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Old 02-05-2013, 12:55 PM   #1
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


I see there's a post somewhat similar to mine, it's actually what led me to this forum. I'm trying to find some possible answers to my problem.
First, we have a oil furnace that we're almsot certain is original (house was built in 1977. House is only about 1400sq. ft.
We have baseboard heaters though, not radiators which is new to me. I grew up with radiators and then lived in homes with forced heat. So, when we originally walked through the house, it was fall and still not time for heat. We made sure the furnace kicked on, etc. Once it started to get cold, we noticed that it's signifigantly colder upstairs than the rest of the house. The upstairs consists of 2 closets, a bathroom, and 2 bedrooms. The windows are also orginial and need to be replaced and there's crawlspaces on both sides of the bedrooms that open up to just the underside of the roof on one side and a little bit of insulated wall. So, it's drafty and I know that it needs more insulation, again...another project on our list. I always assumed that the heat was just escaping so I bought 2 space heaters to use when it gets really cold. Now I'm noticing that the baseboard heaters in both of the bedrooms aren't ever warm. I've checked multiple times and they're always cool to the touch. I'm not sure about the heater in the bathroom because it's pretty much not used so it hasn't been a concern yet.
Is it possible that the supply to the heaters is turned off somewhere or could it be that they're all not working?
I have a service contract (it was free when I signed up to get my oil delivered) with the oil company but they can't come out until the middle of march. I've tried to google and I must not be typing in the right keywords because I keep getting info on electric baseboard heat.
FWIW, the elderly man that lived here apparently hadn't been able to go upstairs for a number of years which is why I started to think that maybe it was turned off somewhere.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give me.

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Old 02-05-2013, 01:13 PM   #2
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


If they are not "radiators" then what are they. Do they have coper or iron piping going to them. Are they air vents in the floor, in which case you would be talking about forced warm air heating. It is difficult to help you from your description. Do you have a "furnace" which is forced air OR a boiler which is hot water/steam. Let us know. Pictures would be helpful.

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Old 02-05-2013, 01:40 PM   #3
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


I am suspecting that she does have radiators, just not the big old cast units.

I would start by trying to map out where each feed and return pipe on the boiler goes to. It is posible that the house is split up into separate zones. Once you are familiar with where all the pipes go to then start looking for any valves that may be closed. It could be something as simple as that. Also, if it has separate zones there should be separate thermostats to control the zone valves. Make sure there isn't one somewhere upstairs you are not aware of. If posible post some pictures of the boiler in question so we can see what you have.
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Old 02-05-2013, 03:52 PM   #4
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasky View Post
First, we have a oil furnace that we're almsot certain is original
We have baseboard heaters though, not radiators which is new to me.
I'll take a guess that you have a BOILER not a furnace.
And baseboard radiators (see pic below).

Assuming so... you need to find a reliable mechanic to check out and
remedy the current situation and to service it in the future when needed.
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs-lo-trim-ii-accessories.jpg  
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Old 02-05-2013, 05:42 PM   #5
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by TarheelTerp View Post
I'll take a guess that you have a BOILER not a furnace.
And baseboard radiators (see pic below).

Assuming so... you need to find a reliable mechanic to check out and
remedy the current situation and to service it in the future when needed.
Ayuh,.... I'm guessin' a full annual service for the oil burner, 'n bleedin' the system to purge the air out, would probably fix it Right up...
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Old 02-05-2013, 06:59 PM   #6
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Probably has air in the system. And may not have enough water/pressure in the system to circulate the water to the second floor.

OP, what is the pressure reading on your boiler's pressure gauge.
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Old 02-05-2013, 07:51 PM   #7
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Exactly

Could be expansion tank needs air. Somewhere on your boiler you have an expansion tank. On the bottom you will see what looks like a tire fill valve. Untwist the cap over it and put a tire gauge on it. Now on your expansion tank it should say how many psi. If it doesn't match add air. A bicycle tire pump will work.

Last edited by 747; 02-05-2013 at 08:08 PM.
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Old 02-06-2013, 06:39 AM   #8
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Yes, those are exactly what I have. I guess they're baseboard radiators. See, I don't understand this at all. I have an annual service scheduled but they can't come out until March 12th. I know the pervious owners had it serviced every year. There is an expansion tank that is mounted on the ceiling of the basement/underside of the first floor room.
There's definitely not a second thermostat.
I'll check the expansion tank later today. That would be great if it were that easy to fix. I've started to try to follow pipes but we've still got a mess of stuff in the basement and I can't get to some of the spots. We downsized from 2500sq. ft. with a 2 car garage and full basement to 1375 with no garage and a basement so we've still got decluttering to do.
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll get some pics uploaded later today. I've got kids to run to school shortly.
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Old 02-06-2013, 08:49 AM   #9
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasky View Post
Yes, those are exactly what I have. I guess they're baseboard radiators. See, I don't understand this at all. I have an annual service scheduled but they can't come out until March 12th. I know the pervious owners had it serviced every year. There is an expansion tank that is mounted on the ceiling of the basement/underside of the first floor room.
There's definitely not a second thermostat.
I'll check the expansion tank later today. That would be great if it were that easy to fix. I've started to try to follow pipes but we've still got a mess of stuff in the basement and I can't get to some of the spots. We downsized from 2500sq. ft. with a 2 car garage and full basement to 1375 with no garage and a basement so we've still got decluttering to do.
Thanks for the suggestions. I'll get some pics uploaded later today. I've got kids to run to school shortly.
Ayuh,.... Annual Service is better done in the Fall, Before the season, rather than After....

What's the Pressure showin' on the boiler's gauge,..??
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:25 AM   #10
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by Bondo View Post
Ayuh,.... Annual Service is better done in the Fall, Before the season, rather than After....

What's the Pressure showin' on the boiler's gauge,..??
Well, we only moved in at the end of October and didn't get set up with oil company until November. I called at the end of December to set up a service since the last service date was Jan. 2012 and they were booked until March...so, what can you do?
I'm uploading pictures of the unit in a second but I didn't check the pressure yet. I just got home from running errands.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:29 AM   #11
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs-dscn1688.jpg

Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs-dscn1689.jpg

Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs-dscn1692.jpg

Here's some pictures of everything.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:36 AM   #12
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasky View Post
...so, what can you do?
You find someone else.

I'd start with a DIFFERENT oil supplier.
The next step is a plumbing and heating contractor.
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Old 02-06-2013, 11:57 AM   #13
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Well, I'm locked in a year contract so I can't find a new oil company right now but...I did just call them and explain to them that nobody was coming out until March but that my heaters aren't working and they're sending someone out today to look at them and it's included in my service contract.
Hopefully it's an easy fix and I'll be sure to watch and see what I can learn from them. This company had the service contract on the house before and has the history of every oil delivery, repair, etc...so that's why I went with them.
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Old 02-06-2013, 12:00 PM   #14
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Quote:
Originally Posted by mamasky View Post
Well, I'm locked in a year contract so I can't find a new oil company right now..
You may even believe that.
I call it BS

I guarantee you there are 10 other companies near you who will be happy for your business. Find one and cancel the first contract too.

Of note: what you need done is a bit more than just a "pre-season tune up" and WILL come with a service call charge and maybe for some parts too.

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Old 02-06-2013, 12:11 PM   #15
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Baseboard heat doesn't work upstairs


Well you can call it what you want. I call it what it is. Agree to disagree, whatever.
I posted here looking for some help, I got some advice, have someone coming out today to look at it (free of charge, it's included in my service contract) and I'll go from there.
Thanks for your help.

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