Not your run of the mill Frozen Pipes problem


Last week woke up and the downstairs main heating zone was not heating. A second zone feading just 1 room was working and floors 2 & 3 (separate zones) had heat also. The pipe run actually goes from the furnace, along the wall of the dining room to the living room where it's baseboard heat, to the closet, where it's bare insulated pipe, back down the opposite wall of the living room as baseboard to the addition, where it runs underground, pops up into a radiator, in the furthest room, then on the return hits another radiator in the addition, then back underground to the dining room and another radiator then back to the furnace.
I know this is a riduclously long run, all told probably atleast 120ft (living room is 25ft long alone)
Rented the pipe dethawer "Hot Shot 300" and spent the better part of a day with this puppy clamped to all possible combinations of pipe. Finally called a plumber who spent 3 hours the next day with the same machine doing the same thing, before it got to 5 where he stated time and a half. He suggested we try and get these rooms above 75 degrees for 48 hours. I've had the further most addition room accidentally up to104 degrees with a 'jet' LP heater but haven't had the temperature drop below 55 degrees for 3 days (at night we just leave electric radiators on).
The circulator is running and I'm able to bleed all radiators, can the pipes possibly still be frozen? At night it's been down to 5 degrees. We're on concrete slab, so no basement but I have an electric radiator sitting on the concrete in the general area between the original house and the addition where the pipes run underground (in the middle of some rennovation also).
Any ideas on what else to try would be much appreciated. thanks Ian
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It's hard to see how.

Defective thermostat, defective zone valve, defective wiring, defective circulator relay, major water leak -- that's about it. :-)
You haven't posted enough information to narrow it down any better than that. How many circulators in the system? Just one, or does this zone have its own, dedicated circulator? Presumably, there's a zone valve somewhere, to control water flow into the zone -- what type? Does it work? Have you tried swapping a thermostat in from one of the zones that has heat? Have you used a voltmeter to verify proper voltages at the thermostat, zone valve, and circulator relay?
--
Regards,
Doug Miller (alphageek at milmac dot com)
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Doug Miller wrote:

Second on the zone valve. They seem to have a fairly high failure rate and should be among the first few things to check. They usually have a manual override lever on them as well so you can still get them opened when they fail.
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OK, within minutes of actually posting my wife called to tell me the heat started working, thanks for all the good karma or whatever it was. Anyway, to fill in the blanks, not that it matters much now. All zones have their own circulators. Didn't do any testing with the thermostat it was still controlling the heat (when I turned it up the circulator would come on and likewise when I dropped it, it would turn off). Thanks for the heads up on the failing valves, I'll keep that in mind for the future. Sorry for not providing enough info. I was 'spoilt' with a simple hot air system in my previous house. This one is a total rats nest of pipes going every which way, that I'm still getting to grips with. Although it's a heck of a lot better than a hot air system IMHO
Ian

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