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Thread: radiators

  1. #1
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    Unhappy radiators

    I have an older house built in the 20's. It has a boiler with up feed hot water and no circulator. I had a shut off valve leaking on the first floor and it was replaced, when the old valve was removed there was a funny part in it, didn't get a good look at it but was told it was not important. Now I am not getting any heat to one of the radiators on the second floor. Was told I would have to adjust the downstairs valve till heat was established. Not working! Was then told I needed to rebleed the radiators, took a gallon of water out of that one, didn't help. I feel that the part taken out of the old valve, prevented water from entering that radiator until the up one filled and allowed the hot water to return to that radiator on the way down. Have been told I am crazy, but it worked before. Any ideas on what was in the old valve? Just want the system back the way it was and some heat to that room. Thank you for any ideas.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: radiators

    Sounds to me whomever replaced the valve should be coming back to correct the issue.
    "" an ounce of perception -- a pound of obscure "
    - Rush

  3. #3
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    Default Re: radiators

    What you have is a gravity feed hot water system. (very old system) To get even heat these systems had to be balanced properly. It sounds like they removed a a device that was used to restrict the flow on the first floor radiator. You may be able to duplicate this device by closing the first valve partway off. That is the easy fix. The proper fix is to install a circulator.

    John

  4. #4
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    Dec 2010
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    Default Re: radiators

    Quote Originally Posted by johnjh2o View Post
    What you have is a gravity feed hot water system. (very old system) To get even heat these systems had to be balanced properly. It sounds like they removed a a device that was used to restrict the flow on the first floor radiator. You may be able to duplicate this device by closing the first valve partway off. That is the easy fix. The proper fix is to install a circulator.

    John
    Ilove the system, has no electrical devices eating up the budget hence no circulator. Am not able to duplicate by slowly closing the downstairs valve. Has been tried.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
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    554

    Default Re: radiators

    oldie but goodie:

    I think the fitting you are referring to is known as an orifice plate.

    Gravity HW systems are divided into a) an overhead system and b) an upfeed system; one of these systems installs orifice plates (which is simply a round piece of metal with a small hole in its center) inside the on/off valve of the lower rads so that most of the hot water has a chance to heat the upper rads without being hogged by the lower rads; in the other system the OPs are placed in the upper rads (and not the lower ones), because of the different pattern of hot water flow in the 2nd system.

    Yes, the heating balance of the rads can be thrown off if the OPs are removed for any reason---they often are by repairmen, etc., who don't know what they are for.

    This may not actually turn out to be the cause of the problem:

    a) there is a specific way to bleed all the rads in a gravity system so all the air is removed (usually start from scratch & drain the whole system first, then sequentially bleed the rads floor by floor.

    b) iron oxide goo (black gooey stuff) accumulates inside the pipes (especially in hard water situations), along with inner wall pitting inside the pipes over the decades often cause flow problems that weren't there when the system was new.


    The 2 gravity systems are well-explained by author Dan Holohan at the site below; once at the site, click onto "systems", then onto "hot water", then onto the "gravity hot water" article.

    The article is long & intricate; read it over several times until you are sure you understand which aspects apply to your system; orifice plates can be made up with any proper sized piece of round sheet metal with a small hole in the middle, or consult the Yellow Pages under "Heating Supplies" for wholesale heating parts houses in your area.


    http://www.heatinghelp.com
    Last edited by NashuaTech; 12-04-2010 at 11:56 PM.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: radiators

    Orifice plate, that's what they were. We actually made them out of sheet copper, never really gave them a name though. They were installed between the union halves on the radiators, you had to place the smaller hole in the sheet copper off center then place the hole on the bottom side of the union half so the radiator would drain. The system worked very well, but by today's standards it is very inefficient.

    John

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
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    4

    Unhappy Re: radiators

    Quote Originally Posted by oldie but goodie View Post
    I have an older house built in the 20's. It has a boiler with up feed hot water and no circulator. I had a shut off valve leaking on the first floor and it was replaced, when the old valve was removed there was a funny part in it, didn't get a good look at it but was told it was not important. Now I am not getting any heat to one of the radiators on the second floor. Was told I would have to adjust the downstairs valve till heat was established. Not working! Was then told I needed to rebleed the radiators, took a gallon of water out of that one, didn't help. I feel that the part taken out of the old valve, prevented water from entering that radiator until the up one filled and allowed the hot water to return to that radiator on the way down. Have been told I am crazy, but it worked before. Any ideas on what was in the old valve? Just want the system back the way it was and some heat to that room. Thank you for any ideas.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Posts
    4

    Wink Re: radiators

    I believe that it is an orifice plate of some sort that was removed from the valve. First off no one believes that is what it was, second no one seems to know what an orifice plate is and eveyone thinks it is an air problem. When bled every radiator gives off water, no air, so that makes it a flow problem.Adjusting the valve makes no difference, one radiator is warm and one cold, adjusting the valve just makes them vice versa. The orignal plumber won't return because he doesn't feel there is anything wrong. Any more ideas?May have to wait till summer and try to fix it myself, good luck to me...

  9. #9
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    Default Re: radiators

    Quote Originally Posted by oldie but goodie View Post
    I believe that it is an orifice plate of some sort that was removed from the valve. First off no one believes that is what it was, second no one seems to know what an orifice plate is and eveyone thinks it is an air problem. When bled every radiator gives off water, no air, so that makes it a flow problem.Adjusting the valve makes no difference, one radiator is warm and one cold, adjusting the valve just makes them vice versa. The orignal plumber won't return because he doesn't feel there is anything wrong. Any more ideas?May have to wait till summer and try to fix it myself, good luck to me...
    Without replacing the plate about all you can do is try to turn the valve on the radiator that is heating half off.

    John

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