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Heating system repair - DIY experts?

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One of the auto air vents in my system is leaking and I need to replace it.  I've done some youtube searching and have got some good info but bits are missing.  I wonder if anyone here has had experience.  I know that the vent sits in a check valve so when the vent is taken out to be replaced or cleaned, water doesn't pour out.  I've also learnt that the check valves are some times also bad.  My question is, if I do take the vent out and the check valve is bad, can I block the hole with my thumb or is the 1.4 bar in the system too much?

 

IMG_4323 (Small).jpeg

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You should release the pressure in the system before trying to remove the vent.

 

Those parts, including the pump, are identical to the ones in our system. I'd turn off the boiler first, by flicking the fused switches over from Winter to Sommer operation, then attach a short hose to the drain cock and, if there's no sink or other drainage outlet in range, put the hose in a bucket and open the tap whilst watching the pressure gauge above the vacuum storage bell (looks like the top of a round BBQ). When it drops below the green area there shouldn't be enough pressure left to cause any problems. 

 

As you rebuild the pressure sufficiently after refitting the parts you need to vent your boiler outlet (there's a rad-key type vent to do it) and you may have to let a little air out of the Schraeder (vehicle tyre type) valve in the middle of the vacuum bell otherwise you can get a false reading due to airlocks farther up the pipes.

 

Keep an eye on both the pressure gauge and the heating circulation at the farthest radiators for a good few hours/cycles after doing the job. You might well need to vent a couple of the rads if it gets erratic.

 

2B

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Thanks 2B for the detailed explanation.  Actually, I'm a fool.  You see the stop cock above the pump, I've just realised there's one just below so I can isolate the pump and remove the air vent without fear of losing water.  I hope you agree.

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Yeah, sorry, I should've said to close the upside red cock or half the water in your system might come out due to gravity. Provided your boiler is off, the cock on the cold water feed to the boiler is closed(!) and the boiler outlet pipes are cool I wouldn't have thought there'd be enough pressure to force it past the downside red cock though.

 

However, you're probably going to lose enough water to potentially cause several air locks anyway so you'd better make sure where your boiler cold water charging input pipe and bleed vent is located.

 

Ours is on the top rear of the boiler not 20 cm from where the parts your picture shows are located and is ribbed (2 or 3 times) chromed brass about the length of my little finger. We've got an external threaded outdoor type tap on the cold water side over a draining sink so we can use the same 1.5m hose to recharge the boiler.

 

Has your setup only got one of those pumps? We've got 2 in parallel with 2 cold return pipes. When I first moved in I thought that was 1 for the house heating and 1 for the flat heating but I was wrong. One is for the heating and the other for the winter hot water. The hot water uses the summer (electric) hot water storage tank so it has an extra cold return to the boiler from its base.

 

The complexity designed into German plumbing systems has meant that (since this house was built in 1977) I've seen multiple leaks occur in the last 10 - 12 years at weak points which usually only became critical shortly after another failing pump or section of copper pipe had been replaced.

 

That said I do think my landlord could've saved about half the cost of extra heating engineers visits if he'd taken heed of my suggestions from time to time (e.g. when I was sure the system was leaking), but being a stubborn old sod he preferred to accuse me of wasting water when his back was turned (i.e. whenever he went 'camping' or fishing for a week or two). Eventually we had over 250 liters of stinking water in the Heizraum before it overlapped the saftey door lip and ran all over my entry hall! :angry:

 

Hope it all goes well with yours.

 

2B

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Before doing any work on the bleed valve, make sure you have a couple of spare ones at hand.

 

These things fill up with calk and crap.. and for 5 quid, it will save so much heartache.... 

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14 hours ago, SpiderPig said:

Before doing any work on the bleed valve, make sure you have a couple of spare ones at hand.

These things fill up with calk and crap.. and for 5 quid, it will save so much heartache... 

Absolutely.  I went out and bought one to replace the leaky one.  I wasn't going to screw around when the new one cost 4.75€,

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20 hours ago, 2B_orNot2B said:

Has your setup only got one of those pumps? We've got 2 in parallel with 2 cold return pipes. When I first moved in I thought that was 1 for the house heating and 1 for the flat heating but I was wrong. One is for the heating and the other for the winter hot water. The hot water uses the summer (electric) hot water storage tank so it has an extra cold return to the boiler from its base.

One pump is there by the boiler and the other is way down on the tank.  I'm still not certain how the whole thing works. I am amazed that my heating system takes up a whole room for heating what would be considered a small house.  Back in blichty, my gas boiler to heat a four-floor, eight-room house was about 100cm tall, 50 deep and 40 wide.

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Job done! Yipeee!  I was worried when unscrewing the vent that the pump would be rusty and the threads would fall away and I wouldn't be able to screw in the new one.  Luckily it went great.

 

However, I have a weird question.  Today I found a second dead bat in the boiler room.  This room is in the basement and has a small non-opening window that is covered with insulating material and a door that has no gaps. How the hell do they get in? It makes me very sad and I want to stop it happening again.

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The room, by law must have some way of letting fresh air in to feed the boiler....

 

The bat probably got in that way.... 

 

 

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Well done, that man!

 

Glad to hear it went well. :)

 

Bats can get through openings as small as your thumb might fit in (if it were squeezed flat!) so I'd look for any gaps around water or gas piping, electric or telecom cable sheathing or waste water outlet pipes. Have a 2nd person on the out- or in- side of the wall to observe, turn off the lights, and point a powerful torch around any potential suspect pipes from the other side.

 

Use of one of the expanding foam cartridge type solutions is probably the easiest way to stop the gaps up. You'll know the gaps are sealed when the stuff leaks out all round the other side of the wall from where you inserted it so it might be better to start from the outside. Once it has set you can cut any excess off with a serrated padsaw blade.

 

2B

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Thats not the smartest idea I have heard from 2B!!!

 

The boiler room needs to be able to allow fresh air in for it to breath/function correctly.. if it didnt get the air, it will choke and then start to produce poisonous gases...

 

Ask your Shorsteinfeger what to do.

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On 12/6/2018, 6:15:46, SpiderPig said:

The room, by law must have some way of letting fresh air in to feed the boiler...

The bat probably got in that way... 

 

 

There is a 10cm diameter pipe that comes into the room and just stops 20cm from the floor.  I take it that's the breathing pipe.  I'll check where it comes out of the house.

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On Freitag, 7. Dezember 2018, SpiderPig said:

The boiler room needs to be able to allow fresh air in for it to breath/function correctly.. if it didnt get the air, it will choke and then start to produce poisonous gases...

 

True, but there are many ways to ensure sufficient fresh air ventilation without tempting rats, bats or mice into entering the cosy, warm space.

 

For example...

 

5c0f1b2912803_RectangularSchutzgitter.jp

 

And for round pipes such as @rodisi mentioned...

 

5c0f1b2f1583c_Roundholedschutzgitter.jpg  5c0f1b23759a9_Plasticroundschutzgitter.j  5c0f1b1c5758c_RoundpipeSchutzgitter.jpg.

 

Baumärkte, like OBI, etc., carry them or you can order them online.

 

Try google.de for 'Heizraum Belüftungsgitter' or, for more flexible solutions 'Schutzgitter'.

 

2B

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17 hours ago, 2B_orNot2B said:

 

True, but there are many ways to ensure sufficient fresh air ventilation without tempting rats, bats or mice into entering the cosy, warm space.

 

And for round pipes such as @rodisi mentioned..

Baumärkte, like OBI, etc., carry them or you can order them online.

Try google.de for 'Heizraum Belüftungsgitter' or, for more flexible solutions 'Schutzgitter'.

2B

Without seeing your input, I went this morning looking for something like your exaples.  Unfortunately Neither Herkiles or any of the other hardware stores around here have anything like that.  I guess I shall have to rig something up. 

Anyway, thanks for the German name.

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