What's Wrong With My Furnace ! ! !

During the winter I purchased a old house with hot water heating. No one was living in the house and the furnace was off. The cold caused some of the pipes to freeze and break. Now I have fixed those broken pipes but there is another problem. I cannot get any hot water to go up to the second floor. As far as I can determine there is not even air pressure in the line. Could it be that there is a break in the line going upstairs? The furnace is running but I do not see any water on the floor or walls. Or could it be a totally different problem? I would really appreciate any suggestions or thoughts on what is causing the problem or how I can find out what the problem is. Thank you, Robert Barch
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"rbarch"
First of all, it's called a boiler and not a furnace.
If there was a broken pipe going to the second floor, you'd find water leaking somewhere. There are several possibilities, but it might be as simple as air trapped in the lines. It could also be that the automatic fill valve isn't working. It could also be a line is choked by rust or similar debris, or something with the circulating pump, or maybe you've got zone valves stuck, or a combination of any of the above. You'll either need on site help, or do some more detective work. Maybe the air bleeders are clogged? Write back if you can give any more clues.
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The upstairs is heated by two lines ( 4 pipes going up the wall which I would imagine would be a input and a output for each line). Both lines are dead !. I have opened the valves (that remove air from the line) on both lines but nothing happens. I hear no air coming out. The valves that are on each line that open the line so water can go thru seem to be open. The circulating pump is new so that can't be the problem. The house is old probably built in the 1940s' it is small so I don't think that zone valves are being used. Whatever is happening is happening to both lines. The rest of the lines in the house are fine. Robert Barch

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We really need more info about your system in order to help solve the problem. Is it baseboard radiation or convectors? If convectors, you may need to bleed air out of them thru the air vents which are located inside the enclosure. If baseboard, you may need to purge air out of the affected zones. Check to make sure the automatic air vent on the boiler is not clogged. If it is, replace it. Is there enough pressure in the system to get the upper zones to circulate? The pressure should ideally be between 12-15lbs. to operate normally. You may have to replace the pressure reducing valve on the feed if you can't get it to adjust & maintain pressure in this range. Is each zone controlled by electric zone valves or pumps with flow controls? Honeywell zone valves are notorious for seizing up in the closed position so the zone won't circulate. As you can tell from this, trouble-shooting heating systems can be rather involved. Hope this info helps.

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The house uses baseboard heat. There are no zone valves or pumps. This is a small house there is simply a "loop" in the basement with large pipe and coming off this pipe are 1/2" or slightly larger diameter pipe going to the baseboards. When I open the air vents on the top floor nothing happens no water, no air, seems like the lines are not even attached to the system. How can I check the automatic air vents on the boiler to see if they are working or not. Maybe this is the problem. Robert Barch

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It sounds like gravity hot water with cast iron baseboard. There should be a tank in the attic that vents to the roof. This type of system is manually filled from a valve in the basement until water comes back to the basement from an overflow pipe connected to the tank in the attic.
MM
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No the system is not that old. The baseboards are the more modern type with a large copper pipe and aluminum fins (nothing in the attic). What about the air vents I think there are two very close to the boiler. Could they be the problem? they are old....Is there any way that they can be checked? Could there be just a large air bubble that is not coming out. When I do run the boiler there is a lot of noise in the pipe which sounds like the pipe is not completely filled. Robert Barch

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Do not turn the boiler on until you get a qualified plumber or steamfitter to check the system out and fill it properly. You could blow up your house.
MM
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Just Purge all the damn Vents, end of problem.

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"rbarch"
The bleeder vents are at the high points of the loop. These are the ones to bleed.
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It is still not clear to me what kind of heat you have. Your description sounds like a mono-flow Tee system. This system is very sensitive to air, and has a hard time "fixing itself". You should have at least 1 circulator pump on the boiler if it is a mono-flow tee system. I did not know you could have a gravity system with 1/2" pipe. The ones I have seen had 1 1/2" supply and returns. My experience with gravity systems is only very old ones though and perhaps newer ones can use 1/2", I just don't know of them. But in either case your problem could be trapped air. Look for bleeder vents on every piece of heat that does not work. Bleed the air out of each piece of heat.
Did they anti-freeze the system this time???
If they did the boiler fill might have been shut off and you will need to pump in more water/anti-freeze to make up for the air you bleed out.
hopefully you have bleeders on every piece of heat. Keep in mind that once you open the vents to bleed them out, they might not close back up for you and will need to be replaced; so keep some spares handy.
To answer your question: sounds like the furnace/boiler is fine; nothing.

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That's the Theory, but I find starting at the board closest then working to the Highest or farthest point saves time. ( I put bleeders on the Return side on all Boards.) * time is money....
This guy claims no Air coming out, well Air IS coming out, he just can't feel it. PLEASE don't pull the Bleeder out so the Air leaves faster..... You'll be sorry.......................................

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