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Hot Water Heating System

Equipment and Operation

Learning Outcome
When you complete this module you will be able to:
Describe accessories, operation and troubleshooting of a hot water heating system

Learning Objectives
Here is what you will be able to do when you complete each objective:
1. Describe the purpose and function of standard hot water heating system
2. Explain how the location of the hot water circulating pump and the expansion
tank are determined.
3. Describe the cleaning, filling, starting, routine operation, and troubleshooting
of hot water heating systems.
4. Apply a hot water heating system troubleshooting guide.

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This module will cover the major accessories of a hot water heating system.
Accessories such as radiators, convectors, and other heating units used in hot
water heating systems are basically the same in design as those used in steam
heating systems. See Module 027-41-54-02 for a description of these units.

Diverter Fittings
Special diverter fittings are required in the one-pipe hot water systems to ensure
an adequate flow of water through each convector.
Fig. 1 illustrates the operation of one type of diverter fitting or tee which is
installed in the return connection of each radiator or convector. This diverter
makes use of a venturi section which reduces the pressure in the return connection
and thus induces a flow of water through the radiator or convector.

Figure 1
Diverter Fitting (Return Type)

Diverter fittings are also used in the supply line to the heating unit when higher
output of the unit is required or when the distance from the unit to the supply
main is quite far.
The supply fitting works the opposite way of the return fitting. It restricts the
flow of the water in the supply main and so forces part of the water into the
supply line to the convector. Fig. 2 illustrates how and where supply and return
type diverter fittings are used.

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Figure 2
Diverter Fitting Applications
Air Vents
The removal of air from a hot water heating system is vitally important for the
proper operation of the system. Air collects in the high spots of piping and
heating units and forms air pockets which restrict or even block the flow of the
water, resulting in insufficient heating. It also can be responsible for noisy
operation of the heating system.
When a hot water system is filled for the first time, much care must be taken to
vent all the air out of the system. This is normally done at the high points of the
system where the air tends to collect, such as the upper parts of the risers and in
radiators and convectors. At start-up, the system should be air-free except for the
air trapped in the expansion tank.
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Cold water, however, always contains a certain amount of dissolved air that is
freed when the water is heated. Air is also absorbed by the cooler water in the
expansion tank during operation. This air will enter the system with the water
that flows from the tank when the temperature of the water in the system drops,
and it is then freed when the temperature is raised again. Therefore, air removal
will be necessary during the warm-up period and during regular operation of the
heating system.
In older systems venting was done manually by opening small petcocks, Fig. 3, on
radiators and convectors, and larger vent valves on the risers.

Figure 3
On newer systems automatic air vents are used. Fig. 4 shows a float-operated air
vent commonly installed on the highest part of mains and risers (see Figs. 5 and 6
in Module 027-41-54-03). As long as water is present in the vent body, the float
will hold the vent valve shut. When air collects, the float will drop, thus opening
the vent valve.

Figure 4
Float Type Air Vent

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Fig. 5 shows an automatic vent used on radiators and convectors. The vent uses
composition discs which are hygroscopic (they readily absorb water). As long as
water is in contact with the discs, they will swell or expand and seal off the vent
opening. Any air trapped at the vent will dry the discs and cause them to contract,
thus opening the vent port. The vent can also be manually opened by turning the
cap about 3/4 turn so that the discs do not pack together any longer.

Figure 5
Automatic Air Vent
Air Separators
The air liberated by heating the water should not be allowed to travel to the
various parts of the heating system. Instead, this air should be trapped and either
directed to the expansion tank or vented to the atmosphere.
Two methods are used to remove this air from the water. The first method allows
the air to leave the boiler with the heated water. The air being lighter than water
will generally tend to travel along the upper portion of a horizontal pipe. An air
separator is installed in the first horizontal stretch of the supply piping after the
water leaves the boiler.
A cutaway view of one type of air separator is shown in Fig. 6. This separator
contains a baffle which causes the air bubbles to rise and accumulate in the upper
part of the housing. The bubbles then pass upwards to the expansion tank, which
is directly connected to the separator, where they help to maintain the air cushion,
Fig. 7, or they are vented to atmosphere via an air vent.

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Figure 6
Air Separator
(Courtesy of Dunham-Bush)

Figure 7
Air Separation in Supply Main
In the second method the hot water leaves the boiler through a dip tube extending
several centimetres below the top of the boiler. This prevents the air that collects
at the top of the boiler from leaving with the water. Instead, it passes up to the
expansion tank which is either directly connected to the top of the boiler, Fig. 8,
or to a special fitting which combines the hot water outlet and tank connection, as
is illustrated in Fig. 9.

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Figure 8
Air Separation in Boilers

Figure 9
Airtrol Boiler Fitting
Flow Control Valves
Flow control valves are necessary in each circuit of a multi-zone system to
prevent continued circulation of hot water after the circulator has been stopped by
the zone control. Continued circulation can be caused either by the circulation of
the water in the other circuits connected to the same supply and return mains or
by natural convection currents set up by the temperature difference of the water in
various parts of the circuit (gravity circulation). This may cause overheating of a

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A cutaway view of a typical flow control valve is shown in Fig. 10. It is basically
a lift type check valve. When the circulator is running, the disc rises to open the
valve; when the circulator stops, the disc closes tightly to prevent gravity flow.
The valve is also equipped with an external adjusting knob or handle by which it
is possible to hold the valve in the open or the closed position if required.

Figure 10
Flow Control Valve

Balancing Valves and Balancing Fittings

Zone circuits in multi-zone systems do not always have the same flow resistance
due to the difference in piping length and number of heating units connected. As
a result, the flow of hot water through each zone may not always be the correct
amount needed to satisfy the heat requirement of the zone. This is called
hydraulic imbalance.
To correct this condition, a balancing valve is installed in each circuit. By
adjusting these valves, it is possible to regulate the water flows so that each circuit
receives the proper amount of water. The balancing valves commonly used are
either plug valves or globe valves with a plug type disc.
Flow imbalance between convectors on the same heating circuit can be corrected
by the installation and adjustment of small plug valves or cocks on the outlet of
each convector. These valves often form part of the connecting fitting between
convector and return pipe, hence they are called balancing fittings.
Riser Stop Valves
A gate valve should be installed at the beginning of each supply riser and the end
of each return riser so that each section can be shut off for servicing without
interrupting the operation of the remainder of the heating system.

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Pressure Reducing Valves

A pressure reducing valve, also called an automatic fill valve, is needed to keep a
hot water heating system with a closed expansion tank automatically filled and
under proper pressure. A spring-loaded, internal diaphragm type reducing valve
is commonly used on hot water heating systems.

Circulating Pumps
The pumps used to provide forced circulation in hot water heating systems are of
the electrically driven centrifugal type, usually of single stage design. They must
be capable of operating quietly and reliably for long periods of time without
In small installations, the type known as the in-line circulator is favoured. It is
a low head pump which is installed in and supported by the system piping. It is
driven by an electric motor by means of a flexible coupling, or pump and motor
are close-coupled. In larger systems, pump and motor are usually base-mounted
and connected by a flexible coupling.

Expansion Tanks
A hot water heating system must be equipped with an expansion tank. The
reasons for the use of this tank are the following:
1. When the water in the boiler and system heats up, it expands and, to
prevent excessive pressure buildup due to this expansion, the excess water
is stored in the expansion tank.
2. When water in the boiler and system cools down, it shrinks. In order to
keep the system properly filled, the excess water stored in the tank is
returned to the system so that no makeup water is required except for a
minimal amount to replace water lost due to leakage or blowoff.
3. Since the amount of makeup water can be kept to a minimum, the amount
of water treatment chemicals required to maintain the proper concentration
for protection of the boiler and system can also be kept to a minimum.
The modern hot water system is equipped with a closed expansion tank. A
cushion of air is trapped in the tank and is compressed when water enters the tank
due to a temperature rise in the system. This results in an increase in the system
air pressure and the water pressure.
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Although a pressure increase in the system may be beneficial since it allows us to

operate at higher temperatures without running the risk of reaching the boiling
point of the water, pressure variations should be kept within proper limits.
Therefore, the expansion tank should be large enough not only to accommodate
the excess water on an increase of system water temperature, but also to contain a
large enough volume of air to prevent an excessive pressure increase. The larger
the volume of air in the closed tank, the less the variation in system pressure will
be as the water temperature changes.
In an expansion tank having the air cushion on top of and in direct contact with
the water, some of the air is absorbed by the water and is carried into the system
with the water leaving the tank, when the temperature of the water in the heating
system drops. This air will be freed again when the temperature of the water is
raised and it may interfere with the proper flow of water through the system if not
vented off. It also will cause corrosion of steel piping and heating units.
To assure a permanent air cushion and so to avoid the trouble caused by the
escape of air into the system, late-model expansion tanks are often equipped with
a flexible diaphragm which separates the system water from the air.
Fig. 11 illustrates a diaphragm-equipped expansion tank attached to the bottom of
the air separator in the main supply line to the system. The tank may also be
installed into a tee or any suitable tapping in the supply line.


Figure 11
Diaphragm Type Expansion Tank

Before the heating system is filled, the tank is charged with air up to the pressure
normally maintained by the automatic fill valve so that when the system is
completely filled, no water has entered the expansion tank yet.
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When the system is brought up to temperature, the tank receives the expanded
volume of water and the diaphragm simply flexes against the air cushion.
When an expansion tank contains a flexible diaphragm, air separated from the
water in an air separator or from the top of the boiler cannot be directed to the
expansion tank. Instead, it has to be vented directly to atmosphere by means of an
automatic float vent as is shown in Fig. 11.
Large heating systems often are equipped with expansion tanks which, instead of
having an air cushion above the water, use nitrogen gas as a cushion. Nitrogen,
an inert gas, is less soluble in water than air and does not cause corrosion. A
nitrogen-filled pressure cylinder, connected to the top of the expansion tank via a
pressure reducing valve, will then maintain a pressurized gas cushion in the tank.

Steam to Hot Water Converters

Under some circumstances, it may be preferable to heat the water for a hot water
heating system by means of steam from a steam boiler. This is done in a
converter which is usually a shell and tube heat exchanger in which the water to
be heated flows through tubes and the steam admitted to the shell surrounds the
outside of the tubes.
Applications where the steam-hot water converter system may be used, include
the following:
1. In multistory buildings, where there would be excessive head on a hot
water boiler placed in the basement, a steam boiler can be used to supply
steam to a number of converters located at 4 or 5 floor intervals. A sketch
of this arrangement is shown in Fig. 12.
2. In buildings where steam is required for kitchen, laundry, sterilizers, air
conditioning equipment, etc., but hot water is preferred for building

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Figure 12
Multistory Building Heating by Converters
(Courtesy of Taco Inc.)

A converter arrangement for a hot water heating system is shown in Fig. 13. The
system, apart from the converter, is similar to the conventional hot water system
requiring an expansion tank, relief valve, fill valve, etc.
Referring to Fig. 13, steam from the boiler is fed to the converter and is regulated
by control valve G which senses the temperature of the hot water leaving the
converter. As the steam gives its heat to the water, it condenses, passes through
the steam trap, and is led back to the boiler via the condensate return system. The
circulator C, controlled by thermostat H, draws the water from the converter and
forces it through the heating system and back through the converter again for

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Figure 13
Steam-Hot Water Converter System
(Courtesy of Dunham-Bush)


The location of the circulating pump and expansion tank in a hot water system
have an important bearing on the proper operation of the system. Improper
location can often lead to problems of cavitation in the circulator and the
production of a negative pressure in part of the system resulting in air being
drawn in.
Point of No Pressure Change
Fig. 14 shows a simplified diagram of the main circuit of a closed hot water
system laid out as a horizontal loop. The expansion tank is partially filled with air
which is compressible. The remainder of the tank as well as the entire system is
filled with water. Water can be considered to be noncompressible. There is no
means of feeding additional water. The system is under a uniform pressure.
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Figure 14
Basic Hot Water System
When the pump is started, it develops a pressure differential (the pump head)
between suction and discharge, and the pressure throughout the system changes,
thus it is not uniform anymore. The pressure in the expansion tank, however, will
not change, assuming that the temperature of the water remains constant so that
no change in volume due to expansion or contraction occurs.
The reason that the pressure in the tank does not change is fairly simple. Any
pressure increase in the tank would compress the air and reduce its volume. The
space vacated by the air would have to be filled by water from the system.
However, since this is a closed system without the means to receive more water,
no water can move from the system into the tank because that would create an
empty space in the system, which is impossible.
A reduction in tank pressure is also impossible because that would result in an
increased air volume and part of the water in the tank would have to be forced
into the system, which is already completely filled. In other words, the pressure
in the expansion tank remains at a constant value. Thus no pressure change takes
place when the pump is started.
Since the pressure at the point where the expansion tank is connected to the
system is practically the same as that in the tank, this point is called the point of
no pressure change.
Since it is desirable that the pressure of the boiler in a hot water system is not
affected by the operation of the circulating pump, the expansion tank, and thus the
point of no pressure change, is nearly always located at or near the boiler. Note
that the boiler is not indicated in Figs. 14 and 15 for clearness sake.

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Change in System Pressure Due to Pump Location

Fig. 15(a) illustrates the main of a closed hot water system with the expansion
tank connected to the suction side of the pump. The pump is not running.
Pressure gages are attached at various points of the system. Assuming that the
pressure reducing valve in the fill line (not shown) is set at 83 kPa (12 psig), all
the gages will show 83 kPa after the initial filling of the system with cold water.
After the water in the system is heated to boiler operating temperature, the
expansion of the heated water increases the pressure and the gages might indicate
124 kPa (18 psi) as shown.

Figure 15(a)
Main of Closed Hot Water System

Fig. 15(b) illustrates the same system but now the pump is running. It is assumed
that the pressure differential between suction and discharge of the pump is 55 kPa
(8 psig). Since the expansion tank is located on the suction side of the pump and
this is the point of no pressure change, the suction pressure of the pump will
remain 124 kPa (18 psig). However, the pressure on the discharge side is now
boosted by 55 kPa to 179 kPa (26 psig). This 55 kPa pressure is required to force
the water through, and to overcome the friction of, the system. The pressure at
various points in the main will become progressively lower, until it reaches 124
kPa on the suction side again.

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Figure 15(b)

Fig. 15(c) illustrates the same system as Fig. 15(b) except that the expansion tank
is now connected to the discharge side of the pump and this point becomes the
point of no pressure change. The pressure here remains 124 kPa. The pressure
differential developed by the pump now appears as a negative pressure and the
suction pressure of the pump will be reduced by 55 kPa to 69 kPa (10 psig).
Again this pressure differential is required to move the water through the system
and to overcome friction. The pressure at various points in the main will now
become progressively lower until it reaches 69 kPa on the suction side of the

Figure 15(c)

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Fig. 15(d) illustrates the same system as Fig. 15(c), but in this diagram the pump
develops a pressure differential of 207 kPa (30 psig) when running. Since the
expansion tank is connected at the discharge side of the pump, the pressure
differential developed by the pump appears as a negative pressure. Under these
conditions part of the system will be at a pressure above, and the remainder of the
system at a pressure below atmospheric pressure. The lowest pressure will occur
at the suction side of the pump where it is reduced from 124 kPa (18 psig) to a
negative pressure of 124 kPa - 207 kPa = -83 kPa (-12 psig).

Figure 15(d)
Severe operating problems would occur in this system. Should the temperature of
the water at the pump suction be over 57C (135F), vapor bubbles would form
which cause cavitation in the pump. Also, since part of the system operates at
below atmospheric pressure, air may be sucked into the system creating additional
It was discussed earlier that normally the expansion tank is either directly
connected to the boiler or to the hot water supply line near the boiler. This places
the boiler at the point of no pressure change, therefore, boiler pressure is not
affected by the location of the circulating pump as long as the circulating pump is
not between the boiler and the expansion tank.

Minimum Pressure in a Hot Water System

To avoid cavitation in the pump and drawing of air into the system, a positive
pressure should be maintained in the system at all times. The pressure at the
highest point of the system should be at least 12 kPa (1.73 psi) which is
equivalent to a head of water of 1.2 m (4 ft).

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A minimum pressure of 83 kPa (12 psi) indicated on the boiler pressure gage
(8.5 m or 28 feet of water on the altitude gage) should be maintained on all hot
water heating systems of smaller buildings, such as residences and single-story
commercial buildings where the boiler and circulator are usually located on the
lowest level. Any drop in pressure below this value will cause the pressure
reducing valve in the water supply line to open and to feed water into the system
until pressure has returned to normal.
The circulator in smaller systems normally produces only a slight pressure
differential and, even when it is placed in the return line, a pressure of 83 kPa (12
psi) will assure that sufficient positive pressure is maintained at the highest points
in the system.
There is no specific reading for the pressure or altitude gage on boilers in large
hot water systems. These readings differ considerably depending on the location
of the boiler, which may be placed in the basement, penthouse, or any floor inbetween. The pump, which usually develops quite a high pressure differential, is
generally installed in the supply line, thus it draws water from the boiler, and the
pressure throughout the system is increased during operation.
As a general rule, the minimum reading on the altitude gage of a boiler in a large
hot water system can be determined by taking the distance from the top of the
boiler to the highest point in the system and adding 1.2 m (4 ft). For example, if
the highest point of the heating system is 19.8 m (65 ft) above the top of the
boiler, the altitude gage on the boiler should indicate at least 21 m (69 ft) of water
head. Considering that 1 m of water head is equivalent to a pressure of 9.81 kPa,
a pressure gage on the boiler should indicate at least 21 x 9.81 = 206 kPa. For a
pressure gage indicating in psi, the minimum reading would be
69 x 0.433 = 30 psi.
When boiler and circulator are placed on the top floor, as is common in large
high-rise buildings, the value of the water head given above may have to be
increased in order to supply sufficient suction head for the circulator to prevent
cavitation or vapor binding. Always make sure that the pressure is high enough to
give the pump the required net positive suction head (NPSH).
The pressure reducing valve (automatic fill valve) on the system should be set to
maintain adequate pressure in the system.

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All new systems contain many types of foreign materials which inadvertently find
their way into the system during construction. Some of these materials are: pipe
dope, thread cutting oils, soldering flux, rust preventives or slushing compounds,
core sands, welding slag, and dirt, sand, or clays from the job site. Fortunately,
the amount of these impurities is usually small and they do not cause too much
trouble. However, some substances break down chemically during the operation
of the system and, if present in sufficient quantities, may cause the water to
become acidic, thus lowering the pH below 7, which then results in corrosion.
When piping is welded in place, care should be taken to prevent the collection of
welding slag in valves, elbows, pump impellers, etc. Welding slag in fittings will
hinder circulation and when caught in a pump impeller, will cause serious pump
trouble, burned out motors, and excessive noise as well as reduced circulation.
Manufacturers cannot be expected to guarantee their products against damage
from welding slag or other foreign material.
To prevent larger particles from reaching the circulating pump, it is common
practice to install a temporary strainer in the suction line.
It is neither difficult nor expensive to clean out a new hot water system in order to
remove any substances that may break down and cause corrosion. An alkaline
solution circulated through the system for several hours will do a satisfactory job.
The chemicals used for this purpose are, in order of preference: trisodium
phosphate, sodium carbonate (soda ash), and sodium hydroxide (caustic soda).
These chemicals are readily available in hardware stores.
Use only a single chemical for the cleaning process. The chemicals are dissolved
in the water in the following proportions:
1. Trisodium phosphate and caustic soda - 1 kg/420 L (1 lb/42 Imp. gal
or 1 lb/50 U.S. gal).
2. Soda ash - 1 kg/250 L (1 lb/25 Imp. gal or 1 lb/30 U.S. gal).
Fill, vent, and circulate the system with this solution, allowing it to reach design
or operating temperatures if possible. After circulating a few hours, the system
should be drained completely and refilled with fresh water. Usually enough of the
cleaner will adhere to the piping to give an alkaline solution satisfactory for

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A clean hot water system should never be drained except for an emergency or the
necessary servicing of equipment which may be needed after years of operation.
Antifreeze solutions in systems should be tested from year to year as
recommended by the manufacturers of the antifreeze used.


When filling a hot water system prior to putting it into service, it is most
important to vent all the air from the system. The following steps cover the
general procedure for filling and starting a system:

Open all vents and close all drains.

2. Admit water to the system with the automatic fill valve set to supply
adequate pressure to the highest point of the system.
3. Vent each radiator and convector unit and all the high points of the
4. When the system is completely filled and vented, check the altitude gage
on the boiler. Readjust the automatic fill valve if necessary to obtain the
proper pressure in the system.
5. Check the water level in the expansion tank. The water should just be
showing in the bottom of the gage glass.
6. Switch on the power supply to the boiler and circulator and start up the
7. Warm up the boiler, and circulate the water through the entire system.
Any air bubbles clinging to the inside walls of piping and the boiler will
be removed and either vented or directed into the expansion tank. Air
dissolved in the cold water will also be freed and removed.
8. Check the entire system over for proper operation. Any irregularities or
leaks should be corrected.
9. When the boiler temperature reaches the maximum setting, shut off the
burner, stop the circulator, and vent all parts of the system once again.
10. Set the controls to commence normal operation.

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When the heating system is exposed to freezing temperatures, an antifreeze
solution may be used instead of water. If this is the case, the following points
should be regarded:
1. Make sure the antifreeze used is not corrosive to the piping and other parts
of the system. Many manufacturers of antifreeze solutions include a
corrosion inhibitor in their products.
2. Since antifreeze will expand more than water, a larger expansion tank will
be required.
3. Antifreeze has a greater density than water, therefore, more power will be
required for the circulating pump.
4. Since antifreeze will not carry as much heat as water it must be kept at a
higher temperature.
5. Before using antifreeze in an old system, make sure the system has been
thoroughly flushed out and cleaned by circulating a solution of trisodium
phosphate through the system for 3 or 4 hours. Use
1 kg/500 L of water (1 lb/50 Imp. gal).
6. Antifreeze mixtures are harmful if swallowed and must be kept out of
reach of children.


Hot Water Boilers
The boilers used in smaller buildings require only a minimum of supervision and
maintenance, however, the following points should be strictly observed:
1. Follow the manufacturers instructions for routine operation of the boiler.
2. Test the safety relief valve and controls regularly and mark the tests on the
log sheet.
3. Observe the operation of the burner regularly and make sure that the air
supply to the boiler room is open.
4. Keep the boiler and boiler room clean. Keep covers on all controls since
they are very sensitive to dust and dirt.
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Circulating Pump
Check the operation of the pump regularly. If equipped with a stuffing box, make
sure it does not drip excessively. Lubricate the pump and motor according to
manufacturers recommendation.

Expansion Tank
Check the level regularly to make sure that the air cushion is maintained. If the
tank becomes waterlogged, recharge it with air.

Piping and Valves

Inspect the piping and valves periodically. At the first sign of leakage, have
repairs made, otherwise extensive damage to walls, ceilings, etc., may be caused.

Radiators, Convectors and Unit Ventilators

Keep them clean and free from blockage by furniture, etc.


The checklist following is intended to aid the operator in locating the cause of
most of the problems that may develop in hot water heating systems. It is
assumed that the systems were properly designed, installed, and have been in
operation satisfactorily before trouble developed.
The operator should be aware that some of the corrective action recommended in
the list should only be performed by a qualified tradesman. Tinkering with the
equipment by an unqualified person could result in worsening of the trouble.
Also various trade codes or regulations could be violated.
Indiscriminate adjustment of balancing valves and cocks should be avoided.
Balancing of heating systems is a delicate operation and should only be attempted
by a knowledgeable person equipped with the proper tools and measuring

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COMPLAINT: Insufficient heat throughout building



Boiler water
too low.

1. Burner not lit

a) No power

a) Check power supply to boiler
and various control circuits
b) Raise setting of temperature
operating control and/or
outdoor reset control Replace
controls if defective
c) Repair or replace fuel valve
d) Find reason for flame failure,
correct trouble

b) Setting of controls too low or

controls defective

c) Defective fuel valve

d) Flame failure device shut burner
2. Burner input too low due to
insufficient fuel supply
a) Fuel stop valve not fully open
b) Automatic fuel control valve does
not open sufficiently
c) Fuel filter is plugging
d) Fuel pressure too low


3. Burner input too low, due to poor

a) Burner nozzle plugging
b) Restricted air supply to boiler room


c) Air dampers closed in

d) Fan belts slipping
e) Excessive amount of excess air

4. Heating surfaces of boiler dirty.

Stack temperature will be higher
than normal

a) Open valve wide

b) Inspect valve, repair or
c) Clean or replace filter
d) Increase pressure

a) Clean nozzle
b) Remove any obstruction from
air supply openings or ducts
c) Adjust dampers to give
required amount of air
d) Adjust belt tension
e) Reduce air supply by
adjusting dampers
4. Shut boiler down and inspect
heating surface on fire and
water side. Clean when
necessary. To prevent
reoccurrence a) improve
water treatment and b) check

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Main supply
Header temperature
too low

1. Boiler water temperature too low

1. See above

2. 3-way mixing valve allows too

much cool return water into supply

2. Check operation of 3-way

mixing valve

3. Controls improperly adjusted or


3. Raise setting of space or

medium thermostat and/or
outdoor reset control

1. Circulator not operating

a) Power off

a) Check power supply to pump
and controls. It may have
been switched off by mistake.
If breaker tripped, electrical
trouble in motor or
mechanical trouble in pump
should be suspected.
b) Check setting of controls. If
defective replace.


b) Thermostat or aquastat controlling

pump operation not working
2. Screen in pump suction plugging

2. Clean screen

3. Stop valves in supply and return

headers not fully open

3. Check and open valves wide

COMPLAINT: Insufficient heat in one zone




Supply water
too low

1. Temperature of water in main

supply line too low

1. See above

2. Zone mixing valve malfunctioning

2. Check operation of valve by

manipulation of space

3. Control setting too low or control


3. Check setting of thermostat

and outdoor reset control.
Replace controls if defective

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1. Zone circulator not operating

1. Same procedure as for main

circulator. See above


2. Stop valves in zone supply and

return headers not fully open

2. Check and open valves fully

3. Balancing valves closed in too


3. Open valves more

4. Zone control valve malfunctioning

4. Check operation of valve

COMPLAINT: Insufficient heat in one or more rooms





1. Balancing valve in branch line or

balancing cocks on connectors
closed in too much

1. Adjust valve or cocks

2. Air pockets in piping

2. Open vent valves. If

equipped with automatic air
vents, check operation of
these vents

3. Air pockets in heating units

3. As above

4. Convector valve does not open fully

4. Repair or replace valve

5. Room thermostat malfunctioning

5. Replace thermostat

6. Sensing bulb of thermal control

valve covered

6. Make sure air flow over

sensing bulb is not restricted

7. Piping or convector frozen

7. Defrost, watch for leaks.

Find cause of freezing

HVAC 6017




Restricted air flow

through heating unit

1. Unit heater or ventilator

a) fan not working

a) Check power supply to fan.
Check 3 speed switch
b) Clean or replace filter
c) Check operation of damper

b) filter plugged
c) dampers misadjusted

2. Air passages clogged with dust

2. Clean fin coils

3. Damper plates not fully open

3. Adjust dampers

4. Carpeting restricts air flow

4. Lower or cut back carpeting

5. Curtains restrict air flow

5. Shorten curtains

COMPLAINT: Heating system noisy




Noisy circulator

1. Faulty bearings

1. Replace bearings and check

alignment of pump and motor

2. Impeller unbalanced

2. Inspect impeller for damage

or plugging

3. Cavitation in pump
a) suction restricted

b) suction pressure too low

c) water temperature too high

a) Check that size of pump
suction complies with that
recommended for the pump
b) Raise system pressure
c) Lower water temperature


Cannot freely expand. Rubs in holes

through walls and floor

Enlarge holes to give proper



1. Heating element rubs against wall

and casing when expanding and

1. Provide proper clearance

2. Casing vibrates

2. Strengthen vibrating parts

Motor or fan bearings rough

Renew bearings

Unit heaters and


HVAC 6017