heat rising to second floor in 2 zone hydronic system

Discussion in 'Plumbing Forum, Professional & DIY Advice' started by magicalpig, Apr 6, 2006.

  1. magicalpig

    magicalpig New Member

    Oct 28, 2005
    New Jersey
    Hi everyone,

    In my home, which uses a 2-zone hydronic heating system, I've found that in my costly efforts to get the downstairs floor heated to a decently comfortable temperature during the day, the second floor is heated well above 70 degrees, even though only the first floor circulator is running.

    It seems as though the water in the boiler heats up and then rises up the pipe to the second floor passing through the inactive pump for that floor. The first floor pump is running, but I guess too much heat is being lost upstairs for it to do its job effectively.

    Each pump has a slotted valve which only seems to turn and turn and never tighten. I can't find anything about these valves, if that's what they are, but I'm guessing theyre used to close off a zone. That doesn't really make sense to me though, because then I'd have to run to the basement and give this valve a quarter turn whenever I want the upstairs to get flow.

    I'm going to stop here with this, on the chance that this is something very simple and common which many people will recognize after my first few sentences. Otherwise I'll come back with more details and pictures. I'm hoping the first case though..
    Thank you everyone

  2. Bob NH

    Bob NH In the Trades

    Oct 20, 2005
    New Hampshire
    Did it ever work right or is this a newly implemented project?

    There should be check valves to prevent one pump from causing back flow in the other circuit. Sometimes the check valves are in the pump.

    Here are some things you can do to aid in the diagnosis:

    If the system is new, make sure any check valves and the pumps are installed in the correct direction. If it worked well before, they are probably in the correct direction.

    Draw a flow circuit diagram including circulating pumps, all tees and valves, and the boiler. Contemplate that diagram and see if anything jumps out at you. Post it here if you can.

    With both circuits cool, turn on the thermostat to cause circulation in the downstairs circuit. Then, using your hand to check temperature, determine if there is flow in the upstairs circuit (pipe will get hot) and direction of flow (which end gets hot first).

    Check to make sure that ONLY the downstairs circulator comes on when doing the test above. They are quiet and you will have to look closely or feel the motor to see if it is on.

    Post the results of the test.

    Now to the valves. They are probably plug valves (miserable things that will become difficult to turn). They can be used to balance flows in systems, or to isolate the circuits.
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