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    Sandy still haunts my home! (56 Posts)

  • Durachka Durachka @ 10:07 PM
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    Sandy still haunts my home!

    Hello all! I'm new to this forum and would like
    to introduce myself. I am a Hurricane Sandy survivor and rebuilding my
    home everyday!

    The first two levels of my home were flooded. At first, I had my boiler
    fixed and my water heater replaced. The heating (single pipe system)
    was working perfectly fine in all rooms of the house (I have radiators
    in each room). Later, many plumbers told me I needed to replace my
    boiler being it was under salt water and will give problems in the
    future. So, now I have a brand new boiler. The problem, is that the
    rooms on the very top floor have no heat. The radiators get warm but never get really hot.  The people who replaced the
    boiler couldn't understand why the heat upstairs stopped working and
    took no responsibility for it. I've had plumbers come in and bleed them
    out, adjust the pressure, put water in the system and nothing works.
    The last plumber that came in has recommended that the pressure pump be
    replaced with a stronger one, but could not guarantee that would fix the

    Any ideas on what could be the problem?
  • nicholas bonham-carter nicholas bonham-carter @ 11:00 PM
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    The fury of sandy

    The storm seems to have unleashed a hoard of untrained boilermen onto the other problems wrought by that storm.
    In order to solve these problems, you need to find a real steam expert.
    I suspect your boiler may not have been piped according to the mfg's instructions, and if so will never work properly. Send us some pictures of the boiler and it's piping, and we can begin to help you solve the problems.
    Make sure you start a new thread in the steam section for best results.--NBC
    This post was edited by an admin on March 26, 2013 4:46 AM.
  • Durachka Durachka @ 11:32 PM
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    Sandy hates me.

    Thank you for the reply!

    Here are some photos:
  • Steamhead Steamhead @ 1:27 AM
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    It's a single-pipe hot-water system

    not steam. Those look like Taco venturi tees, which would make it a Taco-One rather than a Monoflo.

    Somehow the water isn't moving- bad circulator maybe? Or the supply and return might be reversed?

    And I've never heard of a Green Mountain boiler, but that one looks like it might be a Laars.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"

    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists

    Oil & Gas Burner Service

    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • heatpro02920 heatpro02920 @ 8:02 AM
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    What is the pressure

    read the gauge, how high is your top floor? Looks to me from that gauge its low.... You need water pressure to get the water up to the top floor....

    When I install a new boiler I go to the ceiling minimum with replacement parts, looks like they just snuck in a new boiler, used old purge tees and valves, which would have been much easier to change at the time of the swap out... But its not as bad as others I have seen... Seems like sandy had a lot of guys in a hurry...
    This post was edited by an admin on March 26, 2013 8:07 AM.
  • Dave H Dave H @ 8:29 AM
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    Pumping away?

    Is the system Pumping Away?
    Pressure maybe a little low.
    Air Separator may help (if its an air problem)
  • Durachka Durachka @ 8:31 PM
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    pressure gauge

    Here's where the pressure gauge is at.

    The 2nd to last plumber told me the pressure needs to be between 20-30 after the radiators are bled and water is "put into the system.'  He told me every time I bleed out a radiator, I need to go and release this valve to put water in until the meter is between 20-30.

    Is there a chance the pressure should be higher? The last time I bled out one of the radiators, the water was pumping out strong and was hot.  But still no heat.

    And yes, that last picture in the previous post was of venturi tees.
    This post was edited by an admin on March 26, 2013 8:39 PM.
  • knotgrumpy knotgrumpy @ 9:08 PM
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    Which pump

    Serves the top floor?
  • Durachka Durachka @ 9:28 PM
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    other pump?

    I'm not sure I understand.  Isn't there only one pump?  The house is split level. From top to bottom:


    Bedroom floor

    Living room/kitchen

    Family room/garage


    I have two thermostats, one that serves the bottom two levels and another that serves the upper levels.
  • tim smith tim smith @ 9:13 AM
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    Re: flow problems etc

    what would really help is if you have pics of the old boiler also. We can then compare what it use to look like and what it looks like now.  Do you know if the black pump on side of boiler at chest high was original or is it new?  I feel the problem is one of 2 things. Pump is now pumping wrong direction for one pipe system or  pump is too small and they did change it.  See if you have pictures of the bad boiler installed. I think this will tell us all.  May the heat be with you. Tim
  • Durachka Durachka @ 10:27 AM
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    I don't have ANY pictures of the old boiler.  If I knew I'd be encountering this problem, I would have taken a ton.

    The pump is new.  =(
  • russiand russiand @ 10:54 AM
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    They certainly stuck those pumps on the return. Does the 3 speed pump serve the poorly heating zone or does the black one? Looks like they put a new 3 speed taco and recycled the old 007. It's gotta be either the reversal of the supply/return in the piping, a bad pump, or an air pocket that they failed to dislodge.
  • russiand russiand @ 10:57 AM
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    gate valves aboves circs open all the way?

    I know it sounds silly, but that has happened to me. Are they open all the way?
  • tim smith tim smith @ 11:58 AM
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    Re: pump size or flow direction

    My best guess is that flow is reversed but also I think the black pump is serving the main system and the back green pump serves a basement zone maybe? It is a 3/4 line that heads behind boiler off green pump so I think that may be basement. The black pump I think would be to small for monoflow main house system which would explain lack of flow on top floor. Pressure on system looks ok.  I think it probably should be closer to a up26-64 or 26-99 Grundfos pump for monoflow. Just a guess depending on the size of the system which we don't know?
  • Durachka Durachka @ 12:46 PM
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    pump it up

    It looks like the black pump goes up into the ceiling, so
    I'm guessing it serves upstairs. If there is a reversal in the piping or an air
    pocket, why haven't any of the plumbers suggested that?   I think the gate valves are open all the way
    because if closed, the heating downstairs would have stopped too. 

    tim smith: How would I find out what the size of the system
    is?  The last plumber suggested a bigger
    pump, but said he couldn't' guarantee that would fix the problem.
  • knotgrumpy knotgrumpy @ 11:29 AM
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    Some more pictures

    You take some good pictures.  How about a few more.  That looks like a B&G Flowtrol on the ceiling.  I've put a few arrrows on things I'd like to see in this picture.

    It looks like there is no check valve keeping the smaller circuit isolated from the larger.  If I think like water, I'd probably take the low road rather than pump against gravity.
  • RobG RobG @ 1:02 PM
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    Pump oriantation

    On the back of the pumps (cast into the body) there is an arrow indicating flow direction. Which way are the arrows pointing, up or down?
  • Durachka Durachka @ 1:27 PM
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    can't find the flow direction

    I don't see anything that indicates a flow direction.  This is what the back of the pump looks like.  Am I looking in the wrong place?
  • russiand russiand @ 1:21 PM
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    You could try swapping the pumps

    That 007 should be enough to serve upstairs. Most likely you had 2 007s to begin with. But given that you have a 3 speed (running on LOW currently) sitting right there, you could swap it in place of the black 007 and run on HI just to see if it fixes things. Again, I think this is reaching a little since typically a single 007 would be able to handle both upstairs and down, no prob.
  • Durachka Durachka @ 1:32 PM
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    This post was edited by an admin on March 27, 2013 1:35 PM.
  • russiand russiand @ 1:36 PM
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    There are arrows there both pointing down

    So circs themselves are oriented correctly, although not ideally since they are on the return vs the preffered pumping away on the supply location. The black pump and I am assuming that it's a Taco 007 is a style of pump that is usually included with a packaged boiler. I am assuming they re-used that one from your original boiler. The other pump that is green is a 3 speed one. If it is indeed a pump issue, you could install the green one in place of the black one and test it on HI.
  • Durachka Durachka @ 6:23 PM
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    would it just be better if I installed another green one to replace the black one?
  • John Mills John Mills @ 1:54 PM
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    Are there check valves somewhere that keep the pump from pushing water backwards through the other pump when off? 
  • Durachka Durachka @ 7:30 PM
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    check valves

    what do check valves look like?  can you link me to a picture because I've no idea if it there or not
  • russiand russiand @ 3:20 PM
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    The 3 speed one is an IFC the black one we don't know
  • heatpro02920 heatpro02920 @ 7:36 PM
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    get the rite pump

    I would figure out what you need for a pump and buy that one, measure the pipe, emmitters, and figure it out... I would start there....
  • Durachka Durachka @ 7:40 PM
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    Yes, that's why I'm figure out what I need to do.
  • tim smith tim smith @ 9:25 AM
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    ReL pump size and flow direction

    I think it would help if you could get as many angles of pics of the boiler piping as possible. I would like to see what direction the airow is on that taco air scoop near back wall that has small brass air vent on it. The Green block looking thing back behind main piping at shoulder height. Get several angles.  Also, maybe someone will chime in on the direction on those taco 1 pipe venturi tees, maybe we can back track to boiler to verify flow direction. If flow direction is correct, I think a ups26-99fc Grundfos might be a good choice to replace black pump, try different speeds but again, depends on how much radiation is connected to that zone?  Snap close up of the fitting at ceiling below radiator in the one pic at top of post, it is that black tee fitting on left side of pipe going up to radiator.  Good luck, T
  • heatpro02920 heatpro02920 @ 3:18 PM
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    I'm going to guess

    the pumps are pumping the correct way, or the same direction as they were on the old boiler... Since they are mounted low, and the contractor who did the job obviously just did a fast pull and push installation... And I would say the old system had the circs on the return like most older systems.. So that I don't thin is the problem....

    And as already stated a 007 should be enough to pump this system unless there is something I am not seeing...

    We need to know what else the contractor changed?

    Were the original pumps 00's? or did they look different? Like big electric motors with an exposed coupling?

    If you are up to it I will tell you exactly what I would do on your service call...

    First check the boilers temp and pressure {should be 180 high limit and around 20psi under 30 obviously

    then I would call in the second floor thermostat and make sure the circulator was moving the water, in the rite direction {hence when the circ kicks in {you can normally hear or feel it} the pipe coming out of the boilers top should get hot and the one going in the bottom should get cold warm then hot {depending where you are in the cycle}.

    After that happened I would go and check the temps in the radiators to see if they are getting warmer... also keeping an eye on the zone not calling, to make sure the heat wasnt going to another zone.

    If they are not, I am thinking AIR first, so I will bleed the entire system then the radiators individually....

    If the problem persisted I would think circulation, I would do a quick measurement of pipe and rads to see what pump you needed, if you were close, I would quickly change the pumps cartridge to see if that helped...

    If that still did not get me in the rite direction, I would get my thermal imager and see where the heat was going, {easy if the pipes are exposed but hard if they are not}, if the rads that are not heating up are getting passed by I would think there is a problem with the v-tees, that is if the 180* water was leaving the boiler and traveling to the radiator but not going into it and going all the way through the system and returning to the boiler at say 175* and the rads are only seeing a couple degrees on their second pipe...

    So if the boilers pressures and temps are good, the heat is going in the rite direction with no check valves and or closed valves and the correct sized pump {as in leaving 180 and returning 170+ with the rads
    feed never going over 150 or so}...

    My next action would be a system flushing, back washing, and good conditioning/cleaning, at that time I would install a return t/p gauge {so i can watch the temps and pressures on the return and supply}.

    If your problem still persisted I would want to install a globe valve on the single pipe loop in between the rads feed and return so I could force the water through them with a simple adjustment.. At that time I would try to talk you into buying some delta tee circulators {they work awesome with old radiator systems, but would first want to figure out your problem since it could make it worse} and letting me move the circs to the return..

    I am confident it would be fixed after all that is done, lol... But I hate to say it wouldn't be cheap....

    I would love to see someone with a t-imager go over there, see where the heat is going, I had a similar problem with a customer that had a new boiler installed, they switched from oil to gas and their radiators were sucking the heat out too fast, the boiler would go rite to 180 but after the first radiator the water was already down to 130*, I ended up putting a faster' pump in and moving the water faster, this helped but the boiler couldnt keep up, so luckily it was a a first floor loop with the piping basement exposed, so I ended up installing a bunch of globe valves and spending the time there tuning the system to get it rite, also ended up splitting the zones up a little bit... It was just a case of the new boilers mass was too low for the old systems needs, they had some re-purposed commercial radiators that I never seen before, and boy could they suck the heat out of water...
    This post was edited by an admin on March 28, 2013 3:46 PM.
  • Durachka Durachka @ 9:50 PM
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    If only I had someone to give these suggestions to. Is anyone here from the northeast area that would like a job in NY ? :D
  • tim smith tim smith @ 9:46 AM
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    RE: New York boiler guy

    Call Matt Sweeney, he is just across the way in Floral Park.  Looks like he is now working at Olympic Plumbing and Heating in New York. Great guy. Give him a try.   Also good option is John Cataeno at Gateway plumbing and heating. Not sure if I spelled last name right but  ph # (212) 980-0909      
    This post was edited by an admin on March 29, 2013 9:52 AM.
  • Durachka Durachka @ 7:19 PM
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    commercial only?

    tim smith, thank you!

    do you have a number for Matt Sweeney?  It looks like he only does commercial plumbing, but I'd like to give him a call on his personal phone and see if he'd like the job.
  • knotgrumpy knotgrumpy @ 8:06 PM
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    Did you get a resolution

    To your problem?
  • Durachka Durachka @ 2:40 PM
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     I found a "boiler expert" who took a look around and told me there shouldn't be any issues with the boiler.  He told me he needs to take down the walls to reveal the piping below the rooms that aren't receiving heat.  I agreed and he's on vacation now.  He said there's a single switch that needs to be on and that'll make it work, but cannot find it unless the walls come down.

    This is getting really frustrating and I'm surprised at the lack of knowledge on such an issue from the "experts" that have been coming to my home.
  • heatpro02920 heatpro02920 @ 3:52 PM
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    a magic switch in the wall, lol I have no idea what he is talking about, maybe a hidden stairway switch, but the unit has power correct? and I would just run a new service line before taking down walls???? Keep on looking for a good tech, they are out there...
    This post was edited by an admin on April 17, 2013 3:53 PM.
  • russiand russiand @ 3:03 PM
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    I wouldn't let that person back into your house if I were you. I think you are better off letting the folks on this site guide you through troubleshooting your issues. Luckily we are getting into the warm days so you'll have plenty of time to figure this out before the next season. I would be interested in hearing what sort of "switches" in walls he was referring to..
  • Durachka Durachka @ 4:13 PM
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    I do NOT want to wait until winter to worry about this problem.  I want to have the heat working now so I don't worry about being cold when the time comes.

    I live in NYC and cannot find a single good plumber or boiler expert.  Everyone on this forum has been SO helpful except I don't understand how to do ANYTHING because this isn't my field!

    I'm starting to think the only solution I have is to move out.
  • russiand russiand @ 4:22 PM
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    I understand your frustration, didn't folks suggest some names and phone numbers of compentent heating contractors in NY? There is no doubt that if it worked before it can be made to work again, and most likely the issue is something simple that does not require breaking down of walls, etc.  There is only a handful of things this can be and I am sure it will be figured out.
  • tim smith tim smith @ 9:09 AM
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    Re: your boiler problem

    I think one of our group here on the wall should make a trip up there. If I were closer than I am here in Seattle I would do it.  Maybe this is a good story for Dan to do on the trials of consumers in our heating world.  I find the lack of use of the golden rule to be such a travesty sometimes.  Dan??? any ideas. Or someone else from the wall able to go see this lady?  I think documenting a job like this would be quiite interesting for people to follow and to see what good minds and hearts do.   Maybe there is more to this story, but I see often enough the lack of good practices that fall short of  providing an adequate heating system.
    This post was edited by an admin on April 18, 2013 9:10 AM.
  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 3:18 PM
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    there are several contactors

    in the find a contractor section who can address this. One does not go into NYC with out the proper licensing.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • tim smith tim smith @ 8:52 AM
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    Re: New york and proper licensing

    Charlie, I was not saying that someone should go in and do the work but go in and assist with the diagnosis and remedy options. Then at least maybe she can get this fixed. I do feel for her that she can't seem to get this taken care of. 
  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 2:22 PM
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    I feel for her too,

    but in the city limits I let the city guys do their magic. The boiler was installed poorly, with the way the boiler is in the photos I would second guess the boiler size, the piping size, and the circulator size. Installing a multi-speed pump or a variable speed pump will cover up some of the sins for a small extra use of electricity as long as the boiler is the right size.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • Durachka Durachka @ 9:36 PM
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    Please forgive me for sounding angry.  I'm just tired of every plumber and "expert" coming to my home and telling me they don't know what to do.  Joining this forum has given me more insight than any of these NY "experts."

    I'm not even looking for someone cheap--I know you get what you pay for and even this won't persuade someone to do the job right.
  • heatpro02920 heatpro02920 @ 10:13 PM
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    Ill admit I have stepped outside

    my area before but NY is risky, lol.... Im sure someone has to be up there and doing things rite, time to hit the phone book until the problem is fixed, explain, I don't pay until the problem goes away... {but now we are getting into the warm seasons, this is going to be tough to remedy with no load...

    I can't see why this is such a hard problem, let the boiler run to 180 then make sure just that zone is calling, if it doesnt see 170+ water at the first radiator within the time it takes to walk up there, you have too much head for that pump or the heat is being diverted, if there are no other valves and it is a straight shot, put a larger pump.... the heat has to go somewhere, even if its just staying in the pipe going up the wall, it will be somewhere, if it stops, that is because it is blocked or too much resistance for the pump...
    Im curious to why no one has fixed this yet, I wish it was closer, I would run up there with an alpha and my thermal imager {get the boiler hot and zone cold, then plug the alpha into the wall recepticle and see where the heat goes if anywhere}, I'll bet real money I find the problem inside 20 minutes, whats wrong with these NY guys she is hiring, is it that bad up there rite now, I see a lot of posts on here looking for ny service, may have to open a new branch lol...
    This post was edited by an admin on April 20, 2013 10:15 PM.
  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 3:10 PM
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    Then call me we can talk

    my cell # is 413-841-6726. We can talk and see if it can be resolved. After 6.00 pm will be the best time to talk.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 9:31 AM
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    I'm new to this thread, but Tim Smith just asked me to check it out.

    First, where in NYC is this home?

    Second, this post is very telling to me:

    "I found a "boiler expert" who took a look around and told me there shouldn't be any issues with the boiler. He told me he needs to take down the walls to reveal the piping below the rooms that aren't receiving heat. I agreed and he's on vacation now. He said there's a single switch that needs to be on and that'll make it work, but cannot find it unless the walls come down.
    This is getting really frustrating and I'm surprised at the lack of knowledge on such an issue from the "experts" that have been coming to my home."

    It seems to me the original poster has a big problem with the "experts" who have given her guidance that she neither understood, cannot repeat accurately, and doesn't offer the silver bullet she hopes will solve her problem.

    What makes the OP think that guy has some "lack of knowledge" that must be avoided. I have ZERO idea who he is/was, but is it possible the guy was right in saying some walls must come down to expose something in the system that will help it make sense? Of course it is.

    Not knowing what transpired during that conversation, you're probably not helping by suggesting she not let that person back in her house.

    The helpful threshold for troubleshooting this via internet postings has clearly been met and now she needs to contract a reliable company who carries insurance and is licensed to work in her home.

    To lob out suggestions from the hip just prolongs this condition and makes her feel distrustful of the people who are actually available to help.

    Ladies and gentlemen, please do forgive my tone here, but I did about 60 houses under the Rapid Repairs Program here in NYC and it's been a disaster in its own right.
    We were told on January 4th that our first check would be 6 weeks from then, then progress payments every 2 weeks.
    We got our first payment after 13 weeks. Yes, thirteen. We're still waiting for our second check and we've spent close to $500,000 on materials, labor and admin costs to get this work done in the time frame we did.
    It's not something I can recommend to anyone.

    Fitting thousands of nearly destroyed homes with electric, heat and hot water was an unprecedented program and it came in with a lot of problems and left with a lot of lingering pains...for everyone.

    Keep this in mind when listening to homeowners dump on the "experts" involved.
    Our installations went well, but a lot were very challenging given the conditions, time frame allotted, and temporary labor we were under the gun to hire and monitor.

    That's all the venting I've got for now.

    Best to all.

    edited for grammar
    This post was edited by an admin on April 23, 2013 2:30 PM.
  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 12:57 PM
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    JC I am surprised the OP never called you.

    I figure you have things covered in NYC and if she were to simply do as was suggested she would probably all ready have the system fixed. I had hoped she took me up on my offer for a phone conversation to get this thing to a resolution but  am still waiting for the call. I find sometimes people do not understand the issue with their system and they want it fixed fast, and for free. If she calls me I will keep you posted. Her best net would be to call you.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 2:27 PM
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    Thanks Charles.

    NYC is a pretty big area, so I'm not sure the home will be in an section I travel to, but let's see what happens.
    I'm always willing to help, but I suspect the problem with this install has at least as much to do with the system as it does with the near-boiler arrangement.
  • tim smith tim smith @ 11:31 AM
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    Gateway plumbing

    John, thanks for considering this. I know there could be hidden things we are not aware of on these jobs. I just thought if anyone could figure out, you could. I just hope there is not a hidden agenda but have to have faith sometimes.  Thanks again. Tim
  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 2:29 PM
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    Thanks for thinking of me, Tim.

    I'll wait to hear from the poster.
  • Durachka Durachka @ 3:47 PM
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    hoorah for John from Gateway Plumbing!

    Hello all!  I apologize for not getting back sooner.  Between work, my mother’s cancer, and construction it’s been difficult for me to get online.  I’d like to first say thank you to all the posters who have replied to my post: nicholas bonham-carter, Steamhead, heatpro02920, Dave H, knotgrumpy, tim smith, russiand, RobG, and John Mills.  A special thank you to Charlie from wmass who called me and recommended JohnNY. 

    JohnNY got back to me very quickly and decided to help me despite my home being outside his usual area.  He arrived promptly and not even an hour passed before he got the heat to work upstairs!  I was amazed.  He switched my pumps around (perhaps he can fill you out on the details).  He told me my installation wasn’t great but being that everything was working, I decided to leave it as is.  One of the radiators is still not working but I’m going to get someone local to fix it as it isn’t that big of a job.   The heat is finally working and I couldn’t be happier after many puzzling months. 

    John—THANK YOU!  I will recommend Gateway Plumbing to all my Manhattan friends for any heating trouble they might have.  He’s a lifesaver and went well out of his way to help me without even charging me.  
  • knotgrumpy knotgrumpy @ 9:08 PM
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    Great news!

    Now, JohnNY, let's please hear what you found!
  • JohnNY JohnNY @ 3:46 PM
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    Finally getting back to this:

    There are two zones on this system.
    One is a monoflo system with several radiators removed without the tees looped together and uses a Taco 007. The plugged monoflo tees are reducing gpm and adding resistance to flow that can't be spared.

    The second zone uses series loop baseboard fin-tube radiation, 3/4", about 120' total and uses a Taco 0015, 3 speed pump.

    I did a quick head calc and, working with what I had, switched the two pumps. It worked for the most part but there is still one radiator in the house not getting sufficient flow.

    I advised to have the monoflo tees looped together and ascertain proper pump size for the 1-pipe zone. I suspect the 0015 is fine, but the piping needs alteration and the pumps should be repositioned to pump away.

    Happy I could help.
    This post was edited by an admin on June 7, 2013 3:55 PM.
  • knotgrumpy knotgrumpy @ 4:06 PM
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    Thanks JohnNY

    Glad someone could go and help.
  • tim smith tim smith @ 9:20 AM
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    Re: John from Gateway

     John, it is nice to hear a good outcome to a not so good problem. These days all of us get so caught up in doing business that we can't always get to these small problems, i.e. PITA.  They are not so small to customers but they tend to be a nagging thorn to many of us. We try our best to fix things for clients who have had less than ideal installs by others, I know there are many reasons that it may happen but in the end I still enjoy a happy customer.  Kudos to you John for helping this lady out.  Tim
  • Charlie from wmass Charlie from wmass @ 4:23 PM
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    Glad John was able to get things going better

    We would like for every job to be perfect when we leave it, but much better is sometimes all that can be done for right now. Glad things are working better.
    Cost is what you spend , value is what you get.

    cell # 413-841-6726
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