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Please help.....new born and mom are cold.....

Thank you in advance for your help.
We have no heat in the second floor of our home. The first floor heats up fine. We had a leaking check flow valve that I replaced. I drained the entire system before repair; after repair was done, I filled the boiler up with water manually using the automatic fill valve. We have forced hot water radiators which I bled by opening the valve on top until only water come out. The boiler is set to 15psi.

From reading threads here and searching online, it appears that we still have air trapped in the upstairs loop and purging need to be done correctly. I am confused with the layout of my piping as to which valve does what.

Can you please advice on the procedure.
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Comments

  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    One more pic....
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,988Member
    How many thermostats or zones are in the house? What comes out when you open the air bleed valves on 2 nd floor radiators.
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    edited December 2014
    Just 1 thermostat and 1 zone. We did an oil to gas conversion. I believe the home was piped for two zones before the conversion as there were two thermostats before.

    When I open the air bleed valves, stream of water comes out.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,988Member
    How about pictures of the part you replaced?
  • ZmanZman Posts: 5,211Member
    It looks like you have an older gravity system. You likely have a massive air bubble trapped somewhere. You may get it by bleeding aggressively. Sometimes you need to find a way to push the bubble around. Do you have isolation valves on the radiators? You may be able to close a valve here and open a bleeder there to coax it out.Can you close the valves on the radiators that work and force water over the top? Temporarily increasing the pressure to 20-25# may also help.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • SWEISWEI Posts: 7,356Member
    Take a look at photo #2 in the first post. Do we see a bodged set of closely spaced tees there?
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,420Member
    You have the valve shut at your boiler. The valve is near the green pump and before the extrol tank. With that valve shut you are no longer piped P/S. Weather or not that is the problem I don't know but from my glance at the pictures that valve should be open. Also are you sure you have all cast iron rads. and no baseboard? To bleed the piping or baseboards shut the valves at the black pump, then at the return where the two hose bib valves are shut one valve just below the hose bib and connect a hose and drain into a bucket until there are no bubbles coming to the top of the bucket may take 15 mins or more, you have to have your feed valve open when purging. It also helps to have the fast fil open but keep the pressure below 25#. Another set of hands helps with that. Then do the same for the other side and you should be ok.
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    JUGHNE said:

    How about pictures of the part you replaced?

  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    unclejohn said:

    You have the valve shut at your boiler. The valve is near the green pump and before the extrol tank. With that valve shut you are no longer piped P/S. Weather or not that is the problem I don't know but from my glance at the pictures that valve should be open. Also are you sure you have all cast iron rads. and no baseboard? To bleed the piping or baseboards shut the valves at the black pump, then at the return where the two hose bib valves are shut one valve just below the hose bib and connect a hose and drain into a bucket until there are no bubbles coming to the top of the bucket may take 15 mins or more, you have to have your feed valve open when purging. It also helps to have the fast fil open but keep the pressure below 25#. Another set of hands helps with that. Then do the same for the other side and you should be ok.

    We have all all cast iron radiators. The piping in the first floor was replaced with cooper piping. The piping on the second was not touch and is thicker black piping.
  • ZmanZman Posts: 5,211Member
    Uncle John described the power purge procedure perfectly. Break out the garden hose and give it a try.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    Do I need to let the water and boiler cool down and shut the system before bleeding?
  • ZmanZman Posts: 5,211Member
    Yes, shut down the boiler. It does not have to be cold, but you don't want to throw cold water at a hot boiler. Maybe let it cool down for an hour or so.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    edited December 2014
    If the first floor is working (as far as circulating), turn it on and let it circulate. It will cool the system down.

    I would first raise the system pressure to 25# by over-riding the valve with the fast fill. Then try venting the top floor.

    I also think that the original boier was pumped to the return of the old boiler. Someone that didn't understand the consequences of doing P/S piping, and closely spaced tees got themselves into a dilemma. That crossover valve on the primary loop is off because they couldn't get the water to flow properly. There are two circulators already installed. Open that by-pass circulator and see what happens. It might not be pretty.

    Someone doesn't understand that drawing that ME posted yesterday with the correct minimum spacing's.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,988Member
    Ice, would manually opening one or both flow-control valves perhaps allow gravity feed to 2nd floor if pumps are not quite doing their job? Also there looks to be an additional check valve? (they have been know to be installed backwards) or circuit setter near the lower flow-control valve.
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    Not being there in person, I'd open that closed bypass valve close to the boiler and see what happens, If you have two thermostats, both should run is they are still connected to their respective thermostats. You sound like you have the foresight to check where the heat is going. Its also easy to leave a valve closed that should be open. Anyone here that says that haven't done that or left a critical switch off, is either lying, or waiting to do it.

    Sort of like flying airplanes. Those Pilots that have crashed, and those Pilots that are going to crash.

    Hydronics are extremely forgiving. It may work. Some of us would never piped that the way it appears to be piped. That said, it might work. Just be sure that you have enough pressure in the system for the pressure to bet to the second floor. I always vent from the top floor down. If there is compressed air between floors, it will appear that the upper radiators are filled with water. Someone recently found this out.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    I'd get it sorted out for the winter, and get it re-piped in the spring. There are too many mistakes to list, and it's costing you efficiency.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    I may be wrong, bit I think someone was trying to use the flow-checks as balancing valves. Either that, or there was a sale we missed.
  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    edited December 2014
    Well guys, FWIW, another look at something I have mentioned before that is covered by that paper that ME posted yesterday.

    Where the so called "Primary Loop" is connected, and the valve is closed that acts as a bypass, with the circulator on the run, that close to the branch/bull of the tee, the turbulence from the circulator will not let the pumped water into the branch of the tee.

    If the green circulator is on the return, and the black one is on the supply, it appears that there is only one zone.

    That is so screwed up, it can only benefit by someone who knows what they are looking at to figure it out
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    Thank you everyone for your help. I raised the psi to 25 and bled the whole system starting from the second floor. Also purged the system from the two valves in the basement.
    Unfortunately, only heat works in the 1st floor; second floor still cold.

    Two of the three flow check valves only get hot on one side and the other side is cold. No hot water is going to the other side. Tried opening the bleed screws on top of flow check valves and nothing.

    I am not a pro, but all the flow check valves and piping doesn't look right. We paid a pretty penny for the system and installation and it infuriates me to know that it was done wrong.

    The first floor is all copper piping and the second floor is galvanized steel pipes huge in diameter.

    The home had two zones because we had two thermostats. It is only using one zone and one thermostat.
    What is the solution to this mess?

    I want to be informed when I hired a new company.

    Me and my wife appreciate all your help.

    Thank you.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    Where are you located?
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    Paul48 said:

    Where are you located?

    Boston, Mass.
  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,988Member
    Did you live there before the boiler changeout? Were your thermostats on upper floor and also on ground floor and did each control its own floor seperately? You mentioned 3 flow check valves now and I have only seen 2 at the boiler. Are you counting what looks to a simple check valve before a flow check?
    The arrow on the check valve should point towards the flow check. On the brighter side you probably don't have the weather we will see here with an overnight low of -15 ;) .
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    JUGHNE said:

    Did you live there before the boiler changeout? Were your thermostats on upper floor and also on ground floor and did each control its own floor seperately? You mentioned 3 flow check valves now and I have only seen 2 at the boiler. Are you counting what looks to a simple check valve before a flow check?
    The arrow on the check valve should point towards the flow check. On the brighter side you probably don't have the weather we will see here with an overnight low of -15 ;) .

    We bought the house with a broken oil boiler. We replaced it with the current unit; never saw the oil boiler operational.

    There are 2 thermostats, one upstairs and one downstairs. The one downstairs is the only one that controls heat. The new system was piped as a one zone system.

    There are 3 flow check valves. Two of them are hot on one side and cold on the other. The other is hot on both sides.


  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,420Member
    edited December 2014
    Did it ever heat the upstairs since you have lived their? Also I count three supply loops but only see two returns. Are both return drops getting hot, the ones where the purge valves are. Trace that piping back and see if there is yet another purge valve set up like that in the ceiling.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    There's no way you can balance the flow in the system, the way they have it set up. Water is "lazy", and will always take the path of least resistance. You have to control it. Even their new work is bad. They've piped into the center of a main, with it running in either direction.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    Three loops, and at least 2 split and run in either direction above.
  • tim smithtim smith Posts: 2,284Member
    Look at picture I marked up, this may help to get your 2nd floor circulating. Good luck
  • edited December 2014
    Curious as to why you, the homeowner have to do all this work to get the system up and running. I'm sure you called the original contractor. Are they not responding?

    I'd say there's still air lodged in the piping and it needs a proper purge and to do it properly, you need to find the right guy. He's out there somewhere.

    I'd like to see that diagram that ME posted. Do you have a link?
    Often wrong, never in doubt.

    Click here to learn more about this contractor.
  • Paul48Paul48 Posts: 4,492Member
    I may be wrong, but I believe that flo-chek is backwards. The arrows mark the direction of fow. Make sure they are correct.
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    I traced the piping throughout the home.

    First floor:
    One check flow valve and two returns. Yes, two returns for the same floor. The piping branches out after the check flow valve. The two hose bibs are for the first floor. It seems they split the first floor into two sections. The heat works perfect there. No problem.

    Second floor:
    Two check flow valves with no return. One of the check flow valves acts as return with no actual piping to the returns to where the two hose bibs are located.

    I don't think any bleeding will fix this issue.

    I believe what needs to be done is add a circulator to the second floor, keep one flow check valve and fix the piping so that it goes from the circulator to the radiators and back to the returns where the other two hose bibs are located.

    My question is do we replace the old cast iron piping with smaller diameter copper pipping? Does it even matter?


    We went and purchased a space heater for our baby's nursery upstairs. The home is not too cold as the heat from the first floor radiates upstairs.

    Me and wife thank you all from the bottom of our hearts.

    Happy new year.

    Thanks.
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,264Member
    edited December 2014
  • GordyGordy Posts: 9,264Member
    For some reason I can't open that link on my iPad. So here is an attachment.
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,420Member
    On the picture Tim Smith marked up it seems that the lower flow control valve is piped in to the return. Most house had one supply and one return for each side of the house, So two returns and two supplies. The middle flow control is piped into two supply pipes running to each side of the house. The other pipe which should normally be the return is piped to the supply from the lower flow control. So did it ever heat the second floor?
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    edited December 2014
    unclejohn said:

    On the picture Tim Smith marked up it seems that the lower flow control valve is piped in to the return. Most house had one supply and one return for each side of the house, So two returns and two supplies. The middle flow control is piped into two supply pipes running to each side of the house. The other pipe which should normally be the return is piped to the supply from the lower flow control. So did it ever heat the second floor?

    We bought the property with a broken oil boiler so not sure if it ever worker.

    First floor has one supply split into two then two returns. Attached is a pic of the supply for the first floor.

    The lower flow check valve is piped into the supply. It just happens to be near the two returns for the first floor. I think it should be the return for the second floor and not piped into the supply at all.
    It makes no sense.

    The piping is a mess for the second floor.

  • JUGHNEJUGHNE Posts: 5,988Member
    How old is your house? I have seen only a few gravity flow boiler systems, but all of them had 2 supply & returns as John above said. And they were all 2 story houses. They had a left side and a right side from the boiler which was about in the center. The second floor was fed from the same mains & returns. Pipes were inside the walls (some outside walls also) and sometimes exposed on the first floor up thru the ceiling to 2nd floor. But in my limited experience I have never seen the 2nd floor pipe separately from the 1st. I guess it is possible but how would they zone it. No pumps or electric valves. Perhaps manual balancing valves in the basement, but it would have been easier to use orifices or rad valves. On this site under Systems Help Center there is a gravity hot water heating Q & A section with diagrams, maybe you have looked already. As far as the 2 T-stats you have they may have controlled the left side and right side separately. Some times one side or the other heats the 2nd floor more and they may tried to gain some control that way. Probably not part of the original installation because lack of devices, but added with some previous boiler change out. Also there have been unique schemes to have a lower T-stat start the boiler and the upper T-stat shut it off, crazy yes but I have seen it. (Just trying to understand having 2 t-stats). You may have traces of where the old piping was hung originally, even sizes, and look for plugged tees, holes in the floor,etc. Not to rebuild it like it was, but to see how it used to work. A little history goes a long way....Happy New Year!!!
  • unclejohnunclejohn Posts: 1,420Member
    Ok so it seems that it never worked. That's actually a good starting point. It should be easily fixed with some minor in the boiler room piping. just get someone out there and explain to them that you need someone with boiler piping experience, and you just want a estimate, get a couple and the guy that sounds like he knows what he's talking about use him.
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    Great. Thanks for all your help. Looking at my current situation/system pictures I've posted, what is proper solution to my problem. What needs to be added/remove to the piping? Reason I ask is because I don't want to be taken advantage of next time around. I value your opinion because is unbiased and you folks don't have a financial incentive with me.

    Can't thank you all enough.

  • icesailoricesailor Posts: 7,265Member
    You said you are located around Boston?

    I think that there are more than a few here listed that live or work around the Boston Area. Check out the "Find A Contractor" area.
  • chuckyandluluchuckyandlulu Posts: 14Member
    Thanks.
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