adding a zone & a basement radiator & balancing it all


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Old 09-26-04, 03:03 PM
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adding a zone & a basement radiator & balancing it all

I'm a little confused about how a hot water system gets balanced. I've got 1" mains running out and back from the boiler. Most of the radiators are "T'd" off the feed and return with 1/2" pipe. The two exceptions are at each end of the system. At one end the feed just runs directly through a modern baseboard finned radiator. At the other end it runs through a wall radiator. The feeds to the wall radiator at that end are flex copper that got seriously kinked on installation. The rad gets warm but I don't know how it does with the kinks in the feed and return line. These rads have a 5" wide finned element at the bottom and are rapped in a sheet metal enclosure that vents about two feet up the wall.

Here's the reasons I'm asking. I have no choice but to zone off the baseboard radiator at the one end of the system and I'm affraid I'll mess up the balance big time. I'd also like to add some small rads in either end of the basement. I litterly froze my but off last year on the basement toilet and the plants being wintered down there were not happy.

There are some big changes that I'd like to make to the system at some point but this is what I'm after before winter. As it stands right now the system works well and get's good -n- hot. The boiler is a few years old, no clue what era those radiators are from. I'm guessing the fifties when the house received its only major renovation in 105 years.

As I said in some older posts, I'd like to change everything over to radiant heat at some point but adding a zone valve and a couple of small radiators of some sort in the basement seems to be the only thing that I can realistically find the time to do before winter sets in.
 
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Old 09-26-04, 04:30 PM
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It sounds like the original system was modified to give you what you have now. I suspect the tees (or some of them) are venturi tees because if the 1" loop is continuous from supply to return, the only way water would flow to the radiators is if one of the tees were venturi or 'Monoflo' tees. It is not a good idea to interrupt the flow in the main to send it to other baseboards.

The zone idea will work well for you. Just remove the basement pipes and run the 1" loop on one zone and put baseboard in the basement and use that as another zone.

Post back with any specific questions you have or anyhting I missed.

Ken
 
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Old 09-26-04, 05:21 PM
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I think you misunderstood my setup. Either that or I'm misunderstanding you. right now the 1" main is a complete loop. 6 of the radiators are on the "T" setup, some of them with 30' 1/2 loops, and two of them are actually in line with the main. One of these "end" units is an enclosed porch that needs to be zoned off.
Can I rework this radiator so that the main is looped and the radiator is "T'd" like the rest of the units? adding a zone valve before the return of course. Should I do the same at the other end of the house minus the zone valve?
This would give me a 1" main that's probably only a 45' loop from the boiler and back again.
That's really my primary issue. the second would be some heat for the basement. I'm just concerned that the main is so heavily kinked at the one end plus I need to remove the baseboard from the main at the other end and zone it separately. There is a large green Iguana that will thank you.
 
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Old 09-26-04, 06:30 PM
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You are right to get that kinked pipe out of there as soon as you can. The rads you are talking about are called convectors. They should be used with venturi tees. Is the kinked one a convector? Is it fed with 1/2" copper? Did they loop through it or is it teed? I apologize if I'm not quite getting it but I don't want to steer you wrong because of a misunderstanding.

You can't tee off the other zone and add a zone valve to it. You would need to take a dedicated supply off of the boiler and add a zone valve to the existong 1" loop so it has independent control too. I think your house would have a better system after you remove the improperly added radiation and zone it appropriately for your uses.

Ken
 
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Old 09-26-04, 07:51 PM
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we are definately missing each other. I currently only have one loop and one zone. All of the convectors are T'd off of the main except for one convector and one baseboard.
The one is the older style, but still aluminum finned, convector. This convector is inline at one end of the loop. the pipe goes from 1" down to .5" before heading up to the convector. Where it goes out over the foundation is where it is severely kinked. Again this is inline on the main loop, which can't be good.
At the other end the 1" main drops to .5" and runs about a 20' loop with 10' of that being modern baseboard. It's this piece of baseboard that's inline on the mains that I need to zone off. This is where I was hoping to convert it to a "T" setup with a zone valve on the return side before it enters the main. I have seen diagrams that show all the radiators setup like this. One looped main with all rads T'd off and a zone valve on each T. I don't need to go that far. The house is only 1200 sq. Once zone worked well last winter, it's just the finished porch that needs to be zoned off. Once I understand what should be done there we'll tackle the basement. I'm pretty good with a torch and low voltage wiring isn't a problem. It's the layout I don't want to screw up.

This room has to be kept pretty warm so I am concerned with seriously increasing my fuel usage but I used an electric space heater last year which wasn't cheap either.

edit; I just read this again and wanted to add that by "end" I mean figuratively. Roughly these two issues are at either end of the basement for the first floor with the boiler being pretty much centered in the basement.
 
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Old 09-27-04, 05:29 AM
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Well I can guarantee you that no knowledgable heating contractor would have reduced the 1" pipe down to 1/2" and looped through a convector. That is not good practice and I am amazed that it worked at all. What I think you need to do is,
1. get the 1" loop back to a 1" loop from start to end
2. When you cut the beginning of the loop to get the 1/2" pipe out, make a manifold with one 1" zone valve and 2 3/4" zone valves. Connect the 1" to the original zone, connect the lizard room convector to one of the 3/4" and the other would be for the basement. When you cut out the 1/2" pipe on the end of the loop, put in 2 tees in the 1" so you can isolate 2 3/4" returns from the 2 new zones and you should have it. We can get into the electrical part if you decide to go this way.

The multi zone setup you saw required continuous circulation to function and you cannot have continuous circulation or you will overheat the main zone. You will probably be surprised at how much better the main house heats without the restriction posed by the 1/2" pipes.

Ken
 
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Old 09-27-04, 07:12 AM
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Ken,

I think we are both now on the same page.
I'm not entirely clear on how to implement your suggestions but I understand the basic concept of what you are suggesting. I'll get my plumbing book out and look at some of the pretty pictures to see if it all starts to become clear to me.
I don't know who did the questionable plumbing but I have a pretty good idea. It's hard to say whether the company that installed the new furnace picked up the mistakes or not. They may well have ,but the owners knew the house was going up for sale soon and it has probably been like that for 30+ years so why change it now?
The system does get plenty hot but I can't imagine those restrictions aren't causing problems.
 
 

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