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Old 01-06-2013, 08:39 AM   #1
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Tell me about these valves

I just bought a new house and I am trying to sort out the hydronic system. The house was built in 1978, and a lot of the work seems to be owner/brother in law type stuff. However, the heat does work, so that is a good start. There are four zones - two upstairs running baseboards and two downstairs heating the slab. After the first month's bill that showed 226 therms, I want to have a little bit better control over the system (also, of course I am doing things like sealing up the 3/4" gaps in the windows, etc.)

Issue #1: upstairs bedroom heat never really goes full on (baseboard warm, but not producing a lot), and it also does not shut off if any other zone is on, even if its thermostat is not calling for heat. I think the culprit is the zone valve. I went ahead and bought a taco zone control unit (shown partially installed in the pic) to help sort out and diagnose these issues, and it shows a call for heat but the zone valve not open. Could it be stuck partway open? I bought a new zone valve with the hope of switching out the powerheads, but it started losing water when I unscrewed it, so I guess I will have to replace the whole valve, requiring me to drain the system. Does it sound like I am on the right track?

Issue #2: what is this valve called and how does it work?

Is it a 90 degree turn from full on to full off, or is it more complicated than that?

It is one of 8 circuits on two different zone manifolds. I am trying to isolate an unused guest bed and bath. Also, my stepmother keeps her house at 58 degrees and freaks out when ours is 70, and she is coming to stay and I'd like all of us to be comfortable. I have been playing around figuring out which valves on the manifold control which floor areas. I have turned off (I think) the two valves for those two circuits. However, they are still a little warm a day and a half later. I would think that a lot of heat is stored and I just need to give it more time, but the tubing for that circuit is also still warm to the touch. Could some water still be leaking through, or is the warmth maybe the warmer water in the circuit stratifying to the highest spot next valve? Also, I would like to eventually make the guest area its own zone - can I just install a zone valve on that single circuit, so it's kind of a sub-zone?

I'm sure to have plenty more questions, but I appreciate any help you can offer with these for starters.

Thank you.


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Old 01-06-2013, 09:45 AM   #2
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You just take the motor off, not the entire head.

could be a 1/4 balancing valve, or a screw shut valve, can't ell from the pic.

Would need to run a new pipe connection to make it its own independent zone. other wise it would be a slave zone. And only get heat if the other zone it was connected to was calling for heat.

m,ay have some bleed through in the zone valve. Or could be gravity heating by stratification as you said.


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Old 01-06-2013, 10:51 AM   #3
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Issue #2....I agree with beenthere...balancing valve. I use similar versions in the stuff I can do the same thing with a Gate valve....but gate valves have this handle that just begs to be turned by people who have no business turning you use what you have. Once it's set, you lock the set screw and don't worry about it.

You can back off the locking nut and turn the screw....ccw should increase floow....grabbing the pipe and feeling the temp will give you a relative idea of flow....
Even if you are on the right track, you will still get run over if you just sit there.

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Old 01-06-2013, 12:34 PM   #4
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#1 Does the arm on the upstairs zone valve, move back and forth with a call for heat? It may be manually locked in the open position. When your controlling thermostat is calling for heat, can you easily slide the arm back and forth compared to it feeling stiff when the thermostat is off?
The motors are cheap, easy to swap out and are usually the problem if they've seized in the open position.
#2 Post 2 & 3 are correct.
Remember to blow out the accumulated dust between the fins on your baseboards. They only effectively work if the room air flow can circulate through them.
I'd get this unit serviced and get the tech to explain this system to you.
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Old 01-07-2013, 10:00 AM   #5
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Thanks for the advice. I will get a pro to take a look.

I did get a new motor, and will swap that out and see what happens.

I have the 60 gal compressor almost all hooked up in the garage, so that should give me plenty of air to blow out the base.

Thanks again.
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