Joined on November 10, 2007
Last Post on December 8, 2013
@ December 8, 2013 2:52 PM in Kudos,Ron Jr!and all of your team members.
I am STILL amazed that Ron and his crew can do a one dayer in most boiler replacements. I would LOVE to be a fly on the wall and watch one of those events unfold. Pure teamwork at its finest. Never a wasted move...
@ December 8, 2013 1:08 PM in Copper Press FittingsI had a case one time that someone left the door to a mechanical room open during freezing weather. The only thing that saved this system from disastrous damage from freezing was the fact that the makeup was off, and the PP fittings pushed off due to the expanding ice. I simply pushed the fitting back together again, and re-pressed them and it was fine! I am certain the manufacturers are aware of these situations, but they don't advertise them because they are uncontrollable.
I've also seen PEX frozen, and broken. It looked like a piece of bamboo that had been beaten against concrete. Shattered.
Anyone who knows their cost of doing business realizes that labor is their most expensive commodity, and PP will significantly reduce their installed cost such that it pays for itself. It has its advantages, and its disadvantages. For example, if you are REALLY particular about straight pipes, etc, you will not be happy with the looks of PP. If MUST be anchored at a minimum of 2 X as much as regular copper in order to give the same looks. But obviously, it is worthwhile, or Viega , Rigid and EPCO wouldn't be making the fittings and tools to make them work.
As someone else pointed out, I have had occasions where we were unable to shut off the water to a building, and used a PP ball valve to replace a defective stripped gate valve on a DHW heating system. We cut the pipe live using cordless Sawzall, stabbed the valve on with the ball port open, then pressure the valve, and closed the ball valve… About 2 minutes from start to shut off, and one pair of AMAZED maintenance supervisors…
They are not for every one (Charlie) and they don't/can't replace soldering in certain application, and even when they come out with their steel pipe and fittings, I suspect that Charlie and his steam systems will still stay with cuttings and threading, a proven application for that methodology with no feasible replacements.
What really concerns me with this and other new age piping systems is that we are losing track of the craft associated with our trades, and to me that is a tragedy… Hard to replace that kind of history.
@ December 4, 2013 10:09 PM in Adding ferrous to closed systemI can tell you this. The expansion tank in the photo, if it is in fact serving the closed loop part of the system is rated for highly oxygenated water. And that is fine, regardless of the application (closed versus open loop), but it may indicate that your system contains non barrier tubing. Treat accordingly.
As it pertains to the pump and the expansion tank, the pump SHOULD be as close to the expansion tank as possible,and it SHOULD be pumping away from the expansion tank towards the highest pressure drop components (heat exchanger and loops).
If in fact it is set up that way, then it is perfectly acceptable to leave the air vent loose so it can do its job. I know some people here will tell you otherwise, and in a perfect world (all metal pipes) you COULD close the vent after the systems is completely air free, but if your tubing is not oxygen barrier tubing, then it is continuously replenishing its air supply, and the vent should remain loose.
The double wall helix heat exchanger is double augmented, meaning the inside of the pipe is knerled to cause the water to be violent and turbulent, and that creates a high pressure drop on flow, which if the pump is improperly placed in relation to the expansion tank, it can create a rare condition that could suck air into the system if the static pressure is too low.
If you could schematically draw out how the system is actually piped, it would be better than trying to look at the photos. Something as simple as a one line diagram would be fine.
Be sure and label the components if you would/could.
@ December 4, 2013 9:47 PM in can I replace and old wirsbo 2 wire thermostat?Of not only the thermostat, but also the control valve operating device, which I assume is on the distribution manifold. (telestat)
If there is mercury on the inside of the round Honeywell looking thermostat, it is just a switch. You could be dealing with a bunch of dead operators.
If the operator is the old heat motor style of operator, Wirsbo had a special thermostat developed for use with that operator that would send small pulses of electricity to the heat motor, so that when it did finally call that it didn't have to wait 7 minutes for the valve to open and respond. I (inadvertently) found that if THAT particular thermostat is connected to a motorized type of operator, these quick bursts of energy will cause the zone valves to open and close like 12 times per hour (once every 5 to 7 minutes) for just a few seconds. It was marketed as a "radiant" thermostat. Only problem was, the wholesalers who were selling it (and the installing contractors like moi) didn't read the instructions to find out how many cycles per hour it produced. I almost lost a customer over them because we were using them on Honeywell motorized zone valves, and he complained of short cycling. But when I showed up, the first thing I'd do is turn the thermostat WAY up, and got no short cycling. It was when the stat was at or near set point that this condition showed itself. We ended up going back and replacing like 200 of these incorrect thermostats. To their credit, Wirsbo paid us (traded tubing for labor) to replace them, and it really wasn't their fault. It was the wholesalers fault for misrepresenting the product and its application…
A picture of your mechanical room wall (especially any blue boxes) would also help.
@ December 4, 2013 9:22 AM in Putting system together - pump selection helpand it MUST also be taken into consideration.
Calculate it at worst case (maximum) flow scenarios. And add it to the mini tube loss and boiler loss.
@ December 3, 2013 7:36 PM in 'Tuning' a gas stovewhen in cleaning mode… You are essentially burning off partially burnt food.
@ December 3, 2013 6:53 PM in Adding ferrous to closed systemGreat title for a book , eh… Oh Dang, it's already taken. :-)
You will have to trace out the piping, and the pumps usually have an arrow on them indicating their direction of flow.
All pumps work much better when they are pumping away from the expansion tank.
Fill pressure is generally at 12 to 15 PSI. You need to go to the hardware store and get a pressure gauge, and hook it up to one of the drain cocks on the heating side of the system to monitor these pressures.
For others reading this thread, fill pressure is a function of system height. You fill the system at a rate of 1/2 PSI per vertical foot of SYSTEM elevation above the expansion tank/fill valve combo, then add 5 PSI to that total. In your case, 12 PSI ought to do just fine.
When you get the gauge, make certain it has a female fitting to allow you to connect it to a male hose bib.
@ December 2, 2013 10:55 PM in Adding ferrous to closed systemIt is the process of oxidation.
Without actually running the hydraulic calculations, it is hard to say, but a really possibility that you are pushing more fluid through the towel warmer than is necessary.
I have built my own non ferrous warmers using copper for the tubing, and extruded aluminum for the bars. Looks good, (painted white enamel) and works great.
As for todays systems, they can have quite a bit of ferrous components within them, including the heat source, emitters piping and other components. Or not. Radiant panel (site built) systems can have NO ferrous components in them, if so designed, or they can have a mix. Point being, water conditioning in closed loop systems is critical to long term performance, and many people ignore it. It seems that anything that adds to the installed cost of the system that is not deemed as absolutely necessary gets cut out of the estimate.
In my own house, I too have a see through flow meter, and ferrous components, including a large cast iron radiators, as well as PEX and steel panel radiators. After about 5 years of operation, I couldn't see the flow indicator in my flow meter. I pulled the system down, cleaned up the meter, flushed the system and added a gallon (my system is fairly small) of corrosion inhibitors and my system fluid is still pristine today. I think you'd be safe just adding a corrosion inhibitor and then watching your pH (keep it between 7 and 8.5) and buffer with inhibitors as needed.
Although remote, there is also the possibility that you might have a leak in your heating system. Easiest way to eliminate that as a possibility is to shut off the make up and monitor the pressure. If it drops significantly, you need to do more investigation.
And you're welcome. Buy a book and support the site :-) They are ALL fun to read.
@ December 2, 2013 8:53 PM in 'Tuning' a gas stoveAny time you have a flame spreader plate, and flame in contact with it, you get flame quenching, which cools the flame and produces CO. I've never had a whole lot of luck getting these things to burn real clean, The best you can do is the best you can do, then ventilate.
Some friends of our had a thanksgiving dinner, and roasted the big bird in the gas fired oven in their kitchen. Their DOG alerted them that there was a CO problem shortly before their CO alarm started going off. He started barking uncontrollably in the kitchen and then started vomiting…
@ December 2, 2013 5:59 PM in Adding ferrous to closed systemIn a properly designed system, ferrous components go through a process called bridging. This is where the exposed surface oxidizes and give themselves a protective coating of rust. If the circulator is oversized, it keeps this protective patina from setting up on the oxidizing surfaces, and it continues to show rust in the water. Rust on the inside of a system is actually a protectant, to a degree.
The old guys (dead men) referred to the black oxides that came from these closed loop systems as "Black Gold". Keeping them from rusting in the first place makes much more sense, but chemical treatment on residential systems is rare by even todays standards, though it should be a mandatory minimum.
You have to have a positive displacement hand pump in order to induce chemicals into a system, and at that, you should isolate the expansion tank (if possible) and pump the chemicals into the system from one side, and extract the same amount of water from the other side. Simply pumping the chemicals into the closed system will send the chemicals into the expansion tank where they won't see any circulation, and won't protect the other components in the system.
Even system that are made of all metal pipes will get oxygen into them during periods of non use. Mother nature despises any imbalances in pressure, temperature and oxygen content. She wants all factors to be the same (equalibrium), and by golly WILL balance out the O2 on the outside of the pipe with the content of O2 on the inside. She will draw it through rubber gaskets and diaphragms, packing glands and the rubber seals on automatic air vents, etc.
All metal piped systems are less susceptible to these tendencies than a plastic system is, but they are ALL subject to the same potentials. If you have a micro bubble resorber on a system, and you keep the pump running 24/7, then the O2 content on the inside will be less, but there is still a continual elimination/replacement process going on. it's just not as obvious. If your system were all metal piped, and you didn't have a flow meter, you wouldn't know it was occurring. In fact, if you look at the walls of the whiteish clearish plastic tubing, you can see these oxides attaching themselves to the walls of the tubing. One major tubing manufacturer actually considered coloring their tubing black at one point in time just to hide this issue.
If you've ever seen the EVOH barrier inadvertently scratched off, you will see a LOT of oxidation at that point.
The other advantage of an electric towel warmer is that you can run it in the summer without having to fire up the heat source, although YOUR heat source would be on any way…
For this reason, I am also a big fan of electric radiant floors in bathrooms. You can still have warm floors in the middle of the summer without having to fire up a hydronic heat source. I actually use to do work for a GC that did BOTH in every bathroom. In the winter, the hdyronics kept the floors warm, but during the summer, the electric kicked in. He had some VERY happy customers :-)
As for chemical recommendations, there are numerous available. One that comes to mind is Rhomar. Maybe someone else will chime in. i know there is also Fernox,
@ December 2, 2013 9:25 AM in Adding ferrous to closed systemBuy an electric towel warmer.
Although the EVOH barrier will slow the flow of oxygen, it can't stop it. Depending upon how high you run your water determine the rate of oxygen diffusion.
Adding corrosion inhibitors is an excellent idea, and should be done with EVERY system, including those with no ferrous components. Plastic oxidizes too…
@ December 1, 2013 10:56 PM in Circulater for condensate loop off of steam boilerThat is what I am worried about. You and your opinion are viewed by people visiting this site as a "professional". You said "Its not the volute rusting out that worries me.", and that could be misconstrued as it being OK to use a cast iron voluted pump. That's all I was worried about.
I know you know better. I just want to make certain that other non professionals who are reading this thread understand.
@ December 1, 2013 7:39 PM in Circulater for condensate loop off of steam boilerI stand by my statement. NO ferrous components in a highly oxygenated fluid environment. If you've ever looked at the inside of the suction channel on a misapplied pump like this, you'd understand why. Grundfos filters the water that goes into their bearing, and then don't exchange the fluid constantly like some other wet rotor manufacturers do. The oxygen destroys the inlet channel with rust.
Steve, you're implying that it's OK to use a cast iron pump volute in an open environment, and I understand your concerns about the bearings, but the industry standard says NO ferrous components, regardless of how thick they are, in a an open loop…. Period.
@ December 1, 2013 5:25 PM in Ideal pex routing for underfloor install?I've had an errant employee pipe a room with the hottest fluid going into the center of the room and cooler fluid working its way to the outside of the room, and the consumer never noticed it. I discovered it during the anniversary check (1 year) because we had a non electric TRV piped backwards that was thumping, hence the discovery,
Unless you have micro sensors built into the soles of your feet, you will not notice the difference. Remember, the fluid should realize a 10 to 20 degree drop through the WHOLE circuit. Negligible at best.
@ December 1, 2013 4:46 PM in need a little informationyou obviously don't have the time to do a proper heat load calculation. For the sake of time and simplicity (also based on customer feedback) lets assume a proper one was done. At a minimum, I would ask the customer to measure up the connected baseboard, then assume 500 btuH/linear foot, then add for the efficiency of the appliance you are using (82, 86 or 95%) and use that as a sizing guide.
As others have asked, was it also doing DHW or any other loads? If yes, it may have been oversized for the DHW load, which in your part of the country os probably the bigger of the two loads.
@ December 1, 2013 2:14 PM in Circulater for condensate loop off of steam boilerNo ferrous components can come onto contact with highly oxygenated water.
@ December 1, 2013 10:59 AM in Circulater for condensate loop off of steam boilerIt's the cast iron volute that will go away...
@ December 1, 2013 10:56 AM in need a little informationTo 22 btu per square foot per hour. Can't tell you if it's right or wrong without a loss calc, but it sounds reasonable for here in Denver.
Get well soon big guy.
@ November 29, 2013 11:38 AM in MikvahWhy I am not an expert in Mikvah's :-) after I posted, I re-read Alan's original post and realized the issue associated with my remote direct water heating recommendation.
The surface area of the copper bundle is fairly easy to calculate. You'd need to find a software program that could take all of the critical details into consideration, and I wouldn't know the first place to start looking for that.
The Mikvah masters will eventually chime in I'm sure.
@ November 29, 2013 9:33 AM in MikvahHey Moe, Happy Hannukah, and belated happy Thanksgiving..
I can tell you the worst case scenario load/pickup factors, and some other limiting factors, but can't tell you the exchange factors for the copper coil. Maybe Moishe or Kal can help you there.
The first most obvious question to ask is what was there, and how did it work?
Next, limit on flow of a 1" coil is around 10 GPM for a non tube eating velocity.
Next question, why a closed heat exchanger? Why not a potable rated water heater?
As for pickup, if the room is maintained at 70 degree F (for example) and you want to raise the temperature of the water 35 degrees F to 105 degrees F, then the calculation is gallons times pounds times differential in temperature (assumed to be thirty here) for the energy required to heat the fluid up to the desired temperature. To that, you will need to add the conductive and convective losses, and the heat exchanger (if used) inefficiency and the appliance efficiency.
Conductive loss is just like the losses through a wall. A over R times delta T . A being area, R value of the material containing the water and delta T being worst case scenario delta T.
Convective loss off of the evaporating surface will be approximately 30 btu's per square foot per hour per degree F differential . Use worst case differentials to cover the loads.
As it pertains to flow delta T, that is going to be a function of exposed heat exchanger surface area, and temperature differentials, which will change over time. You will have to select a DT for any software program to size the heat exchanger, and I always recommend keeping that number low. If you chose a large differential, it will work GREAT when the DT is large, but will fall short in finishing of the water temperature as the differential gets less. If you chose a low DT number, the HXer will work greater during the pickup.
Adding up all of these load factors will tell you how big the heat source needs to be, but won't guarantee that the heat exchanger is capable of pushing that many BTU's into the water, so I'd go about it backwards. Figure out what the heat exchanger is capable of doing, and size the heat source to that, and everything else will be what it is, or as they say in the PC business WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get).
It would probably also be a good idea to speak with the customer to find out what their expectations are. Under promise, and over deliver :-)
Good luck, and let us know how it turns out and the performance you get.
@ November 28, 2013 12:31 PM in Happy Thanksgivikahh !!!An d to you and yourn:-)
@ November 28, 2013 12:21 PM in Happy Thanksgivikahh !!!This is the last time for next 67,000 years or something like that that these two celebrations will hit within 1 day of each other.
Enjoy it while it lasts, cause we won't be here the next time it happens.
I have a LOT to be thankful for.