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Zone 1 will not come up to set temp

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mssue
mssue Member Posts: 10
I woke up Sunday morning at 4 a.m. to pee, only to find my 1st floor at 60 degrees while my upstairs was a balmy 70. I quickly raced to the basement to see why my oil fueled '93 peerless boiler wasn't running, but as soon as I opened the basement door I heard it purring. Went down looked around - plenty of oil, it was running, but just not heating zone 1. Next I checked the hot water. Yep, had hot water (such as it is - my domestic hot water coil is on it's way out). I quickly put the 2 downstairs space heaters I have on and went back to bed until a decent hour.

Called a new guy, recently out on his own to come fix. When he came in he said well, it could be just air in the system and we'd see. Thing is, he never CHECKED to see if there were air in the system, nor did he check the thermostat - he went STRAIGHT to the box where the aquastat thingy is - THE BIG TICKET ITEM. A nice fat check later, he'd replaced that and I did have some heat in zone one - I only had it set on 70 so I never thought anything of it.

A few hours later when the sun went down I noticed it was chilly, so I upped t-stat to 72. An hour or two went by and I didn't notice any difference, so I looked and it had actually gone DOWN to 69. I quickly went upstairs and checked THAT t-stat and it was fine, so just for kicks I upped that one to 74. Checked a half hour later and sure enough it was up to 74.

So I came here and started reading, and went downstairs to the basement again to see if I could find anything amiss. The only 2 things I really noticed were these:

#1) The pipe above ONE of my circulators (I can only assume it is zone 1) is NOTICEABLY cooler than the other and

#2) I can play with the zone 1 t-stat turning it up & down and it doesn't necessarily make the click or make anything start or stop

I'm thinking the guy overlooked something obvious and simple like the thermostat.......am I wrong here? When I called and left a message about this (and I only left information about the temp not reaching the one set on t-stat, nothing more) and he finally returned my call, he sounded really miffed that I doubted his work. I had to literally calm him down and explain that if I were going to have a regular guy out here I'd have to be able to communicate with him or it was no deal. But I don't feel like I should have had to do that.

Anyway, if anyone has any other ideas I'm game......ALL IDEAS WELCOME! :)

Comments

  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,573
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    Every system is set up differently.
    If you post some pictures of yours, I sure we can help.
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
    Mike
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    Please Note: T-stat says 65-ish, but this was after I put my 2 space heaters on to get it warmed up. When I woke up to pee at 5 a.m. it was 62 in here. Same thing, what he did had ZERO effect at all.








  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    PS. When I checked the pipes above my circulators this morning, they were BOTH hot, so I have no idea why it's not heating up in here. It IS very cold (like the low was supposed to be zero last night) BUT it was colder than this a couple of weeks ago and I didn't have this problem.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    I betcha that the Taco pump cartridge for zone 1 is bound up and not rotating. You need to take it apart to see.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    I'm assuming that the pump for zone 1 has power to it and the relay that turns it on is functioning.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 7,573
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    What is the system pressure?
    Is the supply hot just at the boiler or does it feel hot as you go farther away?
    What are the return temps like?
    Why are there hoses attached after the circulators?
    Are the circulators running?
    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    Zman said:

    What is the system pressure?
    Is the supply hot just at the boiler or does it feel hot as you go farther away?
    What are the return temps like?
    Why are there hoses attached after the circulators?
    Are the circulators running?

    Let me clarify: when it comes to this skill I'm a complete virgin.

    1. if you're talking about the pressure on the gauge in the front, it's been reading as it does in the pic
    2. the water coming from the circulators feels hot and I have some heat coming from the baseboard units, but not enough to heat the downstairs.
    3. How do you identify the return pipes?
    4. The hoses were left on by a. my ex and b. the repairman before this one
    5. How can I tell?
    6. I can put the downstairs thermostat up and down and SOMETIMES it makes things happen, but sometimes not. There doesn't seem to be any rhyme or reason to when it does. As you can see I had the temp set to 74 all night and it never went above 70 and was actually 62 when I got up at 5.

    Thank God for space heaters.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
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    Try this. Shut off the boiler. On the zone thats not working shut the yellow handle valve above the pump and then open the red handle drain valve and let water out into a 5 gallon bucket through the hose. See if there are any air bubbles that rise up in the bucket. Do that until all the bubbles are gone. Then you can pee in warmth.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    There's more here, that we can't see. Air doesn't come and go. After he left, she was able to get the zone to 74*.
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    Paul48 said:

    There's more here, that we can't see. Air doesn't come and go. After he left, she was able to get the zone to 74*.

    No, actually I wasn't able to - I set the T-STAT to 74, but it never made it. UPSTAIRS I CAN get it to go to whatever temp I set it on, but NOT downstairs.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    I'm sorry...I must have misread your original post. Follow @unclejohn instructions.
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,833
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    I can't see the gauge readings. One is in PSI the other is temp.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    Look, when the boiler is delivering the right water temperature, which seems to be the case because the tankless coil and zone 2 are delivering heat, It means there is no flow thru zone 1. Even if the pipes are warm above the pump in zone 1. That could be just thermo siphon.

    What could cause a no flow situation in zone 1? Well.

    A valve in the circuit that is closed or partially closed or other components in the system that is stuck closed like a flo-chek (which I think I see two in your system) or y strainer.

    Air in the high points in the circuit. A circulator will not pump thru an air bubble.

    A Taco circulator that is not circulating hot water because it is not energized, has a thermostat that's not operating properly, a relay that's defective, has a bad connection to the 110V ac in the pump j-box (on the side of the pump), relay box, or connection to an AC circuit, or has a stuck cartridge in the pump.

    Do the least invasive things first. Check the 110Vac to the pump when there is a call for heat and 24Vac thermostat wires at the thermostat and TT connections at the aquastat. Go buy a $10 digital volt meter, like from Harbor Freight, Lowe's, or Home Depot and check your voltages.

    Tap on your zone 1 flo-chek lightly with a hammer or manually open it with the knob on top, it may be stuck or you may not be getting enough head energy from the circulator to open it.

    More invasive, breaking into the zone 1 circuit. If the voltage at the pump J-box is 110V ac when there is a call for heat, then I would look at the pump cartridge. The installers were kind enough to put a yellow handled ball valve on top, but no isolation valve on the bottom so you are going to have to drain the system to get to the pump rotor.

    These are my thoughts.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Change the batteries in the thermostat?
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    Your gauge (Tridicator) seems to indicate from your picture a pressure at about 20 psi and a temperature at about 180 degrees as far as I can tell.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    I can't tell from your photo but it appears that you have spring loaded check valves before the Taco flo-cheks. If so that would be a redundancy.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    Thermostat is a T87 -- so no batteries. Thank goodness for that! The key to your situation is either no circulation in that zone, or very little. The question is... why.

    @HomerJSmith 's instructions are very good -- but if you don't care for poking around with meter probes, there's also a gadget you can get at the big box which is a non-contact voltage indicator -- the one I use looks like a small screwdriver -- which has a neon bulb in it when the tip of the screwdriver is held near a wire with voltage on it. Handy. Try that on the pump, and see if it is getting power.

    If you feel more ambitious, you can try taking the thermostat off the wall and undoing one of the wires and touching it to the other one -- that should make the pump run. If it doesn't, that suggests that the thermostat is OK, but that the word isn't getting through the control circuits to the pump. You could find the other end of the thermostat wires, and short them together without disconnecting them -- that should make the pump run again; if it doesn't there may be something wrong in the thermostat wires.

    You may also need to find a serviceman, not a parts changer...


    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    DZoro
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    If you feel more ambitious, you can try taking the thermostat off the wall and undoing one of the wires and touching it to the other one -- that should make the pump run. If it doesn't, that suggests that the thermostat is OK, but that the word isn't getting through the control circuits to the pump. You could find the other end of the thermostat wires, and short them together without disconnecting them -- that should make the pump run again; if it doesn't there may be something wrong in the thermostat wires.

    You may also need to find a serviceman, not a parts changer...


    So jerk guy called this morning and I don't want him touching my boiler anymore. He is voiding my check (which was half his payment) at the behest of his partner/gf.

    Meanwhile, old boiler guy who has seen it all came and changed out the thermostat - so I DO now have a battery meh. We had tracked it down to either that or possibly the wires between the t-stat and the beast in the basement.

    New t-stat didn't seem to make any difference. I'm going to turn my space heaters off when I hit the sack, and I can almost guarantee it will be 60 something downstairs tomorrow morning. I've taken tomorrow off from my job so that I can be here for him to come back tomorrow to do further investigations.

    If this is how 2018 is going to be, I'm gonna go hibernate somewhere. Wake me when 2019 is here.
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    You have a different parts-changer, now. If he thought it was a bad t-stat, all he had to do, to test it, was twist 2 wires together. If the heat went on, the t-stat was bad.
    DZoromssue
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    Paul48 said:

    You have a different parts-changer, now. If he thought it was a bad t-stat, all he had to do, to test it, was twist 2 wires together. If the heat went on, the t-stat was bad.

    He actually did test it - it was done. It was 25 years old and been through a family of 4 so I guess it had done it's time. The upstairs one is the same thing, but has seen less adjustments so has fared better.
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    Sadly, I probably NEED a parts changer at this point (installed in '93) I just need the RIGHT parts changer that changes the RIGHT part instead of the one that fits his/her wallet best....
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,433
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    mssue said:

    Paul48 said:

    You have a different parts-changer, now. If he thought it was a bad t-stat, all he had to do, to test it, was twist 2 wires together. If the heat went on, the t-stat was bad.

    He actually did test it - it was done. It was 25 years old and been through a family of 4 so I guess it had done it's time. The upstairs one is the same thing, but has seen less adjustments so has fared better.
    How did he test it? The T87 is pretty darn near bulletproof. I have two which date to somewhere in the '70s and still work just fine, thank you.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    Look. Why not show your service man these posts?

    If you have partial heat coming from the heat emitters that tells you something. You have a flow problem and not a thermostat problem which is the easiest thing to prove by just jumping the thermostat wires where they connect to the relay box.

    I have given you many suggestion on what could cause a flow problem in your system. You got to look at the symptoms and go from there, checking everything that could cause those symptoms.

    A bad thermostat has to prove itself and it hasn't. The T87's are pretty bullet proof as has been said and they don't click as they have a silent mercury bulb. Why is it when we hear hoof beats, we think of zebras instead of horses? It is easy to replace a thermostat and hope that will cure the problem, but your service guy should have gone to the boiler to jump the thermostat wires to prove it.

    These posts provided you with plenty of ideas which you haven't followed up on.

    You should be asking question of your service guys. Why do you think that you need to replace the aquastat or why do you think you need to replace the thermostat? And the answers should be cognizant and logical and not--"Duh, I think it will solve the problem." I always explain the concept of the failure and the solution to my customers whether they understand it or not. Sometimes their eyes do glaze over, but you're involving them in the process.
    mssue
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    Old boiler guys that think they know it all are particularly annoying to those of us that do. It's a joke, folks.
    Paul48unclejohn
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
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    Next, you'll be telling us that you thought you made a mistake once, but you were wrong. :wink:
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    This site needs a little humor, it's much too serious.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    Hiring the"RIGHT parts changer that changes the RIGHT part" can be pretty expensive, you may just end up with a new system.
    mssue
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
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    OP- did you have a go at the "Find a Contractor" link on the main page here? Seems like both of the "techs" you had visit were completely clueless or just prolonging the job in search for more $$.

    No heat to a zone with a working boiler at 180F has to be one of the most basic repairs there is... you have a limited amount of components to check/troubleshoot and the results should be immediately evident.

    First a new aquastat, then a new t-stat? What's next a new barometric damper... yeah, that will fix it!

    Try the "Find a Contractor" link on the main page....

  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    Well, of course now it's warmed up. The new t-stat is holding it's own today. The digital seems to work a bit differently from the old kind. I have to keep the setting about 2 degrees higher than I want it to be BUT the weather is warmer. 1st guy came out & told me that he turned DOWN the boiler temp TO 180 FROM 190 when he installed that aquastat, so I think between that and the thermostat being kinda shot (it really was - that last day I could turn it up or down and it randomly clicked or not) is what kept it from working. I think once that is adjusted back to what it was, it will hold even when it's 0 out like it was a couple of days ago. It held fine today and nobody did anything to it, but it was in the upper 20s today and not 0.

    ps. I DID read these posts to the 'old boiler guy' and he agreed! Of course, I read them to him after he did most of what you suggested :) I'm not sure how he is with the digital stuff, though, so I may have to do some research on how to adjust that temperature myself - is that a possibility do you think?
  • mssue
    mssue Member Posts: 10
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    Thankfully, first guy left the manual, though it's kind of technical.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    mssue, you'll find out if it was the thermostat when the outside temp reaches 0 deg and zone 1 reaches the thermostat set point. I wouldn't be doing my high fives until then. The warmer the outside temperature is the less BTU's needed in the house to reach your comfort level.

    I know that zone 2 reaches its set point, so the boiler has the horse power to heat your house regardless of the outdoor temp if you have the heat emitters necessary to supply those BTU's.

    Flow is the conveyor belt of BTU's. If you have the boiler output and the baseboard or heat emitters necessary for the lowest degree day and you are not reaching your comfort level, I look, first, at flow.

    All you had to do is follow paul48's or my advise and connect or jumper the thermostat wires and it would have told you in a matter of hours whether the thermostat was defective as you would of had the same amount heat in zone1 as zone 2, with the thermostat out of the circuit, indicating a bad thermostat.

    I hope it was the thermostat, a 0 deg day will tell.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,616
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    Good god. Is their no one left in the business (other than Wallies of course) that can fix even the simplest of problems?

    Technician shortage?? These guys should be ashamed to get paid for what they do (and don't do).

    They guy that started his own business hasn't got a chance
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,468
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    Why do you "have to keep the setting about 2 degrees higher than...(you)...want it to be"?

    The thermostat manual should have the directions to adjust your thermostat reading up or down a couple of degrees. Most digital thermostats have an adjustment.

    You need an accurate bulb type or meter type thermometer along side your thermostat to compare the readings to determine whether you need to adjust the thermostat. The old thermostat could have been displaying the reading inaccurately.
  • NY_Rob
    NY_Rob Member Posts: 1,370
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    Good god. Is their no one left in the business (other than Wallies of course) that can fix even the simplest of problems?

    It's mind boggling that not just one, but even a second "HVAC Tech" could not correctly diagnose and correct a "Heating 100" level problem!

    And these are the guys who are going to install and maintain mod-cons? :'(