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hubbard 01-15-2013 11:42 AM

Bleeding radiators and adding water
I have a gas fired Burnham Hydronics boiler. I am going to bleed the radiators as the first floor is not heating up like it used to. I have a two story house with the boiler in the basement. I know to use the key, release air until water starts to come out. But I don't know how much water to add to the system after doing this. Also, do I do this with the heat turned so low it is off? And, does it make any difference which floor I bleed first? Thanks in advance for your help. This site is great. Have always gotten first rate suggestions!

Bondo 01-15-2013 06:39 PM

Ayuh,.... Somewhere, you've got a water feed valve to the system,...

It should have an Auto-feed valve that holds yer system to 12 psi, minimum...

How about some pictures of the near boiler plumbing, pumps, valves, etc..??

There should also be a Temp/ pressure gauge,... What's it say,..??

Yer system flows in 1 direction, from the top of the boiler to it's bottom,...
Bleed the system in the same direction, 'n flows...
Hot, or cold...

how 01-15-2013 07:00 PM

There is different preferences on the rules for removing air. Lower water pressures allows the diffused air bubbles to emerge for bleeding but if it's set too low, your top rads will start sucking in air when you try to bleed them.
The pump "on or off" is a matter for debate.
I have more consistant success with rad bleeding with the pump off and at least 5 more psi than it takes to get the water to the top of the system but it depends on whether the bleed valves are truely the highest point on the run. 12 to 15 PSI should be enough for yours.

You will only need to replace the water that escaped in the bleeding if you normally keep the inlet water feed valve to the boiler off. It just involves turning the inlet feed valve on for a moment. Your pressure reducing valve will control the volume.

If it's normally left open then the system will refill itself as needed.

Rad bleeding with the pump "on" is done from the bottom to the top.
Rad bleeding when the pump "off" can be done either way.

beenthere 01-16-2013 06:16 AM

Bleed bottom to top. After doing so, also drain the expansion tank, as it may be full and the rads were acting as the expansion tank.

oh'mike 01-16-2013 06:22 AM

If the line has its own pump---consider the possibility that the pump is shot----Bleed first---if that doesn't fix the problem---check that pump.

hubbard 01-23-2013 11:15 PM

I've been hesitant to bleed the radiators because of the refilling part of the process. If I only let out a tiny bit of water with each
radiator can I bleed without refilling? There are so many pipes leading in and out. Most have orange levers which seem to lead to the pipes feeding the radiators - they are going in the direction of the pipes which I think means they are open. One pipe leading in has blue levers - these levers are not positioned in the direction of the pipes which I take it to mean closed. I'm thinking the blue levers I need to turn parallel to the pipes to add water but i don't know why there are two. Also, it looks like they may have been installed strangely, because if you read the lever it has an arrow showing close, but if you were to turn it as the arrow shows, you would actually be turning the lever so that it is in line with the pipe, which I have always thought meant open.

how 01-24-2013 12:04 AM

If the boiler's water feed is open, then the boiler will automatically refill any bleeding you do if the pressure reducing valve is working... The boiler water feed valve will be on the same line as the vaccum breaker and pressure reducing valve.
If the handle on that valve lines up with pipe, it's open, if it's perpendicular to the pipe, it's closed.

beenthere 01-24-2013 04:41 AM

Post pics of pipes, boiler, and valves.

hubbard 01-24-2013 11:43 AM

boiler photos
6 Attachment(s)
Here's the boiler. I added a close up of the blue lever so you can read the writing about before the flow, close etc. If a crucial pic is missing I can download more. Hope this is useful.

how 01-24-2013 12:12 PM

I see the vaccum breaker and a couple of blue valves shut off below it and up by the ceiling. That would usually be the incoming line. Normally I'd just get you to open up both of them but since I can't see a pressure reducer on that line, don't touch anything yet.
Are you on a city water supply?
Can you take a photo of that line from a different angle?

hubbard 01-24-2013 03:01 PM

Additional Pics of boiler with water source included
6 Attachment(s)
These are taken from where the water comes into the house, along the line, and to the boiler. With an overall which I hope helps. Yikes, they are all sideways. Will try to post right way up.

hubbard 01-24-2013 03:11 PM

Additional boiler pics from source to boiler - ignore these all photos posted next
6 Attachment(s)
Here are some photos beginning where the water supply comes into the house proceeding along the line to the boiler. Ignore these too as one of the pics us upside down

hubbard 01-24-2013 03:19 PM

Photos from water source to boiler
6 Attachment(s)
I hope these angles/shots are better. There are two blue valves in the closed position.

oh'mike 01-24-2013 03:24 PM

I'm going to ask one question--how old is the pump?

Do you hear gurgling or any other sign that you have air in the pipes?--Okay that's two---

Now I'm out of here----

hubbard 01-24-2013 03:27 PM

no I do not hear gurgling I just have plenty of heat upstairs and hardly any down. It is 60 brrrrrrrrr

The whole boiler was put in maybe in 2006

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