Joined on January 2, 2008
Last Post on November 7, 2013
@ July 19, 2011 9:37 PM in Viessmann Vitodens TrainingThe heat exchanger is the SAME on both boilers of around the same size (the new 100 and new 200) but the heat exchanger between the original WB2A and WB2B is different - the original 200 had a wetback design (my opinion - superior to the new ones) where as the new 200's have a dry back with a refractory disk. I would speculate that by incorporating the same heat exchanger on both the 100 and 200 of similar outputs, on top of getting rid of the weback design, along with getting rid of the integral pump, are strong reasons why the 200 has come down in price as much as it has. I would say the original 200 was more of a true-er (if that's a word) European Boiler, the new 200 was just brought out to be competitive as some people can't see past the cost of the boiler by itself.
On a lighter note I took the training last Fall. The Intro to Viessmann was good, the Intro to their condensing boilers was decent and probably the best of the 3 days, the service training course left a bit to be desired - we did more service and hands on during the intro to their condensing boilers compared to the service/maintenance of the Vitodens. It might have to do with the fact that we had the same instructor for the intro and service course but the intro to their condensing boilers was a different instructor.
In the Boiler room at the Langley facility (BC, Canada) for the Viessmann training centre they have the coil portion from their inox radial heat exchanger sitting on a display type mount on one of the tables. Well I was looking at one of the boilers during lunch and one of the guys from our class came in and bumped it by accident and the coil fell on the ground. Holy shart - it scared the living crap out of everyone in the entire building it hit the ground so hard- however, no damage to the coil, but I'm not sure if the floor is ok to this day!
@ July 17, 2011 2:27 PM in LP choices...You said yourself that you have 2 "fairly new" high efficiency hot water tanks. I"d suspect fairly new falls within 2-3 years old max, and you said one needs a thermostat/gas valve.
Now most hot water tanks carry some sort of warranty on parts at the very least. Why is replacing the gas valve/thermostat and keeping the tanks not an option? You have essentially 100 gallons x high efficieny tank of output - that should be plenty for your future requirements. High efficiency hot water tanks are, assuming few to no repairs, probably the cheapest ways to heat hot water, or right up there at least, as far as life cycle cost goes.
Personally, I am NOT fond of tankless. You will require an annual service/maintenance at a minimum to flush lime out of the heat exchanger if you want to take advantage of their efficiency and the fact they do not require a tank, you will require major venting alterations in the strong majority of tankless retrofits (aka cutting drywall and/or roofs open, might need a drywaller and roofer to do the patch up for the flashings/penetrations, etc.), potential upsizing of the gas line or bumping up the gas line pressure which is more $$ depending on the position of the gas line relative to the gas meter/utility, parts are more expensive, harder to come by unless you got a really good guy who stocks parts and takes pride in what he/she sells, and worst of all, if the power goes out, you ain't got no hot water!
I would bark up a few trees here - I would keep what you have, and fix it for the time being and it will do you proud for the next 3-7 years meeting your families demands until you suspect failure may be imminent, consider installing a thermostatic tempuring valve to tempur the hot water temperature down to a safer temperature for your future babies & curious toddliers (keep the tanks in the 135-140 range to kill legionairres, bump the supply line temperature down with a thermostatic tempuring valve to say 115-120), and then over the next few years you can really ponder where you want to go. You might also want to consider installing a potable expansion tank on each tank which will help absorb pressure due to thermal expansion on the tanks and contribute to them having longer lives.
The way I see it, your options would be to consider replacing your existing set up (in 3-7 years) with a stainless high efficiency tank. There are presently only a few companies that make them, I think heat transfer products is one. This tank will last a lot longer, have more hygienic hot water production than your standard glass lined steel tank, and you can ponder upping the size of it at this time to something bigger if you find it doesn't suit your families requirements for some reason, although 100 gallons of 135-140 degree water with reasonable recovery should be plenty unless you're having 5 showers at the exact same time.
Another option is to consider how your house is heated - do you have a furnace, or a boiler? If you have hydronic heat emitters (baseboards, or radiant floors, or panel rads, etc.) with a boiler, you may want to install an indirect using the boiler to heat an integral coil built into the tank that heats the hot water- this would be a very reliable, effective, and inexpensive way to heat water very comparable to heating it with high efficiency tanks, but it would last quite a long time, and you could have a higher output modulating boiler that would give you excellent output, and if you get a stainless indirect, a very long life cycle.
Keep in mind that most hot water tanks right now have excellent insulation - typically 1.5 to 2+" of sprayed on insulation that really minimizes standby losses so the argument by tankless manufacturers that you're heating water in a tank all day long is pointless in my opinion.
The other option is explore electricity rates in your area on an apples to apples basis with propane and you might want to consider looking at one of those newer heat pump hot water heaters, however, consider life cycle costs, and warranty; these tanks are typically made out of steel so I suspect by the time the higher efficiency of the built in heat pump pays for itself, it may be time to replace the tank in comparison to a standard 100% efficiency, simple, electric element tank. (the heat pump hot water tanks often have elements to help with some recovery, or different settings that may use the elements at time, but you get the just I think).
@ July 16, 2011 12:19 PM in Pressure Differential Bypass still usefulCorrect me if I"m wrong, but the entire point of hydraulic seperation is to reduce or minimize the potential of "ghost flows" from your primary "boiler" pump moving heated boiler water into secondary loops that do not need heat. There are various strategies that have come avail to do this such as low loss headers/hydraulic seperators, or primary-secondary pumping strategies with various rules for seperation between the secondary supply/return tees and relationships to other supply/return tees, as well as check valves, flow check valves, etc, etc. etc.
But then this goes back to the fact that primary-secondary pumping did not become THAT popular, or critical until the advent of high head loss modulating condensing boilers where it was prohibitive for various reasons to use one pump to push water into a bunch of on or off radiant zones. The head loss of the often water tubed heat exchanger, combined with the head loss radiant loops, on top of the changing environment that a radiant system requires (opening and closing zone valves/actuators requiring various flow rates), along with the fact that these boilers often require minimum flows means that a one pump parallel system for a decent sized radiant system would potentially be quite expensive in one pump. So a 2 pump system was the answer to keep minimum flow rates through the boiler, as well as keep pump costs down (2 smaller pumps were cheaper than the 1 much larger pump required on top of the factors mentioned above).
But the entire point of my thread was that the mod-con industry has some big players that seem to be moving over to fire tube style heat exchangers. Triangle Tube has been around for a long time, now Lochinvar, and IBC, are moving in that direction. Lochinvar sells A LOT of condensing boilers - their Knight has been extremely successful, and IBC doesn't have the volume, yet, but they do have a cult like following. Many also praise the Triangle Tube as well.
The commercial sector for floor standing mod-cons is also moving the way of fire tubes - Cleaver Brooks Clearfire is a fine example of a top of the line fire tube (they are built very well), as is the new Lochinvar Crest.
So the big question amongst contractors is with the low head loss heat exchanger of the fire tube, can we drop down to one pump now? There seems to be a lot of confusion or uncertainty in this question. My understanding is on bigger systems the answer is still closer to no, but on smaller systems the answer may be yes.
As for flow rates - 2 GPM is the limiting factor for this boiler on whether I can drop down to one pump or not. I will have to contact the factory to understand their rationale, but judging from the boiler internal layout, it appears to me as though the flow rate would be determined by temperature difference between the top of the heat exchanger and the bottom, not an internal flow or pressure switch or differential measuring sensor.
@ July 15, 2011 1:41 AM in Electric Boilers for hydronic heatingElectric boilers definately have a place in hydronics - what I like about them is they are about as simple as it gets to install and only require one pump (unless they are serving as back up for multiple loads or heaitng multiple applications) due to the lower head loss, plus many of them have basic controls, some with outdoor reset and staged elements.
Where I prefer them is in small applications - say 20,000 BTUH's or less. There are some companies that produce some nice boilers in this range, some as small as 3500 BTUHs (1 KW), which might be all someone needs for a few loops of radiant or a panel rad or something.
They also serve well as back up or auxillary heat source for other more efficient equipment such as a geothermal heat pump, or hell, even a mod-con boiler if you're so inclined if you were worried about it going down for some reason.
And of course in areas where natural gas isn't available and propane, oil, and electricity are comparable in price they will be more popular.
One of my pet peeves about electric boilers is, when I show up and find one rigged up to heat an indirect. The way I see it, this is kind of a waste - might as well just use an electric hot water tank in this application.
Generally, electric boilers aren't as popular as gas boilers gas being much cheaper, and on top of that, in the larger sizes you won't need to upgrade your house service to run a gas boiler.
@ July 15, 2011 1:13 AM in Pressure Differential Bypass still usefulSo I was helping a buddy who owns his own company recently with some design work on the hydronics side as well as specing the boiler, equipment, etc., for a house he's doing. The homeowner/his client in question has a small downstairs radiant demand (about 7 loops, of which these loops are designed into 2 seperate zones, off of 1 manifold - the rest of the house is heated with a furnace/heat pump combo as it's basically a major reno plus he wanted cooling upstairs), plus a 75 gallon Indirect, and a potential future hot tub load down the road (aka S/S heat exchanger off of the boiler, etc.). The boiler I specified was the new IBC SL20-115 (20,000 to 115,000) which has a fire tube heat exchanger much like the Triangle Tube and Lochinvar Fire tube Knights.
Anyways, I hummed and hawwed back and forth and the biggest issue in my mind was trying to maintain minimum flow rates through the boiler when only one of the zones was open (aka 3 loops). The boiler specs suggest 2 to 14 GPM as the ideal flow range with anything lower than 2 GPM's causing the boiler to shut down due to lack of flow.
Up until the more widespread "push" of fire tube heat exchangers, primary secondary has reigned supreme for various reasons of which many of you already know. But I thought about it and this being the first fire tube style mod-con I've spec'd/dealt with I decided instead to go to a 2 pump parallel pump system with one pump for the radiant, and one pump for the indirect, with a differential bypass on the radiant loop.
My rationale with the differential bypass (other than bypassing water to avoid pushing too much water through the radiant loops when only 1 zone is calling for heat) was it would allow some return flow into the boiler to keep minimum flow rates, and it also saved a pump on top of numerous fittings. This allows me to take advantage of the lower head loss of the fire tube exchanger, plus less the electricity usage of one pump, in working with the small radiant load. In comparison to a primary/secondary system, there would still be some return flow going to the boiler inlet anyways, as not all of the water from the boiler would be diverted into the radiant secondary loop during lower demands. So in a sense it should work out to be similar. The dymamics, however, of the differing radiant loop lengths versus the perssure differential bypass setting could be somewhat interesting, but probably not too much unlike one of those Delta P pumps with a constant head setting.
If all goes well, the boiler should be getting fired up by early next week and we'll see how things work.
@ July 8, 2011 1:34 AM in Anything new on the Mod-Con front?Chris, So I take it Viessmann is finally going to bring out the combi add on for the Vitodens 100? Whatever happened to the reported combi Vitodens 200 with built in tank? Is that coming out sometime soon? I also heard they may be discontinuing the 40 gallon horizontal stainless indirect possibly?
Greg, I agree about the AFUE ratings. I know of one manufacturer who seriously questions the percent of error that some manufacturers may utilize in their published AFUE ratings. I recall something along the lines that there is a way to come up with your AFUE, but you are allowed so many percent of error, and then what some manufacturers will do is up the published rating to the positive side of the error rating. So as an example, if they are allowd plus/minus 3 percent, and their rating comes up as 93%, they'd publish it as 96% or something like that. Please correct me if you know different.
Mark, perhaps it's dependant on the agency doing the boiler certification, or at least worth checking into anyways; how did IBC recently come out with a 5.75 to 1 on their new SL20-115 boiler that came out last year?
@ July 6, 2011 12:56 AM in Anything new on the Mod-Con front?Since Lochinvar unveiled their Crest, and their firetube boilers, it's been kinda calm on the new products front lately. I noticed Viessmann Canada recently removed the Vitodens 200 WB2A for sale so they are no longer available, only the WB2B.
I've heard some inklings of exciting products to look forward to in the coming years but does anyone have any knowledge of anything coming down the tubes in the next year or so?
Are we going to see a smaller Vitodens? Anymore Combi Units from any of the manufacturers? Any upgraded or changed products or controls?
@ June 15, 2011 10:01 PM in The mini-indirectThere seems to be a few mod-con boilers out there with plate or similar heat exchangers, and then there is the standard 30+ gallon indirect. I'm curious if you guys see the mini-indirect market emerging at all in the near future? I'm picturing a 5-20 gallon indirect tank with a high output coil where you have enough buffer capacity to not short cycle the boiler like a heat exchanger for small draws like a quick handwash, but the output of the coil may be enough to sustain a shower and another load - say 2-4 GPM-ish, depending on the boiler's output. Something like this would also need to be very well insulated, which would reduce standby losses which could overtime alleviate a few short cycles from heat loss (smaller water volume = quicker/more heat loss overtime).
@ April 30, 2011 1:22 AM in Help!IBC's VFC 45-225 (45,000 to 225,000) Natural Gas Mod-con boiler can vent up to 240' on the exhaust and 240' on the intake if needed (240' each side), on 3" CPVC S636 ( CPVC S636 for the exhaust, you can use 3" ABS or PVC for the intake) with a 5' equivilent allowance for long sweep 90's and 8' foot equivilent allowance for short sweep 90's.
@ April 16, 2011 6:53 PM in circulator pump question for Vitodens 2006.5 GPM at 2 watts - with what kind of head loss?
@ April 5, 2011 11:56 PM in Vitodens LLH SensorRemember that the new Spiroquad or whatever it's called has FULL stainless steel media from top to bottom so it actually will do a good job at both air seperation AND dirt seperation on top of acting as a hydraulic break between the boiler loop and secondary/system loops. The Caleffi and Viessmann Low loss headers don't. And of course the Brass versus steel is another reason for the price differnce. I also like that they offer swt versions which minimizes install time if you're soldering as well as makes for less connections and fittings (no MIP's adapters to swt & install).
@ March 8, 2011 11:30 AM in Jury Rules That CSST is a Defective ProductI heard a rumour somewhere, that at some big box stores in the USA in certain areas, they were selling CSST and something along the lines of there was a brochure they had beside it and if you read the brochure and signed your name at the back, you were now a certified CSST installer and could buy it. This to me, if it's true, and I suspect there is some truth to it, is the equivilence of this stuff starting to look like PEX for water lines for DIYers. Not saying Pex is a bad product either, I think it's a great product, but because of its ease of installation it is looked at as a DIYer product for many.
@ February 14, 2011 10:19 AM in My new UltraIt's too bad your installer didn't use (1) Grundfos Alpha Variable Speed ECM Pump with zone valves instead of 4 regular Grundfos pumps, for zoning. This might have influenced the price down ever so slightly, but more importantly it would have cut down the electricity usage of the system, and could potentially make the heat source operate slightly more efficiently as well.
@ February 7, 2011 12:04 AM in IBC Boilers?However IBC Boilers ARE on the more expensive end if you are looking at just a number, but for what you get built in, they are a great value, and I dare you to price out a comparable boiler such as a Vitodens 200 (as an example) with comparable features control wise. You'll need their power pump module (parts) plus you need to wire/install it (parts/labour) versus the built in control in the IBC has that is quite sophisticated. To run the number of secondary pumps the IBC has the ability to control (1 primary pump and 3 secondary pumps, if you choose to do a primary/secondary pump with internal control switching, or 3 pumps in a parallel configuration if you just have fixed head loads) you'll need additional external wiring/controls (parts/labour), to control/wire those additional pumps.
Right out of the box I can heat radiant floors, a pool or spa, and an indirect all off the controller with the only external control being an A419 to control the water temperature on the pool water side. The Boiler controls all the pumps and only requires a dry contact close for each load it may heat and you can set the parameters for how much attention the boiler pays to each load.
@ February 6, 2011 12:17 AM in IBC Boilers?IBC's heat exchanger on their 15-150 and 45-225 is DEFINATELY not a Giannoni.
These two boilers, however, share the same heat exchanger, which is an IBC patented design. The only main difference is the 45-225 has a larger fan to move more air/fuel (and a very slightly taller cabinet to accomodate this larger fan)due to its larger input and subsequently it also allows for longer venting runs (240 intake/240 exhaust on natural gas) as well than the 15-150 (120 intake/120 exhaust on natural gas).
The heat exchanger is a down firing water tube heat exchanger with 3 rows of water coils that surround each (1 inner most coil and 2 rows of coils wrapped around the inner most coil - the burner hangs in the middle of the inner most coil) other with a cylinder burner that hangs upside down (sort of like the fire tube style mod-cons like TT and the soon to come out Lochinvar Knight fire tubes). This heat exchanger is made out of 316 Titanium Stabilized Stainless Steel (the same material Viessmann uses on their Vitodens as well as Cleaver Brooks on their Clearfire commercial boilers) and due to sheer mass of tubes present this boiler can soak up a lot of the heat that comes from the burner. Unlike the Viessmann Vitodens and Giannoni designs which have only 1 row of water coils in a horizontal orientation and subsequently they experience lower efficiency at higher firing rates, this heat exchanger, which weighs about 95 pounds alone, can soak up just about anything the burner can throw at it and I've seen virtually the exact same efficiencies at high fire as at low fire using an analyzer on several units. The gaps between the heat exchanger coils are a slightly larger than other water tube style mod-cons, however since there are tubes in behind in the outer most rows that soak up the heat, this isn't an issue in loss of efficiency or heat transfer. It also allows the boiler a better element of self cleaning (combined with it's down firing design), since most contaminants will more easily pass through the gaps instead of accumulate as easily as other designs where the gaps are much smaller. The condensate literally "plinkos" its way down between the tubes as it heads for the external condensate trap mounted in the vent piping just outside the boiler.
IBC's newer boilers, their SL80-399 (came out mid 2010) and their newest boiler (still waiting to appear on their website, but it is out) the SL20-115 are both downfiring fire tube heat exchangers much like the triangle tube and soon to come out Lochinvar Knight Fire Tube boilers.
I'll tell you what - if you decide to take on IBC Boilers in your area, when I used to regularly service these boilers more often (e.g. heat exchanger cleaning, regular maintenance, etc.) there aren't too many parts you need to carry. IBC's ignition & flame rectification system for example, works off of the same flame rod/igniter as opposed to most other mod-cons which have a seperate igniter and seperate flame rod. Whether this is beneficial or a disdvantage is up for debate, but this means less parts to carry. If you phone up IBC and ask to talk to Ian, he could give you the scoop on some consumable parts worth carrying should a problem arise, however I haven't seen too many issues with these boilers, personally.
@ February 5, 2011 8:49 PM in IBC Boilers?Since I live in the very town where they are manufacturered (or at least a suburb of Vancouver, BC), and I've installed a fair amount of them, you could say I'm slightly biased because parts are readily available and I know a few of the support people by name at the factory and I've even had the President come help me with an emergency service call once when I was stuck in a rutt (and he missed a school function for his daughter to attend, which I feel bad about, but this is the support they give).
Is there anything specific you would like to know about them? I've done several posts about them on here in the past and if you did a search you could garner some information from some of mine and others past posts.
They have been in the modulating condensing boilers as long or longer than anyone, though. They are expanding accross North America with their strongest presence being in Canada (obviously) and the more western states in the US.
@ February 3, 2011 1:35 AM in Industrial Boilers?I'm just curious if there are any industrial/heavy commercial gas fitters in here? Anyoen work on the big fire tubes or water tube boilers? (you know, when things start getting rated in boiler horsepower instead of BTU's).
@ February 2, 2011 11:18 PM in Spirotherm QuadI just noticed Spirotherm, in the most recent edition of Contractor mag which I have received today, just came out with a combination Air Seperator, Dirt Seperator, and Hydraulic Seperator all in one. I take this more seriously than some of competitions hydraulic seperators, because this unit, which comes in sizes as small as 1" for residential applications, actually has full media from top to bottom which will give it much better performance in air & dirt seperation.
@ January 29, 2011 1:46 AM in IBC's New Smaller boiler now out SL20-115Leo - to get anywhere near value of the new IBC Boiler out of the Vitodens 100 line up, I'd have to add their power pump module or some kind of relay logic, both of which to varying degrees require parts & labour to install, on top of the COMO OT controller. Oh, and there are a lot of applications on the IBC boiler with it's low head loss exchanger that I could get by with one less pump (as well as less pumping power) than the Vitodens.
I had the same reservations as yourself about why they would make a smaller boiler that fits within the confines of the 15-150's modulation ratio. However after seeing this new boiler, I can see the niche that it will provide with the fire tube exchanger (less pumping power and/or pumps) and cheaper price, both of which in the grand scheme of things will make it a viable option. I often run into a lot of applications where people are looking for a mod-con but you can tell they have a budget to deal with. So right away I rule out the 15-150 and start thinking Vitodens 100. However that has now changed.
@ January 28, 2011 7:10 PM in IBC's New Smaller boiler now out SL20-115Well when you look at what you get, IBC does produce a premium boiler, in my opinion. They also have a lot of standard equipment that is often an accessory for some other manufacturers. I haven't checked into the price point of the new boiler, but the range I suspect it will be in, it is taking direct aim at the Vitodens 100 and 200 models in the same BTUH range, and I suspect it'll be a better value. My opinion of course.
@ January 27, 2011 8:43 PM in IBC's New Smaller boiler now out SL20-115IBC, based out of Vancouver BC, just came out with a smaller boiler to better compliment their line up recently. It's called the SL20-115 and modulates from 20,000 to 115,000 BTUH that was certified recently and has a 5.75 to 1 modulation range (again, it was certified).
I saw the unit in person yesterday at the factory and I must say I am extremely impressed. The boiler has a down firing fire tube heat exchanger for a nice low head loss through the heat exchanger much like the Triangle Tube or soon to come out Wall mount Knights. The heat exchanger is constructed out of 439 Ti Stainless Steel like their SL80-399 they bought out in the middle of 2010. The controller is the same as on their other 3 boilers with the ability to control up to 4 pumps (1 primary and 3 secondary) through priority switching.
The cabinet is desinged to be essentialy sealed (sort of like Viessmann Vitodens) where the cabinet acts sort of like a filter for debris to drop to the bottom of the cabinet instead of getting sucked up directly.
There is one innovation about this boiler that I really feel seperates it from the competition. It's the ability to pipe 2 seperate supply/return tappings off of the heat exchanger out of the cabinet. There are 2 male tappings on the left of the heat exchanger with knockouts on the left side of the cabinet, 2 knockouts on the right side, and 2 knockouts on the bottom from the right side tappings. So you could pipe your indirect off of the left tappings with a pump, your heating off of the right through the right side, or the bottom, or vice versa, if you decided to seperate them like that. Or you can take both off of the same side of the exchanger through the knockouts and just put caps on the other sides tappings. This offers a fairly versatile package me thinks for various requriements in the mechanical room.
This boiler has their standard stainless steel cover with black powder coated frame and is just "slimmer" than their larger boilers essentially.
@ January 27, 2011 8:31 PM in Best Condesing BoilerI'd have a look at a Cleaver-Brooks Clearfire Condensing Boiler (Model CFC). This boiler has a 316 Titanium Stabilized downfiring fire tube heat exchanger for a lower head loss than many competing models (aka less pump power required). Their boilers have a 5 to 1 turn down if I'm not mistaken, and they have 500 MBH, 750 MBH, 1000 MBH, 1500 MBH, 1800 MBH and 2500 MBH models. If I were you, I'd consider redundancy by picking 2 or 3 smaller boilers instead of 1 larger boiler. This will give you a higher turn down ratio by teaming up the boilers to act as one, and if one should fail, you have some heat at the very least due to the redundancy.