cold radiators downstairs and hot upstairs

Discussion in 'Plumbers' Talk' started by Aga, Jan 9, 2012.

  1. Aga

    Aga Guest


    I desperately need help!
    I've got all radiators (and pipes) cold on the ground floor but upstairs all are hot. I had a guy from a heating engineers company who was trying to do something with it for 3 days.. To be honest I don't know  if I can trust him. He flushed all the water from the system twice and today it helped for a few minutes but then the pipes got cold again.
    The whole story started when I phoned the company, that I would like to have a back boiler service and check the radiators because some of them are cold but the pipes coming to the radiators are warm. The boiler is fine but nor the radiators. So he had loads of ideas, changed valves in 2 radiators (downstairs) as he said the hot water can't go through, he was trying to bleed radiators (boiler was on...then when finally when was off), then this little thing what you use for bleeding broke so he replaced the whole radiator...which then was leaking... so he had to come back to do it properly. He got rid of all the water in the system saying there must be a blockage somewhere and at the end he managed to get radiator hot in a living room but in a dining room was still cold. He said that the heating pipe branches and at the end I have a separate branch heating one part of the house (2 bedrooms upstairs+living room) and the other heats bedroom, bathroom upstairs and dining room downstairs. So I do not know what can cause the problem. He was saying that there can be air or something but I don't know and he doesn't seem to be very helpful
    He's main idea was to change it all for a combi boiler but my worry is that it will not change the problem. I heard about cleaning all pipes with some chemicals but at the moment I'm not sure if there is something blocking the pipes or something else causing the problem. I'm a new owner of this house and I do not have enough money to change everything...

    If you have any ideas what can I do, what can really cause the problem would be great!
  2. Captain Leaky

    Captain Leaky New Member

    If you have hot upstairs and cold downstairs then the pump has packed up. It really is that simple. Your cowboy does not know what he is doing!
  3. Aga

    Aga Guest

    Yesterday he managed to get the radiator in the living room hot but when we shut off the boiler and after a while switch it on again the radiator got cold... He was checking the pump and at the end he said there must be an air sucked into the system  and that's the problem but he didn't have any idea what to do with it...actually he had- to change everything and have a new boiler...but my worry is that changing the boiler will not solve the problem...grrr
    he said that on the pump there are three options, and option 3 is for the house like ours (3bed) but he phoned his boss and they decided to leave it at 2(was on 2when he had looked at it first) because on 3 the pump will be sucking more air ....
    plus now I've got 2 radiators is dining room - again where the valve is but from the other side of the valve, plus living room where there is that little thing he was using to get rid of the whole water from the this caused by ..the air or he just can't even screw it properly...?
  4. G Brown

    G Brown New Member

    Listen Aga. The guy is a cowboy. This is basic stuff for trained plumbers. Get rid of him and get a decent plumber in to sort out his mess.
  5. Aga

    Aga Guest

    so you think that the problem is with the pump? does it somethig which can be fixed or must be replaced? i'll have to find another plumber then but i'm not sure how to find out he's not another guy like this one....grrr - the company i'm using was..recommended..
  6. G Brown

    G Brown New Member

    Most likely to be the pump. It's basic schoolboy physics - heat rises - so when the pump fails the upstairs gets hot and the downstairs gets cold. Of course there could be other issues which  can't be seen from here but any experienced plumber would have sorted it properly.
  7. Aga

    Aga Guest

    Thanks a lot for your advice! I'll try to get rid of this guy and get someone else to have a look at it.
  8. Aga

    Aga Guest

    I phoned one company, which I heard is good and they will not rip me off. The guy I spoke to wasn't sure if it's a pump or something else and was not able to tell me how long it may take to find that out...(which is not great news for me as again they charge per hour).So we decided to get the boss from the first company and speak about what has been done and that we're quite upset about all the work. The boss came to our house, seemed to be quite good and knew what's talking about. We explained and show him what his worker done. He said something that all the 'steps' the guy did where right way to work out where the problem is. We said that at the end of the day we've got 2 radiators cold and leaking and we're not happy about it. So he said he'll check it. He turn the heating on, turn off all the radiators except the one in dining room which wasn't working and...magic....the radiator got hot.... he did same with the other radiator and again-hot. then he went upstairs, was checking the pump, said, it works. then he changed something in one of the radiators upstairs saying that if there is an air blocking the way for water, now will be pushed down, the pressure will be different(don't remember exactly what he said) and....all radiators work now, all are hot. he mentioned something about leaving them at 3 not max and give few days to see if they will still be hot or the problem will come back. He was on Wednesday and radiators seem to be ok but.....not sure but the pump is much noisier now, so we think he change it on 3. and there is a problem...not sure if that's normal - there is a pipe thing sticking out of the wall outside of the building. he said it's a way when water from a tank on the loft  can get out when the level is too high to don't flood the house....but we  saw yesterday water dripping on a window which is just below the pipe, today the same-it happens a while after we switch the boiler on.....
    could you please tell me if it's normal or not, and what we could do about it?
    we've been told by several people that the previous owner is a good guy and if he said he didn't have a problem like we do now, it must be truth
    not sure what is going on with the heating in our house but it's very daunting and we don't know what to do now. we even started thinking about changing the whole system and have a combi boiler but I'm scared that it may not solve the problem as out back boiler seems to be ok and the problem must be somewhere else
  9. gibson

    gibson New Member

    <hr style="height: 0px; border-right-width: 0px; border-bottom-width: 0px; border-left-width: 0px; border-image: initial; border-color: #c5d3fb; border-style: solid;"/>All pumping over in the tank  is either a design problem or as a result of sludge,turn your pump back down to setting 2 see what happens.

    photos of pipework and pump layout would help

    hope this helps.
  10. Crowsfoot

    Crowsfoot Screwfix Select

    From reading your post Aga I'd guess that all you ever needed was a bit of careful balancing of the radiators.
    Looks like the pumps now been set to maximum which is too high for your system and causing it too pump over into the header tank then out of the overflow.
    Is the pump sited high up?
    Sounds like you've had a courseman (they all talk lots of bulls--t which they hope will cover up their lack of experience!)
  11. palavaman

    palavaman Well-Known Member

    thanks a lot tappy, but sorry to dissapoint you, 'cos it wasn't me, honest.
  12. gib.son

    gib.son New Member

    now look here, there's this gibson with no avatar, who seems to be a knowledgable chap, but has he got a gibson, well have you ?, is it a real one ?

    show us a picy, heres one of mine,

    Message was edited by: Screwfix Moderator
  13. Aga

    Aga Guest

    I got excited about hot radiators a bit to early... The problem seems to came back.... The annoying crazy loud pump started to be a bit weird (not sure if that's normal). When I switched the heating on, the pump was really loud but after a while was kind of more quiet (like it used to be when was at setting2) and after another while was very loud again. On Saturday I realized the radiator in living room got cold again!!!! grrrr.....the pipe going into the radiator is still hot. This morning the pump was very loud just for a while and then got 'quiet' (was like that for an hour) radiator in a dining room is not that hot's warmish now and rather top part of the radiator.... Honestly I'm really fed up with all of that as it's really cold now, especially during the night I don't know what is causing the problem and I don't know if changing the back boiler into a combi one will solve the problem.
    Plus I can here bubbling from time to time in a radiator in bathroom (when the boiler is on), which apparently in the main radiator in the house. The radiator used to be hot, but now it's only a bit warm and only one side - bottom 'corner'.
    I've been told that the pump is not in the place where you normally have it. I's in my bedroom under the floor (you can use it as an alarm in the morning because there is no way to don't wake up when the heating  starts...). Not sure why someone put it in there but guess there was a reason for that
  14. Crowsfoot

    Crowsfoot Screwfix Select

    Quite a few years ago I remember doing a job sounding very much like yours; noisey pump/heating not working, on that occasion the pump (which was, like yours, under the bedroom floor) had been fitted in such a manor that it couldn't get rid of some trapped air.
    I did a little re-pipe so that the pump/pipework could naturally vent through a nearby radiator which fixed the problem!

    If you could post up a photo of the pump and surounding pipework I might be able to tell if this is also the problem you are having.
  15. graceland

    graceland Active Member

    Pipe hot going into the rad but rad not getting hot indicates sludge in the rad valve/system or valve knackered
  16. Aga

    Aga Guest

    Graceland-not sure if you read all  I had wrote - the valves have been changed and the radiators can get warm, but only when i.e one is on.....don't believe it's a sludge.... I'm not a plumber but the first thing I would do when I have radiators cold but the pipes hot is to bleed the radiator ..... it usually helps. the guy who was in our house did it when the boiler was on....which I think could then cause more air get into the system.
    the pump is not that noisy anymore, it's like it used to be on setting 2 (we didn't change it back to 2). radiator in dining room is cold now as well and the worst thing is that other radiators seem to getting colder....we spoke with the previous owner of the house, he came in and was shocked what happened, what that 'plumber' done etc.....i'm worried about boiler now as well, as something inside.... fell down-I mean I heard bang, but that was several days ago, the boiler started to be more noisy after the guy serviced it but he said the boiler is fine.....the previous owner of the house said that the boiler is too noisy and starts too late, and that it wasn't like that,  and that the guy must have done something wrong. which by the way wouldn't surprise me as when he was servicing it, he forgot to put some parts back and my husband saw it and asked what is that bit, showing on the parts left on a side, and the guy was like oh I forgot about them....he said he'd never seen this type of boiler before...we asked the previous owner if we really have such a weird boiler and he was surprised, and said that's one of the simply ones and no one had any problem with servicing it before.....
    the previous owned said as well that few years ago one plumber showed him that in this pump there is something to get the air out,
    the pump was bought 5 years ago so I guess it's not that old
    he was surprised about what is going on as everything was fine, and after every idea which the plumber has it's just getting worse.....
    in 2 radiators upstairs, we can hear weird noise like ...not sure how to explain it, it's a bit like a knocking or bursting (in one radiator very quickly)
    the radiator in dining room still leaks - does it really so complicated to just screw it properly?
  17. meebabs

    meebabs New Member

    Are the downstair radiators fed by droppers from upstairs? If they are then you made have an air lock. just get a proper tradesman in to sort it>
  18. Aga

    Aga Guest

    As far as I know, yes
    but not sure how to this can work - could you please explain it a bit so it would be easier for me then to find a proper plumber not just same one as I've already had
    radiator in bathroom(upstairs) is almost cold - I mean only one 'corner' i warm and I've been told that's the main radiator in the house grrr
    the guy and his boss are comming tomorrow to finish the job-hope they'll finally stop the leackage and just go, I'll have to pay loads of money for them which is crazy as they basicly didn't do anything or actually it's worse now :(
    they keep saying they did step by step what they should have done to find the problem etc and replacing valves and radiator unnecessarily  was needed to exclude potential cause grrrr
  19. meebabs

    meebabs New Member

    What I suggest you do is shut off all the radiators that are working. This will then send all the pumped water to those that dont work, this may cure the problem and the air will be forced out. Without actually being there it is not easy to know what exactly is wrong. Anyway, try this first. To remove any air lock or locks that won't move by doing the above will need a skilled plumber so I won't go into explaining how its done. No offense but it would be beyond your average man in the street.
  20. Aga

    Aga Guest

    We did it, and it helped ... for about 4-5 days and then radiators started playing up again. not sure how it works but the pump was then set at 3 and was crazy noisy but started being slightly more quiet at same time as the radiators started getting colder. so now the pump is nice and quiet (didn't change it to 2) and the radiators downstairs are cold and upstairs getting a bit colder.... and the radiator  in  bathroom is kind of bubbling - you can really hear it, and it's only a bit warm in a 'corner' the rest it's cold

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