Cold Water in Radiator

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Matt in Brooklyn

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We have a radiator that has not really worked well for some time in our second floor bedroom. It used to give off low heat but now the radiator is completely cold. The other radiator directly below it on the first floor has the same issue. We are a two family house so this radiator line runs up to the third and fourth floors. My neighbor reports no heat on the third floor radiator directly above the second floor bedroom. The other radiators in the house, not on this line, work fine.

In bleeding the radiator on the second floor bedroom, I was expecting a bit of water to come out when I put the key in and turned it. What I got, though, was about three gallons of cold and clear water before I stopped filling the bucket to reassess what I should be doing.

Would it make sense to continue until hopefully the water stops draining? Am I out of my depth and should I call a plumber?

Thanks very much in advance for any advice.
 

Jadnashua

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Without knowing the layout, it's hard to say, but does that string have its own circulator?
 

Dana

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Are there separate valves for isolate supply and return lines to that radiator? When bleeding the radiator the flow can come from either side, but if you close one side at a time you may be able to figure out which side (if any) is causing the flow restriction, or even dislodge that restriction with the reverse flow if it's on the return side.
 

Sylvan

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A hot water system if properly installed does NOT allow for the valves to shut the flow of water completely .

Many of the older systems have one circulator such as a B$G series 100 and it would easily supply heat to 3-5 zones

One the return lines where the boiler is located there should be a valve that looks like a gas cock with a thermometer above the valve on each zone

Watch the temperature of the return on each zone and use the valves to balance the return so they have the same temperature on each return

The reasoning for not allowing complete shut off on a hydronic system is to make sure there is always a constant circulation to prevent freeze ups

Again check the return on that riser and see if there is a balancing valve that is partially closed
 

Dana

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A hot water system if properly installed does NOT allow for the valves to shut the flow of water completely .

Many of the older systems have one circulator such as a B$G series 100 and it would easily supply heat to 3-5 zones

One the return lines where the boiler is located there should be a valve that looks like a gas cock with a thermometer above the valve on each zone

Watch the temperature of the return on each zone and use the valves to balance the return so they have the same temperature on each return

The reasoning for not allowing complete shut off on a hydronic system is to make sure there is always a constant circulation to prevent freeze ups

Again check the return on that riser and see if there is a balancing valve that is partially closed

Cutting off flow completely to a boiler completely would be improper. But individual zones & radiators are often completely isolatable, and that can be properly so.

Presuming too much about the architecture of the system can lead down false paths. Not all systems are pumped-direct, with flow balancing globe valves. We don't have enough information yet to make that call.
 

Matt in Brooklyn

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First of all: thank you to all who have responded. I am a novice in this so I find all this very helpful and interesting.

I returned to the radiator on the second floor a couple hours later after I bled it and found that it was quite warm. I checked the radiator directly beneath it on the first floor. It was slightly warm. My neighbor on the third floor with the radiator directly above also reported heat.

While I pleased with the restoration of heat, I am puzzled about the source of the several gallons of cold and clear and stale-smelling water. Out of curiosity, I turned the bleeder valve on again and water continues to come out in a steady and cold stream and shows no signs of stopping.

I have enclosed a picture of the radiator. There is no way that it would continue this much water. I am wondering now if the source of the water is coming from the radiators on the third and fourth floors of my neighbor and obviously traveling downward when I bleed the second floor radiator? I am wondering if I should continue to bleed until all the cold water is out?

Also, we have a Burnham boiler located in the basement.

Thanks very much.
 

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Dana

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A picture of near-boiler heating system plumbing & pump(s) if any would be more useful than a picture of the radiator.
 

Matt in Brooklyn

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Attached please see a couple pictures. The space is a little tight. Thanks very much.
 

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Dana

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The pictures show the boiler, but it's impossible to see where the connected pluming is going, or how it is being distributed to the individual radiators/zones/floors.

I don't see anything that looks like Sylvan's "... return lines where the boiler is located there should be a valve that looks like a gas cock with a thermometer above the valve on each zone." ,which if true, would make tweaking the flows pretty easy. If the pump shown is the only pump on the system it's possible or even likely that the branches are plumbed in parallel, but whether flow to each branch is achieved with monoflow tees or flow tweakable valves is still unknowable from these pictures.
 
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