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Question DetailsAsked on 10/1/2017

How much to install new cartridge in taco pump? (Parts + Labor)

We live in Las Vegas, NV in a condo and have a small 500 sq feet unit. The water heater is in the closet in the patio. Ever since we moved in, the heating does not work. Cooling works fine as well as fan, but heating doesnt turn on. Neither on the original thermostat or a new smart thermostat we now have installed.

We had someone take a look and they said that all that needs to be done is to install new cartridge in the taco pump.

Is this really the problem? Would a bad cartridge cause the heat to not even turn on?

Lastly, how much should it cost to replace the cartridge? For both parts and labor for this small condo.

Thank you.

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2 Answers


OK - if you have a taco circulating pump that is a hydronic system (hot water) - which would heat with baseboard hot water radiators, totally separate from the air conditioner.

Sounds like something that should have been caught in the pre-purchase inspection and the owner required to fix before closing - but too late for that now.

Typically about 1 hour work (so commonly $75-150 range excepat up to about twice that amount in very high professional labor areas) because the heating unit has to be at least partly drained down (the boiler at least) to replace it.

If your unit has not been serviced recently, and you probably do not know how long it has been unless there is a service sticker on it, I would have him service the unit at the same time (typically about $75-100- maybe a bit less if done at same time as service call, or vice versa because only one trip needed and typically minimum service charge inlcudes the cost of a trip), and flush out the loop lines to remove possibly very old water in there (unless it is filled with antifreeze, as it sometimes is). Even antifreeze needs to be flushed and replaced every 10 years or so, so depending on any service stickers on the unit and how old the condo is ... - or you could have him check it or check it yourself. If the water comes out clear when you drain a bit out (beware - near boiling), or the antifreeze comes out clear (though probably red or possibly blue colored) then probably OK, if discolored, browish or particles in it or stinky (stagnant/swampy or septic smell), should be flushed.

If unit is not hot (near boiling temp) then it is not firing, or if only lukewarm (around 70-100 degrees) then likely is being heated by standing pilot but not firing - which would indicate a power/wiring/control or possibly pilot thermocouple problem, not a pump problem. If up to temp but not moving hot water through the piping to the radiators when the thermostat is calling for heat, then likely the pump oir zone valve issue.

Yes bad cartridge (either motor part or pump part) can cause it to stall out, oir maybe the motor is turning but the pump rotor is so worn that it is not moving any significatn amount of liquid) - typically is a 1/25 HP motor which can sit there stalled out because of a frozen bearing or such and not overheat or burn up, so that can be the cause. Obviously, if there is voltage at the pump (120V) and it is not running (you will feel it vibrating or hear humming if it is running) then the cartridge is what is bad. This assumes the power to the hydronic heating unit is on - usually a separate wall switch nearby (within about 6 feet) to turn off the heating system - may be that is just turned off. A quick check (about 5 minutes with a volt-ohm meter) by a tech (or you if electrical repair handy) to see that the switch is on, and that there is power at the control unit and to the motor would determine whether the problem is power supply/transformer, thermostat wiring, circulating pump, zone valve, lack of water, or whatever.

Another possibility is a thermostat/zone valve wiring problem, or possibly a safety overtemp shutoff hydronic thermostat is malfunctioning or set too low so it is cutting the firing off before it gets up to temp (which is usually near 190-200 degrees F).

The cartridge can run from about $100- to $450 depending on the model, and on whether you need to change out the entire unit or just the pump or motor cartridge (many models you can change one or the other. If unclear, change the total pump unit with motor - so you have a pretty good chance of another 20-30 years of service out of it.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD


BTW - here is a diagnosis article on hydronic heating units which may help you.

Answered 3 years ago by LCD

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