Return to the Old House Forum | Post a Follow-Up

 o
Upstairs radiators are barely working

Posted by jlc102482 (My Page) on
Mon, Oct 29, 12 at 10:07

I am hoping that some fellow old house owners here have radiator experience and may be able to help me out. The problem is that my upstairs radiators are barely working. When I bled my radiators last week, the upstairs radiators only bled air and not water. Thinking I perhaps didn't get all the trapped air out the first time, I tried to bleed them again yesterday and got more air and a little water out of all but the last radiator I tried to bleed.

The downstairs radiators are working just fine, and the pressure gauge on our boiler indicates it's at the optimum PSI (according to the info label on said boiler.) When we crank the thermostat up above 70, the upstairs radiators do get warm, though they're not as hot as the downstairs radiators.

I am guessing this might be a pump problem, since the downstairs radiators are full of water and the upstairs ones evidently are not. Does anyone have any ideas or insight on this problem before I call an expert in?


Follow-Up Postings:

 o
RE: Upstairs radiators are barely working

Check for a shutoff valve between floors.

And check for a corroded return line or valve that's not letting water circulate


 o
RE: Upstairs radiators are barely working

lazygardens - Would the potentially rusty/corroded valves be located at the base of the radiator, or are you referring to something that would be in the basement attached to the boiler or water tank? Thank you!


 o
RE: Upstairs radiators are barely working

Every time you bleed the radiators new water with dissolved air enters the system.

Bleeding needs to be done repeatedly.

You also need to know how high the highest radiator is above the pressure gauge.

Multi-story houses can require higher pressure to fill the top radiators.

15 PSI only holds up 34.6 feet of water.

Drove my dad nuts in a 3.5 story house for years.


 o
RE: Upstairs radiators are barely working

You must keep bleeding them until you get steady water discharging for several seconds. Then if you still don't have heat, check the circulator pump(s) (if any). Then I would move on to such things as the auto-fill valve or have the pipes checked for blockages. Which may get expensive.
But start by paying closer attention to bleeding out the air thoroughly.
Casey


 o
RE: Upstairs radiators are barely working

I suspect Brickeyee is right. If the top of the highest radiator is higher than 20 ft above the boiler, the pressure probably needs to be raised above the optimum pressure. But have a plumber show you how to do it the first just to be sure you're doing it properly, then you can do it whenever it is necessary. I have to do it every year.


 o
RE: Upstairs radiators are barely working

Jlc, there are some real experts on old radiators at the Heating Help forum who might be able to advise, and they also offer maintenance-oriented books & manuals that have helped me a lot:

Here is a link that might be useful: Heating Help Forum


 o Post a Follow-Up

Please Note: Only registered members are able to post messages to this forum.

    If you are a member, please log in.

    If you aren't yet a member, join now!


Return to the Old House Forum

Information about Posting

  • You must be logged in to post a message. Once you are logged in, a posting window will appear at the bottom of the messages. If you are not a member, please register for an account.
  • Please review our Rules of Play before posting.
  • Posting is a two-step process. Once you have composed your message, you will be taken to the preview page. You will then have a chance to review your post, make changes and upload photos.
  • After posting your message, you may need to refresh the forum page in order to see it.
  • Before posting copyrighted material, please read about Copyright and Fair Use.
  • We have a strict no-advertising policy!
  • If you would like to practice posting or uploading photos, please visit our Test forum.
  • If you need assistance, please Contact Us and we will be happy to help.


Learn more about in-text links on this page here