Boilers and Hydronic Heating for Beginners - I have some questions


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Old 11-29-13, 08:29 PM
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Boilers and Hydronic Heating for Beginners - I have some questions

First, I'm glad I found this forum. As a new home owner I have a feeling I will be posting here a lot!

As mentioned, I recently bought a new home, my first, after renting my whole life!

The home is only 20 years old and has a brand new Triangle Tube Solo 110 boiler that heats in floor heating in the basement and water radiators upstairs. There are 3 zones in this system. 1 for the basement, 1 for the upstairs and 1 for the master bedroom. The fuel is propane.

The extent of my knowledge on boilers is limited. Essentially all I know is it heats water and the water heats my home. I'm trying to learn a bit about it so I'd thought I'd post a few questions. Mainly, when I look at my digital display as pictured below, what exactly do those numbers mean?

I'm guessing it has something to do with the internal temp of the boiler? It says 3110. I assume the '3' is the zone and the 110 is the temp?

Also looking at my taco units. The lights on the left one turn green when I turn either of those zones on, the one on the right usually turns orange as it is in the picture. I assume that means something?? Sometimes that light is green.

Pretty much anything you tell a novice about what you see in the pictures below would be so much appreciated!!
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Old 11-30-13, 09:06 AM
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Congrats on the new home.

I don't have specific answers to your questions, but here's my $.02 nonetheless:

Do a quick internet search using the key words "hydronic heat basics" and spend an hour or so reading through the articles and watching the videos. In a short amount time you can get a pretty good idea of how a residential hydronic heating system is supposed to function.

Another thing you should do is locate the Installers/Operators Manual for your boiler. If you go to the PexSupply website and look up your boiler you might be able to download a PDF copy of the manual from there. The I/O Manual will provide more specific information about your particular boiler and probably answer a lot of your questions.

It's also important to know and understand how your home's domestic hot water is made. Do you have a separate HW tank?
 
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Old 11-30-13, 11:16 AM
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Can you slide the instruction booklet in and get a clear shot of how the piping is connected to the bottom of the boiler also?
 
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Old 11-30-13, 01:12 PM
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NJTROOPER, here is a pic of underneath the boiler as requested

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Old 11-30-13, 01:20 PM
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Hmmmm. ...not liking the looka of those rust stains behind the condensate trap =-O
 
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Old 11-30-13, 01:41 PM
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not liking the looka of those rust stains behind the condensate trap
No, me neither...

Smith, was there something on that wall previously that could have been leaking and stained that wall?
 
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Old 11-30-13, 05:21 PM
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Yes, my best guess is the old boiler. This one is new 2012.
 
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Old 11-30-13, 05:42 PM
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I know thats LP unit but how long is that gas flex line? I believe you unit is a 97 k btu model..

A 48" flex line I believe supplys 96 k btu. Not a big deal but it looks longer then 4 ft.

If so you may have issues on high fire...
 
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Old 11-30-13, 05:50 PM
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That is not a flex line Lawrosa...it appears to be trak pipe..
 
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Old 11-30-13, 06:48 PM
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That is not a flex line Lawrosa...it appears to be trak pipe..
Well Ill be a monkeys uncle... Yes it is..

Its amazing what I can see when I put my glasses on...
 
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Old 11-30-13, 07:55 PM
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Thanks for the extra pic... wanted to see if this was piped 'primary/secondary' and it's apparently not. (sorry, I think 'primary/secondary' might be greek to you, but at this point I'm not going to explain because it's really not important at this point.)

the one on the right usually turns orange as it is in the picture. I assume that means something?? Sometimes that light is green.
That's a Taco SR-501 relay?
 
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Old 11-30-13, 07:57 PM
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I'm guessing it has something to do with the internal temp of the boiler? It says 3110. I assume the '3' is the zone and the 110 is the temp?
I haven't looked at manual in long time for your boiler... but it should say in there... do you have the manuals?
 
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Old 11-30-13, 08:35 PM
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Correct, it is a sr-501 relay.
 
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Old 11-30-13, 08:39 PM
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I believe the 3 refers to the fact that it is in a normal central heating mode and the 110 may be supply temperature
 
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Old 12-01-13, 05:58 AM
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Relays

1 relay is for the low temp application for floor heating and the other relay is for the baseboard zone. I think your boiler can run 2 different heating curves assuming you have the outdoor reset hooked up. Btw, I have the same boiler although mine has the newer trimax boiler controls.
 
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Old 12-01-13, 07:41 AM
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Correct, it is a sr-501 relay.
There should be 2 LED on that panel, one green, one red.

The green should be on whenever the system has power, the red when that particular zone is calling for heat. You said ORANGE? There is no orange LED on that panel.

You should see the same sort of activity on the other panel when those zones are calling for heat. The green LED on whenever the system has power, the red ones come on when the zones call for heat.

Are you seeing something different?

1 relay is for the low temp application for floor heating and the other relay is for the baseboard zone.
That would not appear to be true in this case, since there is no provision in the piping for segregating the piping into two distinct temperature zones. All three pumps are coming off the same header, all three returns back to the same header.

The two endswitches may in fact be wired to different inputs, but if there is no segregation in the piping, there is no point in having separate inputs.

In this respect, it means that the floor heating can in some cases get the same high temperature water and is not technically a correct application.

The 'extra' set of inputs to this boiler are I believe for DHW (indirect domestic water heater) application, but to be certain about the above I would have to look at the manual again... memory is not what it used to be!
 
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Old 12-01-13, 08:46 AM
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Yes, my best guess is the old boiler. This one is new 2012.
Don't guess. Be SURE!

Your system is, in a nutshell, improperly installed.

Inside the boiler cabinet is a boiler system pump.

It IS acceptable to pipe the SOLO in a 'direct' fashion as was done here, but ONLY if your system is zoned with VALVES (see FIGURE 11, PDF page 29, actual manual page 22), but NOT with individual PUMPS.

This system SHOULD HAVE BEEN piped as 'primary/secondary' as shown in the boiler manual:

http://s3.pexsupply.com/manuals/1249...110_Manual.pdf

See FIGURE 9, on PDF page 28, actual manual page 21.

The way your system is piped now, the internal boiler pump appears in series with the zone pumps, and if all zone pumps are running, the flow rate through the boiler may exceed recommended values.

I would strongly urge that you have this corrected.

In addition, the point I mentioned previously about the possibility of delivering high temperature water to the floor tubing should also be corrected. It should not be possible to run water any higher than say 140 to a 'tube in slab' floor, and I would recommend more like a 120F maximum. The way to correct this is further re-piping...

Sorry for this news... but it is what it is.
 
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Old 12-01-13, 09:34 AM
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Do you know if the OUTDOOR TEMPERATURE SENSOR is installed on the boiler?

Do you know where the 24VAC LOW VOLTAGE wiring terminal strip is inside the boiler?

( Do NOT remove the cover unless you are absolutely certain that you have the power to the boiler turned OFF! )
 
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Old 02-10-14, 07:20 PM
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Yes, there is a Outdoor temp sensor. Not sure where the 24VAC Low Voltage wiring inside the boiler is.

A few updates however, NJTrooper, you mention my boiler is not setup "primary/secondary", I assume this relates to the idea you want to avoid water temps higher than 120 going into the floor heating.
One thing of note on this topic is 1 month before I bought the place the heating guy came and made some "adjustments" those adjustments included installing a "rib relay" to allow the basement to run on low heat and the upstairs on high. The result is that when i'm running the upstairs baseboard zones the floor heating WILL NOT TURN ON.
This, I believe, was his cheap way of making sure nothing greater than 120 degrees goes into the floor. When the in floor heat is on, I notice my temps never exceed 118 degrees. And again, when the boiler temp is in the 150's 160's etc, it will not send heat into the floor.
 
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Old 02-10-14, 08:41 PM
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NJTrooper, you mention my boiler is not setup "primary/secondary", I assume this relates to the idea you want to avoid water temps higher than 120 going into the floor heating.
No. Primary/secondary in this case has nothing to do with the floor heating.

It has to do with the fact that I mentioned about the pumps appearing in series with the internal boiler pump in post #17.

It's piped wrong, period.

Yes, the relay he added was a 'band-aid' to avoid extra work on his part and get out cheap with a handful of cash from the seller.

Sorry to say.
 
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Old 02-11-14, 08:39 AM
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NJTROOPER, so basically for this to be correct, the pumps need to be replaced with valves?

Basically, what needs to be changed to have this corrected?
 
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Old 02-11-14, 08:47 AM
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No, the pumps don't HAVE TO be replaced with valves, you can use pumps for each zone if it's piped properly.

See FIGURE 9, on PDF page 28, actual manual page 21.
 
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Old 02-11-14, 10:36 AM
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Thanks Trooper! I will pass the info along to my boiler guy and have him redo the piping so it is correct..
 
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Old 03-20-15, 07:59 AM
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Update

Just wanted to post an update on this thread. As of today the boiler is being re-piped and the electrical is being redone. NJ trooper, your correct it was not piped primary/secondary. Also the internal pump was to my understanding disconnected. The guys are working on it as we speak and I'll post the pictures when it's done!!
 
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Old 03-20-15, 12:58 PM
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Mixing valve adding to infloor zone, piping is now primary/secondary. CO2/CO testing done and fine tuned. Fine job as far as I can tell!
 
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Old 03-20-15, 01:31 PM
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Here is a lot of basic information
www.comfort-calc.net
 
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Old 03-20-15, 02:53 PM
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Here's some better pics of the new rewiring and piping

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