Moving forward on zoning heating system


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Old 11-13-06, 07:11 PM
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Moving forward on zoning heating system

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.

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 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

So is the temperature issue even an issue for me? I believe my system to run between 160-180 degrees. I can certainly run the calcs to see if I can run at the lower temp and still meet my heating demand.


BTW I combined 2 posts that i had over at a plumbing forum...thought i might get some more help over here
 
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Old 11-14-06, 05:07 PM
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Pex

Probably the two most important things to look at when considering PEX are oxygen permiability rate & temperature range. Never having used it, I don't know how the flow rates compare with steel or copper pipe size for size. From what I have read, you want to get a pipe with an aluminum core & PEX jacket & liner.
 
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Old 11-14-06, 05:18 PM
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So i've gotten replies from 3 pex manufacturs giving me the green light on using the pex for my project!!! Should have gone their first...

I do need to use the one with oxygen barrier.

Now my planning is for the cut over and zone design/control

I have a 2 zone setup on my boiler that was one for the main house and the other for a large sunroom. There is one large B&G circ for each zone. The sunroom one is currently closed off and not being used. I am thinking I can use this 2nd zone to start my pex migration( MY IT SIDE TALKING)

I don't know what my best method will be for controlling my new zones, valves or circs? Any thoughts
 
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Old 11-14-06, 05:56 PM
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Pex

An oxygen barrier is an absolute MUST. The aluminum usually serves this purpose.

I will take separate circulators for each zone every single time over zone valves.
 
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Old 11-21-06, 10:21 AM
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OK, So I identified all of the supply/returns for every radiator in the house. Then removed all of the old 1,1.5, and 2" black pipe from the basement. I also disconnected every rad unit on the first floor, was able to save all unions/valves!!

I repiped the 2 supply and returns on the boiler with ball valves and they each come out to pex adapters. I am leaving one shut off right now, both valves closed. Each of the 2 has its own circ on the boiler.

I have run pex to all of the units on the first floor and they are home run back to my "PEX" wall. Now I need to connect them to the boiler. The game plan is to use a manifold but....I could use some advice on design and layout for zoning/flow.
 
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Old 11-21-06, 12:54 PM
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For the supply header/manifold, I would use page 46 of this:

http://www.burnham.com/pdfs/CurrentPDFfiles/REV_I&O.pdf

and zone with circulators. I suggest this only because it's a simple diagram that has all the necessary parts in the right place, and I'm familiar with it because that happens to be my boiler so I read the manual a million times....

I don't like how they show a vertical return manifold (granted it's a schematic); I have something that is the horizontal equivalent. i.e., indirect closest to boiler, and space heating outboard of that.

A black iron supply header is a piece of cake with tees and standard nipples (like 3-4") to get adequate spacing between the circs. Do the reduction from header to pex size across the circs.
 
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Old 11-25-06, 07:15 PM
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Ok so I have decided on a zoned setup using circulators.. I am getting ready to place my order for the pumps and valve/flanges. I am going with the standard taco 007 to make replacement easier in the future.

I am still stuck designing how it will all go together. I have drawn a rough diagram using a taco software program.

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/BoilerBrooklawn.jpg

I also found a good idea for how I want to pipe everything. But I am confused about some of the piping in these manifolds. I am confused about how the returns are piped? Can someone clarify if it appears they are returning uptop near the supply out of the circs?

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/BoilerManifold2.jpg
 
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Old 11-25-06, 07:58 PM
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At first glance, I noticed there don't appear to be any flo-check valves. You need a check valve in each loop, or use the TACO with the IFC (internal flo-check).

I would move your air scoop to the supply side, hang the ET off of it (is that a big enough tank ?), and pipe the makeup water there. The isolation valve in the return line should be at (or near) the boiler. (I know it's only a concept drawing...)

Won't you also need a balancing valve in each loop ?

I see you have a question mark near the return F* .

I think design goal is for 20*F differential (or 160/140 with your supply temps).

that second pic shore is purty... I think I would have used a bigger pipe for the manifolds though, or maybe think about using a pre-made manifold product. Maybe a diff bypass valve ?? or aren't they needed in the low temp circuits ?
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-25-06 at 09:37 PM.
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Old 11-26-06, 03:58 AM
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I've got some suggestions. Might be later today, though.

Things to think about in the interim. Do you really need 6 circs? That's a lot of juice. You might consider seeing if some closely matched zones could be served off one circ with zone valves and maybe use 2 or 3 instead of 6. That introduces a fair bit of engineering/thinking, but man that's a lot of circs.

Have you done the flow calcs for each zone to make sure the 007 provides the right flow rate? You might be over- or under-pumped. If over-pumped, going to something smaller will save you some energy.

Agree with NJ Trooper. You want to pipe the air scoop into the supply. The most convenient method is to make the PRV/ET/airscoop one assembly, and with a ball valve above the ET, swapping that is simple. Also on the check valves. Either a flo-check, and integrated flow check circ, or a flow-check in the isolation flange (B&G makes a nice one, IIRC). Choice might depend on flow rates, etc.

I'll try to get some pics of my headers onto photobucket later today or tonight.
 
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Old 11-26-06, 09:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rmelo99
I also found a good idea for how I want to pipe everything. But I am confused about some of the piping in these manifolds. I am confused about how the returns are piped? Can someone clarify if it appears they are returning uptop near the supply out of the circs?
I think the circs are on the supply side, and the bottom manifold is the return. What you are looking at in that pic I believe is an install in progress, and probably isn't complete yet. On the left side, there is piping you can't see, hidden behind that 2x4. There's probably another set of closely spaced tee's there, and that's where the supply and return to the boiler will connect. The circ on the left is probably going to be run as a variable speed, injecting hot boiler water into the lower temp manifolds as needed to maintain temps in the radiant supply/return.

That must be one HUGE house/building!

It's a low or medium temperature radiant injection loop setup, not a simple high temp that you are proposing, but the piping details could be similar.
 
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Old 11-26-06, 10:32 AM
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Ok, I was unsure if I should go with the 007 with IFC, or seperate ones. I will do that.

I do have an air scoop on the supply side and the ET hangs off of it. The ET's(there are 2) are actually larger. I didn't go back and adj the size in the diagram.

I am confused about the balancing valve. I have done my research and read about having to balance my loops if they aren't within 3% of each other in size. Can someone help me out here? What type of valve and where would it be piped in this diagram?

BTW I don't think I'm going overboard here(hopefully). The house is about 4000sqft and I have scaled down my zoning plan from the original design.

Zone 1(Living Room, 4 radiators)
Zone 2(Master Bedroom, 4 Radiators)
Zone 3(Dining Room, Foyer, 1/2 Bath, Breakfast Area, Kitchen, 6 Radiators)
Zone 4(Bedroom 2, Bedroom 3, 2nd Floor Bath, rear hallway, 4 radiators)
Zone 5(Bedroom 4, Bedroom 5, 3rd Floor Bath, Hallway, 4 Radiators)
Zone 6(Future radiant heat, Need help with this one)
 
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Old 11-26-06, 12:26 PM
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Not sure about the need for balancing if you are zoning with circulators? To be honest, I have never given it much thought or read about it. I could be totally wrong. Can you share some reading on the subject?

I would think that with circs, you size to the flow rate required for each zone. Make sure the supply header can handle everything, and you're good. Depending on boiler requirements, you might need a differential pressure bypass to ensure adequate flow near the boiler, as I understand it.

I assume the zoning scheme keeps the rooms proximal to the controlling stat, heating-characteristics-wise, or if you are doing indoor feedback that the zones would at least require the same supply temperature. Kind of looks that way from the room descriptions.

In terms of physical layout, I like the supply header on my boiler. Built out of black iron so it goes together quickly and easily. 4" nipples between the circs provides enough room to service.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j50/xiphias1758/supplyheader.jpg

The space heating zones have 007 IFCs, and the indirect is a straight 007 with a flow-check before entering the indirect (far left of photo). The space heating loops are pretty long, so adding in-line flow-cheks would have required way bigger circs due to the added head. The IFCs fit the bill here. For the indirect, the flow-check effectively "lengthened" the loop so that we get the rated gpm into the indirect.

The return manifold is over the boiler, which I'm not wild about, but given the space available, was sensible. It does make hose attachment and related service very easy. The whole thing actually is (will be) a piece of cake to service.

http://i77.photobucket.com/albums/j50/xiphias1758/returns.jpg

For radioconnection, the pic includes my blue box....

We can talk future radiant connection later. Shouldn't be hard though if you pipe good supply/return manifolds. Some control, some mixing....
 
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Old 11-26-06, 08:52 PM
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Ok, here is my next draft. Any comments suggestions?


http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/BrooklawnRev1.jpg

Here are my questions
Does the end of the supply manifold have to be capped? Can I throw in some drains as I show in my drawing?

For the distribution to the rooms. I have run pex for supply/returns back to one location for each room/radiator. For example the master and living room are mirrors of each other and each have 4 radiators. So I have 4 supply and 4 return lines for each room which also happen to be their own zone coming back to the boiler location. What is the best way to pipe these into their supply/return locations on the manifold. Should I just stub out a piece of pipe with 4 tees on the supply after the circ and cap the end and do the same on the return?

Also what is the best method to calculate my expansion tank size. The boiler had 2 extrol 60's on their but I am very sure my water volume has decreased since I redesigned the system.

Am I missing anything else. I want to order all the parts and begine building my manifold!! Also is there any preferance to copper versus black pipe for the manifolds. I noticed that xiphias piped the supply in BP but the return in copper.

Had to come back and ask for a recommendation on which model Low water cutoff to get. System currently doesn't have one. It appears that Mcdonnel is a leader but they offer several models.
 
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Old 11-27-06, 07:35 AM
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Was reading some over at P&M website and came across this.

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/BalancingLoop.jpg

They mentions primary and secondary loops? Wouldn't each of my zones be considered secondary? They mentions balancing valves and the piping diagram differs from what I am planning. Should I be looking at this?
 
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Old 11-27-06, 10:03 AM
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There's a bunch of ways you could pipe your system, from simple to complex. There are arguments for and against each depending on what you want or need to accomplish. Different ways to handle supply and returns, ways to balance the system, ensure good performance, etc. etc. etc.

Jack Horner mentioned in a different recent thread the book by John Siegenthaler "Modern Hydronic Heating." If you're building from nearly scratch, it's definitely worth a read. His software is excellent as well. www.hydronicpros.com has it all.

Meanwhile, simple descriptions of the simpler forms of piping are here: http://www.pages.drexel.edu/~mvj22/AED1/A5/hydronic.htm

If you don't have a clear-cut roadmap of what kind of system you need and how to get there, then I suggest taking a reading break before you start ordering parts. Figure out what kind of piping scheme will best suit your needs, allow for ease of maintenance, provide proper flow and temperature characteristics near and far from the boiler, etc. etc. Now is not the time to rush. A week getting prepped could save you two in repiping and aggravation.
 
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Old 11-27-06, 10:20 AM
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'melo: upon further reading of this in a post above:

*** begin quote ***
For the distribution to the rooms. I have run pex for supply/returns back to one location for each room/radiator. For example the master and living room are mirrors of each other and each have 4 radiators. So I have 4 supply and 4 return lines for each room which also happen to be their own zone coming back to the boiler location. What is the best way to pipe these into their supply/return locations on the manifold. Should I just stub out a piece of pipe with 4 tees on the supply after the circ and cap the end and do the same on the return?
*** end quote ***

I'm concerned this is not correct unless I'm missing something in your design. How will you tell the water to flow to each rad? Water being rather uninformed, takes the path of least resistance, i.e., the shortest loop. This also seems like a flow rate/manifold nightmare. You'd probably need a giant main to do this. Imagine coming out of a circ with 3/4" pipe, then splitting to four 3/4" pipes that go to each rad. You just went from one pipe diameter to four. Got water?

I think what you want to do here is in each zone, pipe each emitter in series, or use a main/branch approach of some type, or 2-pipe reverse return, whatever.
 
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Old 11-27-06, 10:38 AM
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why..why...must u rain on my parade! That is what I was fearing all along.

OK so what are my options now? I need to tie all of these seperate rads into each other. I thought about looping from one unit to the next then was concerned with the valves on each of the rads. If piping goes from one rad to the next and someone(not saying I would) closes one of the valves on the individial radiator they would cut flow to the entire loop.

That's one issue now how bout my piping at the boiler dilema. I am strongly leaning towards my drawing which is very similar to yours xiphias, except with more circs. Any reason to have any balancing valves of somekind piped in before/after the circs?
 
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Old 11-27-06, 11:42 AM
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Sorry dude!

Option 1: read books. Siegenthaler's book costs about as much as one circulator. Worthwhile investment, IMHO.

Option 2: rely on free advice from the internet.

Option 3: get formal training.

Option 4: Employ a combo of 1 and 2.

I'd pick 4.

There are options for the rads, ranging from simple series to something that would include thermostatic radiator valves (TRVs) with a bypass. I have only read and have a basic understanding of TRV'ed systems, but with standing rads it looks like the right way to do things. Basically gives the room occupant control of the heat, and if you have an overarching control (say outdoor reset), it works even better.

The near-boiler piping should be designed around the boiler and your needs for system supply temps, rates, and other control and flow issues. What kind of boiler? Or better yet, get a copy of this http://www.ipexinc.com/Content/EN_CA/2_0_Products/2_3_WarmRite_Floor/2_3_6_4_Manual_modern_hydronics.asp and go nuts. The chapter on heat sources would apply, obviously.

Suggest you solve the larger basic piping issue before worrying about a mere balancing valve.
 

Last edited by xiphias; 11-27-06 at 12:02 PM.
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Old 11-27-06, 11:49 AM
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Current boiler is a slantfin gas unit. Nothing fancy, prob about 15-18yrs old. Not in the budget to replace right now.

I have been reading, as much as my brain can take...i'm learning way more than i ever wanted to about boilers!

And yes I rely on free advice from the internet. I am a big forums fan. I contribute in my area of expertise and others help out with theirs. Knowledge barter!

So I think I can put this together with enough help from you guys and my own know how. I appreciate everythign I have gotten so far. I just don't mind making mistakes, so long as they aren't too costly or irreversable!

Any recommendations on the low water cutoff? I'm putting my order for the other parts in now.
 
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Old 11-27-06, 12:02 PM
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Can't help on the LWCO. I'm a theory/design type.

OOPS! I meant combo of 1 and 2, not 1 and 3 (edited above). I'm becoming a forum junkie as well, for all kinds of home-improvement things.

With an old boiler, I would definitely do the piping layout so that a new boiler would pretty much plug right in. Couple unions in the right places and you're good to go.
 
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Old 11-27-06, 08:32 PM
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Originally Posted by rmelo99
I have been reading, as much as my brain can take...i'm learning way more than i ever wanted to about boilers!
Didn't you learn enough when you did the 1950's cape back in February ?
 
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Old 11-27-06, 08:43 PM
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LOL, this is my 4th boiler modification/design encounter!! and ofcourse each one has been totally different. Actually aided in my education.I think I am more dangerous now that I know more about these things, since I want to do more and more(at least on my own system now)

That cape was a PITA(frozen pipes)but you guys helped me through it! I have another "problematic" boiler at another place of mine.(Another Cape) Seems one of the 2 zones(using valves) is acting up. Once I make it over there I'm sure you guys will be hearing from me! But that is another post.

Progress update on my current project. I removed 1 of the 2 extrol tanks in prep for the new supply/return piping and it was "full" of water. I emptied it and want to test it before reusing it. I found a blurb about using a tire pressure guage, and ofcourse there is a little tire style air valve on the bottom. If I do test this with a guage will I be letting out some of the factory pressure and need to repressurize? As for the second tank, someone went to town on the nut so I cannot remove it from the tee it is hanging from. :-( Hopefully I have 1 good tank. I still need to calculate my total water and see what size and how many tanks I will need in the new setup. I hope to reuse this one, is there any problem with "oversizing" your tank?
 

Last edited by rmelo99; 11-27-06 at 08:54 PM.
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Old 12-01-06, 08:53 PM
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Ok, I got all my goodies today to begin putting it all together.

I have built my supply side out of the boiler. Unfortunatley I was not able to remove the old 1.5"x 24" pipe that came out of the boiler. Tried very hard(even with the extra long pipe on the wrench for leverage) but gave up for fear of breaking it in the boiler. Since I wasn't able to remove that pipe I coulnd't install a tee near the boilder for adding a LWCO. Not the end of the world, can I put one somewhere else, maybe in the return line?

So I come up 24" out of the boiler, then elbow off to a nipple and 1.5" ball valve for isolation. Then comes my 1.5" taco airscoop w/ hyvent. after the air scoop I built my supply manifold with six 1.5" tees that lead to 3/4" taco freedom valve/flanges. At the end I installed a boiler drain off the side of the last tee.

I began assembling my return side but was missing a few fittings. That is going to be a similar design to the supply manifold using six 1.5" tees that go to 3/4" ball valves. above the ball valves I am installing a tee with a boiler drain in each

Any advice? Am I missing anything. I am sticking to the drawing I made so if anyone wants to look it over and give opinions before I get to work tomorrow.

BTW I am using 6 taco 007's w/ IFC being controlled by a 6 zone Taco switching relay. Any tips on neat/clean wiring to the circulators?

My new drawing can be found here. I did have to support the supply manifold in 2 places with metal strapping from the ceiling. Is there a recommened way to do this or will the metal strapping suffice.

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/BrooklawnRev4.jpg
 

Last edited by rmelo99; 12-01-06 at 09:16 PM.
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Old 12-02-06, 04:52 AM
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Put a couple unions, just above the boiler supply and on the return. Facilitates a boiler swap.

Reiterate that following a decent manufacturer install diagram is a good way to go. They show recommended unions, valving, etc. and are pretty generic.

Don't pipe the water feed like that. Do it like Figure 1 here:

http://www.spirotherm.com/docs/installation/JrIOM-A.pdf

(Obviously you're doing the Taco scoop not the spirovent, but the same arrangement can be used). Put a ball valve between the ET and the base of the air scoop so when the tank fails you can swap easily.

Mount the SR506 to one side of the circs (so it doesn't get wet when something leaks) and give yourself some room for maintenance, etc. To make the wiring look neat, be neat. Run stuff parallel, use hangers, straps and ties as appropriate.

One option is to mount the whole supply/return manifold and control assembly on a 3/4" plywood backer board (unistrut works great for this) that's mounted to the wall (For six zones, you might need ~4x6 ft for everything.) You could do the whole layout on the floor to make sure it's good. Take some pics and we could critique before you start fastening things together.
 
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Old 12-02-06, 06:15 AM
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- I did put in a union in on the return side to facilitate a boilerswap. Since I cannot remove that vertical piece on the supply side, I would have to put the union in on the horizontal section, is that ok?

- I already put in a valve below the airscoop to facilitate expansion tank swap/replacement. (Check)

- The water feed was already plumbed and was done less than 1yr ago by a plumber. It has a new B&G feed and pressure valve. I didn't plan on changing it, if it aint broke.

- I was planning on mounting the SR506 on a wall near the boiler. Then I need to run power to each circ. I bought some BX cable to run but just couldn't think of a way to run the cable neatly. I thought perhaps I can mount 3 junction boxes centered in the joist above the circulators. I can then wire 2 pumps up to each box. Then I will splice the wires from the junction box back to the SR506 a few feet away.
 
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Old 12-02-06, 08:10 AM
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The circs tie to the SR506. Check the wiring diagram and make sure you understand it.
 
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Old 12-02-06, 09:23 AM
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On the ET plumbing:

I like to have a boiler drain on a tee between the ball valve and the ET.

That way, when you need to service the tank, you just hook up a hose, close the ball vlv, open the drain, and you can set the pressure on the air side easily (because remember the water side needs to be open in order to set the pressure on the air side), and you can drain the water side of the tank so that when you need to change it, you don't have water spewing out when you take it off.

please ignore the somewhat low pressure on the gauge! This is what mine looks like:

http://home.comcast.net/~jeffpicks/ET_drain.jpg

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Last edited by NJT; 12-02-06 at 11:04 AM.
  #28  
Old 12-02-06, 08:40 PM
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Ok, so I have built the entire return and supply manifolds. I got my unions in on each. The unions helped when I had a few minor drips between some of the tees in the supply manifold. Otherwise the circs would not be vertical!

I understand the wiring on the SR506, I chose to go with the TACO control b/c it was SO easy to follow their wiring diagram. What I meant about the junctions boxes was I didn't want to have 6 boxes, so I created the splices between the SR506 and the circs for 2 pumps in each box, so I only needed to use 3 boxes for my 6 pumps.

I also put in an extra tee in my return manifold and pluged it(ready for a temp guage) I've been post stalking and am waiting to see what xiphias ends up going with for his gauge :-)

I have a valve between the ET and scoop. I like the drain idea, but my tank is low and I have to see what I can design in there.

Back to the ET....I have 2 extrols. They are big models compared to what I usually see hanging off other people's boilers. And both were connected in the old setup!! Since the volume of water is no where near what it was before I have scaled back and am only going to use 1. I am not sure if either of the 2 is good or bad. I connected one and had the valve closed while the manifolds where filled with water. When I opened the valve, lots of water began filling the tank. Does it always have water in it and just more when the temp increases? Again any tips on how I can test these tanks? I also want to know if there is any harm in having an oversized ET?

So far I am happy with the results of the new 6 zone piping out of the boiler.

The bad news..I went to connect to the pipes that go up to the master bedroom as my first test zone. I traced back all of the supply/return pipes correctly, what I didn't expect to find is that sometime in the past a couple of the pipes that fed one of the 3rd floor bedrooms must have frozen. So instead of re-running a set of pipes from the basement up to the third, they tied into my master bedroom pipes. Wouldn't be a problem except all the radiators on the 3rd floor have been disconnected. Lots and lots and lots of water. That's how I ended my night there!!

The ONE room that I decided to tie into existing lines in the basement instead of running new lines up to the room rads and this big ole WRENCH gets thrown into my proj.
 
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Old 12-02-06, 10:07 PM
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Originally Posted by rmelo99
....I have 2 extrols... ... Does it always have water in it and just more when the temp increases?... Again any tips on how I can test these tanks?... I also want to know if there is any harm in having an oversized ET?.................

...big ole WRENCH gets thrown into my proj...
I can't understand why there would be two tanks, unless one was for the hot water heating system... If it's just a heating system you only need one, sized properly.

Does it always have water in it ? it depends...
on
whether the pressure is set properly on the "air" side of the bladder,
whether or not the bladder is intact (no holes).

If you remove the tank, put a tire pressure gauge on the schrader valve. Use a hand pump or compressor to put 12 PSI in the tank. There should be NO water in the tank. You shouldn't hear any air coming through the bladder if you stick your ear up to the water connection. The tank should hold that 12 PSI forever ... well, maybe not forever, but for as long as you can wait ...

The pressure on the air side of the tank should be set at or maybe 1/2 to 1 PSI below the system pressure when the system is cold. This is because you want just a wee bit of water in the tank when the water is cold. If you have the air pressure set above your nominal system water pressure, you will see the system pressure drop drastically when it gets cold. If you have the pressure too low in the tank (or if you have a waterlogged tank (bad bladder)), you will see the system pressure go too high when the system is hot.

There is no harm in having a bigger tank than you need, other than wasting money and space. But, you definitely do NOT want a smaller tank than you need!

Sorry to hear about that big wrench! I know the feeling all to well!

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Old 12-03-06, 06:31 AM
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Here is a pic of how the 2 tank setup was before. I think they had 2 tanks because of the LARGE amount of water in the system. These are 60's and I think the next size up is 90 so maybe that wasn't enough when they sized it.

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/P1000382.jpg

Thanks for the ET instructions.
Now about filling the tank to 12psi, what if my system runs at a higher psi. Currently I have it set to 20psi. Will that be a problem? Can or should the tank be filled to a higher PSI?
 
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Old 12-03-06, 09:02 AM
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Originally Posted by rmelo99
Here is a pic of how the 2 tank setup was before. .... Currently I have it set to 20psi. Will that be a problem? Can or should the tank be filled to a higher PSI?
Must have been a L O T of water ! I don't even have that much tank on my well water system!

If you are using 20 PSI for your system pressure, then set the air in the tank just a bit below that, no problem.

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Old 12-03-06, 12:58 PM
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2 Tanks

The higher pressure & the volume of water is likely why there are two tanks. The increased pressure reduces capacity.
 
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Old 12-05-06, 07:28 PM
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Ok, so I connected up 2 zones. I tested out the circs by jumpering the terminals for each on the SR506. I then proceeded to turn on the boiler.

BTW: The 2 ET's that I had were both bad. I pressed the pin on the schrader(sp) valve and water gushed out. So I ran to HD and picked up a Watts 60 ET

So the boiler got up to temp...set aquastat at 140 deg and cold pressure was 18psi. It ran for about 15-20mins then the pressure relief valve blew...

Lot's and Lot's of steam filled the area from the valve, I also filled about 1/2 5gallon pail. I then opened a 2nd air vent on the supply side(not the one on the airscoop) and it piped steam out for a couple mins.

Since the ET is good now(new one at least) What caused me to blow? Can air cause this? I don't want to replace the relief valve b/c it did close once the pressure dropped below 30psi, so it doesn't appear to be faulty.

Is the steam an indicator of air?
 
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Old 12-06-06, 07:38 PM
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http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/DSC02907.jpg

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/DSC02929.jpg

http://i138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/DSC02919.jpg

http://s138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/?action=view&current=DSC02912.jpg

Here are some pics of the current progress. I tried firing up the boiler again. System pressure cold was at 15psi. I purged air from the one connected zone. The feed was open and that is what got the boiler to 15psi. Like I mentioned before this is a new ET. Pressure valve blew again after running for 10-15 mins the temp was near 120 before it blew at 30+PSI.

Where do I go from here now the feed?
 
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Old 12-06-06, 07:51 PM
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I think yer scarin' us all, that's why nobody is answering...

You sure that expansion tank is big enough ? How did you determine what size to use ? You _did_ check the pressure before you installed it, yes ?
 
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Old 12-06-06, 08:36 PM
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I knew there had to be a reason no one was replying!!

Not trying to scare anyone. I am using 1/2" Pex tubing which holds less than 1 gallon of water per 100'. So far I only have connected 2 zones of the 6 and was actually testing with only one running. I haven't opened the second one yet. I have only connected approx 100' of pex(1 gallon + radiators)

So my water volume is minimal other than what is in the manifolds. I found 4.5 gal per ft of 1.25 pipe but couldn't find the value for 1.5" pipe. Also I don't know how much I should be figuring in for the water in the boiler. I can't find specs on slantfin's website.

I used the online calculator at watts and amtrol's website. I put in all my system specs and used 100 then 150 gals as the system volume(figures guestimated). The ET-60 had the capacity for both scenarios.

Like I posted before the 90's I had before(i think that's what they were, big boys) were both BAD. I asked about oversizing the tank and was told shouldn't be a problem.

So I now have a ET-60 model Watts. The specs for that tank are 6.6gal tank vol and 4.3 gal tank acceptance. Watts website calc shows with the 150gal scenario my volume is 6.18gal and 1.39 gal of acceptance as my requirement.
Their "selection guide" which "takes into account typical water volumes based on boiler BTU and type of radiation" also recommended the ET-60

Now their tank comes "pre-charged" at 12psi.(Didn't check, I took their word for it) So I don't know if I should bump that up to my system pressure.

Don't give up on me yet guys. You're all I got. Any comments on my pics? Does the piping look ok?
 
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Old 12-07-06, 03:18 PM
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I guess first thing I would do is check the charge on the tank, and I think you know that needs to be done with no pressure on the water side. Again... set the air charge on the tank about a half pound less than your cold system pressure.

Then, I would make sure that the boiler and the zones were actually filled with water. Remember that there are check valves (I think you said you used the IFC pumps?) in the circulators, and they could possibly be preventing the system from filling. If your boiler is only half full, you're gonna have problems.

Next, I would double check that the aquastat is operating properly, and that the thermometer you have saying 120 * is actually accurate. I mean, you're saying that the boiler is running for 15-20 minutes ? and the temp is only up to 120 ??? My system will go from COLD to 180* limit in around 5 minutes or so, and apparently has a lot more water than yours. (wait a minnit, you're on gas... that might take a bit longer... ) I don't believe water can flash to steam at 120* in either case! ...

You are certain that the circulators are running, and that you actually have flow in the system ? You can feel the return pipe getting hot ?

I guess the piping looks OK, but I'm a K.I.S.S kinda guy, so personally I think it's overkill... but that's just my opinion (and you know what that means!).
 
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Old 12-07-06, 05:10 PM
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Thanks for the advice, and I also am a K.I.S.S. guy. That is why I chose to go the 6 circulator route instead of trying to architect a design using a combo of circs and zone valves

This way each zone operates in the same manner and is wired in the same manner. My thinking is that if something goes wrong down the line with one of the zones it will be easier to troubleshoot since they will all be identical.

That being said. I am on gas and it is possible that the guage on the boiler could be wrong. I did leave a plugged tee in the return manifold for a future temp guage, just don't have one. The position of the current boiler guage is not ideal in that it is right near the PRV so I am hesitant to be poking my head over there for fear of being nearby when it blows.

the circ is defintley working for the zone i have connected up. The rads on that zone do get hot as does the return pipe as I would expect. Before firing the boiler I ran the circ to verify flow while cold. In addition after the PRV blows I guess air gets in b/c I can see air in the opaque pex and it is flowing from the supply and back to the return.

I need to get a bicycle pump and tire guage to measure my pressure on the tank and bump it up from the factory 12psi.

The thought did cross my mind about the boiler not being full. I have an isolation valve on the supply side of the boiler before the manifold and also one on the return side before the manifold. I also have purge valves on the return side above the valve and down near the bottom before it enters the boiler(used as a boiler drain).

How can I ensure that nothing is preventing the boiler from filling all the way.
Since my feed is piped into the boiler I have to imagine if the water makes its way up to fill the supply manifold then have filled the boiler. Yes/no?

http://s138.photobucket.com/albums/q276/rmelo99/Boiler%20Brooklawn/?action=view&current=DSC02925.jpg

The feed is piped in right behind that vertical supply pipe.
 
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Old 12-08-06, 07:36 PM
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Ok, so I went over for a couple hrs of troubleshooting. I disconnected the new ET and measured the pressure, I got a reading of 11psi. I then filled with more air to 15PSI.

I adjusted the feed screw a couple turns and drained some water to lower the boiler to 10PSI. I then tightned the feed screw abit to get the boiler to 15psi. I drained more water and the auto feed brought it back to 15psi. So now that it appeared the auto feed was working I connected the ET, and opened the ET valve, didn't hear the sound of water running into the tank(must be b/c the pressure was equal to the boiler pressure). Just in case the auto feed was the problem I closed off the incoming water valve.

I then fired the boiler. I kept peeking at the guage. When I saw the PSI over 22 I began to get worried after 5mins or so. I checked the temp and had to do a double take. The guage was approaching 120....Celsius!! I must have been reading wrong the other day. So my boiler is getting to 240+ deg F.

Not a good thing, but i think it explains my PRV blowing. So I'm assuming I've got a problem with the Aquastat. I double checked and it was set at 140. This appears to be a pretty basic aquastat but I can't find a model # anywhere(the cover is missing) and I think that is where honeywell usually puts the model #. Is there some troubleshooting I can do on the aquastat? Could it be a wiring thing? I simply have the SR506 wired to the 2 wires that were connected before. I think even if the thermostat is calling for heat the aquastat will kill the burners once it reached the temp that is set on its dial?
 
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Old 12-09-06, 07:49 AM
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You sed:

"Is there some troubleshooting I can do on the aquastat? Could it be a wiring thing? I simply have the SR506 wired to the 2 wires that were connected before. I think even if the thermostat is calling for heat the aquastat will kill the burners once it reached the temp that is set on its dial?"

Yes, when the boiler temp gets to the setting on the aquastat, it should kill the burner, and if the t'stat is still calling, the circ will continue to run until:
1. the t'stat is satisfied and stops calling
2. the boiler temp drops below the aquastat differential and starts the burner again.

If in doubt about the aquastat, replace it. Looks like an 8148 from what I can see in your pics. Has anyone had the a'stat removed ? maybe the f'ed up the bulb that fits in the well ? If the copper tube is kinked, kiss it bye bye. Make sure the bulb goes all the way to the bottom of the well, and fits properly, using heat transfer compound if necessary to get good thermal transfer.

Where is the gas valve wired to the a'stat ? Is there an auto/manual switch on your unit ?

http://customer.honeywell.com/honeywell/ProductInfo.aspx/L8148A1017

scroll to bottom, click on installation and:

RTFM!

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Last edited by NJT; 12-09-06 at 08:02 AM.
 

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