New Home owner, scalding hot water


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Old 12-15-14, 05:34 PM
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New Home owner, scalding hot water

Hello everyone, I moved into a house 4 months ago or so, I had this great idea to save some money and adjust some settings because the water was hot. (hot not scalding), I had it better but it was still on the hot side so i messed with it again, water was very hot and still is even when I re adjust things (about 150 degrees). I have been googling around trying to find answers because this is not my field of expertise.

This is my set up, an oil fired furnace with an indirect domestic hot water tank and hot water baseboard heat. From what i can tell i have two circ pumps, one has a separate aquastat and appears to be for hot water. It was set low when i moved in (80 or something), a boiler guy over the phone recomended 125 or something so i changed it. I can hear the circ pump kick in when i turn the wheel up. Ive had it up and down with no changes in water temp in a day or two time. I took some pictures for you guys so you can see my exact set up. Let me know of you need more light/ better angles and Ill do my best.
Thank you everyone, i hope to figure this water out to stop risking burning people and saving some money on fuel.
-Brenden

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Old 12-15-14, 07:01 PM
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Good Grief Brenden! I'm too old to stand on my head to view those pics!

It's gonna take me some time to straighten those pics so I can view them... standby.
 
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Old 12-15-14, 07:15 PM
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OK, I have no idea what's going on there... I can't make sense where all those pipes are going, teeing this way and that...

Tell me the make and model of that tank that you believe is an 'indirect' water heater.

That look more to me like an electric water heater.

I can't tell if there's electric connected to it or not. They might just be using it as a storage tank and not powering the heating elements.

It might be set up as an 'aqua booster' since there appears to be a pump circulating water to/from it and the 'tankless coil' on the boiler.

Start by turning the LOW setting on the aquastat down to 140. You may be able to go even lower on that, but I can't tell for sure until I can figure out what you've got there.

Turn the DIFF down to 20 for now.


See if you can get some better lighting in there, and instead of the phone, if you have a real camera, take pictures with that and post the HIGH RES pictures to a free account on Photo and image hosting, free photo galleries, photo editing and put a link here to your PUBLIC album for us to view the pics.

Move the stuff off the top of the water heater so I can see which pipe is which, hot or cold.

Stand back and take a few shots of the ENTIRE setup also, so we can follow the pipes and see where they go.
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-15-14 at 07:33 PM.
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Old 12-15-14, 07:26 PM
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Brenden, I'm sorry... there's a lot of screwed up stuff there. Whoever installed that boiler didn't know WTH they were doing.

I'm tired... I'll look at this more tomorrow and hopefully you'll be able to upload some real photos that I don't have to squint at.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 02:48 AM
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Oh jeez ya got me scared, sorry about the crazy flipped pictures, I will be sure to have them the right way next time. It is a hot water heater used as a storage tank and I'm 99% sure there is no power hooked to it. The panel for hooking up wires is still in place.

I may have the wrong idea of an indirect tank. I do know hot water is kept in there and the furnace doesn't kick on until I've been in the shower for awhile.

I am at work right now (working nights) but when I get home I'll make those adjustments you recommended and I will get some better, well lit pictures. Unfortunately I don't have a real camera but when I sent the pictures to my email I didn't have them in full quality so I will be sure to do that next time.

So far thank you for the help and dealing with my crazy photography and screwdriver collection on the tank.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 02:51 AM
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Also if I have to I'll drag my buddy over with his new fancy camera and get some professional quality pictures.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 06:13 AM
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Oh jeez ya got me scared
It's not THAT bad Brenden... I mean it's not DANGEROUS from what I can see. Well, there is one thing that is questionably dangerous, but not apparently related to the boiler system, more on that after station identification...

I'm going to put some circles and arrows on the front of your pictures with a paragraph on the back explaining what each one was to be used as evidence... ummmmm, waitaminnit, I think I just got stuck in a 70's time warp for a minute... (Alice's Restaurant for those of you too young to remember)

Anyway, I'll work on that and repost your pics pointing out the couple issues that I see.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 07:05 AM
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This is not related to the boiler or hot water system, but wanted to point it out:



It appears that there is a hole cut in the black drain pipe that would overflow if the drain backed up and prevent the overflow from reaching the copper, but I am quite sure that this would not be accepted by code inspectors in my state.

I'm not a plumber though, so could be wrong about this. Maybe it's OK?

More good information about cross connections here:

http://inspectapedia.com/plumbing/Pl...onnections.htm
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-16-14 at 07:24 AM.
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Old 12-16-14, 07:34 AM
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While this will probably (and obviously must) 'work', there are many drawbacks to creating distribution piping in this manner and it's 'technically' not a correct way to do things.

The very much a plus side to this is that the installers did not skimp on 'service valves' which would allow isolation of the system piping in the event some parts (zone valve, etc) required servicing.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 07:55 AM
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In addition to the valves being reversed, there is no piping to the floor on the backflow preventer and when that vent operates (it WILL at some point either operate from necessity, or LEAK), it appears it's above the boiler and that water will drip onto the boiler... not good... especially if it can get on any of the controls. There needs to be a pipe to the floor.

Once again... the valves being reversed will still 'work', you will still be able to feed water to your boiler, but it ain't right technically. ESPECIALLY because I believe you are on a private well system which is MUCH more likely to lose pressure on the domestic side... power failures, pump failures, etc ... than if you were on a city water supply.

{late edit: After looking further at the water heater piping, I'm not certain that the yellow arrowed pipes are in fact the cold water. I will need to view some higher res photos from different angles to see how that water heater tank is connected.}

{later late edit: They are NOT the cold supply, but rather the HOT}
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-16-14 at 01:11 PM.
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Old 12-16-14, 10:20 AM
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Please look this diagram over and let me know if I'm 'seeing' the piping correctly.

I've 'erased' some of the heating pipes in order to see the water heating pipes more clearly.

By the way, if the forum resizes and makes this unseeable, you can view the image directly in photobucket: http://i224.photobucket.com/albums/d...ps3bfc2139.jpg



The placement of the gray aquastat that controls the pump operation on the pipe is certainly not ideal. It will only correctly sense a temperature change when the pump is running. When there is no water flowing that pipe will cool and start the pump even if it is not needed. The tank may in fact still have plenty of hot water in it and not require 'recharging'.

Since the electric elements on the tank are not being used, as long as the thermostat controls on the tank are still intact is is probably possible to use those controls to run the pump. We can explore this further later on.

The LOW and DIFF controls on the boiler aquastat are what controls the water temperature. Now that I have a fairly good grasp (I think!) of how your system is set up, I think it's safe to suggest that you lower the LOW setting even more, down to 130F with a DIFF of 20F.

The aquastat on the pipe only controls the PUMP, not the water temperature directly. (INdirectly it has an AFFECT on the water temperature, but does not adjust the ultimate heat of the water.)

I have to ponder the 'correct' setting of that control for a while.

I do know that it needs to be at least 15-20F BELOW the LOW setting of the boiler aquastat. If you set it too close to, or above, the boiler control setting, that pump could or will end up running continuously.

There really does need to be temperature feedback from the TANK that starts the pump running.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 11:40 AM
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Here is a link to a photo bucket album with some better pictures. I wish that corner of the garage had some better lighting.
Mobile Uploads Photos by brendenfarr | Photobucket
 
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Old 12-16-14, 11:43 AM
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Yes that is for the water softener and it has the notch in it. The engineer that looked over the house said it was OK so it's either good or he's playing with half a deck of cards.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 12:05 PM
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Oh yeah... MUCH better!

The only piece of the puzzle that needs confirmation is the water pipes behind the tank.

Then we can talk about best way to run the pump, etc...
 
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Old 12-16-14, 12:36 PM
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Alright, the water enters from the softener side, over to and through the softener and then just runs as you have it pictured.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 01:14 PM
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Thanks, what I thought it had to be...

Since you've got the thermostat covers off the water heater, I presume that you've taken a look behind the insulation (after absolutely verifying that there is NO POWER connected to the electric elements) and have seen that there are thermostats still installed and wired up?

What is the model of the water heater so I can find a wiring diagram.

Do you think you would be 'up' to doing some wiring modifications and to use the water heater thermostats to run the pump?

I don't know that I would be able to present the instructions properly but would be willing to try if you are.

If you do wish to do this, better yet would be to take pictures of both thermostats so I can see what style you have.

I believe that I know how the small gray aquastat is wired, but a picture of the wiring inside would be helpful for instructing... the cover should just slide off, you may need to loosen the screw on one end.

TURN POWER OFF! THERE IS 120VAC INSIDE THAT AQUASTAT!
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-16-14 at 01:38 PM.
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Old 12-16-14, 01:55 PM
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Looks like the boiler relief valve needs to be corrected as well.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 02:44 PM
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Yes... good catch, thanks.

Relief valves are to be installed VERTICALLY according to manufacturers specs.

Like this:


image courtesy masterplumber.net
 
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Old 12-16-14, 02:45 PM
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The system is also missing a proper 'air scoop'.
 
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Old 12-16-14, 06:59 PM
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By air scoop do you mean a cold air trap as the engineer referred to it, if so it's on the other side if the chimney, the old one was too small so I had them do that in the negotiations.

I think I want to stick with oil for the water heating. Our power here is stupid expensive, but there would be a trade off in using less oil. I checked every breaker and there is nothing for a water heater but just for safe measures I will pop the cover and verify there's no wires attached.

I'm comfortable around electricity, I've worked on generators and what not. I like 12v much better because it can't really put me in the hospital
 
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Old 12-16-14, 07:02 PM
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Oops I misread that, you want to use the tanks thermostat to control the pump. That honestly makes more sense than the current set up.
 
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Old 12-17-14, 06:46 AM
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By air scoop do you mean a cold air trap
No, on the water piping... to catch the bubbles of air that invariably exist in heating system.

And no, not those 'vents' that are on top of the piping either... those vents would be mounted on TOP of the air scoop, and let the air out as needed.

If you've got no air in the system (can't hear it sloshing through the piping), then you are OK with that for the time being.
 
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Old 12-17-14, 06:48 AM
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If you want me to help you use the thermostats to run the pump, you are going to have to go back to previous postings and answer my questions.
 
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Old 12-17-14, 02:02 PM
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I did have some air awhile back, I just used the bleeders on the heaters in each zone and bled any air out.

The water tank is a GE, model # GE30S06AAG. I have the owners manual for it and it does have a basic diagram, I'll add it to my pictures.
 
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Old 12-17-14, 02:38 PM
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That's OK, no need to upload that, I've got a diagram of that one already... they are all basically the same, just wanted to make sure the color codes on the wires were correct.

What I would like to see is how the small gray aquastat is wired, so slide the cover off that and see if you can get a clear photo of the wiring. I know how it SHOULD be or PROBABLY is wired, but don't like to take chances with elecktrissical stuff.

The wiring modifications to the water heater involve simply removing a few wires and capping them with wire nuts, and moving a couple more.

The changes to the wiring are going to keep the High Temp reset intact and active.

You will be running a piece of armored cable from the water heater electrical inlet over to the existing gray aquastat. Hopefully there is an unused 'knockout' on the aquastat to place a new cable connector. If not, you will have to use a 'duplex' connector in place of one of them.
 
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Old 12-17-14, 02:41 PM
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By the way... one CRUCIAL step to this is that you PERMANENTLY MARK the water heater that it has been modified and to NOT EVER try to use it as an electric... yes, YOU will remember this, but do it for the sake of future service people and owners.
 
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Old 12-17-14, 02:49 PM
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If you go back to the photo bucket album there is an inside picture of the aqua stat. I also added a few others just in case. Thanks again!
 
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Old 12-17-14, 04:20 PM
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Yep, I see 'em!

Here's a diagram with as much info as I think you will need.

BE CAREFUL! TURN OFF POWER AND VERIFY IT IS OFF! You're working with 120VAC circuit! You can be KILLED if you goof up!

At upper thermostat, move black wire from T4 to L2.

Remove yellow from T2 and cap.

Remove lower element black from thermostat and cap.

Move red from lower element to thermostat.



Download full size image here:

water heater wiring modified | Photobucket

hint: if using FIREFOX, right click image and click "VIEW IMAGE"
 
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Old 12-18-14, 02:17 AM
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Seems simple enough. Thank you for helping me with this project, I'll have to pick up some of the parts you mentioned above.
By armored cable as you called it is that the flat yellow wire I see in most houses? If not please explain it for me.

I must also add you do a very good job at making simple and helpful diagrams. Thanks again!
 
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Old 12-18-14, 05:45 AM
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By armored cable as you called it is that the flat yellow wire I see in most houses? If not please explain it for me.
No, it's the stuff with the spiral metal sheath on it, same stuff that's already there.

The plastic sheathed stuff is not acceptable for this kind of job.

There is STEEL and ALUMINUM sheath, use the aluminum, it's much easier to cut... if you know how long a piece you need you might be able to talk the guy at HD into stripping back 6" from each end.
 
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Old 12-18-14, 01:45 PM
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At upper thermostat, move black wire from T4 to L2.

Remove yellow from T2 and cap.

Remove lower element black from thermostat and cap.

Move red from lower element to thermostat.
Troop sory to butt in but wouldnt you do away with current aquastat?

Disconnect the wires from one element.
Run one wire to the pump
run one wire to 120v
run wire from pump to 120v..

Simple. Your just using the t stat in the heater. Set the heater t stat for 120. When the stat trys to power the element it will run the pump instead..

Just my though and how we do them.. ( Although I have not done one in awhile)
 
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Old 12-18-14, 02:50 PM
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Troop sory to butt in but wouldnt you do away with current aquastat?
I figure to leave it there as a 'junction box' and to still act as auxiliary high limit.

Disconnect the wires from one element.
Run one wire to the pump
run one wire to 120v
run wire from pump to 120v..
That's a lot more wiring than one wire from the heater to the aquastat.
 
 

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