Taco Bumblebee boiler pump on BURNHAM ALPINE

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  #1  
Old 04-01-13, 09:21 AM
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Taco Bumblebee boiler pump on BURNHAM ALPINE

Hi.

I am thinking of using a Taco Bumblebee pump on the primary (boiler) side of a new Alpine installation.

It seems that it would allow me to set the high Delta/T on the boiler I want and maintain it throughout changes in modulation and changes in the secondary.

What concerns me is keeping adequate flow through the primary at all times. As the D/T lowers the pump GPM should lower and perhaps get to a point wher there is not adequate flow to scrub off the heat on the HX. Does anyone have experience with these pumps? Can I program a mim flow rate to not go below?

Thanks for any advice,

Tom
 

Last edited by NJT; 04-01-13 at 03:07 PM.
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Old 04-01-13, 09:52 AM
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I would have to look at the curve on that pump, but why not use what the manufacturer recommends?


http://cdn.usboiler.net/products/boi...s/AlpineIO.pdf


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  #3  
Old 04-01-13, 11:32 AM
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I don't think the Bumblebee is even in the same 'class' as the pumps recommended in the chart.
 
  #4  
Old 04-01-13, 01:30 PM
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The bumblebee has the ability to match flow to a set Delta/T. You dial in the D/T you want and it varies flow to keep what you want. It also uses a lot less power.

Tom
 
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Old 04-01-13, 01:37 PM
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Here is the document to bumblebee. I assume it would seem the same benefit if you set it for delta tee, but I think if you set to the reqired GPM to the alpines min flow rate will achieve the same results.

http://www.taco-hvac.com/uploads/Fil...ry/102-435.pdf

( Side note off topic for trooper. I wonder if this pump will benefit map guy. They show it with a three way taco valve with radiant???)
 
  #6  
Old 04-01-13, 01:41 PM
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Additionally I do not think the bumblebees are being sold yet. Have not found pricing for them online.....
 
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Old 04-01-13, 02:48 PM
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The bumblebee has the ability to match flow to a set Delta/T.
Understood...

The point I was trying to make though is that the pumps recommended for the boiler are WAY more pump than this little bug.

Sure the BB will vary flow for DT, but what happens when the flow that you need is ABOVE THE CAPACITY of the BB, even on it's highest output?

In other words, the BB can dial DOWN, but it can't dial ABOVE it's maximum.

Study the curves for the 26-99 or the 0011 or the 0014 and whatever other pumps are on that chart and then compare them to the BB, I think you'll see what I'm getting at.

I wonder if this pump will benefit map guy.
Too small. He will need an 0011 or 0013... which ALSO come in VDT models.
 
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Old 04-01-13, 03:05 PM
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I just looked more closely at the chart and see that they are suggesting a 15-58 on speed 2 for the smallest size Alpine.

They want 7.3 GPM at 14.7 FT for that boiler...

Looking at the 15-58 curves, it doesn't appear that little guy is up to the task either.

So, now I don't know.

Tom, ask Burnham... that's my advice!
 
  #9  
Old 04-01-13, 05:27 PM
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As of this point, it is discouraged to use a variable speed pump on a condensing / modulating boiler.
The alpha can be used, if set to constant speed. The BB also if it has the capacity, been a few years since I looked at the instructions on mine. ( I was lucky enough to have scored a version 1 test unit).
I think you would have to do some tests to ensure that the boiler has enough flow at the load and temperature range your looking for.
 
  #10  
Old 04-02-13, 12:59 AM
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The Alpine manual has had some changes receiently and some of the numbers have changed.

I have seen the Bumblebee listed online for around $187, Just do a google search. I liked the ability to be able to monitor temps and adjust to maintain the wnted D/T. They all have rather high gpm requirements for the lower D/T but as you look at a D/T of 35* the flow requirements are well within the range of the BB.
I am having problems with my receiently installed Alpine 150. The boiler and zone D/T's are in the range of 5-8*. Way too low for it to operate in the condensing mode. I suspect that it is due to excessive flow on both Primary and secondary zones. I was hoping BB might help.


Tom
 
  #11  
Old 04-02-13, 05:41 AM
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What pumps are installed now?

History always helps... I don't think we knew this was already installed and not operating to expectation. The 'big picture' helps.
 
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Old 04-03-13, 08:36 AM
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Sorry NJ Trooper

Sorry,

That was kinda dumb on my part, let me try and show the wohle picture:


Last Spring I had a new system installed. It is an Alpine 150 with 3 zones, each being fed by its own Taco 007 pump. The home is a 2300sq/ft 1860 Sea Captains home with updated windows and insulation on Cape Cod. I was told I needed a 150k boiler as the one they removed was 130k and its always best to err on the "safe" side. Please keep in mind, at the time, I was total Hydronic moron. Well, this winter when the weather got rather cold, for here, +8* I could not keep the kitchen zone warm. Called the plumber back to see what was wrong. Said I probably needed more emitters as the old boiler, a W/M VHE was probably running 200* temps and this thing is running only 180*. I did not buy it. At that time I had just retired as an airline pilot so was anxious to get into something to keep occupied.

Well here we are 3 months later and I am somewhat up to speed after reading everything I can and getting a copy of "Modern Hydronic Heating". I initally spent several hours in the basement with the boiler manual and discovered part of the problem. Excessive short cycling, initally caused by the hi temp overshoot limit being incorrectly set at the factory default as only 2* above set temp. Each time the boiler came on it would slightly overshoot and shut down and start all over again. I reset it to its max of 10* and that helped considerably. I asked the plumber if he tweaked any of the boiler settings and he said "NA I always leave them at factory defaults" He didn't have a clue. I did a heatloss, as he had not, (slant Fin Pgm), as well as a fuel used study over several colder months, and came up with 60-65KBTU.

It is plumbed P/S and am seeing 5-8* D/T's on both the primary and secondary sides. Am looking at the Taco Bumblebee pumps as you can set the D/T's with them for my the 3 secondary zones.

After I realized the plumber had installed a boiler that was 2+ the size I needed and I would never get the efficiency I paid for, I was pissed.
I called him back with my research and numbers and told him I wanted him to remove it and install an 80, which he should have done in the first place if he had done any homework at all or I would be contacting the BBB, he agreed. That was last week.

I can sometims see the frustration on the experienced posters when I simpley don't understand how what they are saying makes sense. Like the 20* D/t on zones and 35-40* D/T on the boiler/primary. How can that be possible? Oh well I know I'll get it soon enough.
I realize I need to get the zone D/T's correct first. It seems that with the ODR changing the water temp that a fixed flow would not yield constant D/T's as the baseboard emitters change with temp input. Throttling back the Taco 007's with the ball valves, which were installed on the intake side of the pumps, is not a good way to go so I understand. That is why I am thinking now of using th Bumblebee's on the 3 zones. They also use about half the power of the 007's.

Any thoughts or comments would be greatly appreciated.

Tom
 
  #13  
Old 04-03-13, 03:55 PM
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So, currently you have 3 zones. Each zone has a 007 Zone pump ?
There is nothing at wrong with throttling flow with a GLOBE valve, but put it on the discharge of the circ not the suction... Bad bad bad. An ECM circ would be great, but 3 is a lot of $$$ that you will not get back as fast as using one and zoning with zone valves. This is what ECM and VS pumps do best, adapt.
Once you get your DT set in your secondary loop you can adjust the flow on the boiler loop to allow good temp rise (remember we don't control return water temps), a 30 degree rise thru the boiler is great on a design day. It's really not all that hard to get this stuff working properly and efficently
 
  #14  
Old 04-03-13, 03:57 PM
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No Tom, not dumb... just an oversight.

I see no reason not to use something like the BumbleBee on the ZONES. I believe the Grundfos Alpha is an equivalent product, so give that a look also.

getting a copy of "Modern Hydronic Heating".
BRAVO! You now probably know more than 99% of the 'pros'!

That was last week.
You think it's going to happen?

I can sometimes see the frustration on the experienced posters when I simply don't understand
I'm sure you've been in plenty of more stressful situations! Don't worry about it!

I realize I need to get the zone D/T's correct first.
Correct. When you do, don't be surprised if the boiler DT falls right in where it needs to be.

Think about it for a sec... the water returning to the boiler is coming back from the zones, right? Yes, SOME of it is traversing the primary loop, but MOST of it from the zones. Bringing the proper temp back from the zones is a good bet that the boiler DT will follow suit.

I presume that your system is zoned with circulators rather than valves. WHAT PUMPS are currently installed on the zones, and what type of emitters are they? How many feet are the zones, and what size pipe?
 
  #15  
Old 04-03-13, 06:12 PM
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Thanks all for the responses.

Did some work today on the Slant/fim heatloss pgm. and got some info.


Basically I have 3 zones in the 2300sq/feet home. At 150* water they are all oversized for the btu's needed in each of the zones at the design temp. All the zones have Taco 007 pumps. One of the zones is actually two zones, each with its own Taco 007 pump tied to a common thermostat so as to offload the boiler a bit more.

Zone 1 has two loops each having its own pump with of 94' of standard baseboard emitters.

Zone 2 is the kitchen, it has 30' of Hicap and a total of 100' feet of 3/4" piping.

Zone 3 is the upstairs consisting of a 3/4 feed line splitting into 2 loops running parallel on each side of the house then rejoining into one return line for a total f 107' of emitters

Other than zone 2, the kitchen, I do not know the actual length of each loop. I will measure tomorrow and post.

Using the Slant/Fin pgm I seem to have more than needed raidiation in each zone at design temp with 145* water. This is good I think as I can perhaps get into the condensing mode more often.

It seems that with the load on the smallest zone, the kitchen zone 2, which is 12,500btu at 150* I would need to run 1.25GPM to get a D/T of 20* now as the temps warm up and the ODR lowers the set temp to keep the same D/T I would need to lower the flow more. I know that you want the lowest return temps for efficiency but on smaller loops it seems very difficult.

Perhaps I am missing something here but if the ODR reduced the set temp to say 140* from 150* then the emitters/baseboards, would extract less heat from the water thus returning lower D/T's. This is were I thought a Bumblebee that is set up to maintain constant D/T's woud work well.

Again thanks for all the help.

Tom
 
  #16  
Old 04-03-13, 06:27 PM
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seeing 5-8* D/T's on both the primary and secondary sides
Zone 3 is the upstairs consisting of a 3/4 feed line splitting into 2 loops running parallel on each side of the house then rejoining into one return line for a total of 107' of emitters
I don't see how you could possibly be seeing that low of a DT with that much emitter.

How did you measure the temps?
 
  #17  
Old 04-06-13, 08:22 AM
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New issue

I am measuring the D/T with a temp meter with pipe clamp on sensors. This seems to work very well and agrees with the IR gun but soooo much easier to read D/T's directly on the meter. Yesterday I set the boiler at fixed min fire and turned up the t/stat on the upstairs zone. I was getting 10-12* D/t. I then throttled back the zone valve slowly and did get to see 20* D/T. Great, or so I thought. I did open the valve back up to full flow till the replacement boiler is installed. This morning I went down to the basement to make one of my many daily trips to check on the boiler and noticed the upstairs was running and the temp was 160*. It should be around 145* at current OAT with the ODR. It was being overidden by the "Boost Time" on the boiler. I also checked the D/T of that zone and it was 4-6* That was strange as the upstairs always heated up quickly with all the emitters. Made a cup of coffee, fed the dog, and went down again to look. Now its up to 170* again because the 160* after a time could not satisfy the zone. Went upstairs and it was none too warm. I turned the T/stat way down to stop this issue. MY thought is that by slowing that zone down as I did yesterday, (although opened it up full when done testing), I introduced air into the system. The ball valve is on the intake side of the 007 pump which is on the return side of the zone , as are all the zone pumps. TOHeating alluded to problems when throttling on the intake side of a pump. The air seperator and tank are located on the line feeding all the zones. The circulators are on the return lines of all zones. This appears to me to violate the "Pumping away" rule.

Does seem like an air problem due to the way its plumbed?

Tom
 
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Old 04-06-13, 01:43 PM
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Are you using night set back? If so how far is the setback?
What was the water temp when you were getting the 10 -12f delta-t?
 
  #19  
Old 04-07-13, 11:02 AM
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Not using any setback. I did open the drain on that zone and filled two 5 gal buckets. Started it up again and it sees fine now. Must have had air from throttling the ball valve which is on the intake side of the pump.

Now after it stabilizes I am eeing 11-12* D/t on that zone at 150* water.

Tom
 
  #20  
Old 04-07-13, 03:36 PM
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That would be about normal. See a 20f delta-t chart here. Useful Charts
I would not use a variable speed circulator on the boiler, system OK, unless the manufacturer OK's it. The velocity through the heat exchanger helps keep it clean on the water side.
 
  #21  
Old 04-12-13, 01:19 PM
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I'm interested in your findings. I also am considering a bumblebee and researching a way to slow flow through the primary loop to reduce recirculation. Any updates?
 
  #22  
Old 04-14-13, 05:58 AM
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Well yesterday my plumber removed the Alpine 150 and installed a new Alpine 80. I am anxious to see the differences. Did a preliminary setup and will do more tweaking later today. I am a little nervous for when the cold weather returns this winter. I did both a fuel used, and a Slant/fin heatloss on the house and came in around 60k. Hopefully the 80 will work out fine.

I now have two of the Bumblebee pumps but will use them on the zones not the primary. I just am not sure about their reliability and do not want to overheat the boiler.

One issue I am having is that I seem to not have the load I have measured on most of the zones. I had to tweak the temp up to 145-150 this morning to satisfy the T/stat. I "Think" perhaps because I am trying to run lower 130-140* temps and because the BB are older an I somewhat dirty with dog hair that effects the heat extraction at the lower temps. Todays job is to clean all the BB. I am planning to put a Bumblebee pump on the longest zone and see how well the D/T actually works.

Tom
 

Last edited by NJT; 04-14-13 at 09:12 AM.
  #23  
Old 04-17-13, 07:29 AM
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BUMBLEBEE Update

I have 2 Bee's to be used in my home heated with an Alpine 80.
I installed the first one on the primary boiler zone in the fixed "CP" mode. I did this as the graph showed speed 2 to fit the requirements of 5' of head and 4.2 GPM. for a D/T of 35* The LED shows 22 Watts which is correct for speed 2 but the GPM shows 9.5GPM. That is over 100% error. Is the accuracy of the GPM readout really that unreliable? I even throttled the ball valve back a bit and the GPM readout actually went up and the wattage went down to 14. I just want to make sure that I am flowing te correct rate on the primary of the P/S plumbed setup.

My plan was to use the two of them on the two larger zones of my three zone house in the D/T mode. There is some repipeing yet to be done to the zones so I though I'd use one temporarly on the Primary to see how well it worked.

Has anyone had experience with these pumps to see if the PM readout is so error prone?

Thanks for any thoughts,

Tom
 
  #24  
Old 04-17-13, 02:45 PM
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There is no flow meter in the bumblebee, or alpha for that matter.
They calculate the flow based on knowing the system current and the rpm of the motor. It is not accurate, and I think the Bumblebee has an even greater error than the alpha.
Your going to set your primary loop flow based on the delta T thru the boiler loop on a design day. This ensure that you have enough flow to meet the max load.
If you have an indirect than you would set the delta T for the primary loop based on that delta T (if the primary loop runs for DHW production).
 
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Old 04-18-13, 05:54 PM
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I'm confused. Are you calling them primary loop the primary loop or are you calling the secondary loop the primary loop?
The boiler loop on the Alpine piping diagram am is a secondary loop.
 
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Old 04-18-13, 06:42 PM
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rbeck,

Not sure what you mean but normally the primary loop is the boiler loop and the load/zone(s) are the secondary loop in a P/S plumbed system.

TOHeating,

Not sure why you suggested using the indirect loop D/T as the reference to set the primary loop.
Can you explain.

Tom
 
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Old 04-18-13, 08:18 PM
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normally the primary loop is the boiler loop and the load/zone(s) are the secondary loop in a P/S plumbed system.
Not always.

The PRIMARY loop is the one that flows through the RUN of the closely spaced tees.

A SECONDARY loop is the one that comes off the BULLS of the tees.

Depending on the piping arrangement, it is possible for the boiler to be on a secondary loop.
 
  #28  
Old 04-19-13, 05:03 AM
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Thats why I like terminoligy like..
Boiler loop,
System loop.

The may not look like a typical loop, but since it's always closed loop... it's always a loop.

My point was set the flow thru the boiler for the highest expected load.
Since there are a number of way to pipe an indirect, I would have to comment on each seperately.
 
  #29  
Old 04-19-13, 06:46 AM
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Could I simply not set all 3 zones on and set the boiler to high fire and when it stabilizes set the flow to get the desired D/T? on the boiler loop.

Thanks again for the help,

Tom
 
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Old 04-19-13, 08:01 AM
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I also like the terms system and boiler piping/loops. Trooper is correct. What ever is piped from the bull or the branch of the tees is always a secondary loop and the run of the tees is always the primary. The confusion is in the early days from the 50's, 60's and 70's the boiler piping was always the primary which was called the boiler primary loop. That meant there was a loop exiting the boiler and returning to the boiler. All the zones were pipe off of closely spaced tees from the bull or the branch, to the secondary zones. This means that all the secondary zones came off the boiler primary pipe. Since the introduction of low water volume mod/can boilers the piping idea has changed and now the boiler piping is secondary because it comes off the bull or the branch of the tees. Hydraulic separation takes place between closely spaced tees and your blending of two flows and two water temperatures take place in the primary which is the run of the tees
 

Last edited by NJT; 04-19-13 at 09:46 AM.
  #31  
Old 04-22-13, 05:02 AM
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sure, if they are the highest btu load on the boiler.
You need to do it on the "coldest" day of the year to make sure it's loaded right.
 
  #32  
Old 06-25-13, 06:16 PM
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How is it????

Tom3Holer, how did the bumble bees work out and the correctly sized alpine?

I'm about to replace my old boiler with an alpine in a couple of weeks and am curious how it is, and if the bumblebees help on heating zones.

I'm a little nervous...
 
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