Half the apartment getting no heat!

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Old 01-26-16, 08:49 PM
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Half the apartment getting no heat!

Hi, guys. Need some help here. Having an issue with heating. Have some thoughts, but need to ask here before trying anything.

I will preface and say I have no current pics, I can take some tomorrow and post. But I'll do my best to explain.

I have an oil-fired boiler system, and hot water baseboards.
Half of the apartment is getting hot, the other half is not.

This is a single-floor apartment.

I have followed the lines, and this is what I can find:

The hot water comes out of the boiler, into a 1.5 inch copper pipe that runs the length of the basement. Ont he other end of the basement, there is a t-connector, and the line then branches left, and straight.

Straight, is a 1-inch copper line to the laundry room, back down, then the kitchen, dining room, living room, and then back into the boiler in it's own return.

The line that goes left goes to the back bedroom, back down, up to the bathroom, the master bedroom, the mudroom, then back to the boiler via it's own return. Also 1-inch pipe.

Yes, even though there is one zone, and one source, the 1.5 branches to 2 separate loops each with their own return to the boiler. Why? I dunno.

Either way, the line that branches left to the bedrooms etc.... is cold. No heat. At all. The other loop is fine.

In fact, I can feel right at that t-connector where it branches to the 2 separate ways, that there is no warmth in the left loop. It seems as if heat, or hot water itself, does not get into that loop.

There IS water in the loop. I was able to verify that. The left line also goes upwards at an angle for 8 inches before straightening out. I thought maybe the pressure was too low to make it up that 8 inch climb, but heck, if the water can make it up intot he baseboards and back down again, multiple times, on the other loop, long after the T-connector, than an 8-inch diagonal climb should be no issue.

Airbound maybe? Right at that t-connector?
Maybe the t connector isn't a simple t-connector as it appears to be?
Sediment/blockage?

Other thoughts?

The pressure IS low, not sure why, I will adjust that in the morning. Aside from hat, I have a couple thoughts on how to go about this.

1. Drain the system, remove that T-connector, see what I've got, clear out any sediment or blockage, repair, fill system and test. This should solve any blockage issues, or if the T is not a T and is something else.

2. Try to backfeed with a pump and clear the lines. May work if airbound, but if sediment may make things worse.

Anything else I can try?

And yes, I know I may sound like an idiot suggesting that the t may not be a t, but I have a reason. The system is kind of a mess. It was an old coal system (circa 1930) and at some point was converted to an oil fired convector system. And I mean true convector, large pipe source with separate 1-way feed and return lines into every single Trane convector.
Then, at some point converted to hot water baseboard loop system. And remnants remain from all of it.

I'm not sure that what I'm looking at truly is what appears to be.

To make it worse, there is another boiler for the 2nd floor, itself a similar mess. Although that one was never converted to baseboard. It's still old-school convectors. That's another post for another time. First things first.

Sorry for the long post, thought all the detail was necessary, especially with the lack of pics. Please help! Bedrooms are near freezing while the rest of the house is 68. It's horrible.
 
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Old 01-26-16, 09:33 PM
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I'm guessing this is your apartment....

I'm not the boiler pro but don't drain the system. Every time you drain it the purging/bleeding has to start all over. I would severely doubt a Tee could be plugged like that.

Low pressure will keep the water from traveling where it's supposed to.

We'll see if someone has an idea. I do know that pictures, especially around the boiler, are a big help. http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html
 
  #3  
Old 01-26-16, 09:46 PM
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My first question is to ask if you OWN this apartment. If you RENT then you do NOTHING as the system belongs to the owner and anything YOU do could be considered as making the problem rather than an attempt to fix the problem.

Second question, Is this something that has existed for a long period of time? About how long? Has it gotten progressively worse over time?

What is the vertical distance from the bottom of the boiler to the top-most part of the heat emitter? What pressure and temperature is showing on the boiler gauge?

For any real suggestions I need to see a picture of this mysterious tee fitting. Several more pictures, mostly from far enough away to determine how everything fits together will also help. Pictures MUST be in focus and well lit or they are useless. It is better to upload high definition pictures to a photo hosting site and post the public URLs here than to post directly to the forum. Do NOT use tinypic as the forum specifically excludes tinypic.
 
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Old 01-27-16, 05:57 AM
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Thanks for the replies, guys.

To answer the question, yes I own the building.

And no, it's not my apartment. Which is why I can't get pics until this morning when I go back to the house to work on it.

I do not know exactly how long this problem has existed. I have owned the property for 4 years, the first 2 the tenants that were there chose alternative means of heat due to the prohibitive cost of oil.

The 3rd year was a new tenant, who never reported any issues. However they were the type to NEVER report an issue no matter what. I have no clue if it worked right for them, or if the issue was there. They always told me no problems.

Current tenant is the one who reported the issue.

I am wondering if a video may help? Does the forum have any issues with posting youtube links?
That way I can walk the line and post the vid.

Otherwise pics on a 3rd party site will have to do.

Unfortunately I'm left tackling this myself. Just coming off a renovation of the 2nd floor where the tenant (a former friend no less) took off mid-lease leaving behind 10k + in damage. Plus my wife broke her foot partway into the reno, leaving me with footing the bill for the rehab + no income from her during the process while she is out of work and healing. Oh joy.

I have nothing left with which to hire a heating contractor to fix it.

I'll have pics and/or a vid up as soon as I get there and take them. Thanks again, guys. Looking forward to your responses.
 
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Old 01-27-16, 08:33 AM
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A link to a you tube video is ok.
 
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Old 02-01-16, 01:27 PM
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OK, guys. Sorry for the lack of response so far. Been dealing with a whole host of other issues.

At any rate, I went there on the 27th and took a video and a bunch of pics. Now I just have to figure out how to get them off of my phone and onto here. (I'm cell challenged - never had one before as I am hearing impaired - not deaf, just impaired. Only got one recently so I could text people)

I worked on the system, and it seems as if I was air bound pretty badly. I was able to work it out, and after several hours of working on it FINALLY got water flowing through both sides of the split loop.

Again, why they split a single source into to loops with 2 returns is beyond me. Makes no sense. Would have been easy to dual-zone it.

Anyway, I seem to have another issue now. Previously, when only the right half of the loop was working, it would get as hot as you wanted it - in that part of the house. 65, 70, even 80. No problems. (tenant accidentally left it at 82 while they were gone, boy was it hot)

Now that both haves of the loop are working again, the temp won't go past 65. Ever. Regardless of what the thermostat is set at. The boiler shuts off long before the temp can pass 65.

WTH? Not sure why this would be.
Also, the boiler won't pass 160 despite being set at 170.
Cold pressure 12, hot 15.

Boiler model is a HB Smith Wells.
Not a Wells this, or a Wells, that. Just Wells. I have a feeling it's so old it predates HB Smith making different Wells models.
There is no serial, or any plate or label with any identifying information about the boiler at all.
Just says HB Smith one the left, and Wells on the right. And has a plate stating PSI levels and the info #15-1500-100-1000 Smith-Mills

There is a patent number on the boiler, 2316945 which when google searched, brings me to a filing made in 1940, granted in 1943.

This seems to be a very old boiler.

I hope to figure out the pic issue this evening. In the meantime, can anyone help me with this continuing boiler saga?
Maybe some info on the boiler itself while we're at it? (I searched for HOURS, and all I came up with is the info on the patent)
 
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Old 02-01-16, 07:34 PM
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how to get them off of my phone and onto here.
http://www.doityourself.com/forum/el...-pictures.html


Again, why they split a single source into to[sic two] loops with 2 returns is beyond me.
You may be missing balancing valves where you have two or more loops in parallel.


Note Figure 1 [Page 1, pdf] Hydronic System Piping Alternatives[pdf]
Table [Page 3, pdf] Branch to riser pressure drop ratio.
In figure 1 their should be balance valves where the loops join the system return header.

The importance of pressure differential in a hydronic system Attachment 62098 [pdf]

The importance of pressure differential in a hydronic system[pdf] <-- DEAD LINK
 
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Old 02-14-16, 08:09 PM
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Ok guys. After working great for 2 weeks, the tenant ran out of oil. Got a delivery, started the boiler back up, and again, only heat in the one side. It will not travel to the other side of the house.

There is no air, I've re-bled everything. All is as it was. I'm at a loss. Finally, here's some pics:

Postimage.org / gallery - 0126161508, 0126161508a, 0126161509, 0127161400, 0127161400a

If that link doesn't work let me know I'll try something else.

You can clearly see the problem T connector. Hot water just won't go up that bend to the other side of the house. You can also see the 2 returns.

I'm also wondering how hard would it be to just make it a true 2 zones. Would that maybe solve the issue?
 
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Old 02-15-16, 10:07 AM
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There is no air, I've re-bled everything.
Do not purge/flush air from Air control systems ie. Compression tanks

For best preformance the line connecting the tank to the boiler should slope up to the tank and be 3/4" so air and water can pass each other.
 
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Old 02-15-16, 10:28 AM
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again, only heat in the one side. It will not travel to the other side of the house.
You need a circuit setter/balance valve (globe valve) installed in each return line. Do not use the isolation valves, gate valves are only designed to be fully open or closed.

We need to calculate the minimum flow required in each loop to reliably move air back to the boiler where it can return to the compression tank.

Example of a DIY circuit setter Caleffi 132 circuit setter with flow gauge. Even a professional can't goof up.
 
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Old 02-15-16, 01:01 PM
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When I say bled everything I meant all of the baseboards.

So, as far as the balance valves go, if I understand it right, I install one on each return, and by reducing the flow a little in one side of the split loop, the other will get more flow? (simplified, obviously)

Kind of goes with what I was thinking, that the hat water was just bypassing the T for the most part, and only going through that one loop, as it was the path of least resistance. It's mostly straight all the way back to the return. The other goes up as you can see, and is a veritable mess all the way back to it's return.

Anyone have any information at all, or at least recognize the boiler?

I have 2 of these beasts. Would like to sort issues with the 2nd out after this problem gets resolved. Another thread for another time. But if anyone has any info, I can at least research it.
 
  #12  
Old 02-15-16, 01:35 PM
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That's just a old dry base.Worked on some.HB Smith hasn't been in business in some time.They were in Mass. Made some good and bad models. FD12 for instance was a bad one. Haven't read your whole thread but if water hasn't been moving in a zone might be frozen by now. Good luck.
 
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