I decided to turn on the heat in the newly completed upstairs (former attic space) that I've been working on this summer. I went down to the basement and checked that my valve controller was calling for heat (which it was) and listened to make sure the circulator was running (it was). Then I felt the pipe going upstairs to confirm it was hot (it was) and then the return to make sure it was hot. It wasn't.
I went back upstairs to check the first baseboard in the system and it was stone cold. Back downstairs with a 5 gallon bucket in hand, I closed off the return valve and opened the bleeder. I got about 8 oz. of cold water and the pressure gauge went from 20 to 0. Well I never did bleed the system when I connected it to the boiler several months ago, so now was the time.
I went upstairs and opened the bleed valve that was installed mid-loop at the highest point and got a lot of air, and then a dribble of cold water. I closed the valve and went back downstairs and opened the bleeder. Once again, about 10 oz of cold water and a complete drop in pressure. This upstairs/downstairs circuit was repeated about 10 or 12 times before I finally got hot water from the mid-loop bleed valve. With each cycle I checked the base boards and the hot water was starting to move through the loop.
With hot water past the upstairs valve I started to get more and more water from the bleed valve on the boiler. And then finally, after a significant amount of time, I got hot water from boiler bleeder and then a long push of air from the schrader valve on the expansion tank.
A trip upstairs to touch the last baseboard in the loop confirmed that hot water had finally made its way through the loop. At first the water movement was very noisy; so much so that I started to wonder if there was a leak - I knew there wasn't because I did a 90 day air pressure test - but it makes you second guess yourself for 30 seconds.
Then it all went quiet and I could smell all of the stuff that collected on the fins burning off the baseboards. I had heat.
By the time I got back downstairs to collect my bucket the pressure was back to 20psi. I stood there looking at my boiler and I felt damn proud of the plumbing projects I tackled this year. This year I:
- Installed a 300' heating loop upstairs and added a zone valve to my boiler
- Installed a full bath upstairs including all vents and plumbing for the shower, toilet and two sinks.
- Ran the waste lines for the above and connected it to my main waste line.
- Replaced my indirect hot water heater that was improperly installed 10 years ago (causing it to fail).
- Installed a Honeywell thermostat for the heat and AC for the upstairs.
- Added a Taco ZCV404 Zone Controller to control all 4 zones (3 heat, 1 DHW)
- Replaced a flaccid relief valve on my boiler and replaced the T&P gauge
- Replaced the expansion tank
- Replaced a damaged media tank (my fault, don't ask) on my Fleck 5000 twin-tank water softener.
- Helped a friend with a emergency Sunday install of a new hot water heater including all new wiring back to the panel.
On all of the above, not a single leak. The information contained in these forums provided me with almost everything I needed to know. The few times I couldn't find the answer in a search, a direct answer was always just a question away (usually responded to in just an hour).
My boiler that was a complete enigma to me just a year ago is now like an old friend. I now feel that I can handle just about any plumbing project that my hose throws my way.
And all it took was patience.