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asguille 11-16-2008 01:46 AM

No Heat From Radiators

I hope this is the right forum. It's more of a plumbing issue than anything else, but I guess the HVAC forum could have worked too. :)

I have a 40yr old Hydrotherm boiler & the piping/rads are the same age. The radiators on the 1st floor of my house aren't working (not producing heat). There are 5 rads in total and they all connect through the same pipe - they all worked OK last year. The 4 radiators on my 2nd floor are all working fine and connect through a different pipe. After doing a bit of research I thought the problem might be a air blockage so I looked for a bleed vale on the rads. I took apart all 5 rads on the first floor and none have a bleed valve.

I traced the pipe that feeds the rads on the first floor back to the boiler itself. The hot water from the boiler tees off into two pipes. One goes to the second floor where everything works fine and the other goes to the first floor where nothing works. By touching the pipes I found the pipe that feeds the rads on the 1st floor goes cold about 6" from the tee. The pipe to the second floor is hot all the way. There are no valves between the tee and the spot where the pipe goes cold. Also, it's all copper piping if that helps.

I've already spent $1000 this year to have the boiler serviced and I'm a bit reluctant to call an contractor in. Before I make the call, does anybody have any suggestions about how I can fix this? Is there any reliable way to determine if it's a blockage or an air pocket? Should there be bleed valves on the system somewhere?

Any advise would be greately appeciated!! :)

TazinCR 11-16-2008 06:19 AM

Can you cut the heat and water, break the lines and see what the flow if any is. May be just a simple blockage, thats what it sounds like.
Make sure the heat is off and don't get scalded by the water in the pipes. Sure sounds like the tee is blocked.

biggles 11-16-2008 06:51 AM

if the raidators had no bleeders how did you bleed the air when you reinstalled them?the combination of air in all of them if they are in series is stopping the hot water from traveling onto the 1st floor off the riser that is hot to the 2nd flr.getting bleeders on all 5 problem radiators will get that floor running.

asguille 11-16-2008 07:22 PM

Thanks for all the suggestions! Turns out the problem was much simpler than I thought.

As it turns out, the contractor I had in to service my boiler and pump a few weeks ago accidentally left the pump motor OFF! My upstairs rads were probably still being heated by convection (being higher up and in a straight line) while my lower rads needed the pump to work (being lower than the boiler itself). I turned my pump back on and I now have a nice toasty warm house. :)

I also eventually found a bleed valve on the rad in my upstairs bathroom - the highest room/rad in the house.

Now all I have to do is put my 9 rad covers back on... :)

Thanks again!

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