How to Troubleshoot Heating Zones


Heating systems that use hot water typically are set up in zones throughout your house. Pipes that carry the hot water are connected to radiators to provide heat. Hot water used for heating is produced by a boiler. Radiators in your home are typically divided into zones, each controlled by a separate zone valve. If the boiler or a zone valve is not working correctly, then one or more zones may not be providing heat.

Check the Boiler

  • Turn the thermostat for a zone in your home to the "On"or "Heat" setting.

  • View the pressure valve on the boiler to make sure it is indicating 10 to 12 psi, which is the normal range.

  • Verify that the boiler is being heated and the water pump is working. Place your hand on the pump to check for vibration, which can indicate that the coupling or shaft on the pump may be broken.

  • Open the circuit panel and check if a breaker has tripped or a fuse has blown, if the water pump does not appear to be working. Turn the breaker back on or replace the blown fuse.

Check Zone Valves

  • Locate the zone valves for your heating system.

  • Verify that the indicator marking on all of the zone valves shows "Open." If any are closed. open them manually.

  • Allow the hot water to flow through the pipe for three to five minutes. Verify that the valve stays open after the water pipe gets hot. If the valve closes, check that the thermostat is functioning properly.

  • Replace the thermostat if it is the cause of the problem.

Tips & Warnings

  • The abbreviation "psi" stands for pounds per square inch.

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