Replacing zone valves, dielectrics missing, and a Vortech Air Seperator?

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  #1  
Old 11-30-05, 12:36 PM
RSimplicio
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Replacing zone valves, dielectrics missing, and a Vortech Air Seperator?

I had typed a long post in here, but lost it trying to post it so here's the reader's digest version: Just bought a 1954 Cape Cod in northern IL. Has FHW baseboard, 3 floors, 3 zones. Boiler is I am assuming original, National Gas Boiler, model 6-22, made by the National Radiator Company of Johnstown, PA (Natural Gas). Bell & Gossett circulator on return, and B&G expansion tank (between floor joists above). 3 unknown brand zone valves on supply. (Spring on one end, "motor" on the other, and the valve in-between) Boiler gauge reads 16 #'s, noted drop in pressure to 12 #'s while bleeding radiators. Temp gauge is bad, reading 40 degrees. Cold water feed on, pressure reducing valve seems functional.

Bled the system, starting in basement (no heat on home inspection, so started here), without circulator running/zone valve closed. Nothing but room temp water. Not much if any air, in small spurts. Got about a gallon of water out of basement, still no heat. Later found that zone valve limit screw (closed limit, I believe) was mis-adjusted. Adjusting this allowed water to flow through zone. Now it is still mis-adjusted, but there's heat in the basement.

Then went to second floor, and bled up there. Can hear a good deal of air, but bled about 3 quarts of water, both with zone off and on, and didn't get much in the way of air out.

Piping from boiler is galvanized (silver outside paint), all 3 zone valves are sweated onto copper, no dielectric between piping materials. One zone valve is badly corroded, with rust, copper corrosion (blue/verdigris build-up) and also sulfur build up from zone valve to boiler outside pipes. (we have Hydrogen Sulfide in our well water).

I will try to get some pictures up to help clarify.

So basically, here are my questions:

1. Does anyone know of these zone valves? Is there anywhere I should look specifically for brand/model? I couldn't find it. If you can tell me how to adjust the screw that's on the same side as the "motor", that'd be great! Can I DIY the replacement of these valves with something like either a Honeywell or Taco? Will that require a total drain/restart? In your opinion(s), should I just go to 3 circulators? If so, what do I do with the return circulator I have now? And would these 3 circulators go on the supply? I'm not too thrilled about repiping all of the returns, but it could be done. Also, any control upgrades that would be of benefit?

2. Should I be concerned about the dielectrics missing from the supply side? I'm fairly sure that's what's caused all of the corrosion on that one zone valve (it actually is on copper that is sandwiched between two runs of galvanized). If so, can I use regular plumbing dielectrics, or do I need to use hydronic specific ones for temperature/durability reasons? Can you recommend any?

3. All this bleeding business has me dreaming of a Taco Vortech Air Seperator with the Hy-Vent. Where's the best place to put this? Does it work?? Do I also need other auto bleeding valves? (I think I have them on some of the base-ray radiators on my first floor, but none anywhere else) Can someone compare/contrast it to a SpiroTherm (now I want the combo air/dirt seperator!)??

4. Since the boiler is 50 + years old, should I be budgeting for a new one next year? I think it'll make it through this season fine. I have been looking at burnham boilers, and am having dancing-sugar-plum dreams of it heating my domestic hot water (any opinions on this would be great), and also using it for radiant in a detached garage/workshop and a bathroom remodel or 3, low-temp snow melting loops in a soon to be replaced sidewalk and driveway (3 cars wide by 2 cars long) and maybe even spa/pool heating if we ever get there. All that said, how does one size for the immediate needs and for the near future wants like I described above without doing damage to the boiler while it's only making heat and domestic hot water?

Thanks in advance and thanks for making this a great forum!
 

Last edited by RSimplicio; 11-30-05 at 05:04 PM.
  #2  
Old 11-30-05, 09:09 PM
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1954 boiler

For now, I would do as little as needed to get you thru the winter. Next spring have a new boiler installed & any piping issues resolved at that time.

Dielectrics: When joining copper to galvanized, a brass or cast iron fitting should be used between the copper & galvanized.

Zone valves: Sorry, without a picture (maybe even with one) I'm not going to be of much help in IDing them.

Circulators: I much prefer multiple circulators to zone valves.

Boiler sizing: If you are reasonably sure you are going to add extra load, have the new boiler sized for the increased load. Boilers are far more forgiving than furnaces when it comes to oversizing. It will cost you on efficiency but unless the boiler is grossly oversized you won't hurt it. I know there are modulating boilers on the market which can vary the input based on the load.
 
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Old 12-01-05, 02:29 PM
RSimplicio
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What about those air seperators?

Thanks for your response!!

So do you have any opionions on the Taco Vortech or the Spirovent?

Also, for system design reasons (and dancing sugar plums...I guess), would I use something like a Taco 007 with an integrated flow check for each zone? Or do you recommend seperate in-line flow checks?
 
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Old 12-01-05, 06:08 PM
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Sugar Plums

I have no experience with either the Taco Vortech or the Spirovent. They are supposedly nice pieces of equipment but I have never found them necessary on a properly designed & installed system.

I do not like either the Taco check valve circulators or the Taco zone circulators. I am a firm believer in doing one thing & doing it well. The Taco 007 is exactly that. Every time I get a check valve circulator with a new boiler, the first thing that happens is the check valve gets removed or that circulator gets swapped for a regular circulator.
 
  #5  
Old 12-01-05, 10:58 PM
RSimplicio
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But using a Taco 007 for each zone isn't overkill, right?

Oh and any opinions about Energy Kinetics System 2000 would be great. From anyone, not just Grady!!

Thanks!
 

Last edited by RSimplicio; 12-01-05 at 11:26 PM.
  #6  
Old 12-02-05, 06:21 PM
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Taco 007/ system 2000

A circulator for each zone is the only way to go as far as I am concerned.
There are two camps on System 2000; those who love them & those who hate them. Personally, I am in the hate camp. Another moderator, KField, on the other hand is in the love them camp.
The company for which I work used to be a dealer for Energy Kinetics. Once the then service manager retired, we dropped System 2000 like a hot potato. I personally know of 4 System 2000's less than 15 years old which have been scrapped. Two rusted out & two were so hated by the homeowner they just threw them away.
 
 

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