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Joined on January 13, 2010

Last Post on July 13, 2013

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Baseboard output

@ July 13, 2013 12:23 AM in Undersized boiler

Slant Fin 30 baseboard outputs 610 btu's per linear foot at 180 deg in.  So estimating your baseboard OUTPUT at 600 per foot at 180deg in, would give you the capability of the baseboard.

If your house isn't heating adequately at 200 degree supply temperature, it could be many different reasons.   1> not enough baseboard installed, 2> too much baseboard in each loop, 3> boiler is undersized, 4> dirty fin tubes on the baseboard, 5> not enough air flow for the baseboard to properly convect.

A heat loss, even a rudimentary one, would be a good first step to telling you what the load of the house is, room by room.  Then, you could measure the baseboard in each room and use 580 or 600 per linear foot to determine if there is enough baseboard. 

Get some specs for your baseboard and see what the temperature curves are for it's output.

Your temperature drop on each loop should be 15-25 degrees F.  They won't all be the same, 20 is a good temp difference for baseboard.  If it's a lot more than that, you've got too much baseboard on each loop.

Once you have that heat loss at your design load (coldest day), you can use the temperature curves for your baseboard to redo your heat load calculations on the warmest day you'd want heat (i.e., if a room needs 12000 btus at 0 deg outdoor, it might only need 2500 btus at 50 deg outdoor ~ DISCLAIMER: THESE NUMBERS WERE ARBITRARY IN MY EXAMPLE).  
Recalculate the water temperature needed based on available baseboard to output that load and you can set your boiler setpoint for your outdoor reset to gain the higher efficiencies.

Zman, Rich and Chris are ALL totally correct.  We'd need more info, a heat loss should always be done, and 100,000 btu boiler can heat many 4000sf homes depending on where you live. 
I'm in .... wait for it... Colorado!!
My 1972 968sf home has a heat loss of 58,000..... so 4,000sf would be pushing it for a 100,000btu boiler built before the late 80's early 90's....  maybe something in new construction would do well.

Slant Fin 30 spec sheet
Industry recognized design temperatures based on your city can be found &
I usually design for an indoor temperature of 70... that's the way I was taught to do it, I'm not sure if it's an "industry standard" or not. 

Avoid using a "rule of thumb"... some people will say XX btu/sf for radiant, YY for baseboard & ZZ for forced air..... but in two houses with the identical footprint will have two different heat loads if they were built with different matterials/insulation/infiltration values.  Heat Loss calc is the only right way to do it.

Contact with ceiling

@ July 12, 2013 11:47 PM in Radiant Ceilings?

will have an R value between .3 & .6 per 1/2" , add .3 for 3/8" lathe and you will be under R1 . It may very well work . [/quote]

This is just speculation, but I'd wonder if smoothing out the rough "top" side of the plaster with perhaps thinset so that the Trak panels can lay flat with full contact wouldn't solve the problem with increasing the R value of the ceiling too much for good transfer.
I've considered doing a radiant ceiling in my own home to add the benefit of radiant cooling in the future.

Heat Migration

@ July 12, 2013 8:49 AM in control valves: supply or return

Sigenthaler also is an advocate for closely spaced tees for the secondary loop, which I'm a huge fan of.... but I'd think there'd be just as much heat migration regardless of which side the zone valve is on in that scenario.
The idea of putting them on the return for the lower temperature to potentially extend the life of the valve is also valid, but in theory the delta T from service to return side of a heat emitter loop should be 10 - 20 degrees depending on design, so IMHO the potential is relatively small.
I think it comes down to personal preference and in the overall picture, it shouldn't impact your system regardless of which side you install your zone valve (control valve) on.
However, men (some of them Dead Men) much smarter than me have been talking about this for years and THAT is why I lurk in the forums hoping to absorb this vast knowledge.

Solar Thermal

@ July 12, 2013 12:14 AM in Are heat exchangers a viable way to heat swimming pools?

I would seriously consider a set of solar thermal panels (2, 3, 5? )

The energy is relatively free (just the electricity to run a few pumps) and with a solar storage tank installed, it could provide a nice pre-heat for domestic hot water.

You'd want to consult a local professional for your specific situation, but you could heat your pool as the primary function (with adjustable high limit to lower the setting in winter), storagetanks to store the surplus production for domestic hot water and finally, a heat exhanger to heat the house via the furnace air handler, boiler tie in or seperate solar heat emitters (fan convectors or some radiant heat in the main living area)

couple of options

@ July 11, 2013 11:59 PM in Condensing combo boiler

We had good success with the Triangle Tube 110 Excellence. Not sure how a 110k compares to your heat loss.

One of our supply houses says good things about HTPs Versa Flame & Versa Hydro series, but ive yet to work witheither HTP product.


@ February 1, 2013 10:39 AM in Navien Tankless, A BIG MISTAKE!

I had the same issue with a Rinnai tankless a few years ago, Neo.
Sure enough, I replaced the gas PRV and the unit's been flawless ever since.
I'd start out with plenty of gas pressure, and as soon as the unit fired, it would drop by about 1.7" wc..... the longer the unit ran, the lower and lower the gas pressure would drop over the course of several minutes.  At the 3 minute mark when the unit would cycle to refire, I'd be down about 2.4" wc.
The 1" drop in pressure at high fire is pretty common amongst the tankless water heaters and high efficiency boilers (Triangle Tube and Munchkin that I know of, but am told by tech reps that it's pretty standard).  YES, they should print that right in the manual, but they don't.

Tech 60

@ January 28, 2013 10:17 AM in Combustion Analyzer

I like my Bach Tech 60.  It's about 10 years old and has always seemed to very well for me. The O2 sensor gets changed out about every 5 years per the manufacturer's suggestion.
My boss carries a UEI on his truck... and it's only 2 years old has had to be sent for repair 3 times, fortunately the first two times was under warranty, but still.
We get them both calibrated every 6 months to a year. 


@ November 8, 2012 9:11 PM in WEIL MCLEAN ULTRA

That's an interesting situation you proposed Jean.. I've never seen a condensing boiler so fouled up that it need to have the heat exchanger removed to soak.That being said, I guess it is entirely possible... We ALL know people with high efficiency boilers get annual / semi-annual service like there supposed to .I'd never considered the possiblility of having to remove it to do so.  I chase my "high-efficiency" customers down if I haven't heard from them in 18-24 months.  When I get out there and the 18 month time frame isn't cutting it anymore with regards to cleaning, I start hounding them at the about the 12 month mark.Our business takes a slight down turn in early summer and I've managed to get all of my HE customers into that window for their annual/semi-annual maintenance.  Keeps the dust from gathering on the cleaning tool kit during the summer.

Cleaning may not be clean enough

@ November 6, 2012 9:57 AM in High CO

Early this summer, I was on a call to a 4 year old Buderus GC boiler (cast iron).
I was brought in to clean the boiler.  The original installer cleaned it 2 years ago (again ONLY a 4 year old boiler) and got soot all over the place.  So we were brought in to clean it this year.  I pulled a ton of soot out of the boiler and had extremely high CO readings in the flue.
Ended up having to pull the boiler out to the back yard and power wash the heat exchanger.
That being said.... reinspect the heat exchanger.  If it's sooted up or built up condescent again... you may need to inspect the flue and combustion air setups again.  Perhaps an induction fan would be appropriate instead of a combustion air fan.

Correct Math

@ November 1, 2012 9:15 PM in solar nut

Your math is correct... the 270k BTU boiler can handle the 2 119 gallons dhw tanks.  Especially if you plumb the two tanks in parallel on the domestic side, so the domestic water is drawn evenly through the two tanks.
The question I cannot answer is if the load of 37g/day/apt is good, but if thats a standard across the county, it sounds like you're good to go.

Other issues with fuel appliances

@ November 1, 2012 1:21 AM in Flood Clean-Up Cautions

Replacing all the electronics is one thing for a flooded appliance..... what about the gas burners?  Draft passages? Venting flue and connections?
Other things that need to be considered are contamination of the burner compartment (debris, residues, chemical residues, etc).... getting that cleaned out so it doesn't affect the combustion process.
How much flooding?  4 inches of water in the basement is alot different situation for your appliance than 3 feet of water.
In a furnace or dhw appliance... was the "domestic side" compromised... again... chemical vapors, debris...etc.
It basically comes down to having a qualified professional thorough inspect your entire system ... if he/she is done in under an hour... fire them and get someone else.  Under an hour in the "flooded" situation, not a regular inspection.

Thanks Vinny

@ November 1, 2012 12:58 AM in Lochinvar Knight Wall Mount Cleaning

Thanks for posting the comparison picture Vinny....  I never thought to check the PH on what was coming OUT of the boiler... I've always looked for neutral coming out of the neutralizer.
In your example, I'd consider replacing all the media in the neutralizer when you change one shade down in the neutral area... that way you're ahead of the curve on protecting that in slab piping.

P.S... Good for you to be taking an active interest in the maintenance of your system.  Too many customers only take notice when it doesn't work and the bill is handed to them. 

Cleaning DHW coils

@ November 1, 2012 12:50 AM in Superstor low delta-t problem

We've often used (Phosphoric acid?) Ice maker cleaning acid bought at our local supply store.  It's marked as safe for use on ice makers and such.
Heat the tank up.... drain it down until the water level is just a few inches below the coil (use a hose on the drain to make a liquid level ... 1/4" full is a good guesstimate for superstore)... and pour in a half gallon of the acid.  Let it soak for 30 mins then flush it with water.  We usually install a ball valve and a boiler drain on the hot water out (depends on the water heater)... but the T&P could be pulled temporarily as well.
The Amtrol WH7's (BLUE BULLET) tend to lime/scale up alot in some installations with hard water... and it's worked very well for them.  Never had to do it on a SuperStor though.


@ November 1, 2012 12:43 AM in WEIL MCLEAN ULTRA

I guess the OP got his answers...
BUT I found 2 cents and am going to give them here....
-define corrosion? .... I've seen Ultra's after 4 years that 3 inches of silt in the bottom and had a solidified silt in the condescent drain tube... after a good cleaning and drain tube replacement, they work fine.  The silt is just the products of combustion collecting in the bottom. 
-Combustion check.... was it EVER done? how recently?
-CO levels' in combustion air...?
-Pictures.... we love pictures here.
Sorry Jean.. don't want to disagree.. but the combustion chamber does NOT need to be removed for cleaning.  Remove the front cover... use a nylon brush (I like engine cleaning brushes from the auto store)... and if necessary a spray nozzle hooked up to a hose on your water heater.  Start with the condescent trap and drain line.... make sure they run clear....  then start flushing all the sediment and silt from the bottom of the heat exchanger.  Once that's done, get as much out of the passages as possible.  Done. (obviously, reassemble the cover).

Bottom Tap

@ November 1, 2012 12:30 AM in Honeywell Supervent

The bottom tap on Honeywell Supervents is intended for the connection of the expansion tank.  The wire mesh (for the layman) inside the supervent is for collision and adhesion of the air bubbles in the system.  If the supervent doesn't see the flow then the mesh can't do it's job.

Another Option

@ November 1, 2012 12:18 AM in Adding a fan coil to a hydronic system

SWEI asks some great questions to consider for you system in making the final decision.
If there is an outdoor reset, I'd assume (I know.. I know... assume...).... but, I'd assume it would be used to control the injection system to your floor heat.  IF that is the case, and you don't limit the boiler temperature with the ODR, then you could run the fan coil as a wild loop off of your primary (i.e., if your primary loop is 1-1/4", then install a pair of 1-1/4 x 1/2" x 1-1/4 Tees so that the fan coil is servicing and returning on the runs of the Tees.)   MORE ASSUMPTIONS... assuming the fan coil uses a 1/2" Supply & Return like the Beacon Morris Kickspace heaters, if not, size your Tees appropriately.
Then whenever there is a call for heat, your fan coil gets the hottest water available.  You stated that the heat output doesn't need to be controlled because your space will use it.  The 12' of piping you stated shouldn't provide enough pressure drop to limit the flow through the fan coil loop regardless of the pressure drop in the coil.


@ November 1, 2012 12:09 AM in solar nut

Not sure how you figured this usage number.... so I'm not saying it's wrong.
However, I've been led to believe that 20g DHW per person is the typical usage.  The problem is, I can't remember where I saw it documented or if it was something in conversation.
That being said, if you went with 20g/day/occupant... you'd have to estimate the average occupant load per apartment.

Boiler Buddy

@ October 22, 2012 11:01 AM in Buffer tank and Alpha

Yes... the boiler buddy will act like a Low Loss Header, but then you'd need a secondary pump coming from the boiler feeding the tank AND your Alpha Pump on the OTHER side of the boiler buddy feeding your zones.
The GV has a built in Primary Loop which will interrupt the secondary pump output until the boiler gets up to minimum operating temp before energizing the secondary pump.
You either need to add a 3rd pump (UPS15-58) to feed the boiler buddy or remove the boiler buddy all together and do straight Primary Secondary.
The use of a LLH in this installation is redundant because of the Pri/Sec piping built into the boiler.
The use of the outdoor reset would impede the boilers function... for instance.. if the ODR says the boiler only needs to fire to 120 but the Burnham doesn't enable the secondary pump until it reaches a minimum of 140, then the secondary pump would never fire.
If you're using an Alpha plugged into a 24/7 hot outlet, you'll avoid this issue, but the boiler has the potential to run cold (condensing).  I'd seriously consider removing the boiler buddy and going straight to a 3 way mixing valve.
Boiler out into the hot, boiler return into the cold shared with the system return, and the alpha on the mix output.

Boiler Trigger

@ October 22, 2012 10:52 AM in Buderus GB142/30 no fire on initial start-up

Not sure what an Argo ARM2 is, but if you're using an external dry-contact (no voltage) switch, don't you want to connect to the WA terminals?  I think RC on the Buderus is for their Remote Controller for indoor reset.

PH Testing / Annual Checkups

@ October 22, 2012 10:46 AM in Lochinvar Knight Wall Mount Cleaning

I just use PH test strips sold in the PetSmart fish department.
It's part of our annual inspection routine.  We check the PH before flushing the condescent trap.  We typically use the NeutralPal Neutralizer because it's got a clear case you can see through and quick connect rings for the vinyl tubing.
I try to flush as much of the granualized media as possible to avoid clogging the drain line.
A previous poster said something to the effect of "not usually installed around here"... the NeutralPal costs about $60, I think, and it's well worth having one on the truck if that's the case.  Nothing would be worse than a customer with a rotted out cast iron drain or a problematic septic because one wasn't installed for the minimal cost.

Laars Parts

@ October 22, 2012 10:36 AM in heatmaker

As of about 3 weeks ago....
Laars sold us a "rebuild" kit... it had the heat exchanger, solution limit, pressure switch, air vent, and a coin vent.  It was about $1500.

Fire Tube Cleaning

@ October 19, 2012 11:03 AM in Lochinvar Knight Wall Mount Cleaning

I don't have a whole lot of experience with the Lochinvar Firetube boiler, but I have alot of experience with Triangle Tube.  TT says you don't have to clean the heat exchanger unless you've got a combustion analysis out of whack and can't get it back in line with the recommended settings.
All modcons however, should have the condescent trap cleaned / checked annually, especially Buderus GB142's.
The neutralizer will probably last at least 2 or 3 years depending on the unit and how much it's working.  We used to install them with unions so we could take the neutralizer out and give it a shake or check the approximate weight annually because they were white PVC.. but that was before the NeutraPal (which is a clear case) which uses Vinyl tubing and quick connect cinch rings.
In my experience, most of the condensing boilers when running low temperature applications (
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