Cold Hotwater Base

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Remodeling a late 1800’s 2 story house in South Central PA. Hot water Peerless Boiler with a Becket Burner. Each room has at least one cast iron radiator with a supply and return line. Every room on 2nd floor was a total gut with removal of cast iron radiator and replaced with baseboard heat set up the same with supply and return. 2nd floor is finished with 3 new baseboard heaters taking the place of rads that we’re 18” high and various lengths. Problem is these baseboard heaters are not getting warm at all. One room getting slightly warm. Other 2 ice cold. First floor still original cast rads and are boiling hot. Boiler pressure is set at 15 PSI. Researched online and different folks saying you can’t mix hot water base with cast radiators. Any suggestions?
 
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Jeff Handy

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I think you are describing what you have, and what you had, in a garbled and mixed up manner.

Start over, I think it deserves to be explained better, and more accurately.

1st floor, 2nd floor, baseboard heat, new rads, old cast iron rads, I can’t follow any of your story.

Maybe just my old brain, but try reading what you wrote, I think it is confusing.
 

Jeff Handy

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Yes, a much less rambling and nonsense story now.
Now maybe edit the title of your thread, if that is possible. Not sure that can be done here.

“Cold Hotwater Base” makes no sense.
 

wood4d

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should work if its zoned but it sounds like there is nothing to force the water upstairs. you CAN mix the two but it depends how they are plumbed. If you post a pic of the boiler piping it would help. You need 2 zones for this to work
 

wood4d

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if you have a line up and a line back to a single pipe it isnt going to work I may have been done with monoflow tees but the radiators had a way to remove air from the line If the baseboard isnt getting hot its because water isnt flowing through them.
 
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Correct. A line up and a line back. Will post a picture here shortly. Boiler runs off one thermo on first floor. Before remodel cast iron rads did get to temp on 2nd floor. The new hot water base does have a bleeder valve on the return side of the baseboard.
 
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There is a picture of how the lines come off the main line. There is a main feed line with a line going to each heating device. Then there is a main return line picking up each return line from each heating device. Also posted two different views of the boiler.
 

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Diehard

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Looks like 2 lines coming back.
What's that small 1/2"? line, coming out of the top of the boiler, for? Make-up water?
Where's expansion tank?
Can't get a full picture of some of the heating lines.
How about picture of the old C.I. radiators?
What little I see of the branches coming off that large main makes it look like it may have been a steam system once.
If you could get some idea how that 2 line return is tired into the system. That would be ideal if it was one for each floor level.
 
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1/2” line on top is the fresh water feed. Expansion tank is located on rear of boiler, can be seen on last picture on bottom left. The hot feed line is the copper line coming out from the left side with the quarter turn valve. The return in the cast iron line going into the top back right. Picture of one of the radiators removed this summer to follow. I purchased this house in 2013, boiler was replaced in 2007. Always worked fine until I started making improvements to house and wanted to make the rooms more spacious and get rid of the old Rads.
 

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I have no idea what I am talking about with radiators. So please forgive if totally stupid.

Meanwhile, could you add a 2nd circulator pump on the first floor, where the hot feed line goes upstairs?

To boost the pressure up there, and it could also create a zone for its own thermostat.

Maybe the baseboard units are too tight, so hot water is taking the easy way home and just going through the old first floor cast iron rads?

What about partially choking back all the first floor cast iron radiator hot water valves, to force more water upstairs?
 

Diehard

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1/2” line on top is the fresh water feed. Expansion tank is located on rear of boiler, can be seen on last picture on bottom left. The hot feed line is the copper line coming out from the left side with the quarter turn valve. The return in the cast iron line going into the top back right. Picture of one of the radiators removed this summer to follow. I purchased this house in 2013, boiler was replaced in 2007. Always worked fine until I started making improvements to house and wanted to make the rooms more spacious and get rid of the old Rads.
I think what you're calling your "hot feed line" with what appears to be a circulator pump is the RETURN and the line that goes back to the FLO-CHECK VALVE is the the HOT FEED LINE. But that's unimportant at the moment.
So going back to your "hot feed line" there are TWO pipes A & B. And over at the right rear top of the boiler there are TWO lines C&D that are tied together and connect to that FLO-CHECK VALVE. Am I seeing something wrong or aren't there 4 pipes, 2 out and 2 back(whichever way they're flowing.

Is there a flow arrow on what looks like a circulator on the front of boiler? Is there a flow arrow on that Flo-Check Valve?

Where is that line I marked "?" going?

On that CI Radiator, is that just the one valve on the left and an air vent on the right? No valve on right?

Boiler Front.jpg
 
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wood4d

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You have a converted steam boiler setup. What does the boiler temp say? Does it ever get to 180? You are heating a huge volume of water to get heat, those are probably 2" pipes in the basement. There is no reason for the water to want to heat the second floor, since water takes the path of least resistance. This can be done but not without repiping the basement. Sorry to be negative but I had to fix my grandbabies heat when all my kids separately bought houses with your heating system. Steam doesnt work like that because it works on hot vapor in the pipes not fluid pressure. You need smaller pipes and two circulaters or 2 zone valves and appropriate thermostats. Save your money and you can fix it without tearing apart your house. Its really just running two pex lines (oxygen barrier) around the basement, with one for a feed to each floor.
 
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I think what you're calling your "hot feed line" with what appears to be a circulator pump is the RETURN and the line that goes back to the FLO-CHECK VALVE is the the HOT FEED LINE. But that unimportant at the moment.
So going back to your "hot feed line" there are TWO pipes A & B. And over at the right rear top of the boiler there are TWO lines C&D that are tied together and connect to that FLO-CHECK VALVE. Am I seeing something wrong or aren't there 4 pipes, 2 out and 2 back(whichever way they're flowing.

Is there a flow arrow on what looks like a circulator on the front of boiler? Is there a flow arrow on that Flo-Check Valve?

Where is that line I marked "?" going?

On that CI Radiator, is that just the one valve on the left and an air vent on the right? No valve on right?

View attachment 22194
The boiler is in the center of the house. So yes they have lines coming back, and going to each direction of the home. The line with the ? is a branch off of that. On the CI Radiator, the return is back on the left, you can’t see it too well from that photo.
 

Diehard

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The boiler is in the center of the house. So yes they have lines coming back, and going to each direction of the home. The line with the ? is a branch off of that. On the CI Radiator, the return is back on the left, you can’t see it too well from that photo.
1. Is that a circulator on the front left of the boiler?

2. Did you look at the flow arrows on the items I mentioned?

3. There was a good reason I mentioned, "Can't get a full picture of some of the heating lines", in my first reply.

4. So are you saying that there are, in fact, TWO lines connected to the radiator?

I was just trying to get as much detail as possible with the hopes that eventually we could determine the actual piping arrangement and possibly some ideas of possible improvements or even a conversion to a two zone system.

Although there are signs that it was probably a steam system once, those radiators were not for steam.
 

Diehard

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Correct. A line up and a line back. Will post a picture here shortly. Boiler runs off one thermo on first floor. Before remodel cast iron rads did get to temp on 2nd floor. The new hot water base does have a bleeder valve on the return side of the baseboard.
You have multiple lines up and back.
I have no idea what I am talking about with radiators. So please forgive if totally stupid.

Meanwhile, could you add a 2nd circulator pump on the first floor, where the hot feed line goes upstairs?

To boost the pressure up there, and it could also create a zone for its own thermostat.

Maybe the baseboard units are too tight, so hot water is taking the easy way home and just going through the old first floor cast iron rads?

What about partially choking back all the first floor cast iron radiator hot water valves, to force more water upstairs?
Some logical thinking and ideas but until we find out more about the actual piping arrangement we can't make any solid suggestions.
 
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