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Heating issue please help

Nrg2014
Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
I recently purchased a house built in 1955. It has a mono flow heating system with radiators throughout the house. First floor all radiators work well, but on the second floor 7 out of 11 radiators do not work. They have been bleed and no air seems to be in system. I have had multiple plumbers over still can't solve problem. One thing tet have all mentioned is that the issue is with the feed side. One thing that was mentioned was that the mono flow tees need to be replaced. I know I didn't give enough info but has anyone had this type of issue.
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Comments

  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    Radiators have been bleed to point where they start to heat up, but once the process stops they cool right down. It takes a while for them to heat up during the bleeding process, because it's foricng the system to push water through in an opposite direction. Also a plumber tried forcing water through using a type of vacuum on one side a force water through the other way, if that makes sense.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 3,830
    Give us some history.... What has been done? When did it last work? What has been done on it for work and when? Did someone swap out a circ pump? etc.....
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    I'm sure that there is one or more out there. I've never met this Mono-Flow system that didn't work. Not until I came here 4 years ago did I realize that many Most Monoflow systems take special techniques to make them work. There's a flow arrow on one tee. As long as that arrow is pointing at the other tee, it doesn't matter which direction the water is flowing. If there are two tees, as long as both arrows point toward each other, the water will flow. The only time I have ever seen a radiator not work in a Mono-Flow system is when one side of a radiator wasn't connected to a Mono-Flow tee. Like straight tees, no Monoflow tee.

    When the system is cold, and you turn on the thermostat, the pump should start. You should be able to follow the direction of the flow around the main. It should come out of the top of the boiler and travel around to the return of the boiler. If it doesn't, the circulator isn't working. If the water isn't circulating around the main, the tees can't work. Even if the radiator is 1/2 full of air, half the radiator will be hot. From the air down.

    The only time I have seen Monoflows not pump, there was a old Thrush dark green flow check on the supply. It had a lever that could be set in the "closed" position. Which shut the flow disk down in the bottom position.
  • Eric_32
    Eric_32 Member Posts: 267
    When you say radiators, what exactly type of radiation do you have? Cast iron radiators, cast iron baseboard, or modern type copper fin baseboard heaters with bleeders on them?

    The radiators have to be the High Point in the system to bleed properly. Pipes were pitched slightly UP to the radiators. Air will be at the top of the piping. If there are any drops or sags in the main line or the run outs to the radiators, then air can be trapped. Are both floors one zone or two separate ones?

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Did they work? What, if anything has been done to the system? How is the spacing on the tees, I just can’t imagine a mono flow system not working...
    jonny88
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Even with low points, the higher pressures will usually "Squish" the air pockets enough to initiate flow. The flow will absorb the air.

    Post photos of the supply side of the boiler and the return. and some Mono-flow connections.
  • Tony Massi
    Tony Massi Member Posts: 86
    11 Radiators on the 2nd floor must be a good size home. What kind of Rads, Boiler etc.
    Please post some pictures.
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13

    Attached I have copied an image of the tees on one side if the house and radiators. Some of the Tees go up to the second floor and don't work while only one on that side works.
    There was a new and stronger circulator pump installed. The system has also be flushed. A plumber also connected a hose to a pump in order to try and push city water through with a cleaner to try and break a clog up. His exact words were "it seems as if some of the pipes are closed off." Which they can't be.
    Radiators were pulled out of wall and seem ok.
    If they are bleed they will eventually get hot but that's because it's forcing the system to work in reverse. The hot water is going up the return side.
    The pressure gauge reads 15psi.
    The gentleman that comes for oil fill really feels that the Tees need to be replaced.

    Let me know what other info you may need. Need to get these working.




  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    That system is almost as old as dirt. I doubt seriously that anything is really wrong with it other than someone doesn't know what they are looking at. That looks like late 1940's, 1950's vintage. It must have worked for a long time when new. Someone changed something. WHAT???

    Take photos of the circulator location and the circulator, and the flow control valve. It should be above the boiler on the top front. Are you sure that you have 15# of water pressure? Are you sure that the gauge works? Can you raise the system pressure to 25#?

    That long 1/4" nipple on the convector radiator tells me that there has always been an air issue with the system. Usually because the system pressure is too low.

    Post more pictures.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    You could post some pic…it may help…
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Ice I agree with your first sentence... Somebody did something to cause it not to work....W by 25 psi guage. That's quite Hugh
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    @ja:

    "" W by 25 psi gauge. That's quite Hugh ""

    25# is only for venting purposes on the upper floors.

    I always fill and vent radiator systems from the top floor down. I let the compressed air in the lower floors of the system keep the water pressure up in the top floors.

    Haven't you ever gone from room to room on the top floor, after doing the lower floors first, and having lots of pressure when you are bleeding air, but you get to the top floor, open the bleeder on a radiator, then it slows to nothing and you wait. You close it. You go to the next radiator. Same thing. High air pressure dropping to nothing. Its the compressed air in the risers and the radiator. Get the pressure up and it will vent. Its like taking a bottle of water, 14 full of water and the rest air. Put the bottle into a pot of water. The air is trapped in the top. If you push the bottle up and down, the water never runs out. If the boiler is running and the circulator is running, those radiators may be 1/2 full and half hot with hot water.

    At least that's how I did it. I was always alone, so I didn't want to waste any energy running up and down stairs. Wasting time and energy with an old glass cup and a old antique brass radiator key.
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    Ice,
    House was built in 1955, so you're pretty much right on. Regarding your last message. There was never an issue with the first floor radiators. They never had to be bleed. If you can please explain a little more about second floor radiator bleeding and increasing pressure. This whole process is new to me.

    I have attached some additional pics below.




  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Well, the zone with the great big new circulator that replaced the Tack 110 (laying dead on the floor) is the radiator zone, The one with the Taco 007 is for a baseboard zone. The 007 was designed as a replacement for the 110 or B&G Series 100. Someone probably put that hydraulic mining pump on there because the second floor didn't work well so they needed a bigger pump to "Push the water up"?
    The fill valve and the boiler/system pressure "Push" the water up through the Pressure reducing valve auto fill valve. The system pressure is too low for your radiators and the compression tank needs to be bigger if you have radiators. Especially if that is a cold start boiler.

    You have radiators upstairs that don't work. When the system is off and cold, when you open a coin/air vent, does water come gushing out with great force and continue? or do you get air? Or little force and it stops? You need more water pressure in the system. Have you checked the air pressure in that bladder tank? Some of us have found that particular tank does not do well in the longevity department.

    Which has nothing to do with the fact that the boiler is leaking combustion air.
    Nrg2014
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    The one laying dead on the floor was replaced by oil company due to radiators on the second floor not working, new circulator did nothing to solve the problem.
    When system is not running water comes gushing out. Once the burner turns on, it drips out slowly.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    Do you have two thermostats? One upstairs and another downstairs?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    One for the house
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    Then why are there two circulators?
    Retired and loving it.
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    One thermostat for the house. I also have a second for a side room only.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    Tell me about that side-room zone. What type of radiation is in there? How does it connect to the rest of the system?
    Retired and loving it.
  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    Pictures help
    Retired and loving it.
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Why 25 psi. That in my opinion is way to high for a 2 story home
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    I have never seen a true monoflow system not work...you can bleed it all day and that will not help....it almost had to be something that was done after the fact...are the zones attached to the correct circulators
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Are the circulators in fact working and not just powered
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    The smaller pump is connected a single room with a baseboard that works. The bigger circulator is responsible for the rest of the house.
    Ja,
    If the circulators weren't working would I still be able to get heat from some of the radiators? How could I tell if they are working or just powered on?

    Below is a pic of three feed pipes. The one that looks like it's going upstairs is really warm to touch (that's the pipe on the left). The other two are real hot. Does that mean anything?


  • DanHolohan
    DanHolohan Member, Moderator, Administrator Posts: 15,445
    I'm not seeing enough to make a call on this one. Where is the house? Perhaps we can get someone more knowledgeable in there to help.
    Retired and loving it.
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    West hartford, ct
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    j a said:

    Why 25 psi. That in my opinion is way to high for a 2 story home

    25# to vent it so that there is adequate pressure on the second or third floor.

    If you didn't read or understand my method or reasoning for venting from the top floor down, you probably haven't ridden in the same rodeos I have ridden in.

    And with undersized bladder tanks on cold start boilers, when the system settles down at 15# cold, the pressure drops due to thermal contraction, the pressure drops and if they have installed auto air vents on the top floor radiators, they suck air and stop the when the radiators become air bound.

    If your refilling a system with radiators in a two story house with the boiler in the cellar, and radiators in the attic, you start venting on the first floor, and move to the second floor, you'll be spending quality exercise time running up and down to the cellar to bypass the PRV to get the pressure up. Then, there's the third floor. If there are 5 radiators up there, its a lot of stair climbing to get them vented. Like when you open the valve, you get a heavy rush of compressed air. Then, it goes to nothing. Spit on your finger and watch the spit get sucked in to the vent. Go to the next radiator. Lots of air until it stops.

    I had an old house with radiators. I had to take out some radiators in the first floor so they could be painted and the wall paper removed from behind the radiators. When I put one back, it didn't work. No matter what I tried. All the water in the world coming out. I finally looked in the crawl space where a previous idiot had disconnected a radiator and re-piped this one with 30' of 1" copper with no pitch and sagging. I would have to re-do it. The owner would be crabbing about how it worked before I took the radiator out, now it doesn't work. No one was living in the house. It was 4:45 PM. My flight left at 5:30 PM. I cranked the pressure to 25# for the night and left it. The next morning when I got there, the radiator was working fine. The higher pressure squished the size of the air bubble and made the water absorb the air better.

    As far as the Taco 110 circulator, it worked before when it was installed. The oil company rubes replaced the 110 with that hydraulic pump to "push" the water to the second floor, when the system needs more pressure and a 007 would have worked just as well. Meanwhile, the Service manager for the oil company did his job, sold equipment but didn't fix the problem. While someone like many here get to figure out what was really wrong.

    It had to have worked for years. What happened?
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    I'm not seeing enough to make a call on this one. Where is the house? Perhaps we can get someone more knowledgeable in there to help.

    Look again at the photo.

    I don't see any Monoflow Tees among those three tees. (Unless the RH one), but there is also a 2" main behind it with the same tees. None appear to be Mono Flow tees.

    Perhaps it is a direct return or reverse return. No Mono flows.

    A long journey starts with the first step.

    When you go on a service call and something isn't working, the FIRST thing you check is the Power Switch. Is it on?

    If you work alone, the first thing you try is the basic easy. You don't start at the hardest most complicated. Every "ladder diagram" I ever followed, started with "Is the power on?"

    If the first floor works but the second floor doesn't, maybe there isn't enough pressure in the system? A good thing to check after checking the power.

  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    Anyone ever hear back what resolved the mystery?
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    I have seen many times, and especially on wall convectors, that the bleeder is on the supply and not the return. Try bleeding without the circ, lift the bleed end up if possible, put a bowl and towel under the convector, and open er up for a few.
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    The most important part of communication, is listening. (The man resently purchased this house / problem); therefore he knows nothing of its history. The returns are copper pipe at the boiler, but everything else is iron pipe. That would indicate a change/addition was done to the system. Even the ball valves suggest this. Did the floor plan of the house get changed by the previous owners? Meaning, did radiators get moved or discontinued? If a radiator was removed, did they cap the pipes to it, or did they tie the pipes together? Get to know the system intimately, meaning - marking what pipes feed which radiator. Map it out and you may find the cause of your problem; at the least, doing so would greatly help a good technician and save him research time.
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Why leave a radiator in place, but cap off the piping? If there is liquid (water) coming out, then there is at least 1 pipe still connected to it. With monoflo, ball valves are a big must for future work. Someone had some sense anyway. He does need a pro
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    Billtwocase: where did you get that question?
  • billtwocase
    billtwocase Member Posts: 2,385
    Although you made a few valid points Problemsolver, and no disrespect to you, but I believe we all "listened" or read the original post. The boiler was obviously replaced within the last 10 years, so ball valves and copper piping was added. Original poster also said that there "seemed" to be no air, so water must have come out? I would hope the someone who knows what they are doing is called in, and we are not left hanging, as usual
    icesailor
  • j a_2
    j a_2 Member Posts: 1,796
    I agree with the left hanging thing.
  • ProblemSolver
    ProblemSolver Member Posts: 190
    The point about a discontinued radiator in a monoflow system is the piping must be tied together to maintain volume of water, but if the pipes got caped instead, then the volume of water would be reduced. I made no references toward leaving a radiator in place and cap the pipes. I only stated, "was a radiator removed" and the pipes caped. I was trying to get the guy to look for changes in the system, possibly due to changes in the floor plan.
  • Nrg2014
    Nrg2014 Member Posts: 13
    Don't mean to leave you all hanging. As far as floor plan change there was none. I plan on calling someone else to come in and take a look, but worried they won't know and be left with a bill
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265

    The point about a discontinued radiator in a monoflow system is the piping must be tied together to maintain volume of water, but if the pipes got caped instead, then the volume of water would be reduced. I made no references toward leaving a radiator in place and cap the pipes. I only stated, "was a radiator removed" and the pipes caped. I was trying to get the guy to look for changes in the system, possibly due to changes in the floor plan.

    Don't hang your hat on that factoid.

    I've seen perfectly fine running Monoflow Systems that when installed, left Monoflow Circuits unconnected in mains for later connections. That were never done. I've seen many 10's of radiators disconnected in Mono Systems that were just plugged off. They worked fine. Do I think it is a fine idea? No. Would I do it? Everyone else did without a problem.

    But if something worked last year, and today, it doesn't, to hang your diagnosis on disconnected and plugged Mono Flow fittings is something that can bite you in the butt.

    In my experience, I never saw one that didn't work with a B&G Series 100 or a Taco Series 112 or 007 circulator. Most of us old dogs never saw a hot rod circulator until the advent of spaghetti Mini-Piping. Maybe you need a Taco 014 or equal to push it around in Mini-Piping. But maybe that same Hot Rod pump will raise havoc in a old Monoflow system with great big pipes.

    Just my thought.
  • JACQ
    JACQ Member Posts: 13
    Did you solved the heating problem