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Old 01-28-2012, 09:54 PM   #1
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


I drained my hot water baseboard heating system today to replace a section of pipe and a baseboard. Upon refilling the system, I have heat in 2 out of 3 zones. The way I refilled it was I ran a hose from my outside hose to the boiler drain and ran water into the boiler until the pressure was around 15PSI. I then opened a hose fitting that I have in my attic and let the air out. I also opened the expansion tank and let air out until water flowed. When we discovered the cold zone we attempted to see if any air would come out of the red spigot, but none did. We also set that zone to OPEN to see if that would help, but no. Maybe I did it wrong . . .?

There are no bleeders at the baseboards. Just 90 degree elbows. I have three zones. One for the lower level (left in my picture), one for the middle level(middle in the picture), and one for the upper level (right in my picture). On top of the upper level there is an attic area that was refinished and there is a baseboard up there that has a hose fitting/valve attached to the end (no picture of this). This baseboard must be connected to either the lower or middle level because it was plenty hot, but my upper level just below the attic was not. This is the level where I replaced a section of pipe - about 6 feet with a 90 degree elbow that is above a bathroom I am renovating. Figured to replace it while it's exposed.

My question is how can I properly bleed the air out of the system so that my upper level will be hot? The baseboards and the line near the boiler coming from that level are somewhat warm, but I shouldn't be able to put my hand on it and leave it there. I can hear some water in the pipe returning from this level and the pipe is warm to the touch, but again, not nearly hot enough.

I know pictures help, so here they are. Thanks in advance!

Boiler Drain


Valves

This is really the picture I have that shows a lot. In the center are my three zones. They can be set to AUTO or OPEN. On the left you see the three zones returning to the boiler. They pass by the RED spigot/valve and then past the larger blue valve, through the circulator and into the boiler.

Maid-o-Mist
This is located on the same line that goes from the boiler to the 3 zones.

Expansion Tank

Valves2
Closer picture.

Return Lines
Closer picture. These run to the RED spigot and then to the blue shut off valve and then the ciculator. The one that is closest in the picture is the zone that is not getting hot

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Old 01-28-2012, 09:58 PM   #2
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


I always hate to tell someone this but, either install a bleeder or call a pro to install a bleeder.

I DO NOT RECCOMEND THIS but I have seen it before. In a pinch I have seen a saddle valve installed and used as a bleeder.

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Old 01-28-2012, 10:36 PM   #3
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


Some questions & notes on your post
If you do have a three story house, then 15 PSI may not be enough to push that air out of the top floor.
Why did you not use the house supply line that is plumbed into your boiler for the refilling?
Is your expansion tank on the ceiling or beside the boiler?
Do those zone valves have manual controls to open them?
Your auto bleed on the boiler is in a bad position to do it's job.
What does the tridicator guage on your boiler read right now in PSI & operating temp?
Can I see a picture of your fill line/ pressure reducing valve & backflow preventer (they will be beside each other). the pressure guage and of the spigot where you bled the air.
If you hear water running in the piping then it has air in it.

I can probably talk you through removing the air lock but without a properly positioned air bleed or spiro vent, the new oxygenated water that you've introduced will likely cause another air lock.
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Old 01-28-2012, 11:00 PM   #4
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


If you do have a three story house, then 15 PSI may not be enough to push that air out of the top floor.

How high can I go? I put 15PSI in there because that is what the boiler was at prior to me draining it. I didn't want to damage it. House is a split level with 4 actual levels that includes the finished attic.


Why did you not use the house supply line that is plumbed into your boiler for the refilling?


I was trying to refill the system quickly. My father said he used the hose method at his job a bunch of times without a problem.

Is your expansion tank on the ceiling or beside the boiler?


Ceiling Maybe 3 feet to the left of the boiler and 3 feet up.

Do those zone valves have manual controls to open them?


Yes

Your auto bleed on the boiler is in a bad position to do it's job.


Well, we plan to replace the system in a few years, so I will keep that in mind.

What does the tridicator guage on your boiler read right now in PSI & operating temp?

15 PSI, 120 Degrees. It was as high at 190 degrees when the boiler was on. It's nighttime now, so it's not running currently.

Can I see a picture of your fill line/ pressure reducing valve & backflow preventer (they will be beside each other). the pressure guage and of the spigot where you bled the air.

Fill Line/Pressure Valve. There is another shutoff valve to the right of the Pressure Valve. I don't think there is a backflow preventer?
Pressure Gauge
Spigot in finished attic where I bled air from.

If you hear water running in the piping then it has air in it.

Yep

I can probably talk you through removing the air lock but without a properly positioned air bleed or spiro vent, the new oxygenated water that you've introduced will likely cause another air lock.

Any help is appreciated!

Last edited by mikeym000; 01-28-2012 at 11:02 PM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 12:53 AM   #5
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


Clearing an air lock on a boiler with your equipment involves upping the pressure closer to 25PSI. The gate valves are manipulated to allow access to one side of the problem zone with the pressure reducing valve water flow while only allowing the water from opposite side of the air lock to have an exit to drain..
After looking at your equipement I deleted a couple of attempted posts describing how to try it because there are too many inherant problems with trying it yourself for a very short term gain.
I think its time to call in a pro to clear it and get him to position a air bleed valve on the boiler where all the water has to pass by below it.

Last edited by how; 01-29-2012 at 01:18 AM.
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Old 01-29-2012, 04:40 AM   #6
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


don't need bleeders just close that BLUE handled gate,connect a hose to the RED petcock ..call the zones in (or the worked zone) and the water make up (if auto reg'd) will flush the air right out.you don't need the boiler running or the circs just power to the zone valves...if they don't have a manual bar to drive them with no power....they piped the system and valved it like that so you could do an easy bleed..
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Old 01-29-2012, 07:36 AM   #7
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


A: Close the expansion tank isolation valve, and drain it. You shouldn't have left any air out of it.
B: You have a purge system, as above, close blue valve, then open red valve, and leave water run through each zone individually until they have no more air coming out, leave run for an extra minute or 2.

15 PSIG will raise the water column in your system to a height of 33 foot, so should not have a problem.
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:17 AM   #8
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


Thanks for the replies! One thing that this expansion tank does not have is a valve to isolate it. The pipe goes from top of the boiler and out to the zones. It also branches off and goes past the Maid-o-Mist then up to a "t" that splits to the water supply/pressure regulator and to the expansion tank. There are two shut off valves on each side of the regulator.

Do I force/fill the boiler from the drain valve with a hose while closing the blue valve, opening the red one and turning the zone from auto to open? Does anything else need to be done with the expansion tank or the bleeder valve on the attic baseboard? Thanks!
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Old 01-29-2012, 10:25 AM   #9
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Need Help Bleeding Baseboards/Boiler [PICS INSIDE]


By shutting of the system valves, you can isolate the expansion tank, and drain it.

Purging th system is done by closing the blue handle valve. Attaching a garden hose to teh drain valve with the red handle. opening it, and then one of the zones. And then using the fast fill of the auto feed you feed water until no more air is left in that zone. Then open next zone, and lose the one you just did. Repeat for third zone. then switch auto feed back to auto, and close all valves you opened, and open the blue handle valve.

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