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  1. #1

    Frown OLD boiler.. hot water baseboard heat not working.. help!

    Hi! I'm new here, I came across a post here via google with a boiler similar to mine, so I figured I'd ask here.

    I'm calling my landlady tomorrow. I live in a 2-flat, landlady lives downstairs. We have a natural gas fired boiler with hot water baseboard heat. Our apartment is appx 1100sq feet. My thermostat is turned to 80... yet it is 53 degrees in my house. Windows aren't leaking, insulation isn't THAT bad... honestly this is frustrating. Now, landlady has HVAC people that come to fix our stuff (there's a sticker on the boiler), Guth's in Chicago. Don't know how reputable they are.. but yeah.

    So anyways- I went down there tonight because I was curious about it- maybe the pump wasn't functioning.. I don't know. But it's OLD. The pump, the boiler...

    Ideally I'd like someone here to just let me know what you see- how old are these units? Any other observations? Can you basically tell me what all of these things are and what their purpose is? What should I see if they are fully functioning? Are they dangerous at all? Should the be replaced? Here are photos...

    Standard cylindrical hot water boiler- I don't know if this is ours or not, but I assume it's for our hot tap water and such?


    The setup. (The forced air system in the back is the landlady's.)




    The 'ol boiler herself.






    The pump, I'm guessing?


    I noticed this thing on the ceiling... what is it?

    Another shot with words on it (click the link, I could only add 11 images to the post)
    http://i348.photobucket.com/albums/q...a/IMG_4286.jpg

    And this thingamabob. I believe it read 39psi and 220 degrees? (click the link, I could only add 11 images into the post)
    http://i348.photobucket.com/albums/q...a/IMG_4278.jpg

    So... what are all these things. how do they work?


    I wanted to add- to the touch (checked with a thermal gun) the pipes in the baseboard heaters never go above 80 degrees. Once I caught one at 100 degrees. Right now, the connected set that are in my dining room and run through the bathroom are ice cold. *EDITED to add... they just turned on. Apparently water circulated through them, and they're registering at 110 degrees F on my thermal gun.

    There's a problem here.. I really hope they get it fixed! Anything I should be vigilant of? Sorry for so many questions.. but this stinks. I have two small children and we are freezing.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    4,229
    There is only one component you need to be concerned with that is the circulation pump. If your pump is running and your boiler pressure is above 10 PSI you can check for bleeders on your baseboards and see if you get any air out. If your pump is not running or your boiler pressure is below 10 PSI you need to shut the system off until a contractor can make it out.

  3. #3
    Do all baseboard systems have bleeders? My husband and I checked and didn't see any but will check again.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Jul 2008
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    4,229
    They may not have installed any if that's the case there is nothing more you can do.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Sep 2002
    Location
    Northeast Ohio
    Posts
    4,842
    What part of the structure is the forced air furnace heating? 80-100 degree radiator temp obviouisly won't cut it for heating. I suspect a circulator problem which will require a professional. That system is set up for purging(bleeding) in the basement so you most likely will not find bleeders on any of the radiators. Also appears that one of the boiler sections had an issue and that the boiler has been derated. Call the landlord.
    A good HVAC tech knows how, an educated HVAC tech knows why!

    DEM


  6. #6
    Thanks both... I've been trying to call her and she won't answer... Will likely go knock on the door.

    What does it mean to be derated? Is that bad?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    6,829
    The boiler originally had an input and output rating based on the number of burner tubes installed by the manufacturer. If one of the tubes has been removed and the orifice plugged, then the boiler will have less input and output than it had when it left the factory.

    I note that the landlord's warm air furnace is brand new,while your boiler is aged and in poor condition. I don't know if your baseboard heaters are finned copper or cast iron and the heating characteristics of each are quite different. Cast iron could produce useful heat in the low 90's on a mild outdoor temperature day but finned copper needs to see an absolute minimum of 140°F to begin to produce heat. On a cold winter day, it needs about 180°F or more if it's design temperature was higher. I've see installations designed for 220°F temperatures!

    The problems with your heat could be multiple. You need a good tech to diagnose and cure the ills as much as possible given the equipment limitations. There is little you can do to improve the situation, except to be absolutely sure that the underside of the baseboard heaters are clean! I've found many homes with a screen of dust blocking all air circulation through the finned copper baseboard. The end result of that is insufficient heat. So...be advised of that issue. All other issues need a heating tech to be resolved.
    If YOU want change, YOU have to first change.

    If you are waiting for the 'other guy' to change first, just remember, you're the 'other guy's' other guy. To continue to expect real change when you keep acting the same way as always, is folly. Won't happen. Real change will only happen when a majority of the people change the way they vote!

  8. #8
    Thanks again for all the help!

    They fixed it yesterday, it has been about 24hrs. I have the thermostat set at 80 (no, I don't like it that hot) in order to get the temp in here to 68-70. Should I address this with her as well? I'm the one paying to crank up the boiler this high- that's not fair!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Dec 2005
    Location
    Cincinnati, Oh
    Posts
    4,928
    Quote Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
    Thanks again for all the help!

    They fixed it yesterday, it has been about 24hrs. I have the thermostat set at 80 (no, I don't like it that hot) in order to get the temp in here to 68-70. Should I address this with her as well? I'm the one paying to crank up the boiler this high- that's not fair!
    Unfortunetly, it's not fair.
    You could ask for a new boiler, except that I've never heard of a landlord replacing anything that isn't broken. Sometimes, even if it is broken.

    I would bring up the thermostat issue.

    That B&G circulator pump does not appear to be in bad condition. Looks newer than the boiler for sure.
    I don't know how much I'd trust the gauge on that boiler.
    "Better tell the sandman to stay away, because we're gonna be workin on this one all night."

    "Dude, you need more than 2 wires to a condenser to run a 2 stage heatpump."

    "Just get it done son."

    Dad adjusted

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Powell River, BC, Canada
    Posts
    763
    Quote Originally Posted by WindyCityMom View Post
    Thanks again for all the help!

    They fixed it yesterday, it has been about 24hrs. I have the thermostat set at 80 (no, I don't like it that hot) in order to get the temp in here to 68-70. Should I address this with her as well? I'm the one paying to crank up the boiler this high- that's not fair!
    If the t-stat is as old as the boiler it could just be the bi-metal coil that turns the unit on and off is weak and not indicating the actual temperature. Is the unit turning on and off and maintaining 68-70*? If so, I wouldn't worry too much about it. Another possibility- is the t-stat mounted above or close to one of the rads or any other source of heat that could be affecting it? This will cause it to turn off before the rest of the space is up to temp.
    Where are you? Are you done yet? I got ONE more call for you.....

  11. #11
    Nope, the thermostat isn't next to a heat source- it's right next to an exterior wall. I know the temp it is reading is accurate... we have two thermometers that measure the temp of our living room and one of the bedrooms... and everything is reading around the same. Right now one is at 72, one is at 69. The thermostat reads 70.

    I have yet to take a peek down there and see what was replaced, if it's visible.. but I'm curious. The landlady also wanted us to call her and keep her posted about it.. so we shall see.

    Thanks again for all the help.

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    Powell River, BC, Canada
    Posts
    763
    The room temp reading on the stat may be close to actual, but the coil that actually turns the unit on and off by rocking the mercury bulb is the one that may be weak, so it takes turning the set lever up to 80 to get an actual temp of 70. Sorry if I was unclear in my last post.
    Where are you? Are you done yet? I got ONE more call for you.....

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Jan 2001
    Location
    Pamnyra VA.
    Posts
    709
    What did they do to fix it?

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