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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Aug 2009
    Location
    Massachusetts
    Posts
    50

    Default Upstairs hot water not good.

    Hello. I live in a cape style house. I have forced hot water heat and an oil fired boiler. The hot water going upstairs has never been very good, especially in the winter. I was looking at the pipes in the basement, and I was wondering if maybe the pipes are poorly laid out. Some of them look newer than others. The boiler sits pretty much in the center of the house. There is a hot water pipe coming out of the boiler, it goes to the back of the house, maybe 10 feet or so (give or take a foot). it "Ts" at the back wall of the house, to the left it feeds the kitchen sink and washer. Then to the left it feeds the downstairs bathroom, then a few feet past that it goes UP along side the chimney to the upstairs bathroom.
    I am wondering if the hot water situation upstairs is bad because of the amount of pipe the water has to travel through before it gets upstairs. Should there be a T to connect the upstairs somewhere closer to the boiler?
    There is evidence near the T at the back wall that there was once an electric water heater.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2010
    Location
    Houston Texas
    Posts
    2,969

    Default Re: Upstairs hot water not good.

    I can't see from here, but you may have any or all of the following;

    1- Poorly tee'd pipes
    2- Poorly sized pipes
    3- No zoning
    4- No flow restriction to meter the flow
    5- Clogged older pipes
    6- Shiny new pipes (closer to the output of the heater)
    7- Lack of any original thought to even heat zones
    8- Poor insulation

    Time to call a decent plumbing contractor.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2008
    Posts
    84

    Default Re: Upstairs hot water not good.

    frank,

    I have to agree with most of the points the previous poster made on this one---we discussed mostly the same problems you've been having with your HW heating system some time ago (below), & you submitted some good photos of the system; it sounds like you have a HW flow restriction somewhere in your piping system that prevents the near-boiler pump from adequately circulating the HW, especially to the 2nd floor; it could be that you have "hard water" (lots of minerals) in your water supply & that over the years the minerals leech out inside the piping to the internal pipe components & cause poor HW flow to the 2nd floor---this is especially true of "upstairs supply" piping, that has the Taco small-diameter flo-check valves, which have small mechanical parts in them that are prone to clog up, even if the mineral content of the water is moderate.

    It would be well worth the moderate cost to get a heating contractor in there on a relatively warm day to partially drain the system & open (easily done) the flo-check valves to clean out any mineral deposits & make sure they are adequately working; while there, he could also check out the system pump to verify at least 2-4 gpm is being pumped thru the system.

    The way you have the system now, you are burning an excessive amount of fuel oil at added cost because the boiler will keep working to pump the slow-moving water around the system until the T-stats are satisfied, so you will actually SAVE money by having a heating technician over there ASAP---don't let a small amount of mineral deposits inside the pipes allow you to condemn the whole system---you have excellent copper pipes in your system, which will last forever & provide years of satisfactory heating.

    While he is there, you might want to discuss with him replacing the flo-check valve system with 2 ZONE VALVES with a T-stat on both the 2nd & 1st floor---these are low-cost & work wonders in turning the boiler on only when heat is required in a certain segment of the house, and avoiding spending more money on heating a part of the house that doesn't need it.

    It's crazy to let this go any longer---for no good reason you're living in a poorly heated house, with a freezing upstairs, burning way too much oil, with a great copper piping arrangement distribution system that can easily deliver a very warm, comfortable house heating system thru the winter---get cracking!


    https://advice.thisoldhouse.com/show...-heat-question
    http://www.pexsupply.com/Taco-570-Zone-Valves-325000
    Last edited by dodsworth; 01-14-2014 at 10:43 AM.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2008
    Location
    Pacific Northwet
    Posts
    1,602

    Default Re: Upstairs hot water not good.

    Reminds me of the house I grew up in. It wasn't heated by hot water, but from the water heater to the bathroom sink the water went through about 30 feet of pipe. It took a long time to get hot water there.

    The irony is that the water heater was located back-to-back with the sink, on opposite sides of a common wall.
    The "Senior Member" designation under my name doesn't mean I know a lot, it just means I talk a lot.I've been a DIYer since I was 12 (thanks, Dad!). I have read several books on various home improvement topics. I do not have any current code books I can refer to. I was an apprentice plumber for two years.

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