how do i know if my primary loop pump is working

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Old 03-07-13, 02:32 PM
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how do i know if my primary loop pump is working

I dont think my primary loop pump is working.

I have 3 pumps close to each other so i cant tell by listening to the vibrations.

When the t-stat calls for heat, my boiler will run for about a minute or so and then shut off for 5 or 6 minutes until the boiler temp drops enough to kick it back on.

Also, when the upstairs calls for heat, I dont hear the usual expansion creaks in the pex tubing.

Looking at my enclosed pictures, I think that my water is short circuiting between the supply and return manifolds.

I have a check valve between the return manifold and the boiler. I think that if i moved it to between the 2 manifolds, even if the primary loop pump went down, the zone pumps would pull heated water from the boiler.

I would like to get it figured out because i am in the process of adding a second boiler to my primary loop so it needs to be torn apart anyway. Any help would be greatly appreciated.

Ps. I am only using the two zones on the right side of the manifolds







 
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Old 03-07-13, 02:41 PM
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i am in the process of adding a second boiler to my primary loop
Before getting into it may I ask why? Is one not enough?

Can you move back and take some wider angle shots?
 
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Old 03-07-13, 02:52 PM
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I just had a gas well drilled. If the well needs to be shut down for maintenance, they suggested i keep my old boiler as a standby as there is no other source of gas. Sorry its a small room but when the kid gets home in a few hours, i will try a different camera
 
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Old 03-07-13, 03:14 PM
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Is the home heating OK?

What make/model boiler? Do you have an ODR module attached?

When the t-stat calls for heat, my boiler will run for about a minute or so and then shut off for 5 or 6 minutes until the boiler temp drops enough to kick it back on.
I see you've got the cover off the pump electric box, are you getting voltage to the pump?

At what temperature is the burner shutting down?

Pipes getting hot all the way around the primary loop?

when the upstairs calls for heat, I dont hear the usual expansion creaks in the pex tubing.
Pipes getting hot? Mixer valve working? Follow the heat, use the calibrated hand test.

I think that my water is short circuiting between the supply and return manifolds.
Well, yeah, sorta... that's kinda what P/S is all about, but your system is a sort of 'hybrid' of P/S and 'standard antlers' piping. What you consider a P/S setup is really more or less a 'pumped bypass' arrangement the way this is piped.

In other words, because the zones aren't connected to the 'boiler loop' with CLOSELY SPACED TEES, they technically aren't 'secondary' loops. I mean, they are, sort of, but not in the strictest sense.

I have a check valve between the return manifold and the boiler.
Any idea why? Can it be seen in the pics? What type of check valve? (swing? spring loaded?)

Is there anything else connected to the boiler such as an indirect water heater?

Are there flow checks internal to any of the pumps?

I think that if i moved it to between the 2 manifolds, even if the primary loop pump went down, the zone pumps would pull heated water from the boiler.
They will to some extent even with the flow check where it is.

How much flows through the boiler and how much through the 'bypass' at the right side of the loop depends on how much 'head' the boiler side has compared to how much in that 'bypass'. The fact that there is a pump and check valve in the boiler side sorta says that MOST of the flow will be around the right side, through the 'bypass' in the case of the boiler pump going down.

You could instead of moving the check valve, just add a good quality GLOBE valve on that vertical section of pipe I suppose...

But since you are going to be re-piping, now might be the time to consider some overall changes by looking at the 'big picture'.

So tell us why a second boiler is being added, and what your plan is to pipe it in.
 
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Old 03-07-13, 03:15 PM
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How are the pumps being controlled?

I see the boiler loop pump is wired to the aquastat so I presume that it runs whenever there is a heat call.

What is running the other pumps?
 
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Old 03-07-13, 03:46 PM
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how do i know if my primary loop pump is working
If a pump is pushing 180 deg water, you should be able to feel it through the wall of the piping downstream. If you have a mulitmeter with an a.c. ammeter function, and know how to use it safely, measure the amps to the motor. One of your motors already has wires sticking out, which would facilitate connection. But be careful, an ammeter needs to be connected in series with the load.
 
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Old 03-07-13, 04:08 PM
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I just had a gas well drilled. If the well needs to be shut down for maintenance, they suggested i keep my old boiler as a standby as there is no other source of gas. Sorry its a small room but when the kid gets home in a few hours, i will try a different camera
You a lucky bugger Chip! I knew I had seen yer screen name here before, but couldn't remember in what regard.

OK, I understand now.

I do have question about the supply of gas you are going to be getting.

Since natural gas right from the ground has a number of other gases in it, i.e. propane and butane, how exactly will they be able to feed you a constant supply of refined natural gas? Or are you just going to get what you get and hope for the best?

How will you know that while the well is producing the content of the various gases aren't going to 'mess up' the combustion in the new boiler? In other words, how will you select the proper orifice to use? Propane requires a different orifice ... and since you will be getting 'mixed' gas, how do you decide how to set up the boiler properly?

I looked again at yer pics, and think I've seen what needs to be seen, so don't sweat the extra pics, I don't think we need them.
 
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Old 03-07-13, 06:20 PM
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Since natural gas right from the ground has a number of other gases in it, i.e. propane and butane, how exactly will they be able to feed you a constant supply of refined natural gas? Or are you just going to get what you get and hope for the best?

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2MuLpl4UI
Im not sure what kind of gas im going to get. These guys have hundreds of wells in the area and dont seem to be worried. (I have actually been getting royalties for a lot of oil that is coming as well) (about 22 bbls/mth so far) So i guess im hoping for the best.

How are the pumps being controlled?

I see the boiler loop pump is wired to the aquastat so I presume that it runs whenever there is a heat call.

What is running the other pumps?

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2MuOmbOQ0
You are right. The primary pump is wired to the aquastat and is energized on a call for heat

The zone pumps are run from a Taco SR504 switching relay

Is the home heating OK?

What make/model boiler? Do you have an ODR module attached?

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2MuPvW9Hj
home heats painfully slow

boiler is a Trianco Heatmaker

dont know what odr module is

I see you've got the cover off the pump electric box, are you getting voltage to the pump?

At what temperature is the burner shutting down?

Pipes getting hot all the way around the primary loop?

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2MuQPVbQb
pump is getting power
burner shuts off at 190 which i believe is way hot for radiant heat
pipe is not hot the whole way around (it is but not really) I would think that it should be pretty much the same from supply of boiler to just before the zone returns

Any idea why? Can it be seen in the pics? What type of check valve? (swing? spring loaded?)

Is there anything else connected to the boiler such as an indirect water heater?


Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2MuT1gYaD
The spring loaded check valve is just below the aquastat. Not sure why its there (the guy who helped me install the system probably wasn't the most qualified)
No other loads than two zones (1 upstairs between joists and 1 downstairs in slab with a mixing valve that seems to work ok)

But since you are going to be re-piping, now might be the time to consider some overall changes by looking at the 'big picture'.

Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2MuUIxTC4
Thats exactly what i was thinking. I really respect your opinion based on other threads that ive read. My new boiler is a Burnham RV4 that has an internal primary loop with circulator. I will draw a sketch and send it along to see what you think. Thanks

 
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Old 03-07-13, 06:27 PM
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How will you know that while the well is producing the content of the various gases aren't going to 'mess up' the combustion in the new boiler? In other words, how will you select the proper orifice to use? Propane requires a different orifice ... and since you will be getting 'mixed' gas, how do you decide how to set up the boiler properly?


Read more: http://www.doityourself.com/forum/ne...#ixzz2MuYi2MR1
As far as i know, they collect gas from 8-10 nearby wells and add it directly to transmission lines. I will check on that tomorrow though
 
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Old 03-07-13, 06:52 PM
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This is a basic sketch of what I was thinking of doing. Like I said earlier, my new boiler is a Burnham RV4. It has a boiler circulator but no system circulator so I am hoping to use all my existing pumps. I will also need to add a water temp limit



http://img593.imageshack.us/img593/6620/scanqr.jpg
 
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Old 03-08-13, 10:21 AM
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thanks gilmorrie.

If you have a mulitmeter with an a.c. ammeter function, and know how to use it safely, measure the amps to the motor.

I previously hooked a light up to the wires at the pump to be sure I was getting power. Will testing it with a meter tell me anything else? I presently dont have a meter but been wanting to get one anyway
 
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Old 03-08-13, 10:39 AM
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burner shuts off at 190 which i believe is way hot for radiant heat
Yes, it is... I see that you have a mixing valve on one of the zones.

Did you say that BOTH zones are radiant? If so, one of the things you need to do is to install a mixing valve on that other radiant zone as well.

If you tested with a lamp on the circulator wires, that is enough to tell you what you need to know. A meter test won't tell you much more... unless you use it to measure CURRENT as gilmorrie suggested.

About new boiler:
I will also need to add a water temp limit
How come? The boiler comes with an aquastat that controls the boiler temp... yes?
 
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Old 03-08-13, 11:09 AM
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Did you say that BOTH zones are radiant? If so, one of the things you need to do is to install a mixing valve on that other radiant zone as well.

One zone is in concrete(with mixing valve) and one is between joists. If I understand correctly, the slab zone should be a lower temp. In theory, cant I set the boiler temp to what is required in the "joist" zone, and tone down with mixing valve in slab zone?

How come? The boiler comes with an aquastat that controls the boiler temp... yes?

The directions with my new boiler say "This boiler is equipped with a high water temp limit located inside the internal wiring of the boiler...........certain types of systems may operate at temps below set point.... if this occurs, install an additional water temp limit (honeywell L4006)"

This brings actually brings up an additional question. The pump inside the new boiler will run at slow speed till temp gets to 160. After that it starts to speed up. What if My limit is set to 150? That pump will never go faster than slow speed. I realize this pump is only circulating within the boiler but.....

Upon further reflection, If I added a mixing valve to the second zone, i guess I could let the boiler run at max temp set at the factory without the above mentioned Limit?????

Back to the origional problem though, Being that my existing boiler is set to shut off at 190 i would think I should be getting roasted
home heats painfully slow
 
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Old 03-08-13, 02:23 PM
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In theory, cant I set the boiler temp to what is required in the "joist" zone, and tone down with mixing valve in slab zone?
No, not really... tell me about the 'joist' zone... is the tubing in metal heat transfer plates on the underside of the floor? or just tubing stapled to the underside? Is it insulated?

In general, the majority of radiant installations should not be run much over 120F.

If you were to turn your boiler down to 120F, you would destroy it in a few short years because of flue gases condensing and the resultant acidic condensate would eat it from the inside out... not to mention what this would also do to your flue pipe and chimney.

So, no, you need to run the boiler with high limit set to 180F and run the floors at 120F, both of them.

Back to the origional problem though, Being that my existing boiler is set to shut off at 190 i would think I should be getting roasted
Yes, one would think so... at least watch the carpets melt...

home heats painfully slow
Often a complaint in radiant heated homes. In probably a majority of cases, radiant underfloor heat can't be installed in such a way as to meet the homes heat loss. A 'rule of thumb' is that you might get 25 BTU of heat output per square foot from a radiant floor... if it's properly installed (meaning heat transfer plates, insulation underneath), no insulating floor coverings are added, and you are lucky.

In other words, say you've got 1000 sq ft home... and you have radiant heat... properly spaced tubing, plates, insulation, and no wall to wall carpeting with heavy rubber padding.

That's 25K BTUH of heat output that can be pumped into the home.

What happens if the heat LOSS of the home is 30K BTUH ?

Answer: house remains cold, can never reach thermostat setpoint. Floors might be warm but that's about it.
 
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Old 03-08-13, 02:43 PM
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tell me about the 'joist' zone... is the tubing in metal heat transfer plates on the underside of the floor? or just tubing stapled to the underside? Is it insulated?

The 1/2" pex is stapled every 8" to the underside of subfloor with a 2" airspace and then insulated with foil faced R-19 and then hung with 5/8 DW. On top is 5/8" subfloor and 3/4" hardwood. If I remember correctly, when I installed it, The Wirsbo Instructions said to have 3 times more R-value under the tubing than above. I believe I have that.

Answer: house remains cold, can never reach thermostat setpoint. Floors might be warm but that's about it

It used to work fine. Thats why I think I may have a pump issue/ short circulating water

Upon further reflection, If I added a mixing valve to the second zone, i guess I could let the new boiler run at max temp set at the factory without the above mentioned Limit?????

 
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Old 03-08-13, 02:52 PM
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Also,

That's 25K BTUH of heat output that can be pumped into the home.

What happens if the heat LOSS of the home is 30K BTUH ?

When I Installed the old boiler and pex tubing 10 yrs ago, I did a heat loss analysis and I believe if everything is working right I should be ok. (Ps I cant get the heat loss program that is linked above to work)
 
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Old 03-08-13, 03:57 PM
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I previously hooked a light up to the wires at the pump to be sure I was getting power. Will testing it with a meter tell me anything else?
I'm a little confused here - based on the title of this thread, I thought the issue was whether the circulator was pumping or not. But it seems that the topic has since veered somewhat.

But if your ear can't verify if the pump is running, then I suggested either using your hand to sense the heat in downstream piping or to use an ammeter to measure the current being drawn by the pump. Checking the motor feed with a lamp will verify VOLTAGE to the pump, but doesn't necessarily mean the pump is running or at what power it is running.

Maybe you can boil this all down to one single question, and then let us go from there.
 
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Old 03-08-13, 05:26 PM
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That's my bad Doug... I was curious about why Chip was adding a second boiler.

Yes, we should get back to the reason for the first post.

Later on we can talk about the other stuff in more detail.

Now, back to our regularly scheduled programming!
 
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Old 03-08-13, 05:29 PM
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I'm a little confused here - based on the title of this thread, I thought the issue was whether the circulator was pumping or not. But it seems that the topic has since veered somewhat.


Your right. The topic has definatly veered

But if your ear can't verify if the pump is running, then I suggested either using your hand to sense the heat in downstream piping or to use an ammeter to measure the current being drawn by the pump. Checking the motor feed with a lamp will verify VOLTAGE to the pump, but doesn't necessarily mean the pump is running or at what power it is running.
I previously hooked a light up to the wires at the pump to be sure I was getting power. Will testing it with a meter tell me anything else? I presently dont have a meter but been wanting to get one anyway
So if I get a meter, I will be able to tell if its running?
 
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Old 03-08-13, 07:10 PM
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I don't think it will give 100% indication. The motor could draw current and still not be turning.

There really isn't a way to definitely tell if it's running or not.

If you fire the boiler and aren't feeling hot water all the way around the main loop, it's a pretty good chance that it's not running.

If you want to continue to experiment and not simply swap the pump out, I suppose you could shut everything else down, disconnect the pump, splice on a line cord and just plug the pump into the wall and listen...

But by the time you do that, you could have the pump changed and be done...
 
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Old 03-08-13, 08:21 PM
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If you unscrew that center screw on the Grundfos primary pump, you should see the shaft spinning (some water will drip also).
Does it run only while the boiler is running, or always while there's a call for heat from any/all stats ?
 
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Old 03-09-13, 02:04 PM
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Thanks for the help. Dave, it runs all the time while there is a call for heat
 
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Old 03-09-13, 03:32 PM
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I don't think it [measuring amps] will give 100% indication. The motor could draw current and still not be turning.
Correct, even with a locked rotor, the motor will draw reactive current (like an unloaded transformer does). That reactive current will remain essentially constant as the pump picks up load by pumping water, while the real component of the amps will increase, and the total amps will increase. If there is a discharge valve for the pump, the amps should noticeably decrease if the valve is shut (while the pump is running). But it would be a bit more telling to measure motor power instead of amps, which requires a wattmeter, which few of us have.

But, the O.P.'s measuring motor voltage doesn't tell us anything about the pump's flow.
 
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