F*&%ing heat...

Greetings ~
It went to single digits last night here in MA last night, and my crap heating system had the house at about 62 this moring.
I had a service tech come out last week to check my insufficient heat issue, and we narrowed it down to one of the outbound pipes off the burner in the basement that is not getting hot. The pipe in question forks off to three radiators that only get luke-warm at best.
Tech was going to check with his boss, who was going to get back to me - essentially he said two guys had to come down, drain the system, then check for faulty valves in the system and make sure the pipes were flowing.
This of course is not covered by the service plan I have with Petro Oil.
Any ideas as to what the problem is, and what the cost might be to cure?
Damn I hate winter.
Bluesman
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

spring, and three days of fall.
I'm in Houston, it's 68 outside. Haven't turned the heat on since back in January.
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On 21 Dec 2004 08:23:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

Bleed air out of the system? Start at the radiator furthest and highest from the boiler and work your way backwards.
BB
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What valves? Some systems have a balancing valve on them to adjust the flow to different zones. If you have something like that, it may be as simple as opening and closing them if they are gunked up. Take a look and give it a try. Worked for me, YMMV.
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The radiators have been bled - and checked to make sure they are fully opened. (lefty loosey).
Ed, can you elaborate on these balancing valves you mentioned? I assume the valve is near the outbound pipe on the burner where they branch off?
I called the meatball that is supposed to be the supervisor - playing phone tag...at least it is up to 30 degrees.
Bluesman
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On 21 Dec 2004 13:23:43 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

It is highly unlikely that the pipes leading to the radiators are plugged so badly that they never get hot - especially if it is evident not far from where they leave the boiler. Water will not flow past air in the lines. Despite your insistence, I still believe you are dealing with air in the lines. That would be the most likely cause. What comes out when you open the bleeders? Is there perhaps a thermostatic vent valve on one or more radiators that is plugged? That could also inhibit circulation. Open valves on the input side of the radiator are only half the story.
BB
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temp 190, psi 20.
The radiators have a round valve on the right, and just a pipe on the left for return, but I will bleed the SOB's again just to be sure.
If the big pipe in the basement isn't getting hot, I have to think that is where the issue is, no? I couldn't get the tech today - try again tomorrow...
Bluesman
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On 21 Dec 2004 15:49:04 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

Often times, no. That is why I keep pointing you elsewhere. If the water can't go where it is supposed to because of an air bubble, that pipe will remain cold even if it has no obstructions..
BB

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BB might be a genius...
Last night I got home, cranked the thermo from 62 to 72, and got aggravated as the boiler went to 190 degrees, but the radiators were shit.
I figured what the hell, bleed all of the radiators again, what do I have to lose?
NONE of the radiators had any air in them at all - still, I drained about 6 oz. from each one - all of them spit out clear, hot water.
That did nothing, I figured...but 10 minuted later, one of the luke warm radiators became too hot to touch! Then the temp started to rise! Another 20 minutes, and the temp in the house was 75 degrees!
I remain confused - if that bleeding of water made something happen, how? (I am not complaining, mind you...)
The system is essentially a big loop that runs back trhough the boiler that keeps all the radiators hot - how does air get introduced? And what can I do to keep this from happening? (I am not convinced that I fixed anything - I can see myself having to bleed 8 radiators every day to get them as hot as they were yesterday...)
I hope when I get home from work and go from 62 to 72, that they will work again...
My fingers are crossed....
Thanks,
Bluesman
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snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

Six ounces? I usually bleed a quart from each radiator ( at a guess, it's a one pound coffee can ). Somewhere, one of my books said to bleed at least that much but I can't find the reference right now. I'd bleed a quart today if I were you.
Sure cheaper than replacing the pipes, wasn't it?
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On 22 Dec 2004 05:57:10 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

Usually it's caused by boiler pressure set too low. Pump placement and a few other things can have an effect but I'll bet if you raise the boiler pressure a couple of pounds and leave the supply water on all year to maintain the pressure, your problems will be over.
Dan
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The pressure is usually between 20 -25 psi @ 160-190 degrees. If that seems low, what psi should I be running?
Should I have a tech come out just to juice the pressure, or is that something that can be done homeowner style?
Keep in mind this thing (weil-mclien gold WGO) is only 7 years old - and I never had these issues in all that time.
Ed, I will re-bleed a quart each again tonight, starting furthest to nearest. I will sit there and take 5 gallons out of each one if I need too.
Yesterday when I was bleeding them, one radiator has a funky release on the bleeder that I had to use needle nose pliers to loosen - well, when I tried to re-tighten, it wouldn't go and the cup was almost filled - so "three stooges style" I ran for the kichen for a bigger pot so I would have time to re-tighten the thing. That one drained a good 1/2 gallon, I think!
Thanks guys.
Bluesman
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On 22 Dec 2004 05:57:10 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

Bleeding cures the symptom, not the problem. Until you solve the problem, you will periodically need to bleed the system.
Shut off the boiler and the pump. Drain water from the boiler until cold water starts feeding into the boiler. Wait until the fill water stops feeding into the boiler. What is the pressure at which it stops feeding? What is the vertical height of your hot water system from bottom of boiler to highest point?
_______________
Gary R. Lloyd CMS HVACR Troubleshooting Books/Software Written by a veteran Service Technician
https://www.merchantamerica.com/tmethod /
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Might need a new air eliminator. Spirovents are expensive but I did see a cutaway Spirovent on a display one time, at a HVAC trade show. Really neat gadget.
--

Christopher A. Young
Keep Jesus Christ in CHRISTmas
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In my case I have two heat zones. The copper tubing leaves the heater and goes up to the ceiling and starts a horizontal run. Each zone has a Taco Sweatcheck valve in the line. On the top is a thumbscrew. I had a problem with one zone and all I did was turn the crew a few time and put it back in the same place. Problem fixed. I don't know if your house would have the same situation.
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Is your circulator kicking on. I have a few radiators that have a hard time getting warm when the boiler temp doesn't get warm enough to kick the circulator on.
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On 21 Dec 2004 08:23:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

What is the water temperature and pressure?
Gary R. Lloyd CMS HVACR Troubleshooting Books/Software Written by a veteran Service Technician
https://www.merchantamerica.com/tmethod /
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On 21 Dec 2004 08:23:48 -0800, snipped-for-privacy@netscape.net wrote:

Really hard to diagnose without seeing it. One possibility is that this could be a uni-flow type zone. Sometimes these are hard to get started. You might try turning off the other raidiators to see if that makes these warm up, if so, open the others again and all should be well. But like I said, that's a long shot. You might check heatinghelp.com to see if the folks there can help you.
Dan
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