Moving forward on zoning heating system


  #41  
Old 12-09-06, 11:59 AM
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I haven't touched the aquastat on this boiler other than taking the TT wire from the old relays that ran the old circs and tying it to my new SR506. So since it hasn't left the boiler I haven't had the chance to kink the bulb wire thingy. Is it worth trying to remove it and check for any signs of a point of failure. The only times I've had to replace one the relay or other circuitry component went that prevented the unit from working at all. This one actually kicks on when called for heat, just doesn't kill the burners when it reaches the temp on the dial

I have replaced an aquastat on another boiler so I know it's not that difficult. I believe HD actually carries 8148 from the the last time I had to replace one but there were a couple other numbers in the model that i don't remember if it made a difference.

Usually electronic parts like this aren't returnable at the supply house so I am hesitant to just throw $$$ at another aquastat if it isn't the prob.

I have to check on the gas valve wiring.
 
  #42  
Old 12-09-06, 01:42 PM
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Yes, there are at least two different types, and I don't know what the 4 digit suffixes mean. There's one for oil systems, and one for gas systems. Then there are sub-groups of those. I think mostly those sub-groups are for the types of terminations (push-on vs screw, etc) and temp ranges on the high limit.

You should be able to find out what the differences are if you surf that honeywell site that I posted.

Make sure you know whether you have a millivolt or low voltage gas valve.

The bulb controls the hi-limit, that's why I questioned that. The "switch" that has the blue and red wires is your high limit switch. That switch should OPEN when the stat reaches the limit. It might be stuck closed.

Can you take a close-up shot of the a'stat ?
 
  #43  
Old 12-09-06, 01:53 PM
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I thought you'd never ask. I took a few pics last night hoping they would help

http://s138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/?action=view&current=DSC02991.jpg
 
  #44  
Old 12-10-06, 10:31 AM
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I think that's the "E" model, double check it though with the PDF install sheet on the honeywell site.

These questions/observances probably don't have anything to do with your problem, but I'm asking anyway.

The red and white T and TV wires are coming from the zone panel, yes ?

The wire on B2 spade lug isn't fully under the lug.

It looks like the line in wire under L1 is partially pinched on the insulation.

Where is your ground wire ?

Where are the wires on C1 and C2 going ? (I know they used to go to the circs, but you removed them, right ?)
 
  #45  
Old 12-10-06, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper
I think that's the "E" model, double check it though with the PDF install sheet on the honeywell site.

These questions/observances probably don't have anything to do with your problem, but I'm asking anyway.

The red and white T and TV wires are coming from the zone panel, yes ?
Yes they come from the SR506 zone panel


The wire on B2 spade lug isn't fully under the lug.

It looks like the line in wire under L1 is partially pinched on the insulation.

Where is your ground wire ?
Don't know where the ground wire is. I would have to look when I go back. Since this wiring is old it may pre-date the ground wiring and most likely isn't there


Where are the wires on C1 and C2 going ? (I know they used to go to the circs, but you removed them, right ?)
I will have to look where those wires go. The old circs where removed but I haven't removed all their wiring yet. However they were connected to 2 old switching relays and just the red/white wire was connected to the aquastat from those relays. I had traced back the wiring when I removed them and the old 2 circs were powered from those old relays. The pumps are sitting on top of the boiler but have I have flipped the power disconnect to their old relays.


I was thinking on what could have caused the aquastat to crap out since I haven't messed with anything on it. Then I remembered that I did turn the temp dial down to 140. Previously it was set at 180. Is it worth playing with the dial? Can something have gotten stuck.

BTW HD no longer carries any aquastats, at least the one I went to. Since it is sunday and no plumbing supply house is open I will have wait till monday. I might swing by and try to move the dial and see if it has any effect on the temp. Is it worth pulling the aquastat to try anything?
 
  #46  
Old 12-10-06, 03:19 PM
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Yes the aquastat was working. The entire house was winterized while on the market. Then was un-winterized and the whole boiler system and gas lines were given the full once over by a pro plumber. I heated the house last winter at a cost of almost $1000 month for gas which is the one reason for my zoning project.

I read the whole install PDF on the honeywell site and found a couple of things that might mean i still have a chance, if not I will just replace the a-stat.

1- the bulb specs say max 265F temp up to 129C. So...it may be still alive!

2- the dial adjustment in the manual shows having to lift a small piece w/ a screwdriver while adjusting the dial. I didn't do so. If that is the case with mine and I didn't break it by just turning the dial then I might be able to turn it to a new temp setting using their guide.

Wish me luck.
 
  #47  
Old 12-10-06, 03:21 PM
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How do you know the a'stat was working ? Did you run the heat after you got the house ?

You could mess with the dial setting, but I don't think it would do you any good. Just for Ho-ho's, turn it to it's lowest setting and see what ya get. Even if it started working though, how confident would you feel that it would continue to stay working ?

I guess you could pull it, put a meter on the hi limit switch, dip the bulb in a pot of hot water, and see if it opens... BUT: I think there is a max temp that those bulbs are supposed to be subjected to, and it's probably already been passed.

If the C1 and C2 wires are hanging someplace, at least cap them because they will be at line voltage level.
 
  #48  
Old 12-10-06, 03:45 PM
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I just thought of something else that I keep forgetting to ask you...

What PEX tubing did you use ? You can see through it ?? You sure it's got O2 barrier ???
 
  #49  
Old 12-10-06, 06:12 PM
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The pex I'm using is hePex from Wirsbo(uponor) now. It does have an O2 barrier.

http://www.uponor.us/index.php?id=109


The tubing is rated to 200F, so I thought I may have ruined what I had in place b/c of the water temp getting so high, but I checked with rep and they said it isn't a problem for the amount of time I ran at that temp. Whew!

Anyhow I went to fiddle with the aquastat tonight and no luck. So I guess I need a new one. Thanks for the help...

BTW there were no wires under the two c1 c2 screws. I guess it was the angle of the picture, those are some other wires that loop off the circuit board and go somewhere near the relay/ wire coil they aren't connected to the screws.
 
  #50  
Old 12-11-06, 02:27 PM
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I guess you bought the tool to terminate the pex ? How much they nick ya for that ? I think I like the AlumiPex better, but it's way pricier than the Uponor, and the tools are mucho $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Yeah, closer look at the pic of the 'stat I see that those appear to be the primary wires for the transformer. They sure do look like they are on those terms at that angle though!

That "lift the tab with the screwdriver" thing is only if you want to set a mechanical "stop" on the high limit. Not all controls even have it. So, no, you didn't hurt it by pushing the dial with yer finger, that's the way it's done!

Keep us posted...
 
  #51  
Old 12-11-06, 03:05 PM
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Well I didn't make it in time to get the aquastat :-( Damn rush hour traffic.

I did buy the crimp tool, although I would have liked the electric or air powered one I couldn't justify spending $400-1000. I tried on ebay but they didn't go for much less.

The manual one is pretty easy just hard to crimp(u need 2 hands) and hold the ring on the right place near the fitting. A helper comes in handy for this, but it is doable alone. Very easy, nothing like soldering. Can't really compare the 2 connections each has its advantages.

I'm also replumbing the house with pex. 6 bathrooms and the kitchen! Red and blue pipe all homerun. That will be fun!

So another day with no heat, I'll get it tomorrow though. Might try and find a supply house near my job and run out on my lunch break.
 
  #52  
Old 12-13-06, 08:12 PM
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OK, this boiler is putting up a tough fight. The other night I went to test the aquastat again by playing with the temp dial. Once the boiler guage got to 170deg (aquastat dial still at 140deg) I killed power to the boiler. I did the test a few times with different temps to see if the dial position had any affect. Now the last time I went to try it the burners didn't fire at all, I was so frustrated at this point I just gave up and went home. I didn't think anything of it.

I got the new aquastat today, the old one was an L8148E(small label on top only visable after I removed it). I got another L8148E

I connected up the new one and surprise surprise burners don't fire! I thought maybe the pilot went out(standing pilot) but it was lit. All my connections are good. I didn't have my mulimeter with me to test the burner terminals on the new aquastat.

I did have my line voltage tester and confirmed 120V at the circ terminals and the line input. Also the relay clicks when the I activate zone on the SR506.

I don't think it's the new aquastat(remembering back that the burners didn't fire the other night)

So where do I go now? I don't know about gas valves, not stupid/crazy enough to want to take it apart. But I am brave enough to want and test it before either A.) Replacing it or B.) Calling someone else out to come and replace it. C.)Throwing this friggin boiler out the window(ok I'm not that strong)

Just incase I do have a malfunctioning gas valve I turned off the gas to the boiler which until tonight I was leaving on and keeping the pilot lit. I did notice that the terminals on the gas valve are very rusty. The wiring from the aquastat plugs in with blade type connectors and so does the other 2 wires which go into the valve. For the heck of it I pulled them off and cleaned the terminals a bit just incase it was preventing contact. Still nothing.

anyone?
 
  #53  
Old 12-14-06, 04:19 AM
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Thumbs up I Love Pex!

Originally Posted by rmelo99
Ok, so I've made the decision that i'm going to zone my 3 level 1900 colonial. Quick backround, we aren't living there now and it is in major remodel/fix stages. Since I've already removed the master bedroom ceiling I've decided to remove the ceilings on the entire 2nd level.

This will allow me to access all radiator piping for the third level. So since I am in CT and we are heading into winter I need to keep the house heated for other work being performed.

Game plan is to do this in phases. Once all the rest of the ceilings are removed from the second. I plan on draining the heating system and disconnecting all the 3rd floor radiators. (4 cast iron old style). I will then either cap or connect the old 2 pipes to each other(copper) and refill system so I can heat levels 1 and 2. I can then move forward with the plan to run pex lines(yes I said pex) from the third radiators down to the basement where I will connect them to a manifold for new zone distribution. I plan on repeating this process for the 2nd and 1st floors when done. I do need to get the heat back on to the house between each phase. I RECCOMEND PUTTING ISOLATION VALVES ON EACH LOOP SO THAT YOU CAN SHUT DOWN WHATEVER LOOPS YOU NEED TO WITHOUT AFFECTING THE REST OF THE SYSTEM. JUST DON'T FORGET TO TURN THE THERMOSTAT OFF FOR THAT ZONE (OR DISCONNECT IT) TO PREVENT THE CIRCULATOR FROM RUNNING FOR A ZONE THAT IS OFF AND MAKING THE CIRCULATOR OVERHEAT.

Here are my unknowns that hopefully you guys can help with.

I need to decide brand or manifold system to go with. I need something that is pex compatible, not boiler specific. I was looking at the WATTS systems. I RECCOMEND THE VIEGA BRAND. THEY HAVE SEVERAL OPTIONS FROM ECONOMY VERSIONS TO HIGH END MODELS, DEPENDING ON HOW ELABORATE YOU ARE LOOKING TO GET. ONE OTHE OPTION IS, YOU CAN MAKE YOUR OWN. THERE ARE MANIFOLDS AVAILABLE THAT YOU JUST SWEAT TO OR THREAD TO, WHICH YOU CAN CONNECT WHATEVER TYPE OF FITTINGS YOU LIKE.

I still need to choose a pex manf to go with.

If this isn't the forum for help with my project, I would greatly appreciate a push in the right direction for help.

ok, since every boiler/plumbing/control company seems to have their own brand of pex tubing I went searching on the web to see what i can find on my own.

I did find on Weil-Mclain's website, under their "SNUG baseboard" radiators that

http://www.weil-mclain.com/radiant/snug.htm

"AlumiPex® Tubing can be used for piping from the boiler to baseboard units. This provides an easy-to-install, seamless installation: Solder radiant sweat fitting to the baseboard elements... allow solder joints to cool before attaching fittings... route tubing from boiler to element... refer to AlumiPex® fitting instructions for details. "

Now, their snug cast iron baseboards are just about identical to what I have in 85% of my house. I know burnham also makes a similar cast iron baseboard.

I did find a tech spec sheet for their "alumipex"
http://www.weil-mclain.com/FTP/Alumi..._Tech_Info.pdf

It lists that Long term temp limit at 203degees, and short term temp limit at 230degrees. Since most pex ratings I find are so close in spec I have to imagine they all follow some standard spec, but I do not want to use zurn/wisbro or another big player if they won't state the same as this weil-mlain product about using it for these cast baseboards. I AM SOLD ON VIEGA BRAND FOSTAPEX. IT HAS AN ALUMINUM LAYER THAT ACTS AS AN OXYGEN BARRIER (MUST HAVE AN OXYGEN BARRIER IF IT IS TO BE USED FOR HEATING) AND GREATLY REDUCES THERMAL EXPANTION, NOT TO MENTION IT HOLDS IT'S SHAPE WHEN BENT. IT ALSO HAS THE RATINGS YOU ARE LOOKING FOR PRINTED ON THE TUBING. I DON'T KNOW WHAT PART OF CT YOU ARE IN, BUT LITCO SUPPLY HAS A COUPLE BRANCHES DOWN THERE, AND THEY CARRY VIEGA.

So is the temperature issue even an issue for me? I believe my system to run between 160-180 degrees. NO, AS LONG AS NOONE TURNS UP THE AQUASTAT AND STARTS MAKING STEAM. THIS IS THE STANDARD SETTINGS FOR A TRIPLE AQUASTAT.
GOOD LUCK!
 
  #54  
Old 12-20-06, 09:06 PM
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Ok, so for those who don't want to read my long story, the good news is the burner is working and didn't need to replace the gas valve.

So here is the long version of what happened. I cleaned the contacts on the burner control again to try and fix the problem. I then swapped the thermocouple, even though the pilot was working b/c it was a cheap swap and figured it couldn't hurt. I took the gas valve off off boiler. I followed the instructions from honeywell for testing the resistance of the coil. I then used and external power supply to apply 24VAC directly to the valve and I could hear what sounded like the valve opening. The only part I couldn't/didn't know how to test on the valve was the "main valve controller" Fortunatley this electronic part is easily detachable and I happened to find replacement one on EBAY for $12 or so(didn't buy it though). I tried local plumbing supply houses and none carried the replacement valve controller or the same V800 honeywell entire valve. Needed to order and wait a few days.

Then I remembered to check another boiler that is in the garage. It hasn't been used in years but...it had the same V800 gas valve(what are the odds) except it had 1/2" as inlet/outlet instead of 3/4" like the one from my house. So I couldn't swap the entire unit. But this meant that I could pull off the "main valve controller V804" which is what I suspected was bad. I swapped the V804 onto my gas valve and then reassembled the control onto my boiler.

Still burner didn't fire after lighting the pilot. At this point I had my multimeter on site. So I tested the terminals on the gas valve and wasn't getting the 24VAC. So I then tested the terminals on the aquastat and I was getting the 24VAC. I then disconnected the leads from the aquastat to the gas valve and tested them with the MM and had nothing. I removed the pigtail leads and tested continuity using the MM of each of the 2 while disconnected from the boiler and both were fine. At this point I'm scratchin my head but said let me get a couple of new wires and test this out. I threw on 2 new leads onto the aquastat and tests voltage before hooking it up to the gas valve, 24VAc. Good, so now I hook up to the gas valve and BAM!! It worked.

So in the end all of my work could have been avoided by simple troubleshooting with my multimeter. Who would have thought the freaking leads would have been bad. Goes to show you that everything must be looked at.

-The good part is that I didn't have to buy a new gas valve.
-I learned a whole lot about the different components of a gas control valve.
-I will have to admit I created a whole bunch of work by not testing the voltage points at the boiler.
-I can now proceed with the rest of my installation.

The new aquastat is working great. I set the limit and the boiler heats up to the right temp. No more PRV blowing. Pressure seems to rise bout 5psi when heated. I watched the burner fire a few times and cut off when the boiler got up to temp.

I will post back on my progress and with any more issues I run into.

Thanks for everyone's help to date
 
  #55  
Old 12-21-06, 03:57 AM
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Smile

Don't have time to read and look at everything right now, but if you aren't too far from me, I'd consider coming down to take a look at what you have going on and offer some advice on how to pipe it up and wire it, not to mention material selection. I'm in Lee Massachusetts and go to CT every now and then. I have 8 years experience with heating systems. I'm not looking to make any $$, I just want to make sure I don't steer you wrong with any suggestions. Also, I was wondering if you have had a heat load performed on the house.
 
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Old 12-21-06, 03:36 PM
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HVAC - come on down to Joisey!

I can find plenty of work for ya... gratis of course!

Ho Ho Ho ... (just kiddin' of course)

But that sure is a nice offer, you da man.
 
  #57  
Old 12-22-06, 08:14 AM
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Just thinking...

rmelo,

I can't help but think there is a simpler alternative way (not necessarily better) to do what you are trying to accomplish. If I were in your shoes, I would really try and make your system 2 temps or less, and also go for far fewer zones.

Before that I'd like to add the following.

One thing to keep in mind about PEX is that they are coated with oxygen retarders. It will slow down the oxygen from penetrating the tubing, but it doesn't stop it. Those fitting also have the potential to leak. PEX/AL/PEX truly has a barrier (the metal layer) but if the PEX layer gets cut when crimping the fitting then there will be corrosion where the aluminium touches the brass fitting. I only say all of this because every material has its pluses and minuses. With PEX, plan for a leak. It propably won't, but if it does, unlike threaded iron or soldered copper it won't 'heal' itself. That said, I'd just run PEX or PEX/AL/PEX where you truly need it and the rest I would do in iron or copper.

Back to zoning. If only one room in an entire house would benefit from having its own zone, that room would be the kitchen. No other room in your house has as many 20 amp outets, fridges, stoves, dishwashers, half the people at any party etc... you get the idea.

Anyway, instead of having so many zones, why not do large zones and then use TRVs to microzone within the zone. Every bedroom can then set their own temp. Even better, TRVs (there are also underfloor equivalents calls FHV) do not require any energy or other control links to operate. And the best part is that they will self regulate their own space to keep the temeperatures flat. If you have a room that gets a lot of solar gain, it will close off the heat once it starts to rise. This will happen room by room as the sun moves from one side of your house around to the other. And all of this can be done with a circ or two.

Get enough circs going and the odds of one dying increase. Charles Lindberg was asked why the Spirit of St Louis only had one engine. He said that if he had two, his chances of an engine failure doubled and on either single engine he still couldn't make land.

Anyway, I'd try and still do a home run manifold, but I'd first see how many temps I needed and then I would prepare that many manifolds. The manifolds would be iron for the metal portion and pre-fabbed Uponors for any PEX (by the time you add up the cost of all those fittings, manifolds are cheap). So most would be all metal. My preference is threaded because it has less expansion than other materials and also doesn't bleed as much of the heat it is being used to move from the boiler to your rads or whatever type of heat emmitters you are using. You would probably need a differential bypass valve if you have the vast majority of rads on TRVs in case they are all closed while there is still a heat call.

And always listen to Grady! ;-)
 

Last edited by Who; 12-22-06 at 09:26 AM.
  #58  
Old 12-22-06, 08:36 AM
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Hey Who! How the heck are ya?
 
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Old 12-22-06, 10:21 AM
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Thanks for all the advice. I think I am too far along with my 6 zone circ design to go back now. Not to say that it won't need to be tweaked after everything is running.

As for zoning into less zones and larger spaces I think I have done so I don't really think I would want to go less.

1- 1st Floor Zone
2- 2nd Floor Zone
3- Third Floor Zone
4- Master Bedroom Zone
5- Living Room Zone
6- Sunroom/Office Zone

The living room and master are mirror images of each other and the largest rooms in the house. They are about 27' x 16' or so feet. I would like flexibility in choosing their temps. Then the office/sunroom is surrounded by 3 walls of glass windows, so it may need more/less heat than the rest of the floor depending on the day and that room is 20x14 or so. Then the other 3 zones handle the rest of each of the 3 living levels.

I knew about the pex-al-pex but didn't really know what the differences where between that and the HEpex that I chose. Uponor actually recommended I use the HEpex for ease of installation. I have also seen it used numerous times for running heat to rads. So I didn't think twice about it. I figured I've got the oxy barrier, i'm good.

I'm sure I'll be back with more as things progress
 
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Old 12-22-06, 10:46 AM
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Sorry melo

I'm sorry... didn't know how far along you were. I was thinking that you still might be close to the blank white page stage. You still might want to think about how to keep the kitchen from overheating.

The HEpex will probably be what I'll use for underfloor. I wanted to do copper and plates right before copper went absolutely nuts. I'm definitely not anti-PEX, it's a great product and soon I'll actually get to touch the stuff. Those plates are getting lonely and I have no heat for the kitchen. I took it out of the equation temporarily as it changes from diverter tee baseboard to radiant.

My point on PEX wasn't fear-mongering just awareness. Any good microbubbler like a Spirovent will take care of the bit that sneaks in. I'm still amazed that O2 can penetrate through thick plastic and penetrate pressurized water.

What kind of emmitters are you using?
 
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Old 12-22-06, 11:40 AM
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Curious about your plates..i might/will be adding radiant for the kitchen. Currently I have about 600sq ft of space in the kitchen. about 10x10 area is a breakfast nook with windows on 2 sides that has cast baseboard around 3 sides. That actually sits on a concrete slab. The main kitchen is over basement and only has 10ft section of cast iron baseboard under a large bay window, nothing else.

I am concerned with not getting enough heat into the kitchen. I am in the process of removing the kit sub floor and am planning on what type of radiant to do. I calculated my cost for the plywood with tracks and aluminum plates and my jaw dropped! At this point I can do anytype of pex radiant setup, below plywood/sandwiched/ mud job maybe. Just thinking what will work best without breaking the bank. Tile will be the finish.
 
  #62  
Old 12-22-06, 01:17 PM
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Heatloss

What's your heatloss in the kitchen? That's always the best starting point. My kitchen is pretty simple. It's 11x12 and northern. It does have a cathedral ceiling and 2 skylights which boosts it up to over 4K/hr heatloss at design. My big worry is controlling it while running it slave to the rest of the house. I have a diverter tee system with all fintube and I want to match temps. I'd hate to realize after that my math was wrong so I'd like to overradiate the kitchen somewhat and then keep it controlled with the main zone. At 8" OC, the PEX is probably easiest to install but I'd end up with 7K of emmitter. I want to find an infloor thermic valve (FHV) to limit this and also think about how to best lay it out to reduce that 7K number down to perhaps 5K. Maybe shorten the runs on the side and do single direction runs in half the joist bays (even though I don't want to be drilling through the joists at the other end. I also want to run a bit of bathroom floor warming off this slave circuit as well so it's starting to get confusing. I think I have a plan, but I still have to run more numbers.

I have quickly learned that under/unradiated rooms can be made more comfortable if you don't use setback. Your house will balance out, but the recovery really lags for the areas without emmitters. Instead of keeping my house at 68 over 64, I'm keeping it at a fixed 70 until I redo the floor. So far no comfort issues when I do that. The kitchen actually took a double whammy. It lost the baseboard and it no longer has a big uninsulated steel boiler in the room below it.

I want to keep it a one temp constant circ system with low electrical demand so I am thinking that I'll use one of those really small 25w Grundfos domestic recircs as a slave zone (it won't be able to call for heat on its own). I'd have used Monoflos for the radiant but that is all uncharted area... These little circs have two cool features. A 24 hour timer on 20 minute increments and a return temp thermostat shutoff. It's piped that if I want to put in a zone conrtoller I can, but first I'm thinking that I'll try it all on one t-stat - which is actually just outside the kitchen. That slave zone will have the bathroom floor warming and kicthen heating and any silly radiant ideas I get up to about 1500' of PEX total. So with 3 200' circuits, I'll rely overall on the return temp to protect from overheating (this will shut down all radiant) and also have a floor heating thermic valve (if I can find one) slowing or shuttiing down the kitchen floor itself so that it doesn't drag the other down with it when the kitchen gets warmed up by people or applinces. The beauty of that circ is that it's a bit over $200 and the circ is SS and has heat and timer based control options. A regular circ and a programmable t-stat would cost me the same. Anyway, now that you know my secret plan ------------------------------------ ;-)
 
 

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