New Boiler/Indirect Water Heater Circulator Sound

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Old 09-29-12, 08:50 AM
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New Boiler/Indirect Water Heater Circulator Sound

A month ago I had a new oil boiler (Buderus G115Ws/3) and Indirect Water Heater (Superstor Ultra) installed. After a few weeks of use, the circulator (Taco 007 F5) leading to my indirect water heater started to make a loud buzzing sound. The technician who did the job was more than happy to come out and change the circulator and purge my system, and the sound was gone. Two weeks later the sound has come back, although not to the same degree. Below are some links to some picture as well as video of the sound.

New Boiler pictures by kgalligano - Photobucket

Taco circ sound - YouTube


Since the system is still under full warranty, I am definitely going to have the tech come out next week and take another look. However, it would be great if someone can give some insight on what could be occurring or whether the noise coming from the circulator is normal.

Any help would be appreciated.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 09:29 AM
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Your three still pix are not quite in focus, and I'm not sure which pump we're supposed to be looking at. But it appears that the pump orientation is wrong - go to the Taco website and get the instructions for the 00 series pumps, or look at the ones that came with the pump.

The noise sounds like the integral flow check valve is chattering.

I see one pump with an isolation ball valve partially shut. Why?
 
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Old 09-29-12, 09:59 AM
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Thanks for the quick response. I removed the fuzzy picture because I think it is causing confusion. It is the pump on the left hand side of the picture leading to my indirect water heater. Can you point out specifically on which picture the valve that isn't fully open? Also, is the chattering you refer to normal? As a side note, the pressure on my system ranges between 15 and 20 psi; I was reading through some previous posts and saw that insufficent/too much pressure may be a cause for the sound.

Update: I added two more pictures of the circulator set up.

Thank you again.
 

Last edited by kgalligano; 09-29-12 at 10:20 AM.
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Old 09-29-12, 11:10 AM
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Both pumps are mounted in the wrong orientation (upside down). They need to be rotated 180 deg, with the electrical junction boxes on top of the motors. See the Taco instructions: http://www.taco-hvac.com/uploads/Fil...ry/101-029.pdf

No, the IFC should not be chattering.

I take back what I said about the ball valve. I was disoriented.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 11:23 AM
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While I do agree that the motors should be rotated, I think it should be pointed out that this issue would not be the cause of the noise.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 11:29 AM
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Have you witnessed the pump stopping? Does the buzzing slow down as the pump rolls to a stop?

And you said that the other pump is fine ?
 
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Old 09-29-12, 11:51 AM
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I have observed the pump shut down. It doesnt come to a rolling stop...just stops. As for the other pump, I ran the heat this morning and the pump was soundless. However, it was the first time I ran the pump this season...so my concern would be that the same noise will start to occur after a few weeks of use like the pump connected to my indirect hot water heater.

On a side note, what is the downside of having the pumps installed upside down? Both pumps are located about 7 feet high so maybe it was done to make maintenance easier...
 
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Old 09-29-12, 12:40 PM
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I also think I see both pump with an elbow or tee right up next to the suction connection. Good practice is to have a straight run of pipe, usually at least about 10 diameters in length ahead of that connection to avoid turbulence. It is conceivable that could be causing the noise, possibly involving the IFC as well. I think the pumps need to be repiped.

Mounting the pumps upside down reduces cooling air flow through the motor stator windings - potentially causing premature motor failure.

Another concern is that your installer didn't follow the manufacturer's installation instructions for the pumps. I wonder what else he might have not followed?

Since you have tried two different pumps that make the noise, the problem would seem to be the installatlion, not the pump itself.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 01:22 PM
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I have added an additional photo looking straight up at both pumps to help me determine if the pumps are too close to the suction connection.


New Boiler pictures by kgalligano - Photobucket

The measuring tape is running along the pipping that leads to the pump that heats my baseboards. I am guessing the suction connection you are refering to is the gold/copper component above my expansion tank (I apoligize if it is not). There is a piece of pipping between the T and the gold/copper component that is about an inch in length, so hopefully that is what you are referring to.

I would hate to think that the installation was botched. If the job was done poorly however, how would you recommend me dealing with the contractor?

The person who did the job has been ultra responsive. When I had the issue with the pump originally, he came within the hour to fix the problem. He has been in business for a long time and was willing to meet me after hours (7PM on a Friday night)to explain to me how the system works. It would just be a little bizarre if the job was done poorly given the aforementioned...but then again who knows.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 02:44 PM
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Yes, the suction sides of the pumps are each connected to the black pipe. Each pump's suction should be connected to about 10 diameters of straight pipe - no fittings or changes in direction. Google "pump suction piping" for more info on the 10-diameter guideline.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 03:53 PM
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Thanks for the help. So it sounds like a have two problems.
1. I am missing piping right before each of my circulator pumps. This is most likely the cause of the loud circulator.
2. The circulators need to be reoriented so that the terminal box is positioned anyway but down

If both of the above are true, how would you recommend I approach the contractor? I don't think this was intentional...he actually told me NOT to pay him in full for a few months to make sure everything works satisfactory...but mistakes happen I guess.

NJTrooper what do you think about the above conclusions? You were a great help a few months ago helping me with understanding my old boiler
 
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Old 09-29-12, 04:29 PM
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Info on pump suction piping here: Preclude the Pitfalls of Pump Piping

Ideally, the pump suctions should be connected near the expansion tank, certainly on the same side of the boiler as the expansion tank. (I can't really tell from your pix whether that is where they are connected.) That maximizes the suction pressure to the pump and helps prevent cavitation - which produces noise and can damage the pump over time. But, your recording of the noise doesn't sound exactly like cavitation to me; it could just be turbulence? It sounds more like rapid clicking, which made me think of the IFC valve in the pump. I haven't heard of it before, but I can visualize that turbulence could cause the IFC to chatter.

Those pumps only have two moving parts - the rotor and the IFC. But, in any case, the root of the problem is not the pump itself, but the way it was installed.\

As far as how you can best handle your installer, I can't really help.

If you take any more pix, move back and take a wider angle view so that we can better see how everything connects together in the system.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 04:50 PM
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The expansion tank is connected to the bottom of the air separator. The air separator is right before the pumps.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 04:58 PM
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OK, that is correct. I must be cross-eyed.
 
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Old 09-29-12, 05:14 PM
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As requested, I added six more pictures that gives a fuller view of the entire installation.

New Boiler pictures by kgalligano - Photobucket

Hopefully the pump suctions are included elsewhere...

Thank you again.
 
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Old 09-30-12, 07:12 AM
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I spoke with a tech this morning about the circulator noise. His hypothesis is that the circulator pumps installed (Taco 007) may need to replaced with a Grundfos 3 speed, because of the “type” of installation I have (he had a name for it but I do not remember what it was). Either way, they will be out to check it out next week.

What do you guys think?
 
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Old 09-30-12, 08:13 AM
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I'm a little leary of that explanation... it just doesn't 'feel' right. At least until you tell us the 'name'. This looks to me to be a standard installation. ( hint: take notes when you talk to him! )

Hopefully the pump suctions are included elsewhere...
A little bit of essplainin...

Not sure it is understood what is meant by the use of the term " pump suction "

A pump has a 'suction' and a 'discharge', aka ' inlet ' and ' outlet '.

The inlets or suction side of your pumps are the side that is joined together at the pipe coming off the air separator and out of the tee fittings. Manufacturers recommend ' 10 or 12 pipe diameters ' of straight pipe on the suction side of the pump so that the flow going into the pump is not turbulent. If your pipes are 1-1/4" ( they look to be... can't tell for sure ) then this equates to a straight piece of pipe leading into the pump of at least a FOOT ... and that isn't what we see here at all.

To my ear in the video, this sound is almost 'electrical' ... it has that typical 60 Hz 'buzz' ... that's why I asked if it stopped immediately when the pump shut down, and you said it did. So I dunno...

One thing you can try, and I don't guarantee we will learn anything from this, it's just an experiment that might tell us something, or not.

While the pump is running and making the noise, THROTTLE the valve on the discharge side. DON'T close it all the way... just start closing it and see if the noise changes, then return it to OPEN.

Remember that this is a quarter turn ball valve and that about 90% of the throttling range is going to occur in the last 10% or so of the valve closing. In other words, the flow won't be significantly reduced until the valve is very near fully closed.

What I'm thinking is that this might help determine if the IFC is making the noise, or if it's cavitation (I don't believe it is), or if it's electrical in nature... or, it might not tell us anything...
 
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Old 09-30-12, 08:14 AM
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Has anyone contacted Taco yet? They are usually pretty responsive to inquiries, even from homeowners...
 
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Old 09-30-12, 08:16 AM
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One more Q, if I may.

In some of the pics, there is a brass device on the side of the air eliminator opposite the side with the pumps... is that a ball valve? or maybe a check valve? can't really see in the pics.

OK, two more, sorry:

Is the indirect set up as priority? Is it possible to run BOTH the pumps at the same time? If so, is there any change in the noise when this happens?
 
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Old 09-30-12, 12:51 PM
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Results of experiments...
When closing the valve on the outlet side of the indirect pump the pitch of the sound increases slightly.

My indirect is set as the priority I believe. When I ran both my baseboard heat pump and the idw pump, the pitch stopped on the indirect pump and a slight pitch was observed on the baseboard heat pump. Would this suggest that my idw is not set as priority? Sorry if that was a silly question. Does the fact that both pumps are making the sound now suggest a install problem? Should my IDW be the priority?

There is a ball valve on the opposite side of the air eliminator.
 
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Old 09-30-12, 01:35 PM
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We now have had three pumps that all make the noise. Taco 007 pumps are probably the most commonly used residential hydronic pump, so it seems even more likely that the problem is caused by the installation, not the pumps.

The only electrical components inside the pump are the stator windings and the permanent split capacitor - both passive devices.

There is one other possibility besides the IFC chattering due to turbulence in the suction line. The rotor cartridge has perhaps 1/64" axial free play in the shaft that is attached to the impeller. It is conceivable that turbulence is interacting with the impeller to cause the shaft to chatter in and out. When you remove the cartridge and manually slide it in and out that 1/64", the sound is a click as the shaft hits whatever bushings are constraining the shaft's axial movement.

In any case, before fooling around with other theories, I would repipe the suction lines for each pump to give the recommended straight length ahead of the suction connection. I see nothing else in the installation that is suspicious. I would correct this even if there were not a noise, as it is an error that could lead to future problems. If, for some reason, another brand of pump eliminated the noise, I would stilll insist that the suction lines be corrected.
 
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Old 09-30-12, 01:43 PM
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Thank you. I will insist tomorrow that they add the required amount of piping.

On a secondary note, it looks like my baseboard heat has priority over my indirect zone. Is this correct set up? I guess I would rather have a warm house than a warm shower shower. I have a small ranch (1k sq ft) and low domestic water demand.
 
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Old 09-30-12, 02:40 PM
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Double check that setup. You would want the hot water to be priority. The tank requires maximum BTU input to reheat quickly. You don't want a heat call to your house to give you a cold shower.
 
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Old 10-01-12, 12:23 PM
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The person who did the install came out today. He changed the priority to the indirect as well as purged air from my system. After removing the air from my system, the noise coming from the circulators was reduced significantly (I would say 75% less) to a slight buzz—I am assuming that the circulators, under normal operation, make a slight humming sound (correct?). I have also been told by a different plumber (didn’t do the job, but friends with) that air in a new system is normal, and may take a few times to get all of it out. I am just kind of confused why it took a few weeks for the sound to become overly apparent (again) after the last purge and why it wasn’t immediate. The installer told me that when you fill a new system with “new” water, air is usually produced as the “new” water heats for the first time.

As for the orientation of circulators and the distance to the T joint of pipe, I spoke with a Taco rep.

He said the following:
  1. The terminal side down orientation is not recommended because leakage in the circulator may result in electric damage; it has nothing to do with cooling (which is contrary to the instruction manual)
  2. The 10 diameter guideline is recommended

The independent plumber that I am friends with said that the terminal side down installation is done to make maintenance easier on the circulator, and that it is common practice (even if the instructions say otherwise). Also, in terms of the 10 diameter guideline, it is a rule of thumb but not Gospel. Since I have the indirect on priority, both circulators should not run at the same time, thus, it would not be the reason why the sound is being made and shouldn’t affect performance.

All in all, the person who did the install told me that if the circulator sound gets loud again, he will be more than happy to come out and address the issue again. The system is covered for a year (parts and labor), so let’s see if the purge of air fixes the situation…
 
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Old 10-01-12, 04:57 PM
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Just explain the air in the system situation a bit better for you. Drinking water has dissolved gas in the water. There is also air in the empty pipes before they get filled with water. So when filling a hydronic system, you need to flush out all that existing air with the water. All of it may not come out right away. Some of those air bubbles may gather in a spot and slowly get pushed out during use. Then you have the dissolved gas. When the water is heated, this gas will come out of solution and need to find its way to the air separator. And that can take time as well. Especially if the heat is not coming on very often.
 
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Old 10-02-12, 03:13 PM
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So hopefully this will be my last question on my boiler/indirect hot water set up....

I have a Beckett Aquasmart control. After the indirect was set to the priority, the control is emitting a buzzing sound 24/7. The same buzzing did occur when my heating zone was the priority, however only when the boiler was on to a few minutes after the boiler shuts off. I was told by the tech who installed the system that it is normal, but I figured I would ask the question anyway...
 
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