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Joined on September 13, 2010

Last Post on July 24, 2014

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@ January 4, 2012 7:05 AM in Pump to or From modcon

I don't care how old thaat drawing is or who did it, it is just plain WRONG!!!!
Are you or the drawing trying to tell me that the pressure is highest before the fluid goes back into the pump? Not ever. If so, where does it happen where it goes to less than system? 6"? 1 foot? No, it happens in the pump, in the impellor. Inside the volute. And the circular curve, is split from the middle so that the split is over/in the pump. High going out, low coming back. And half way through the system, the pressure would be at system. The second PONC.
If you put pressure gauges spaced along the circuit, it would show that. It's not a perpetual motion machine. Water coming out of a hose will have less pressure than the inlet. The pump becomes the pressure machine. It becomes the source of pressure over its static state.
When the wind is blowing 10 MPH on the ice, and I sheet in the sail on my ice boat, nothing will happen. I have to run and push itto overcome the resistance of the ice on the skates. If I push it and run at 5 MPH. the sail will "see" 15 MPH of wind. It will accelerate up to 40+ MPH. If the wind slows down, I will slow down. If the wind completely stops, I will stop. The wind is the pump.  

Outdoor reset:

@ January 3, 2012 7:20 PM in Gravity conversion- Outdoor reset recomendation.

Use this valve, the 4-way one.
Easy to install and wire. You won't believe how nice your system will be when done.

Restricted arteries.

@ January 2, 2012 8:50 PM in Pump to or From modcon

 Static fill pressure, and pressure differential are two different things.
I know that.

Keep piping friction losses to a minimum.
I always pipe to the larger size to keep restriction down. The longer the small pipe, the greater the drop on flow.
I don't disagree with PONC, I just never saw it until mini-boilers were under sized in the piping and over pumped in the system.
I've said that many of the scorched air systems I see suffer from emphysema. I guess I should say that these under piped systems have atherosclerosis


@ January 2, 2012 8:37 PM in Spirovent install

You used the example from Dan about the Ferris wheel. If the Ferris wheel were a clock, there would be equal pressure at 3 O'clock and 9 O'clock. Somewhere in the system, there is another place that with the pump pumping, the pumping pressure will be equal to the static system pressure.
The fill valve should always have static or positive pressure pushing on it. If the fill valve "sees" less than static system pressure, it will add water.
I'm not arguing with Gil Carlson.

High Pressure, Dripping Relief Valve:

@ January 2, 2012 8:23 PM in Pressure seems high in the system, is it normal?

Everyone here has said what I would have said. For what that's worth.
But try this.
When the water pressure in the system is at 30#, take a hose in a 5 gallon bucket (I always use washing machine hoses) and open the drain. If the pressure immediately drops, the diaphragm tank has no air. If it goes down slowly, there may be air. If when the pressure drops, you hear the fill valve start filling the system, when the system hits 12# +/-, the fill valve is working. Close the valve to the fill valve. Let the pressure go to zero if the water stopped quickly (tank has no air), Open fill valve. Does the fill valve stop at 12# +/-? If it does, and the system is cold, turn up the thermostat. If the pressure starts to climb quickly as the boiler heats the water, The Extrol has no air. It may be shot and needs to be replaced.
When they fixed the system, did they replace the fill valve/Pressure reducing Valve? If they didn't, it is very likely overfilling the system because it isn't completely shutting off. Replace the fill valve.
If you replaced the broken radiators with more radiators, and the boiler is cold start, look and see what model Extrol you have. It should be at least a #60 which is over 2 feet long. You need the bigger tank for the cold start expansion.
Send a picture of the tank and the fill valve. It's my experience that old fill valves, that fill, do not close completely and leak bye. 
Don't be fooled if the pressure drops immediaately when the system pressure is at 12#. Pressure only works above the Extrol pre-charge.

Circuit Setters:

@ January 2, 2012 6:11 PM in Pump to or From modcon

If I wanted to measure the differential, I would get a suitable gauge and pipe it across the circulator. But what I thought I was talking about was the change in pressure from running the circulator at the input to the boiler instead of the output. And I did not mean the pressure forcing the water around the loop. I meant the pressure experienced by the pressure relief valve. And to do that, you would want the pressure gauge as close to the relief valve as possible, and it could measure either absolute pressure or gauge pressure; gauge pressure seems to make the most sense. It would not be the differential pressure across the loop that opens the relief valve; it would be the gauge pressure, because that is what the relief valve measures.

Have you ever seen "Circuit Setters" on a large commercial Hydronic Job?
It a device for measuring the differential pressure in a circuit. You take the pressure and the pump curve, and adjust the balancing valves so that the designed GPM flow is running through the circuit. When all circuits are "set", the system, the system is supposed to be in balance and flowing as the engineer designed it to be.
There are people who are trained and certified to measure flows and set the systems. Once properly set, guys like you and I are not supposed to "adjust" the balancing valves.


@ January 2, 2012 2:43 PM in Pump to or From modcon

Again there is friction loss there for a pressure differential. how many radiant systems use 1/2" piping.

What's the longest length of radiant circuit you have come across in a system that wasn't working and installed by a "Green Contractor(Carpenter)?

I was taught way back when at a seminar that Dan did for Emerson Swan for Taco and Heatway that you should keep radiant loops at 200' or under. I've seen many over 700' How much restriction in 700'+ of 1/2" radiant tube"

Static Fill;

@ January 2, 2012 2:36 PM in Pump to or From modcon

More than one person I have met thinks that a circulator is needed to get the water up to the top floor if there is an air problem.
Unless you have the equivelent to 58' of head above the boiler, the relief valve shouldn't ever be blowing off.
On a two stowy building, with the boiler in the basement, I figure 20' from the top of the boiler to the second floor baseboard. That's 30' of extra head to play with.  

Replies: PONC

@ January 2, 2012 2:12 PM in Spirovent install

I'll need to make multiple replies. My aged brain can't keep that much stored away in memory anymore. I have a shortage of active RAM.
I understand PONC. In my opinion, there are actually two PONC's. One in the volute of the pump and the other 180 degrees or half way +/- around the system. In a gravity heat system, there are still two, One at the attic tank, the other in the boiler, somewhere around half way up. System pressure is the only pressure that stays the same. Pumping or flow pressure that the pump adds is not the same. It's most useful addition is giving the ability to tell how much the pump is pumping through the system by the differential pressure. If a Wilo Star 21 is pumping into a 4" gravity system with radiators, and shows no rise in differential pressure when the pump starts, the pump is pumping 20+GPM. If however, the same pump is pumping into a smaller loop, and the differential pressure, the outlet and return pressure going into the pump, is 6#, it is pushing a 13.86' of head pressure. Therefore, the pump is moving 10 GPM +/- through the system. The difference is resistance. Pumps develop a finite amount of energy. They have two ways to use it. Suction and pressure. If they don't need to use any energy to make suction, they can use all their energy to make pressure and volume. The higher the suction lift needed, the less there is for volume. The impellor in a single stage well pump cam practically deliver 50# pressure. But the volume goes down as the suction goes up. It only has the finite energy to do one job. If you add a second impellor or a second stage, the pressure goes up but the amount of water goes down because the first stage can not deliver more water than it is designed to. It also can't double the pressure.
Well Pumps:
Jet pumps or ejector pumps don't "lift" water. They pump water through the "jet" and create a vacuum to have Mother Nature "push" the water up the pipe. Again, the greater the lift, the lower the volume. The pressure stays the same. That's when the Ejector is mounted on the pump. But you can use a "convertible" pump and put the ejector in an open well with the supply and return pipe connected to the ejector and the pump. circulating water through the nozzle and venturi. For every 4 gallons that floe through the nozzle, 5 gallons flow through the venturi tube and up the supply pipe where pump suction helps it along. If the pumping suction is low, more water comes out the pump head. If the suction pressure is high, less water comes out the head.
If the static water level in the well is 40' below the pump head, the pump pressure going down the "down" pipe will need to be high enough in PSIG to "push" the water through the nozzle and venturi, to a level where the pump can then "suck" the water up the rest of the way. The adjustment is made with the pressure regulator adjustment screw on the regulator head.
Here's a cool thing about deep well ejector pumps. If you put a 35' tailpiece on the ejector, and put it into a 4 GPM well, the pump and ejector will adjust itself to the inflow of the well and as the vacuum/lift goes up, the GPM goes down.
This is the opposite of submersible pumps. Submersible pumps do absolutely no "lifting" or develop suction. All and every unit of energy they provide, goes to making pressure. The same 50# that the ejector pump has. But, you can buy multi-stage jet pumps and they will do the same thing. Increase the discharge pressure. But submersible pumps do it better. You can pack a whole tribe of impellors or "Stages" on a shaft and spin it with a motor. If you want 20 GPM. delivery, you must get a pump with a large enough HP to generate the pressure to push the water up the pipe and get it to the surface with enough pressure left over to give you the house pressure that you want. There's no "sucking"
Back in the days of my experience with Jet Pumps, the biggest service complaint was where the copper tube that went to the pressure switch connected to the CI pressure head, would cover over with iron deposits. The pump would go up as high as it was capable of pumping and not shut off, The friction of the impellor in the water and the suction/vacuum developed in the impellor would make steam and air in the pump volute. The pump wouldn't pump any water. Take the plug out of the top of the pump,start it and water would squirt up a couple of feet and start pumping. Excessive resistance in a hydronic heat system does the same thing.
Oh yeah, a piece of rust debris, stuck in the jet and slowing the flow of water through the venturi will absolutely change the ability of the pump to deliver pressure. It may deliver lots of water but it won't be at a very high pressure. 

2nd Try

@ January 2, 2012 9:50 AM in Over Pumping Solution, 2nd Try

The reason that your post is getting cut off is because you probably hit the "control/trl" instead of the "Shift" key when typing or "Shift/Enter" at the same time when typing. Either way, you hit a wrong key and it sends your posting. You always do it at the same time and place. If I could figure out what your next word would be, I could probably tell you which.


@ January 2, 2012 9:34 AM in Spirovent install

And those guys, the "experts" will say I'm full of it and I don't know what I am talking about. But you needed a new tank.

Adequate Piping:

@ January 2, 2012 9:17 AM in Pump to or From modcon

If the boiler and system piping is sized adequately and properly, and not undersized and over pumped, there should be no increase or decrease in system pressure. In fact, some don't really understand how centrifugal pumps work.
If you take a bucket and fill it with water, and spin it around while holding it in your hands and spinning in a circle, the water will stay in the bucket. Gravity will hold it there until you stop. If you hold the opening of the bucket, horizontal, all the water will run out. Gravity holds the water in the bucket. If you drill a hole in the bottom of the bucket, and spin around, the faster you spin, the faster the water will run out of the hole and with higher pressure. The impellor is the bucket. If you pump a 007 circulator into a 50' loop of pipe, and put a gauge on either side of the pump, you wouldn't see any rise on pressure. If you put it on a 50' loop of 1/2" pipe, you would see a rise in pressure from restriction. Gravity systems had no circulators, no restriction and no pumps. It depended on a 7.5 degree rise in water temperature to flow and the pipes were sized to give the GPM flow through the large volume in the pipe. Maybe you could find a PONC with a manometer but you would have to look hard. If you can find a PONC in a system today, that is affecting the system, it is either over-pumped, undersized, or both. The only true PONC is in the volute of the pump, somewhere.  
The freaking circulator has absolutely nothing to do with pushing water to a level that is above the highest heat emitter or vent in the system. That is the job of the Pressure Reducing/Fill Valve. If you are depending on the circulator pump to get the water up there, the system doesn't have enough pressure.
The only time that circulators are designed to add pressure to a system is with an ejector water pump. Ejector well pumps are circulators, circulating water.


@ January 1, 2012 10:32 PM in Spirovent install

If you had said that it was a Watts #15, some of us (at least I) would have said that it was shot. They have not proven to me to be stellar performers. I would have suggested that the Watts was too small. I would have recommended a #30 type/size.
If the fill valve works, and you purge the system through the bottom, and fill the system with hot boiler water with the boiler running, and it starts to circulate, see if it keeps running.
If you have series looped fin tube baseboard, you probably won't need to vent anything after you purge it. The house I live in that I built in 2000, may not have Jet Tees on the baseboard. I don't know. I've never had the covers off. I purge and leave it. All Taco #400 float vents have the caps screwed down tight in case they leak. If you think you need a Spirovent, put one on. I don't have one and the last one I put in, I capped it off because it vents air when I try to drain the systems by blowing it out with air.
Not everyone has the same approach to things.


@ January 1, 2012 8:06 PM in Loop balancing, constant circulation

In search of efficiency, one must be careful to spend $10.00 to save a dime.
Whenever I give my customers a choice, they seem to always want to spend the dime and not the $10,00.
Or another way, if I give them choices, what will get then by, something better and the whole nine yards, the go with the basics or a little more. If I only quote the whole nine yards, they go with scorched air/AC. The HVAC contractor goes with 90% gas, fiberglass duct board with round flex duct. If they go hydro-air, they will supply the boiler and indirect, get some slug to do the water piping. Someone else will do the gas piping, and when they don't have enough hot water, they call me.
It's amazing how much money you can save by doing it wrong the first time.

Old Cold:

@ January 1, 2012 7:52 PM in How do you handle this customer?

Many older folks, especially women have thyroid issues. The Thyroid controls metabolism and the ability to control body temperature and comfort.


@ January 1, 2012 4:36 PM in Loop balancing, constant circulation

If the customer is happy and satisfied, you are over thinking the situation.
If it ain't broke, don't try to fix it. It will cost you time and money

New Thermostat/Controls:

@ January 1, 2012 4:31 PM in How do you handle this customer?

Some of you guys need to spend more time listening to your customers and less time listening to "experts" telling you/us the latest great idea that was already tried before. You need to look at your experiences and apply them to present situations.
The problem is that the system temperature is too cool. It may heat the house perfectly with 140 degree water on a 30 degree day. I do work in a nursing home. They keep the temperature at 73 degrees because old folks don't regulate their body temperature as well as younger folks do. If the system high temperature was 180 degrees, and you had it set at 180, the customer would KNOW that the system was running because they can "feel" and hear when the system is running, If it is running at 140 degrees, the circulator is running much more and sending out cooler water/air. The temperature may be more even at 140, but folks like the feeling of that warmer air starting out. Why the heck do you always hear old folks raving about their old cast iron radiators "holding the heat"?
My thermostat is set at 70 degrees because my wife wants it like that. When I take her to Florida, I will set it back to 68 degrees on and 58 degrees, off.  I can tell when it is at 71 degrees, and I know when it is at 69 degrees. At 69.3, she complains that she is cold. Moments later, the zone comes on.
If you charge $100.00+ for a service call, and the only thing wrong is that the thermostat needs to be set higher by the customer, raise the system temperature. They will be happy and tell them it's "FM". Freakin' Magic.
I hate to charge for such foolishness. I hate the blow back. If I have to go again, I REALLY can't charge twice. That's two service calls for free. That's two round trips on the plane to work.
Its a loose, loose situation.

Grumpy Install:

@ January 1, 2012 3:48 PM in Spirovent install

I never told you to install a Spirovent or move your circulator. But you must expect some of us here to be mind readers. Your first posts were about no heat on the upper floors and how to properly purge your system. You didn't mention that the relief valve was dripping and you had a bucket under it. Because you didn't mention that, the question was answered about purging and how the fill valve was probably not filling properly. A reasonable assumption when there isn't enough pressure on the upper floor. But, water expands when heated and contracts when cooled. Contracting water means less pressure. No expansion tank means no place for expansion/comtraction to go.
Not everyone here agrees on everything. I NEVER. EVER put fill valves on top of a boiler, feeding into the system like yours. I don't give a rats rosey red butt about any PONP. If I want the burner running while I test it, I put a hose on the systen/zone return and feed cold water into the boiler and hot water coming out of the return. That works for me.
And the very first thing I check when I find a leaking pressure relief valve is to check the tank pre-charge pressure.  If it is zero or water comes out, it's time for a new tank.
There's a group that I am familiar with. They have a saying. "Take what you need and leave the rest."  Sorry you didn't get what you needed. I get what I need. Maybe, you need an attitude adjustment.

Indirect overheating:

@ December 31, 2011 6:50 PM in Over temperature of indirect fired water heater

There is nothing wrong with the piping arrangement with your boiler, heating system and indirect. The problem may be the thermostat/controller on the indirect. That should be controlling the zone valve. The only connection to the boiler control is between #2 and @3 on the zone valve that will start and stop the burner and circulator.
Set the indirect thermostat/control to 120 degrees or lower. Or, disconnect one wire from the indirect control. The tank should get cold. If it doesn't, the indirect zone valve may be stuck partially open.

Black PEX:

@ December 31, 2011 1:23 PM in Black PEX:

Lately, it seems that every heat system I look at that has a Cast Iron boiler, copper tube and PEX, has all the PEX being black inside. It isn't water PEX. It all has HePEX and "not for potable water water" marked in the tube.
One job, I replaced a boiler with a W-M WTGO-5 and fed the old copper baseboard. An air handler was installed on the first floor, all in copper. Then, a air handler was installed in a third floor attic to heat and AC the second floor and fed with Heat PEX. I noticed that one side of the supply/return was turning black. Now, they are both black and the water is getting nasty.
What thoughts?

LP Tank & Nat. Gas.

@ December 31, 2011 12:28 PM in Nat Gas AND Propane at same property????? (Mass)

I would suggest that you look into keeping the LP tank as a dedicated source for the pool heater. Disconnect it in whatever way you must but pool heaters require a lot of "nuts" that would probably require a larger gas line. It might be cheaper to keep the LP pool heater and switch the house to Nat. Gas.
I think that the issues of dual gas types in a building is overcome by removing the LP from the house. And the pool house is another structure. But the AHJ or State may have a say. Others might have better info than I.

Beckett Burner:

@ December 31, 2011 8:40 AM in Burnham boiler-Beckett Stuff

It sounds to me like the filter system is clogged up. It also sounds like you have an outside tank and the cold oil is sludging in the filters.
I'm outspoken on this but unless you have Spin-On filters, and have two of them, sludge will pass through the filter and end up in the pump strainer and nozzle strainer. In my experience, "woofing dog syndrome" is almost always caused by a fuel delivery problem. Cranky Baby Burner Syndrome (Whining) is a symptom of this.
If someone takes the nozzle assembly out of the burner carefully and holds it with the nozzle up. and oil doesn't freely flow out of the bottom, the nozzle strainer is plugged up and no matter how high you set the pressure, you are not getting 140# PSI of pressure through the nozzle orifice.
Check the blower fan for animal dander. It will cut down the air flow.
It needs service. Now.