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Circulator Pump Noise: Can I clean the cartridge & Where's debris from?

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Sorta
Sorta Member Posts: 46
Hi all. Hoping someone might be able to shed some light & offer advice here.

I finally solved the humming/rumbling noise issue in my home's heating copper pipes. I was so happy! How? I purchased a new Taco circulator pump replacement cartridge and installed it. I was in heaven, and for three weeks the pipes were quiet.

But...the humming & rumbling is starting to come back (not as loud yet as it had been). I listened and know it is again coming from the Taco circulator pump. I'd like to try to solve this issue again, and have a few questions I'd like to ask.

1.) I suspect the humming/rumbling noise is because debris of some sort is stuck in the cartridge / impeller? (I actually don't know..is the impeller in the cartridge)
2.) Where might debris originate from? A plumber was here the other day and said he heard debris in the bottom of my water heater. He's been saying for awhile that I might want to replace the water heater (but I'm saying if it ain't broke..). But could the debris in the circulator cartridge have originated from the water heater tank?
3.) Can the cartridge be cleaned at all if I pull it out? Could I somehow clean the debris off?

Thanks for reading and I'm thankful for your help and suggestions!

Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,258
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    It would be best to see the debris to know the cause. Could be hard water scale, rust particles, magnetite, installation crud, etc.

    Depending on the brand and model some can be disassembled to flush, others have complete cartridge replacement 
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Sorta
  • bucksnort
    bucksnort Member Posts: 167
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    Maybe it's just air trapped
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,258
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    You mentioned a heating system, but also a water heater? Is this a combined heating and potable water type system, or open system?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
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    Thanks very much for your replies, hot rod and bucksnort. I'm truly a novice...so pardon if I'm not clear on some of the industry terms, etc. Trying to learn what I can.

    I just presume that it IS debris that is somehow stuck in the circulator cartridge. My circulator is a Taco0011-F4. And the cartridge I used is the Taco replacement cartridge

    https://www.pexuniverse.com/taco-0011-009rp-pump-replacement-cartridge

    Hod rod, as far as what type of debris...yikes, I'm not sure I'd be able to determine that. Any suggestions? Also, given the above info, do you think it would be worth a try for me to take out the cartridge, try to clean/flush it out and then re-install to see if that helps?

    bucksnort, I don't think it is air. I say this because we've had air in the system in the past and it was quite a different sound. And also, the same sound I'm hearing now (though softer) was the sound I experienced for a long time. And that sound immediately disappeared when I replaced the circulator cartridge. So that makes me really think the cartridge was the issue.

    Hot rod, I'm just reading about what a closed vs. open system is. Closed means "hot water cannot expand beyond the valves and mix with the municipal water". I'm not sure how to know if I have a closed or open system. Hate to ask again, but any pointers?

    Thank you two very much for your help.
  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
    edited January 2022
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    Well, I decided to take out the cartridge to clean it just in case...and sure enough, I found rusted metal pieces in the corners of the inside of the impeller! (tommy, I think you nailed it. Rusted metal on the inside of the impeller!)

    After cleaning it out and reinstalling the cartridge...it is more quiet. Still a little noise but much less in comparison.

    Now, about the pieces of rusted metal...is that just rusted metal form the metal pipes over the years? Or could it be metal from bottom of the water heater (as the plumber said he heard)?





  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
    edited January 2022
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    tommay, I actually misunderstood what you suggested about inspecting the housing that the impeller sits in. If the noise elevates more, I'm going to take the circulator off and check the housing. I'll use a steel brush to see if I can remove any possible rust areas that the impeller might be hitting. Great suggestion!
  • Derheatmeister
    Derheatmeister Member Posts: 1,549
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    Can you post pictures of your system..Boiler/Piping/Tubing/Waterheater.
    We may be able to help with find the root cause of your issues.
  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
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    Thanks for you help, all. tommay, I pulled-off the Taco circulator again, and used a metal brush to scrape the housing. And smoothed out the housing area a good amount. I collected and disgarded the rust and blocked the water pipe to prevent rust from scraping/sanding from getting in. Hopefully I cleaned it up nicely enough.

    But I DID find larger rust pieces in the impeller again! I cleaned it out again, and re-insalled the cartridge & circulator. Turned it on and seems okayish...but I am still getting the high-pitch "hum" or "whir/whistle" again. The cartridge is only a few weeks old, so I don't think it is faulty.

    Derheatmeister (great name), I took some photos (below) of my lovely boiler & water heater system. Our HVAC guys are great & provide a great service. They typically maintain it well, and I enjoy learning what I can about the boiler & water heater, so I can hopefully fix the smaller things and leave the bigger things to them. After viewing the, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

    Thanks again all.








  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 923
    edited January 2022
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    That yellow ball valve is a bypass to mix some supply water into the return to the boiler. These are typically installed to prevent thermal shock, condensation and premature boiler failure in older systems with cast iron radiators and high water content.

    @op, the bypass valve should have been set by the installing contractor to provide the correct return temperature for your system. I suggest you do not mess with it.

    Bburd
    bucksnortPC7060
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,258
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    Consider adding a dirt separator on the system, especially if it is a reoccurring problem You have plenty of piping available to add one, up and to the keft of the green circulator. If you have steel piping or cast radiators, that rust particle problem may not go away. Changing circulator pump brand or size can add additional flow velocity and bring back particles that have been lurking quietly😉
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    MikeAmannDerheatmeister
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,075
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    Looks like a Munchkin boiler that would have SS water tube heat exchanger.
    Do you have cast iron radiators or iron pipe?

    As Hot Rod said a dirt separator or even the magnet type would perhaps collect things.
  • MikeAmann
    MikeAmann Member Posts: 998
    edited January 2022
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    See this red thing? It is a hot water filter with a stainless steel screen inside and you can flush it anytime by opening the valve at the bottom. http://waterheatertimer.org/Clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html
    Usually used with hot water heaters, but I don't see any reason this couldn't be used in your heating loop AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT CAUSE A FLOW RESTRICTION.

    Edit:
    • 3/4 Inch female NPT inlet/outlet, 90 micron equivalent to 170 mesh
    • 23 gallon per minute flow rate, Max pressure 116 psi, Constructed reinforced polyamide, Max temp 176 degrees
    This may or may not meet your needs, but there are other brands available.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,258
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    MikeAmann said:
    See this red thing? It is a hot water filter with a stainless steel screen inside and you can flush it anytime by opening the valve at the bottom. http://waterheatertimer.org/Clean-sediment-out-of-water-heater.html Usually used with hot water heaters, but I don't see any reason this couldn't be used in your heating loop AS LONG AS IT DOES NOT CAUSE A FLOW RESTRICTION.
    That does look fairly restrictive for hydronic use, does it have a micron rating?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,174
    edited January 2022
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  • psb75
    psb75 Member Posts: 845
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    Please tell us what your heat emitters are. Are they baseboard fin-tube, cast iron radiators, cast iron baseboard? And yes, put a magnetic dirt separator on your system!
    PC7060
  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
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    Everyone, thank you so very much for your helpful posts. I reading through them all and trying to learn/understand. It a lot! But good stuff. So thank you.

    tommay, you said recommended to to drain the entire system, refill and flush (repeat) until it's clean. I have never attempted to do something like this. I like to learn more about how it is done. I'll search online . But if you by chance have a good site, please let me know! I'm not quite sure what that yellow valve is for, but when the HVAC service guys come to visit, they always make sure to check that it is at that position. I think it is probably as bburd says it is, though we have baseboard fin-tube heat emitters.

    hot-rod, JUGHNE, MikeAmann, PC7060...thank you all so much for such great info and photos/steps! I didn't know there was such a thing as a separator (either dirt or magnetic). I am going to look into one. I fear though, that I really don't have the skills to add anything to my piping on my own. That would be something I think for our HVAC service contractor to do should I go through with it. As far as draining the hot water heater, and attempting to clean it....that too might be out of my skillset unfortunately.

    psb75, we have baseboard fin-tube heat emitters. And I will check out the link PC7060 provided for the separators!

    Thank you all again.
    PC7060
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,174
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    @tommay - agree that topside pipe is a bit odd.  Looks like a primary / secondary configuration but there is no pump on the secondary side.  Looks the the valve is set to return a portion of the supply into the return to keep the return temp out of the condensing range but that shouldn’t be required (or good) for a condensing munchkin type unit. 
  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
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    PC7060 and tommay, can't thank you enough for your insight & helpful suggestions.

    Tommay, you are saying to drain, flush and fill....just the boiler? Not the water tank? Or do you mean the drain, flush and fill just the water tank? I'm going to refer back to the link that MikeAmann for that.
    PC7060
  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
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    I came back to this thread as I'm slowly finding the time to attack this problem. But I found that one of the main contributors of advice, tommay has apparently been banned. D'oh!

    @PC7060 Would you mind if I ask you a few follow-up questions?

    1. You said above that I have plenty of piping to install a metal/dirt catcher. You mentioned above and to the left of the green Taco circulator. I see a thicker pipe (the one with the half-closed yellow-handled valve) and then three thinner pipes connecting to that thicker pipe. Do you have a suggestion for a specific particular area?
    2. In a comment from tommay, he suggested to drain and flush my BOILER (not the water heater). What would the purpose of this be? Is it to drain-out the metal debris? And...I've been trying to find an online video that can show me how to do this...might you have one you can point me to?
    3. Should I also drain & flush the water heater tank? Is this done separately from draining the boiler?

    Thanks for your advice & help!
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,174
    edited February 2022
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    Sorta said:
    I came back to this thread as I'm slowly finding the time to attack this problem. 
    @PC7060 Would you mind if I ask you a few follow-up questions? 1. You said above that I have plenty of piping to install a metal/dirt catcher. You mentioned above and to the left of the green Taco circulator. I see a thicker pipe (the one with the half-closed yellow-handled valve) and then three thinner pipes connecting to that thicker pipe. Do you have a suggestion for a specific particular area? 2. In a comment from tommay, he suggested to drain and flush my BOILER (not the water heater). What would the purpose of this be? Is it to drain-out the metal debris? And...I've been trying to find an online video that can show me how to do this...might you have one you can point me to? 3. Should I also drain & flush the water heater tank? Is this done separately from draining the boiler? Thanks for your advice & help!
    @Sorta - I think the location comment you cited was from @hot_rod, a hydronic expert who has forgotten more about the subject  that I’ll ever know.
    I think that’s the return side on the left he is referring too. Seems like one of the vertical type Caleffi DirtMag would fit in the vertical pipe directly above the circulator right where that actuator is located. (Can someone help me out by clueing me in on the purpose of that actuator?) 

    If the return is on the right side, I’d rework the section to the right where the green air release is located to see if I could fit a DirtMagPro in there.

    Rambling here a bit but does anyone in the community know if the munchkin shown (per  @JUGHNE) need to be piped P/S or can it be primary only? The  current configuration seems to be neither fish nor fowl. 
  • Daveinscranton
    Daveinscranton Member Posts: 148
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    I had a Munchkin.  Highly restrictive.  I believe it would do better primary/secondary.  

    Best wishes 
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,174
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    I had a Munchkin.  Highly restrictive.  I believe it would do better primary/secondary.  

    Best wishes 
    Thanks Dave.  Given that PS is best and that’s what seems to be piped. I’d expect another circulator on the secondary side, did I miss it in the picture? 
  • Sorta
    Sorta Member Posts: 46
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    @PC7060 Thanks my friend. Sorry, I mistakenly thought hot-rod's comment was from you. Thank you for your help and your idea as to where to put the dirt/metal collector.

    To answer your question. There isn't another circulator. Just the one green Taco circulator you see in the photo.

    PC7060
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 1,174
    edited February 2022
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    Interesting. I’d be tempted to replace the current green air removal device with a Caleffi or Spirovent MBR, pipe the tank and supply into the bottom side of the MBR and add a circulator down stream from there to have a true primary / secondary configuration.  

    Given the age of your boiler, you can do all this when you replace the boiler.