumps water thru tubing in my floors, so i thought it was called electric radiant heating? and i guess what i call a pump that pushes water thru the system is called a water circulator? what i was refering to is the black cylindrical part in the bottom of the unit which pumps water. thats the part i can hear clicking on and off all the time. right now its humming along working fine again. this boiler or heater or whatever the correct term is is a weil-mclain model per-15 series 3 part # 550-224-719/0801. there is no other utilities in this house except for electric so it undoubtedly runs on electricity. and there are no baseboards or any other parts of heater related equipment to be seen anywhere but in the utility room. its all tubes in the floors, thats called radiant heat correct? i apologize for any mistaken terminology that was confusing. thanks for helping and i hope these pictures clear things up.
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
    pics are sideways

    gordy if your looking at the pics with the pipes at the bottom the wire that burned was on the very far right hand side inside that box.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    One more step back

    On the wall with the piping arrangement.

    And a close up of the wire that burnt. Please Chris.

    It's hard to tell if the primary secondary piping is proper.

    Are you sure it's not just the circ your hearing but a combination of zones , and relays , and zone circs calling for heat.

    I think maybe you have low load zones calling, and some short cycling happening possibly.

  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
    it is the circulator i hear

    that black thing with the spinning springs in it is what i hear and i can see that spring mechanism start spinning when it makes the sound. it starts up for about 5 seconds then stops then about 1-2 minutes later it starts n stops again and it repeats this for hours sometimes. starting and stopping atleast 30 times per hour and only running for a few seconds every time it turns on. ill go take more pics ill be right back. i really appriciate you taking the time to help me.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    The black tank

    Is the electric motor that turns the coupler with springs which turns the pump.

    Take a pic of the boiler wall so we can see the piping in that corner also.
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
    noise i hear

    noise i hear comes from this
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11

    the top wire im pointing to is the one that burned in half
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
    whole room

    this is best i can do for pic of the whole room
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
    5 zones 5 thermostats

    there are five thermostats in the house but even if they were all set at different temps n timers it still wouldnt make the circulator turn on and off that much would it? because i do have the thermostats all set different and one of the zones is the garage which i keep at the lowest setting of 45 degrees. its about 25 degrees and real windy snowy weather outside right now and last night when it was doing it if that makes a difference.
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11
    other wall

  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122
    When the black circulator

    Is acting up is any of the other circulators from the zones running Chris?
  • Total1Total1 Member Posts: 27
    start switch failing

    Get a electrician to do a amp reading on the pump - I would bet that sometimes that the pump is not going to the run windings on start up and is only running on the start windings .  Check the FLA ( full load amps on the name plate ) and see what it is drawing when running ..  If the pump does not go to the run winding it will most likely run for a minute , then overheat , then will restart when it cools ..
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11

    gordy the black one is all i hear. what to the other circulators look like? thats the only one i know of...and ok total1 ill get an electrician out here because what u said makes sense and ive always thought it was an electric issue since that wire burned up. i have a multi meter can i use that to do the test myself?
  • Total1Total1 Member Posts: 27
    edited November 2013
    if you have a clip on ammeter

    If you have a clip on ammeter , hook it around one of the feed wires and see the amp draw .
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 7,122

    The green ones on the wall with all the piping are your zone circulators. The black one at the boiler is the primary circulator.

    The primary circulator circulate the heated water to the zone circulators.

    I was thinking electrical issues also being the short duration the primary circ is kicking on and off.

    Hey if anything we will teach you what your system is all about, and hopefully solve the problem Chris.
  • Total1Total1 Member Posts: 27
    amp draw

    On a motor that can draw 2 amps running , can draw  6 to 14 amps or more when first started .  after it gets up to speed the draw will drop back to 2 amps for example .. 
  • chris289chris289 Member Posts: 11

    ok guys thanks. ill try some stuff tomorrow night after work and let you know. its been working fine since shortly after my first post this morning. this site is great for a guy like me that doesnt know much about this stuff. im learning alot everytime you guys reply. i wish i would have found this site before i started throwing money away with a plummer changing parts.
  • ZmanZman Member Posts: 3,516
    Fluke Volt alert

    It sound like an intermittent electrical problem.

    I would start by using a voltage detector to see where the power is being interrupted.

    It could be a bad relay ,connection or circulator.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
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