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how do i turn on and refill a disconnected zone & zone valve valve

jaybeach
jaybeach Member Posts: 9
hi my name is jay,
MY 3RD FLOOR CIRCULATOR PUMP(I have 2 other circulator pumps 1 for the 1st &one for the 2nd floor) has been disconnected & drained over the past winter. I had a ball valve installed on the line that feeds the 3rd floor zone from the boiler, which has been in the off position. Now, I want to refill the zone to check for leaks, and reconnect the zone valve. I am new to oil burners. What do I have to do? What are the blue & black valves used for..
thank you for your help.
[email protected]

Comments

  • Kakashi
    Kakashi Member Posts: 88
    That 8184g with a black button scares me. The black and blue valves are used to force purge the system. Can't really tell you much else from your pictures...looks really easy to blessing or a really long service.
  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    Hello Rick,

    I only know of 1 valve that is on the copper pipe going from the boiler up to the third floor.What do I do If the line was not properly winterized and I have a leak in the pipe?? (This line runs 20 feet in a ceiling.) I guess turn the blue valve off quickly?
    While I am purging, (CAN I SLOWLY OPEN THE BLUE VALVE IN CASE I DO HAVE A LEAK?) should the boiler be turned off or left on?
    Should I have the thermostat turned up before I attached the white wire to the circulator where it is disconnected?
    Rick, thank you for making it sound so easy. I really appreciate your time.

    Sincerely,
    Jay
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,328
    You say you have a ball valve in the other side of the zone.
    If you think you might have a leak, you would be smart to air test the zone first. You can buy a test gauge with a shrader valve at any plumbing store that will thread onto the hose fitting.
    Much cheaper than the wet option.
    Carl
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    edited April 2015
    Tell me that the boiler isn't being fed make up water through the pressure relief tapping?

    Take another photo of the top left hand corner and show how that green fill valve is connected to the boiler.

    It has always been my (Mis) understanding that a function of a fill valve is to supply cold water into the boiler, to cool the boiler by adding additional BTU's to the boiler, and not make steam if the burner doesn't stop. When you feed the boiler fill valve like that, if the relief valve is doing its job, any cold fill water just goes directly out of the system through the relief valve.

    As explained to me by my old dead boss, years ago. It made sense then, and it still does today.
  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    Hi Carl,

    I called my plumbing supply house (been around 90 years), he did not have a test gauge with shrader valve. He said there are air vents on the boiler/baseboard that would release air giving a false reading. He recommended purging the system & see if it holds 12-15 lbs ?
    Do I thread the test/shrader fitting onto the Black or Blue gate valve to do the test?
    Do I keep the ball valve that I have closed when i use this test/shrader valve?
    I like this method better than just purge & hope it holds pressure.I will continue to look for a test/shrader valve.
    I really appreciate your help.

    Thank you
    Jay
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Every air eliminating device I have ever seen with a Schrader valve device in it, had a cap to tighten down to stop leaks. Just like the caps on the tires of your automobile has. Unless you take it in for service and they forget to put them back on.

    As far as testing the zone with air, there are way too many devices made that will connect an air compressor to the zone with washing machine hoses that will let you check the pressure. You can make one with fittings and nipples, or buy one already made.
  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    Hi Icesailor.
    I like your logic.Do these pics help you.
    Thank you for your help.
    Sincerely,
    Jay
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,362
    There has to be another valve to shutoff the water to the third floor. If there isn't, then there is still water in the line, which if it is in a cold area, would have froze and broke by now.
    I think I see a flow check valve in one of the pictures. I do not use them here, but I believe they can be shut off, so that should be the other shutoff point.
    Like the other guys say though, you should get an air hose setup hooked up to the blue purge valve and check the line first. Would rather see an air leak than water.
    I would open up the supply valve, ( probably the flow check) after checking zone with air pressure, and then open up the blue valve. If everything is ok, and the feed valve is working, water should flow out of the blue valve. I would leave the boiler off for this. Also, keep an eye on the boiler pressure as you do this to make sure it stays up. If the feed valve doesn't work, which is likely, the pressure will drop to zero. You will need to "modulate" the flow through the blue valve to keep the pressure at least 15 pounds or so if you can. There is a lever on the green feed valve that you can use to put the fill valve in to fast fill, but you must keep on eye on boiler gauge so you don't put in too much too fast.
    After everything is flowing good, open black valve on pump, and reconnect the wire ( doesn't matter if thermostat is up or down), and pump should start flowing.
    You might still have to bleed baseboards if the air is still in there, but if it is flowing and heating fully, I would let it run a day or two to see if it will clear itself up.
    Rick
  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    hi Rick,
    We are here on the north shore of Long Island, NY across the long Island sound from Bridgeport Connecticut. It was a very cold winter, so I guess there was no water in the line because I did not have any water leaks.
    I DID HAVE A leak in the cold water line to the bathroom even though the line was drained. The leak was in a low spot which collected water & froze.That's another story..
    Is the flow check valve the green valve with a lever on it? If that was shut off wouldn't it effect the other two zones that are on? How do I know if the flow check valve is off?
    If the feed valve doesn't work, which is likely, the pressure will drop to zero.(WHICH IS THE FEED VALVE THE BLUE OR BLACK?)
    I guess the Blue..
    I am starting to get a little bit overwhelmed. By chance Rick, do you have a brother in NY that is a plumber??
    Well , I need to get an air hose setup hooked up to the blue purge valve(or using my washing machine Black hose) and check the line first..

    I want to Thank you again for all your help
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,362
    You are about 4600 miles from me, and I do not have a brother there. Sorry.
    The green valve just above the pumps with the lever on it is the feed valve . The flo check valves are above the boiler, just out of the picture. It looks like they do not completely shut off by themselves, so still looking for another isolation valve. Maybe if you could get more pictures of the piping on top of the boiler we could get better info.
    Have you tried checking on this site for nearby contractors? Might be time to bring in help.
    Rick
  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    Hi Rick, I was hoping- but, I kinda knew u did not have a brother in NY..I guess 4600 miles would be the longest service call ever! HA HA...The upper right back corner(picP1170175.jpk) shows a ball valve that is closed & I thought it feeds my 3rd floor zone(is that a full valve?)
    I have not tried checking the site yet...I would like to understand a little more first. So far this is a steep learning curve..In case you HAVEN'T FIGURED IT OUT YET I live in MR. MURPHY S LAW HOUSE.
    Thanks very much for your continued support.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Those green valves with the thumb screws on top are taco flow checks. They are NOT water tight. There must be some other shut off and drain valves that you haven't shown.

    Here is a device that is available. It is a PITA to use, but useable. You need to put a 3/4" boiler drain into the open end, and connect the two ends with a washing machine hose. You will need an air compressor with a fitting that fits Schrader valves. Like filling tires.

    I make my own with 1/2" pipe nipples and fittings with a valve and gauge. I have male and female air chuck fittings on the air hose and "device" so I can easily connect it to anything.

    If the return drain is open, and no water is running out. there should have been a drain on the supply side that you can't see. If you connect your air supply to the blue boiler drain valve with the WM hose connection and give it a snort of air. You should hear water or air from the drain inside and over the boiler. That is where the supply drain valve is located. If you don't hear any air or water from the "snort", remove the WM hose from the return drain. You should
    @2
    Another lock up and unfinished note.



  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    Hi Icesailor,
    well I think I have taken pictures of all the views of the boiler,Pic 1170204jpg shows the floor drain on the bottom left side of the boiler.So, i am a little confused as to where the other valve might be.There are the black & blue gate valves shown in P1170164. Picture 1170175 shows the ball valve shut off or full valve for the 3rd floor zone, in the back top right corner in the off position....any suggestion.
    thank you for your help.
  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,362
    Looks like picture 0175 is showing the valve we are looking for. The yellow ball valve about 6 feet up in the corner should be your supply shutoff. There should be another valve on the pipe to the left of that one that I would assume is for the second floor.
    Anyway, hook up your pressure test setup on the blue valve and test it. If it holds, you can then put water in to the loop.
    You will leave the black valve off and open up the yellow valve in the corner. Have a drain hose hooked up to the blue valve and going to the drain. Get good flow coming out the hose before shutting it off. Then follow rest of procedures we have outlined and you should be good.
    However if pressure test doesn't hold, then you will be chasing leaks. Possibly just air valves on the radiation leaking by. Hopefully you can close them down.
    P.S. If you have a technician stop by to do maintenance on it, especially cleaning, and you should, I would suggest leaving the house because you are not going to want to be hearing the cussing the guy is going to do trying to get to the top of that boiler to brush it. I would be. And hopefully the very bottom nipple coming out of the boiler is out far enough to allow the burner door to open.
    Rick
  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    Hi
    OK that is the supply valve..(I do not have another valve for the second floor as i never had freezing pipe issues with the 2nd floor.)
    If pressure test does not hold are u saying the baseboard has air valves that would need to be adjusted?
    Yes I have the boiler cleaned every season.($350.) I just had a new hot water heater installed last winter ( $1600.) it was tight but they got it out without any major work/damage...

    I have called a friend who knows a union plumber that may have time to help me for a fair price like $40,/$50. an hour as opposed to other plumbers charging like $140.-plus an hour..

    Now my tail of woe....The pics attached are looking up into the ceiling above my kitchen where I have Hot&cold pipes feeding a 3rd floor bathroom. the heat pipe we have been talking about feeds the 3rd floor runs perpendicular (maybe 20 feet) to the hot & cold pipes u see. I have low volt heat cable & pipe sleeve insulation around the heat pipe & then covered the pipe with wood to reduce drafts etc...
    Now the hot/cold water pipes were drained last winter but not blown out so I had a little bit of water in a flat spot that froze and busted the cold water pipe so when i opened the valve last week I had water coming down the kitchen ceiling & all the way down to the 1st floor ceiling where the heater is..yikes ...
    As u can see I have low voltage heating cables on the hot& cold pipes(wrapped with insulation) that I turned off because i drained them..DA!
    I also Have heat cable on the heating pipe as well -also turned off)
    so the plumbers that drained the heating pipe & the hot & cold never used air nor told me to use air or to keep the low voltage cable turned on in case there is water in the lines!

    Now, I called tech support for easy heat who makes the low voltage cables & he told me I should not use them in my setting because they are not accessible & to close to combustible materials & should not be used in ceilings...? what do u use?

    The hot & cold pipes u see go left into the 3rd floor bathroom & straight out 3 feet (thats where it froze 2feet 8 inches out close to the chase) & down 20 feet in the stainless steel boiler chimney chase. Part of this ceiling space is a sofit (overhang)area to the outside. That is where a draft comes from HENCE you see the foam insulation that stops a draft from the chimney chase & sofit...I had to do this for like 30 feet...the heat pipe is above the kitchen ceiling right above the hole in the ceiling opening close to you opposite the high hat. this is over the kitchen which is heated... the heat pipe is on the other side of the kitchen ceiling against an interior wall and covered with pipe insulation & enclosed with wood...
    now if u are still withe me & awake... comes the whole story...because the third floor is a loft area overlooking my kitchen on one side(north) & my master bedroom on the other side (south)...the 3rd floor zone never called for heat because the 1st& 2nd floor heat rises and satisfied the 3rd floor thermostat... I tried everything but over the previous 15 years I had pipes freeze and bust like 4 times..
    Now I want to refill the third floor heat zone and rewire the 3rd floor circ to the second floor circ so it will come on when the 2nd floor comes on thus i will always have hot water in the 3rd floor zone preventing a freeze up..
    I came up with this solution what do u think?... Other plumbers just told me to keep the 3rd floor thermostat turned up higher than the 2nd floor ..that always changed depending on the weather etc..so i was a slave to watching/raising/lowering thermostats all the time..

    Well that's my story & I am sticking to it...
    I hope i did not put u to sleep ...
    Thank you again Rick for staying with me & advising me..
    sincerely,
    Jay
    How do I get a message to you just by posting..

  • rick in Alaska
    rick in Alaska Member Posts: 1,362
    Sorry about not getting back to you. Really busy this past week.
    Start with the baseboards: If pressure test doesn't hold, check the baseboards to see if they have air vents on them, which they might have. You will need to close them down unless they are a bleed valve only, which means you would need a screwdriver or a square drive too to open them.I sounds to me that if the plumbers you used did not use air in the lines to blow them out, you are going to have problems. If you do, I would get them back to fix it. You can't reasonably drain a system without air. I have been winterizing for 22 years in Alaska and have only had one broken pipe, which was a line i forgot. I fixed it on my own dime, as I should have.
    So, assuming you have a good pressure test, you should be able to proceed with the rest of it as discussed.
    As far as heat tape goes; I have used about 50 feet in my lifetime because I hate it. Almost everything up here is built to keep the pipes in a warm area, so not needed. Sometimes you have no choice though. The heat tape people put about 5000 words in what you can not do with their stuff. You need to read all of them to make sure there is no problems down the road with insurance.They definitely have exact ways they want it located and especially insulated.
    What I am thinking in your case would be to have the 3rd floor zone re-worked by adding a zone valve in and having the circulation pump run whenever it is cold outside. Not sure right now the details of how to go about it, and have to get to work, but something along the lines of having the zone valve (probably 3 way valve) allow enough heat in to the zone to just keep the line warm, but not allow full bore heat into the loop unless thermostat is calling. Will have to figure out better details when coffee kicks in later.
    Rick
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,328
    It looks like you already have the loop isolated using the gate valve above the circulator and the yellow ball valve in the corner?

    If you acquire something like this
    http://www.supplyhouse.com/Winters-Instruments-PETG204-2-PET-Economy-Gas-Test-Pressure-Gauge-0-100-PSI
    along with an adapter from ftp to hose fitting, you can air it up using the schreader valve on the gauge.
    Just thread it onto the boiler drain above the circ and you are done. In the odd event that someone installed an air eliminator somewhere in the zone you will have to cap it.

    Carl
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • 4Johnpipe
    4Johnpipe Member Posts: 477
    You could also unthread the boiler drain (blue valve) and use a conventional air gauge set up to test with air first.
    LANGAN'S PLUMBING & HEATING LLC
    Considerate People, Considerate Service, Consider It Done!
    732-751-1560
    email: [email protected]
    www.langansplumbing.com
  • jaybeach
    jaybeach Member Posts: 9
    HI ZMAN,
    I understand that THE BLACK GATE VALVE above the circ & THE YELLOW BALL VALVE ARE USED TO ISOLATE THE 3RD FLOOR ZONE. When i open the yellow ball valve the water will flow into the 3rd floor zone & then i use the black gate valve to purge the system on any air? Is that right? Thank you Zman for your continued follow up advice. i appreciate it.
    Thanks for the link for a air gauge I am starting to slowly get pass the steep learning curve. I see the light..
    4John pipe suggestion of unthreading the drain valve is not practicable --there is very little room to do that ...That suggestion helps me understand how the system works, Thank you.

    Ok Rick, I will wait to hear from you after the coffe kicks in & your work demands slow down. I am not in a hurry to fix the 3rd floor zone ..I want to do it right not fast. Thank you very much for your brain storming...

    Thank you all