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Thread: 2 zone, hot water upstairs, steam radiators downstairs

  1. #1
    DIY Junior Member 2zone's Avatar
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    Default 2 zone, hot water upstairs, steam radiators downstairs

    House with apartment upstairs. Heat is included in tenants rent. Recently, the weather turned and the tenants turned up their thermostat. Although the downstairs thermostat (ours) was off, I noticed our radiators downstairs were getting warm. I did some investigating, and reading on here and found the two zone relay (Taco) system. Zone 1 was lit (I presume the apt) but nothing for zone 2. I thought possibly our thermostat needed to be 'on' in order to communicate, so I did so. Nothing happened with the zone lights and heat continued churning out. I have never heated a house to more than 75, this morning it was 85.

    I will preface that I am a single parent (woman), not shy to do my own plumbing and electrical work, but I did have 'experts' from different HVAC companies in with mixed results. NO ONE knows or appears to like to work on, antiquated systems such as cast iron radiators. All of them have suggested updating the system which is not a reality for me. I need to make the system as efficient as possible. They were again of little help, suggesting a complete overall if I want an efficient system. Thank goodness for finding this forum, I have learned more from this site, i.e., replacing main line vents with Gorton #2, replacing radiator vents that need it, insulate ALL pipes, etc...

    I am guessing at this point a valve is stuck open but now what? Again, like I said, it is almost impossible to find someone willing to be helpful in my area (upper valley, nh) and/or quickly, so I am doing this solo interim. Last year I went through more than 1600 gallons of oil (no tenants then) and we were still freezing, this year I need to make a serious dent in that number while getting us warmer. I have had the basement foundation foam insulated among other things. After reading on here that balancing the system is IMPORTANT, I am spending time on that as well. I need to get the zones working properly to avoid heating when WE do not want heat. I am also going to install a tamper resistant thermostat upstairs (I checked our laws here), to encourage conservation.

    I will post pics when someone informs what they would like to see. Thank you, thank you, thank you, in advance!

  2. #2
    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Well yes, it sounds like the upstairs zone valve has stuck open or someone has left it in the manual position. Pretty good chance they are Taco 571 valves. Where in the upper valley are you ?
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    A hybrid system, such as you describe, is a very delicate beast and takes a very knowledgeable service person to diagnose it. The steam portion may, or may not, have a control valve, (usually not) so the hot water system has to heat the boiler, but not get to the point where it generates steam. Even then some heat will escape into the steam radiators, but usually not enough to be noticeable.
    Licensed residential and commercial plumber

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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Take some pictures of the boiler and the piping around it and also pictures of the radiators on the 1st and 2nd floors
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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    DIY Junior Member 2zone's Avatar
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    DIY Junior Member 2zone's Avatar
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    I live in Lebanon. I think these guys are the culprit, but now what?
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    In the Trades Tom Sawyer's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by 2zone View Post
    I live in Lebanon. I think these guys are the culprit, but now what?
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    Gosh boy, two water legs off a steam boiler and on the 2nd floor at that. You are probably right, those two green things are flow check valves ad they often stick. Give them a smart rap with a hammer. Yes, really. Just do it. Don't get carried away and crack them. If you have air in those upper radiators and depending on how they piped the system, you may have to find someone with a pump to refill them.
    [B]No, plumbing ain't rocket science. Unlike rocket science, plumbing requires a license[B]

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