Boiler and indirect water heater settings

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Old 07-30-13, 10:29 AM
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Boiler and indirect water heater settings

I have a U.S. Boiler Series 2 providing my 2 zone hot water heat system as well as my indirect water tank. I've set my water tank to maintain the temperature at 130 degrees, but find my tap water is often much hotter than this once running for a few minutes.

My boiler is set to 170 degrees. It seems very inefficient to have the delta so high, especially in the summer, when it's not used to heat the house. What should my boiler be set at? Should it be different in the summer rather than the winter?
 
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Old 07-30-13, 11:36 AM
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Is the boiler set up as a cold-start or warm start? In other words, is the boiler temp maintained continuously or does it cool down when there is no heat call? What does the boiler temp gauge indicate? But, back to the fish fry.

130 deg F is considered scalding - and your hot water is running higher than that? Turn the water heater down so that it is safer - more like 120 deg, in my opinion.

Yes, you can run your boiler aquastat at a lower setting. But I wouldn't go below 160 deg to avoid potentially damaging condensation in the boiler and flue. A lower boiler setpoint will lengthen the recovery time for the water heater. Dropping the aquastat setpoint won't save much fuel and will reduce the safety margin for avoiding condensation.
 
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Old 07-30-13, 05:21 PM
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I would recommend that you have a "TEMPERING VALVE" installed on the hot water outlet of the indirect water heater.
 
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Old 07-31-13, 06:20 AM
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It appears my boiler always has the water at around 170 degrees which makes sense since I would not want to wait for it to start cold when I need hot water.

I'll try turning my indirect water tank down to 120 as suggested, when I bought my house a couple of weeks ago it was set to 150!

Regarding the tempering value, I think it would be a good idea from a safety point of view, but ideally I would like to have everything at the correct temperatures before looking into that. What would that be set at? I would still need my hot water at around 120 degrees for my dishwasher, laundry, etc. correct?
 
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Old 07-31-13, 11:32 AM
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Are your zones controlled by individual pumps - or a single pump and individual zone valves? If controlled by individual pumps, it is possible that there is unwanted gravity flow of heated boiler water through the indirect water heater. That could explain why your water heater has been exceeding its setpoint. If that theory is correct, then reducing the water heater's setpoint probably won't reduce the maximum temp of the water heater - you would need to add a flo-control valve (a.k.a. lift check valve) between the boiler and the indirect. Or, of course, Trooper's suggestion of adding a tempering valve would solve the problem, too.
 
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Old 07-31-13, 12:26 PM
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It's a single pump with individual zone values... how could I determine if there is in fact a gravity flow issue?
 
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Old 07-31-13, 02:17 PM
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With zone valves, I don't think there would be any gravity flow.
 
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Old 07-31-13, 02:19 PM
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Ah ok, missed that, yes I would agree. I will run some tests when I'm back from vacation on running the hot water and measuring the temp, seeing when the boiler kicks on, etc.
 
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Old 07-31-13, 03:53 PM
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It appears my boiler always has the water at around 170 degrees which makes sense...
No, it doesn't really [make sense].

I would not want to wait for it to start cold when I need hot water.
Cold start is perfectly acceptable for operation with an indirect. If the indirect and boiler are properly installed and adjusted, you will never notice a 'lag' in hot water output.

There is no reason to waste fuel keeping a boiler that supplies an indirect water heater warm 24/7.

Tell us what make/model the aquastat control on the boiler is.
 
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Old 07-31-13, 04:00 PM
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Regarding the tempering value, I think it would be a good idea from a safety point of view, but ideally I would like to have everything at the correct temperatures before looking into that. What would that be set at? I would still need my hot water at around 120 degrees for my dishwasher, laundry, etc. correct?
I'd like you to google " Legionella " and read the recommendations from the experts (such as the CDC) about how hot a water heater should be kept to prevent bacteria growth in your system.

I'll tell you what you will find... 140F ... and that is too hot to send to the taps in your home.

Installing a tempering valve and setting it to 120F will allow you to run the water heater at 140F to prevent Legionella while limiting the hot water to the home to a safe temperature.

It will have the added benefit of allowing a bit more capacity from your water heater because the tempering valve will be mixing a bit of cold with the hot before it is sent to the home. You won't be drawing down the hot reserve in the tank as quickly.

Make sure the tempering valve is of the 'thermostatic' variety. There are some el-cheapos out there that simply blend a fixed amount... you don't want that type.
 
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Old 08-01-13, 09:54 AM
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Understood, I found this link which explains a lot.

Antiscald Inc.

My question is, is it a valid concern when my water supply comes from my village and is properly treated?

"Bacteria in natural water sources (not unlike those used by residential dwellings) do not undergo the processes of filtration and chemical disinfection that municipal water supplies go through. Instead, natural water sources must be treated by the private owner, a process which is often inconsistent or incomplete."
 
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Old 08-01-13, 04:33 PM
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If you Google thoroughly for "Legionella in residential hot water heaters," you can find much more info than the link you posted. Unfortunately, there are still quite a few questions floating around. I am no means an expert, but here are tentative conclusions I reached from Dr. Google, but my search was certainly not exhaustive:

The overall incidence of Legionella is a bit uncertain because it is likely under-diagnosed and because many cases may be light. But it is accepted that residential water systems can cause the disease, which can certainly be lethal.

140 deg F kills the bacteria more less instantly. 131 deg kills the bacteria, but only after a period of time, maybe 30 minutes or longer. 120 deg may prevent the bacteria from multiplying, but doesn't kill it.

Domestic well water seems to carry a bit higher risk than city water, possibly due to the treatment of city water (filtration, chlorination, etc.) - but it's a bit uncertain.

Electric water heaters seem to have a bit higher risk than direct-fired water heaters. It's theorized that electric heaters, with just two heating units, may have more thermal stratification than gas-fired heaters, with heat emitted through the entire vertical length of the heater. Another theory is that electric heaters are more common in combination with well water, and vice versa.

I found no mention of the comparative risk factors associated with an indirect heater.

One way the bacteria is spread is by aspiration (breathing) - which might occur in a shower.

Much of my search came back with links involving water heaters and cooling towers, and I didn't see any reference to Legionella in the cold-water portions of a residential plumbing system. However, as a layman, it seems that the cold-water plumbing could be potential problem, too, if as is theorized, Legionella can be present in the home's raw water.

There is a somewhat greater degree of concern expressed in Canadian technical papers and public health regulations than the U.S. - just a greater concern, not necessarily a different level of risk between the two countries.

***************************

For myself, here is what I am thinking.

I have increased my water heater setting to 130 deg (from 120 deg). That is sort of a compromise between the risk of Legionella and scalding - and with my city water supply and gas-fired water heater, probably will reduce the risk of Legionella from low to very low.

I may install a tempering valve and jack up my water heater to 140 deg - half to reduce the risk of Legionella and half because I have never met a gadget I didn't like. But, I would still like to learn of the potential risk of Legionella within the cold-water plumbing of a residence. I would not like to heat all the raw water to 140 deg, and then try to figure out a way to cool down the "cold" water supply for drinking, toilet flushing, irrigation, tooth brushing, etc.
 
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Old 08-01-13, 04:59 PM
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Additional thoughts. Scalding isn't a major concern for me - the grandkids only show up once or twice a year, and are old enough to jump through a shower curtain - unlike an infant, toddler, or disabled person.

At my somewhat advanced age, Legionella doesn't worry me too much - neither does scalding, although I would prefer to die of some other cause than scalding. My shower valve has built-in thermostatic protection. I think perhaps all modern shower valves do. I wouldn't like to expose our house guests and relatives to Legionella.

But, I'm still leaning toward adding a tempering valve in the hot-water supply.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 09:04 AM
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All great info! I've emailed my town to see what their recommendations are as well since they test and treat the water.

Back to the boiler, I'm going to run the hot water when I'm back home and take note of when the boiler kicks on, the temperatures of everything and how often it's running to maintain the temperature at 170-180. I'm also going to look into the "cold start"... now I would imagine that cold means 120-130 degrees or so on the boiler? Or would it be lower as in 60 degrees? I thought I read something about avoiding consendation in the boiler by keeping it above 130, but I'm not sure if that applies here?

What I'm really looking to do is minimize costs and unncessary heating of the boiler water and water tank taking into account that I'm the only person living in the house, I'm gone most work days from 7am-6pm and spend 2 nights a week or so at my girlfriend's place. I'm also looking into getting a couple of Nest thermostats before the winter comes.

Basically I want my boiler to be smarter, but realize it's not as far along as the advancements on thermostats such as Nest (or even just a simple one you program for each day of the week). Something like cold-start seems the best balance between getting some savings when I'm away all day or for a couple of nights and "setting it and forgetting it" where I'll always have hot water when I need it, although possibly with a small lag.

Also I'll get my Aquastat make/model.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 10:39 AM
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The indirect

Isn't copper tubing or piping a factor with legionella? As in it is toxic to legionella. I'm quite sure I read that in these forums, or a link.
Sid
 
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Old 08-03-13, 01:33 PM
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"Cold start" means that the boiler's burner is inhibited unless there is a heat call. In between heat calls, the boiler will cool down, ultimately perhaps to room temperature. There is some concern that older boilers originally set up for warm start, and then converted to cold start, may develop leaks due to the thermal cycling. I don't know how valid that concern is - but I wouldn't want to convert my 60-year-old boiler to cold start.
 
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Old 08-03-13, 02:20 PM
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Take some pics of your set up... We may see things you dont... All angles close and far... Well lit too...

Preferred a free photo service that allows us to zoom in...Photobucket???
 
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Old 08-03-13, 05:00 PM
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Re: copper tubing

This link says that copper inhibits the growth of Legionella bacteria: Common Piping Problems

I don't think I will rip out and replace my galvanized steel water piping

Actually, although my inside plumbing is galvanized steel, the buried piping from the street to the meter is copper.
 
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Old 08-26-13, 01:15 PM
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Sorry I was away on vacation and have been painting my interior since I've been back! The joys of new home ownership

So I've been thinking about this a bit more lately since my gas bill for the last month was almost $70!! Way too high for a summer month, I used 31 therms in 30 days, also very high in my opinion.

I believe my Aquastat to the be problem (Trooper I owe you the model #)... I believe it's the problem for 3 reasons:

1. I've adjusted the high end limit from 150 degrees to 120 degrees and my water is still scalding.
2. The low end is set to 0 degrees yet I always have hot water. I would imagine this alone means the Aquastat is no good?
3. The basement in my home (before I owned it) was flooded almost to the ceiling by Hurricane Sandy. The boiler is brand new, installed in November. I'm a little uncertain if the indirect water tank is new (I'll check it tonight) and the Aquastat itself seems very, very old, to the point where I'm 100% sure it was not replaced after being flooded.

Thoughts? I will provide info on my indirect water tank, Aquastat and the hot water temp at the faucet as soon as I get home tonight.
 
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Old 08-26-13, 04:12 PM
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If the boiler was flooded, it should have been replaced, along with any other appliances that were in the basement.
 
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Old 08-26-13, 09:53 PM
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The boiler and indirect tank are both new. The temperature of my hot water at the faucet was 142 degrees. I've attached some photos of my aquastat, you can see it's set to 0 on the low end and 120 on the high end, yet my water is at 142. Is the lead from it to the well normally so long and wrapped around the tank? Any idea on how to know for certain if my aquastat is broken?
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:43 AM
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I checked the water again this morning and it was 147 degrees.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:13 PM
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Steve, the setting you are referring to as the "LOW" setting is I believe a 'DIFFERENTIAL' setting, and it should perhaps be set higher than zero.

Let me see if I can find a manual for that controller to verify...

Is the lead from it to the well normally so long and wrapped around the tank?
With that type of sensor, the lead length 'is what it is'. It can't be cut and shortened. It is a 'capillary tube' and the bulb on the end contains a waxy substance that expands and contracts as it is heated and cooled. This expansion/contraction is piped through that tube to a 'bellows' inside the control which then mechanically opens and closes an electrical switch.

Inspect the tubing for 'kinks'. If there is a kink in the tubing it can not be repaired and should be replaced. The kink will restrict the movement of the 'wax' in the tube and the control won't work properly.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:20 PM
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There happens to be a 'claimed to be' (looks it) brand new one on ebay right now for $36 'buy it now'.

Actually, there are a number of them. Search term "Ranco 060-200".

One for $70 that has the box, instructions, etc.

As always with ebay, buyer be careful!

Mind you, I am NOT YET condemning your existing control, but just wanted to point out that they are available for not too much money if need be.

Still haven't found a download for the instruction sheet.

List price seems to be about $263

I do know for a fact that the LOW is the differential. Set it to 10 for now. See if that helps, it should at least cause the boiler to run not as often.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:39 PM
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Here is the replacement troop... May help since it has the same fuctions. I believe the diff should be set higher.

http://www.emersonclimate.com/Docume...ETempCntrl.pdf

Oh I found it... Have not looked through it...


http://www.etcsupply.com/manuals/o60-temperature.pdf


http://www.etcsupply.com/manuals/o10-temperature.pdf
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:46 PM
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Steve, I just now read back through your thread and realized that there was the 'back story' that I didn't realize was yours.

You have a number of things that need to be confirmed.

Tell us:

What make and model the aquastat on the BOILER is.

What the FULL make and model of the indirect water heater is. I know it's a Turbomax Optimizer but I need the full info.

There may well be more to this than just the aquastat on the WATER HEATER itself.

Again, there should be no reason at all for the boiler to be maintaining temperature.

We need to start from the beginning and look at the BIG picture, not just the controller (aquastat) on the water heater.

Take pics of the complete installation and pull back with the camera to get some wide shots of the entire installation so we can see what's what there.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:49 PM
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Again, there should be no reason at all for the boiler to be maintaining temperature.
The diff fires the boiler troop??? Just talking out loud...

Again I did not read the manuals I linked to...
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:50 PM
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Thanks Mike... that's what I needed!

I'm not sure the controller is original to that water heater though... but I don't know how they would get the capillary around the inside of the jacket if it were not.

I'm betting on a combination problem... perhaps a piping issue and the fact that the boiler is kept hot all the time... might be thermosiphon going on and overheating the tank.

We'll see.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 05:55 PM
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The diff fires the boiler troop??? Just talking out loud...
If you mean what I think you mean, then no.

Diff adds 'hysteresis'. If main setting is at 120 say, and diff is at 10, the control should close when the temp hits 110 (120-10) and fire until the temp hits 120.

If diff is set to small, boiler will be called to fire a lot, and for very short period...

Higher diff will produce a wider swing in temperature of the water, but this is better than boiler banging on and off and on and off and on and off... constantly.
 
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Old 08-27-13, 06:31 PM
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I'm betting on a combination problem... perhaps a piping issue and the fact that the boiler is kept hot all the time... might be thermosiphon going on and overheating the tank.
Bad flow control but other cics would need to be on...?

If you mean what I think you mean, then no.
Well yes, no? The diff is fireing the boiler and the way that control is its no longer a cold start.. Just like a regular triple a stat... right?

That spring loaded capiarry on that contro would seem like the issue on temp swing... Just not accurate in its old age IMO...

But yes, need to see the boiler set up as a whole... Pics from all around I would say... Could be other things...

Mind you I have not dug in deep in this thread....
 
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Old 08-27-13, 08:26 PM
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Well yes, no? The diff is fireing the boiler and the way that control is its no longer a cold start.. Just like a regular triple a stat... right?
I'm not sure we're thinking the same?

That control is really nothing more than any other indirect tank aquastat control. A little fancier in that it has an adjustable diff, whereas standard ones are simple fixed diff.

No, doesn't really have anything to do with cold or warm start, that would be a function of the aquastat on the boiler itself.

Just as any other aquastat, it will fire the boiler when the tank temp gets to "SETPOINT MINUS DIFF" and shut the boiler down when the tank temp gets to "SETPOINT".

Just not accurate in its old age IMO...
I'm not convinced that the control is that old. The tank was replaced after Sandy according to Steve:

The boiler and indirect tank are both new.
I don't think there's any way that the capillary tube could have been routed around that tank inside the jacket if it wasn't "original equipment". If the indirect is new, I don't understand why there appears to be that much corrosion on the metal parts of it.

Unless maybe... it came out of a warehouse that was also flooded? Would someone do that? Replace a flooded appliance with another flooded appliance? I would like to think not, but hey, ya never know!
 
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Old 08-27-13, 08:41 PM
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I'm not convinced that the control is that old. The tank was replaced after Sandy according to Steve:
Looking at the pics it dont look new to me... Being on the east cost I am not familiar with the ranco name... may be common but the controls look old. Almost commercial like...

And the fact I found a replacement product that replaces that control, And you see how nice and shiny that looks, I would lean towards old....


If that was new I would think it would have a control like this..

http://www.emersonclimate.com/Docume...ETempCntrl.pdf

Even amtrols from 10 years ago had modern digital stuff...

Just saying is all...


I'm not sure we're thinking the same?
My heads in the arse today... Had a bad day driving through Lakewood today, if you know what I mean.....Its like a day at the " brickyard 400"....
 
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Old 08-28-13, 07:34 AM
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Hi everyone, all great info! I did not realize it was a differential, but that makes sense seeing as it's only adjustable up to 30 degrees!

My indirect is a Turbomax 20-3. I will get ALL the other info requested, as well as pics, tonight when I get home. I don't recall seeing an Aquastat on my boiler. My boiler has a controller as seen on page 26 of this manual:
http://cdn.usboiler.net/products/boi...ts/Series2.pdf

I wrote down all the setting yesterday, I will provide them tonight as well.

Not sure if I mentioned this yet but my boiler has cycled over 16,500 times since being installed in November, approximately 60 times a day on average! After resolving this issue... my concern will be is this bad for the boiler? Does it shorten it's lifespan, etc since the installer possibly configured the entire setup incorrectly?
 
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Old 08-29-13, 11:58 AM
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Photos attached, as mentioned no aquastat on the boiler as previously mentioned. Photo of the gauge included though. Here are the settings from my boiler's controller:

Boiler temp: 168 degrees
Operating setpoint: 180
High limit setting: 180
Start temperature: 140
High limit differential: 15
Boiler cycles: 16566 (~10am on 8/27), 16634 (~10pm on 8/28)
Runtime: 1058 hour(~10am on 8/27), 1060 (~10pm on 8/28)

Note that from what I can see in the boiler manual, when the priority call (the indirect water tank) calls for heat the boiler fires immediately as long as it's under the high limit setting to ensure there is no lag. It ignores the pre-purge setting which is currently set to 2 minutes.

Last night, around 10pm, I adjusted the differential on the indirect aquastat from below 0 to around 10-12 degrees. I will check the boiler cycle count again over the next few days to see if this has solved the problem.

Once I have that issue solved I plan to make focus on making the boiler itself more efficient for the via increasing the pre-purge time as well as looking into if the 180 degree setpoint is too high.
 
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Old 08-29-13, 04:45 PM
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as mentioned no aquastat on the boiler
Sure there is! It's integrated into the controls package on your boiler. Every boiler MUST have an aquastat.

Note that from what I can see in the boiler manual, when the priority call (the indirect water tank) calls for heat the boiler fires immediately as long as it's under the high limit setting to ensure there is no lag. It ignores the pre-purge setting which is currently set to 2 minutes.
Yes... but you have a 'zone control panel' by Argo added to the system. What this MAY mean, depending on how exactly the system is wired, is that the boiler could have no way of knowing exactly what type of heat call is being encountered.

Follow the wires from the Ranco control on the indirect and tell us exactly where they go.

Tell us the model number of the Argo control.

looking into if the 180 degree setpoint is too high
I would say that it's not too high. 180 is the de-facto 'standard' setting. Your heat emitters in the home should have been sized to provide adequate heat output on an outdoor 'design temperature' day running 180 water through them.

This isn't to say that reducing that high setpoint might not save you a few bucks, but you can't drop it much below 160 without running the risk of flue gas condensation, which is destructive to chimney, flue pipe, and boiler.

Are there any optional modules plugged into the boiler control?
 
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Old 08-29-13, 05:01 PM
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My indirect is a Turbomax 20-3
I don't find this number at their website.

There is a model " 23 " though.

Please give full model information on the water heater.

You said earlier that there is one pump with zone valves. This means that one of the 3 zone valves is on a pipe to the water heater, correct? And that there are 2 heating zones in the home, correct?

On the water heater, the two pipes coming out from the bottom... are they going to and from the boiler?

And the two pipes on the top, are they domestic cold IN and hot OUT ?


Can you take some better pics so we can see how the water heater is piped into the system?
 
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Old 08-30-13, 07:53 AM
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The model number states 20-3, I couldn't find it online either but you can see this is the correct number as shown in the photo of the label.

You are correct on the 1 zone valve going to the heater and the other 2 being for each zone of heat in my house

I will check the piping and take better photos tonight and get the info on the controller and what input the water tank's aquastat is wired to.

FYI, checked the cycle count again on my boiler since adjusting the differential on the water tank aquastat:

Boiler cycles:
16566 ~10am on 8/27
16634 ~10pm on 8/28 (adjusted water tank aquastat differential here)
16666 ~ 6pm on 8/29

In the first 36 hours it cycled 68 times, or about twice an hour.
In the second 20 hours is cycled, or about 1.6 times per hour.

I will check the cycles again as well as see if the temperature at the faucet has dropped at all since making the change.
 
  #38  
Old 10-04-13, 01:58 PM
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Just a quick update that it wound up being a bad Aquastat. It was never replaced after being submerged in saltwater from Sandy!
 
  #39  
Old 10-04-13, 04:56 PM
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It was never replaced after being submerged in saltwater from Sandy!
Well ain't that a kicker...

But, you said:

The boiler and indirect tank are both new.
 
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Old 11-04-13, 06:03 AM
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NJT,
re: "cold start is perfectly acceptable for operation with an indirect..." Is this always the case? What would you consider for an indirect and boiler to be "properly installed?"

I'm still confused on this condensation thing. I guess I'm searching for a setup/operation where condensation will form. Checking other posts on this forum as I type. tnx.
 
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