Expansion tank questions (yes another one) potable water - did I do this right?

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Old 01-03-13, 09:38 AM
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Expansion tank questions (yes another one) potable water - did I do this right?

So last year you guys helped me through installing my HTP Versa Hydro boiler. Well I finished the temp tie ins around Dec 23rd and never touched it again

I knew from the old system that I needed an expansion tank and had bought a little Amtrol ST-5 for it but never put it in. Fast forward to New Years Eve and I go downstairs to find the pressure relief valve on the hot water tank side of the system dumping out gallons of hot water and turning the entire basement into a dripping steam bath. Ok I guess it's time to put in that tank

I put in a 4.5G Watts tank from Home Depot as that's what I could get my hands on. The ST-5 seemed to be borderline on capacity, especially with the very high temps the Hyro reaches compared to a normal water heater. It's in and seems to be working but the meat of my question is on pressures. I've got a gauge on the main water line and it says 54 pounds. This is after the reducer, incoming pressure is 120 pounds. I charged the tank to 54.5 pounds. I then put on the watts pressure gauge I had lying around that has a little red arm to record the top pressure. So far it's shown as high as 61 pounds but that's it. Is that right or should it be rising at all with the tank installed? My assumption is that when water comes in the pressure on the bladder will increase and pressure will still rise, just not as much as if there was no tank.

I did just read troppers boiler expansion tank sticky. I like that idea but wonder if I could simplify it by using a ball valve with the little drain nub on it. Just just the valve, open the numb, check pressure, close and close??

The little bleeder thing above the tank on the hydronic heat side is seeping a bit. Pressure is about 9 pounds cold but stays at 12 pounds as soon as it warms up.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 10:47 AM
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So far it's shown as high as 61 pounds but that's it. Is that right or should it be rising at all with the tank installed?


Thats fine.


So far it's shown as high as 61 pounds but that's it. Is that right or should it be rising at all with the tank installed?


That will work...


The little bleeder thing above the tank on the hydronic heat side is seeping a bit. Pressure is about 9 pounds cold but stays at 12 pounds as soon as it warms up.
Should not seep. Should be 12 psi cold not 9 psi. Possible you need to replace that vent.



 
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Old 01-03-13, 11:19 AM
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Looks like the top pressure is up closer to 65 now but still nothing to cause a problem.

Thanks much - The tank and the vent are both about ten years old now from the previous boiler install. It's my feeling that the vent has just gotten hurt a bit from all the dirt flying around and temperature cycling as I was doing my thing. Eventually I have to dig back into it and really finish it but with two young kids my time goes to them before the house.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 05:02 PM
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wonder if I could simplify it by using a ball valve with the little drain nub on it
Yes, you could... BUT, it could take a while to drain the pressure from the tank in some cases... and no easy way to connect a hose into a bucket...

When you open those, since the pee hole is on the side, the stream goes round and round peeing water everywhere as you open it!

If none of this is a problem, go for it!

Yes, raise the pressure in the boiler a bit. If there is currently no air in the system (not hearing any gushing noises, etc) you could simply close the cap to stop the leaking and manually vent it from time to time, then change it when you get the chance in about 10 years when the kids is growed enough.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 05:41 PM
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Hi Trooper, The leaking is actually out the little black plastic piece on the side of the unit, not around the little thumb screw up top. I've added quite a bit of water over the past year but it always drops after a month or so. I'll have to take a picture for you guys.

As for the drain valve. It really wouldn't be a problem to have it go all over the place as it's in a corner of the basement with a drain directly below. But it also seems easier to just shut the water off, open the utility sink that's right there to bleed pressure, check and then turn it all back on.

The boiler is a different story. Much easier to do what you've done rather than open up the system.

I hadn't even considered that it was a pipe bender. I know it looked like it had fittings at each end but they could have been sleeves.

I get around a lot of basements fishing low voltage wires for a living and the guy in the area that does by far the nicest work is using some sort of compression tool for all his copper fittings. No solder anywhere that I can see and everything is long radius with top of the line hardware. Really nice work.
 
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Old 01-03-13, 08:05 PM
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That compression tool is called a pro-press. Not cheap by any strech of the imagination. Same is true of the fittings, but you can put some copper together in a hurry. We have two at work, the larger of which will do up to 2".
 
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Old 01-03-13, 09:05 PM
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Yeah, wish I could get me a pro-press! $$$ Happy New Year Grady !

Much easier to do what you've done
Actually, I no longer use the setup I show in that sticky...

I now have a Watts RBFF as seen here:



Which is a neat little gadget that Watts stole the idea for from me and won't send my royalty checks!

Model RBFF Residential Boiler Fill Fitting - New Products - Watts

Their design still needs a few tweaks though. They need to turn the drain 180 so it points the other way so as not to interfere with threading the reducing valve directly onto the valve assembly. They say you can do it, but I tried it and it's a PITA to get the hose screwed on with the reducing valve threaded on there... it's too close.

BUT, you do NOT want to use this thing on a POTABLE system because it is NOT lead free.
 
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Old 01-04-13, 03:31 AM
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Well on a side note I noticed I have some water on the flow under the drain tube for the backflow preventer. This is the fill system for the heat, not the potable water. Not sure if it's just failing or what but all that stuff is from the install ten years ago, not last year.

Also I noticed a bunch of heat running down and around the piping on the DHW side that I did not notice before. Seems what I thought would be adequate for a heat trap and piping and did seem to be working well is not working so well now that expansion is allowing the water to migrate more. Not sure what to do. It would not be horrible to redo the whole thing but that option certainly doesn't give me a warm fuzzy feeling either.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 07:08 PM
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[ATTACH=CONFIG]7868[/ATTACH]

So the valve popped again. Luckily my wife caught it before bed. This was after a long shower from my daughter. The other time I noticed it go was after long showers or a couple showers in a row.

Pressure gauge has been on the whole time and never showed above about 67psi but it was on the cold water side. I put it on the hot water side to see if it's spiking on that side instead of equalizing across the system.

Think I just hurt the valve from abuse and have to replace? That sucker does not look like the cheap home center variety.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 07:20 PM
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If your relief valve is lifting, it is likely because your expansion tank is waterlogged. Read the sticky above.

Pressure gauge has been on the whole time and never showed above about 67psi but it was on the cold water side. I put it on the hot water side to see if it's spiking on that side instead of equalizing across the system.
I can't understand what you are talking about.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 08:09 PM
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water on the flow under the drain tube for the backflow preventer.
Yeah, they drip... unless it's a LOT and not just a few drops, I would leave it alone for now. They come out pretty easy, a union connection on both ends. You may just have a speck of 'crud' under one of the check valves. You could try taking it out, flushing it AND THE ENTIRE WATER LINE TO THE BOILER real well. Reinstall and see if that fixes it... if not, just get a new one.
 

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Old 01-13-13, 08:15 PM
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I put it on the hot water side to see if it's spiking on that side instead of equalizing across the system.
I don't think you will see any difference.

Doug, Speedy has a problem that the relief valve on the indirect is running... probably a DOMESTIC expansion tank issue... but now we not so sure... the conversation drifted back to the boiler stuff for a bit... he's been watching the pressure on his DOMESTIC system.

Speedy, what are the specs ? make/model? on that valve again?
 
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Old 01-13-13, 08:25 PM
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I'll have to get them for you in the AM. I remember 150psi and 200F but otherwise I couldn't figure out which number was the actual model number.

Yes this is all absolutely on the domestic water side of life. I don't expect to see the pressures change either with the difference in gauge placement. Tank temps are in the 155 range currently so I don't think it's a temp issue unless the sensor is not reporting accurately. Temps go much higher but it's warm out so the outdoor reset is keeping them down.

How many times can those valves open and still be good?

Also this is a HTP Versy Hydro - so I believe it is more correct to say the heating loop is indirect while the domestic hot water is the direct.
 
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Old 01-13-13, 08:38 PM
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HTP Versa Hydro
Oh... I think that changes everything! I should have been more aware and looked up your boiler right off the bat... I hain't nevah seen one of those!

How many times can those valves open and still be good?
Certainly more than 2 or 3...

Is that the valve that came with the Combi?
 
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Old 01-13-13, 08:47 PM
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Yes that's the one that came with it. The boiler is not complex. 55G 130BTU modulating and condensing hot water heater with an extra set of dip tubes to feed a domestic heating exchange plate. I'm very pleased with the setup but obviously this has to be solved. I'll give HTP a call tomorrow to see if they have any input.

As for how often the valve has popped. We just don't know. It could have been slightly opening under pressure for a long time and we just didn't see it until now. It's in a part of the basement that is not traveled regularly, the floor is all concrete and there is a drain nearly directly below the drain tube.

Having said that perhaps it's just flat out defective and nothing at all to do with the pressures.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 07:21 AM
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It's a watts 40XL-5 - about $105 from grainger. Watts home page shows some lead free versions of that valve but I'm not finding them out in the real world.

Spoke with Watts this morning and they just said highly unusual for that valve to fail even under abuse but they concur that it's almost certainly just a bad valve.
 
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Old 01-14-13, 04:30 PM
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I suppose that it's also possible that it was opening on temperature? Too bad there's no easy way without a data logging thermometer to record the tank temps...
 
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Old 01-15-13, 06:41 AM
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I thought of that too NJT. The pressure gauge being on the hot side is showing the same high pressure of upper 60s. Watts said they almost never trip on temperature and suspects we have a bad or damaged spring that's allowing it to open up at too low of a pressure. I don't much like throwing parts at a problem without being 100% sure what is going on but in this case I don't see that I have much choice. Grainger will have the valve in tomorrow but we are leaving Thursday for a few days so it will be sitting un monitored for a few days.

I see a heavy amount of liquid goop on the threads of this thing, over typical teflon tape. Any idea what that goop is? I looks like it would seal really well.
 
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Old 01-15-13, 03:32 PM
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Any idea what that goop is?
No, not without tasting it...

Probably some sorta pipe dope, maybe a teflon paste?

Watts said they almost never trip on temperature and suspects we have a bad or damaged spring that's allowing it to open up at too low of a pressure.
And right after that is when I would have said, "Oh, so it's a defective valve then? Let me give you my address so you can send me a warranty replacement then..." and you would be surprised how much free stuff I get!
 
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Old 01-15-13, 06:31 PM
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Ha! You are right I should have done that but I'm not great at that sort of thing. I'm very good at it when I go into it with that mindset but in this case I was just thinking about the quickest way to get it solved and fixed. Fact is I took one of the biggest gambles of my life putting this thing in myself and knowing how little support I'd get as a result. So I think I was just relieved that I was going to get away with as little $$ as I am. I also know that valve was likely abused from not having the expansion tank on there from day one.

It has not popped again since the other night and pressures are still right what they were before. Not even a drip. The new valve is supposed to be in tomorrow.
 
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Old 01-16-13, 06:11 PM
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My assumption is that when water comes in the pressure on the bladder will increase and pressure will still rise, just not as much as if there was no tank.
Correct. The system pressure will rise a little with the expansion tank in place and the next tankful of water being heated. If someone uses water while the pressure is rising, the pressure will drop back down. After water usage stops, the pressure will again rise slowly if the water heater burner is still on.

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Old 01-22-13, 01:05 PM
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Did not have time to fix it before we left for a road trip but it did not pop again. Hopefully I'll get it replaced this week.
 
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