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Joined on May 27, 2011

Last Post on September 13, 2014

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Dennis Foley

@ December 16, 2013 2:09 PM in Insufficient heat from system

Dennis Foley Plumbing Inc . , located in Somerville should certainly be able to help you through this .  Would you by any chance be willing to provide the name of who did this work ?  Could you also post a copy of the room by room heat loss and the amount of baseboard in each of the rooms that are completed ? Name the rooms as they are noted in the heat loss report .


@ December 15, 2013 9:19 PM in What is the most effective way to handle a MODCON

is a strong company that has been around for awhile now , long enough not to be considered new or suspect . They only do high efficiency and nothing else .  The Phoenix that Rod talks about is THE BEST Water heater in its class if there was another in its class . The boiler you speak of is probably the Pioneer with 55 gallons of mass in 100 , 130 , 160 , 199 BTU sizes .  The Versa Hydro is a water heater that uses the heated DHW being stored and runs it through an HX for space heating , again using this technology you can expect performance similar to having a unit with 10:1 TDR . I suggest you check out their website and explore the stuff they have engineered to make our lives easier and more profitable . The company is owned by a single man , Dave Davis and he is very involved in every aspect of the company , service is very good also .


@ December 14, 2013 10:21 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

I see that you are awake and just posted . Please have a look at the 3 possible solutions , I believe any one of them will work , and let us know what you think about them

Probably unrelated

@ December 14, 2013 8:46 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

to this install .  If it was only on the hot water side it would be suspect but since both hot and cold have shown the same condition it is probably something other .


@ December 14, 2013 8:43 PM in Second shutoff for boiler on stairs?

the switch and use the guard . It is code in many jurisdictions to have it there . better to have it and not need it than to need it and not have it .


@ December 14, 2013 8:40 PM in Munchkin

Just rebuilt one that is 8 years old doing what was described to me as a backfire .  Contact HTP and get the rebuild kit part number for your unit , order through your local; supplier . Also check the swirl plate in the fan assembly , may have dust and debris from intake impeding air flow to gas valve / burner . Worked very well for this rebuild , I replaced everything that came in the box including the ceramic backwall and refractory door plate after cleaning the heat exchanger very well .    Good luck .  Parts were reasonably priced , I was pleasantly surprised by the cost .


@ December 14, 2013 3:52 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

think I should add some gauges in the remedies so these gents can see how a system reacts and how temps , flows and pressures change within a system ?
Maybe a well planned trip to Cranston for Barba's Advanced soup to variable speed nuts course would be a great help to these guys .

Smallest zone

@ December 14, 2013 3:44 PM in What is the most effective way to handle a MODCON

should be whatever it is required to be .   2 small boilers is always an option but in my opinion not always the only or best option .  Buffer tanks are a great piece of equipment that are underutilized by those of us who know and not known about t=by the other 97.5% of "heating contractors" .  Why not install properly sized buffer tanks and let the mod/con make cast iron temp water and park it in the buffer . No matter what boiler you are using this will insure most efficient cycles .  Low temp systems with an ODR mixing valve can sip and mix this fluid for a good long time before the boiler has to replace the used BTU's . Imagine storing at 180* for a system that only requires 100* and not having the boiler fire until the buffer fluid is 105* . Do you think that will guarantee the efficiencies that made you purchase or endorse a mod/con to begin with ?  Zone away !  A 50 gallon buffer tank for instance would always require the boiler to run at or above minimum modulation and insure nice long run cycles .  Buffer tank sizing is not a difficult equation either ,   Smallest zone   2500 BTUh , 80,000 BTU boiler w/ 4:1 TDR (20K lowest modulation), 20* Delta T system .  Equation  
20,000 minus 2500 = 17,500 .     17,500 x 10 minute cycle = 175,000 .    175,000 divided by 10,000 =  17.5 gallon tank .   Don't forget to add the buffer tank volume for sizing expansion tank .  
   At least that is the way I have handled it for quite awhile .  Did I mention you will always be condensing too ?

Grasping at Straws

@ December 14, 2013 1:03 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

Maybe we can help choose which ones to grab .  Here are a couple ideas , all of which I believe will work . Please post any thoughts .
From easiest to more involved .
1.    Change existing DHW circ.(007) to 0011 (boiler-13.4' @ 20 Delta , tank-9.1' @ 20Delta , 144' x 1" pipe) , change existing space heating circ to 0013 VDT . Disable ODR , set boiler high limit to 190* , set aquastat on Tank to 160* w/ 10*diff. , set Taco mixer at 115-120* . Pipe Tank with supply into top port . Leave wiring as is
2 .  Eliminate DHW circ altogether . Add Taco ZVC 403 and a third zone valve for DHW (1") , wire aquastat to zone 3 , set aquastat to 160* with a 10* diff., set Taco domestic mixing valve to 115-120* , make this zone Priority . Pipe tank with supply into top port .
 Install 0013 VDT to handle domestic and space heating . Disable ODR , if in fact it is in operation now , does not seem that reset is an option for this one due to poor performance at present , set boiler high limit to 190* . Change wiring accordingly .The system will operate at a respectable 85%+ and all will be good .
 3.   Cut and cap DHW loop from present location , move to inside of boiler loop  and pipe and pump as per page 64 and 65 notes and illustrations ,  keeping DHW loop as short as possible of course . Set boiler high limit at 190* , enable ODR , change space heating pump to 0013 VDT , possibly 008 VDT if piping for heating circuits allows ,  set tank temp at 160* and mixer at 115-120* . Pipe supply into top port of tank .
    Please check me on these options folks so we can offer her something to hand these fine gentlemen so they may make her whole .


@ December 13, 2013 9:45 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

do you have prints for this house ? how about a floor plan ?  Do you know the insulation R values in the exterior walls and ceilings to any space without heat above ?  What contractor performed this work ,   Sorry again for your dilemma .  It took us awhile to pinpoint all the mistakes from afar .  I will e mail you recommendations to hand to these gentlemen when they come if you are comfortable with that . Maybe the others would like to contribute to this final analysis so you can just hand it to them and enjoy Christmas and put this nonsense behind you .  If needed I do know of a few very talented guys up your way also .


@ December 13, 2013 9:33 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

some bad practice here huh ?  I spoke with Jason at HTP yesterday and explained exactly what we are dealing with on this one . In this particular installation we require a 0011 for the DHW , that could change if instead of discussing 105's and secondary tanks that will make the problem worse these guys would possibly read what we are saying to the homeowner .   Does moving the DHW piping inside the boiler loop and using the 0014 as Burnham recommends on page 65 0f the manual ?  I also believe that this system has pumping problems on the space heating side also and believe that a 00 VDT would correct that too . Can't speak to 008 ,0012 , 0013 because all I know is that there is 114 feet of installed radiation and possibly more in the future .  Could you agree that the fix may be as simple as these couple items ? Hell , at this point they could leave it piped as is and change the DHW pump to the 0011 and the heating pump to VDT and have it whipped . Storage temp in indirect at 160* and boiler making max for DHW. Not sure reset is even an option in this house , of course just guessing because no room by room was done .I don't understand why they did not just stay Burham and install the Alliance Sl  IWH or just use an HTP boiler , hell the Versa Hydro was made for this job , Pioneer with this IWH would have been stellar

Heat loss calculation

@ December 13, 2013 1:17 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

would have told how many BTUh the home actually required . Missed opportunities abound on this project . They sized the boiler per the installed radiation whether it was correct or not . Could have determined if lower temps were feasible and maximized the efficiency of the boiler . This boiler will quite probably only operate at around 88-89% efficiency .
    The 80 is probably alright until you put baseboard in the 700 sq ft area with only a fireplace now .  I suspect that the space heating pump is also too small for the installed radiation . 
    The 105 may be beneficial when you heat the extra space you have but w/o a proper rom by room heat loss we don't know anything for sure .  You can increase the storage capacity of any storage type vessel by increasing the temp in the tank and mixing down . I cannot tell you how many indirects I have installed of similar size that are dependably serving families of 4+.  I would not install a second vessel without addressing the pump issue , all that will accomplish is to increase the head and make the pump perform even worse .  


@ December 12, 2013 9:54 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

has discovered also that the little 007 is taking on the task of the boiler pump also . On a call for DHW the control is shutting down the boiler pump and that poor 007 is trying to move all water required through the boiler and DHW and ALL THAT PIPE . That's why they (Burnham) recommend the 0014 for DHW pump for Alpine , Indirect (alliance , same head and GPM we have determined) and associated piping (from boiler loop) .  Now I'll get even crazy , I'd be willing to bet that the other little 007 given the task of putting enough water through the baseboard is also nowhere near large enough to do that job either . 
   If the system was to stay as it is now , not even the 0011 would properly do the DHW , you would require a 0013 and I'd also bet that a 008 VDT would fix the heating side problem also .  What say you Gentlemen ?  

How many

@ December 12, 2013 3:58 PM in Flow issue

GPM do you need through each circuit , and at what temperature ? What heat exchanger is installed and what pump is on the other side and what is the source ?


@ December 12, 2013 3:35 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

Please read and give thoughts .  I spoke with HTP tech this morning and explained the situation and got their recommendations for flow and head loss .
     As per the Burnham manual .  Page 56 .
Do we all agree that the valves in the pix are standard port as opposed to full port ? Standard port = 12' TEL    Full port =  5.7 ' TEL
This is certainly not a swing check valve , Correct ?   If it were it would equal 4.5 ' of pipe , since it is a typical flo check though it has as much resistance as 54' of pipe .
3 sideport tees totaling 13.5 equivalent feet
10 90* fittings totaling 25' equivalent and roughly 40 feet of 1" type M copper .

If my math is correct we have a circuit that is 144 feet in equivalent length plus the actual HX @ 9.1 feet head  .  The heat lost from that length of run is roughly 8*F uninsulated .
   HTP states that at 7.3 GPM installed in this circuit that the head for this HX is 9.1 Ft Hd .  They also state that in fact the supply should be in the top port of the HX as we all know unlike the installer that counter flow is best practice . Burnham has depicted in several install illustrations that a DHW loop right off of the boiler loop is GOOD. 
   Boiler temp for domestic should be 188*F minimum ,  pump should be Taco 0011 or equal (8.94gpm @ 23.97 Ft/hd), Supply & Return should be reversed for indirect , Pipe circuit to indirect should be insulated , water in storage should be 150*-160* with mixing valve set at 115* -120* .   I personally would bite the bullet as the installer and cut and cap the installed lines and move their origin to the boiler loop and use the 0014 as per their recommendation on page 65 (manual) and be done with it . What we have here is an installer that is not willing to make good and learn something in the process .  We all had these types of mistakes at some point . I would hope that as I did we made the customer whole , ate the cost and called it Tuition as our esteemed host says .
 Please give your thoughts on the above recommendations so this family can get some closure . Baseboard heat help , please look in the find a contractor section of this site to see if there is indeed someone local to you .
  Also please don't take my word for it , call HTP and inquire . 508 - 763-8071, customer support , they are local and may just surprise you and send someone to see this . Burnham is in Pa , I highly doubt the man at your house was employed by anyone other than your contractors distributor . If he is in fact employed by Burnham he should be made to take a class on integrity .   

Please Read

@ December 11, 2013 8:54 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

First off , I have  a question .  Was the Burnham rep from the distributor or does he represent Burnham and work for Burnham ?
 Second question would be Why in several different illustrated depictions in the Alpine manual do they show the indirect piped off of the boiler piping like we do with so many mod cons ? Third question is why would Burnham recommend the Taco 0014 w/o flo chek for an install using their Alliance indirect that requires less GPM than we have discussed here with only slightly higher head (9.5') , They list the Total head for Alpine , Alliance SL & piping loop head loss at 19.3' Head . This can be found on page 65 of your Alpine manual . Oddly enough there also happens to be  Burnhams equivalent length of copper fittings and sweat valves so one could figure equivalent pipe length for installed fittings and pipe can be figured . Maybe these installers never read that far into the book or maybe they just look at pictures and put in a pump where there is a pump and other devices where they are depicted never worrying about head , Cv , pipe size , pressures . That would be my guess . Too bad they didn't know sites like this existed and maybe they should log on and ask some questions .
  Baseboard , maybe you should  ask them these uncomfortable questions and demand an intelligent response from someone involved with this farcical installation . Make them explain how the mnual that came with this boiler could be wrong  Maybe have your husband ask since they seem to think you should not be involved and talk with him in your absence so he may keep you from pursuing the truth .
Just looked at pictures again and according to Burnhams charts on page 56 of your manual the installed piping is a Total equivalent length of around 144.5 feet of 1" type M , This takes into account 10 90's , 3 branch flow tees , 3 ball valves ( look like standard port ) , Flow check valve ( typical) and 40 feet of pipe , plus the equivalent length of the HX in Super Stor (46.5') . Total equivalent length is around 191' of Type M copper .  Is this feasible ?

How does

@ December 10, 2013 8:38 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

that keep happening Weezbo?  Was me typing slow this time .

The old elevation misconception

@ December 10, 2013 8:12 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

rears it's ugly head once again .  Imagine that , I wish you could see me right now , this is my shocked face .  The following may be a bit technical but maybe you could print this out and transfer ownership of this post to this Genius .
  The following is the definition of head , Your heating guy is only one third right .
Ready , We're off.   Fluid in a hydronic system contains both thermal and mechanical energy .Thermal energy content depends on temperature and specific heat , thermal energy is something that can be sensed , feel your pipes .  Hot water contains more thermal energy than colder return water .
  Now to the fun part . Head is the mechanical energy present in the same fluid which depends on 4 things , Pressure , density , elevation and velocity at some point in the system .  Pressure head is the mechanical energy because of pressure . Velocity head is the mechanical energy because of it's velocity . elevation head is the mechanical energy due to the height in the system . Total head is the sum of pressure , velocity , elevation heads .   The equation goes something like this .   Total head  equals the sum of these .   Ask your plumber or heating man than why 100' of 3/4" pex at 10 GPM with 180* fluid in it laying flat has a head of 47.56 feet but if the fluid was only 100* the head would be 53.38 feet head  .   You see height is only part of the equation .  2 different pipes with different temp fluid , different heads
A circulator is a device that imparts the mechanical energy needed to drive the fluid at a certain velocity .  The colder the water the more dense it is requiring more energy to be added to overcome the energy lost through a portion of the system .  When pipes get larger they cut down the head feet also . 

Easy fix

@ December 10, 2013 6:55 AM in Cold spot ?

would be Smiths Heating Edge baseboard , @ 130* depending on which way you pipe it (there are choices) you can get anywhere from 349 - 516 BTU per foot .  Although your boiler is making 131* water at 32*F depending on where this piece of heat is situated in the loop I would imagine a lower temp at that location . I would go with a lower temp through that piece of baseboard to achieve comfort in the bathroom , a towel warmer is a good idea also as stated .

This means

@ December 8, 2013 3:53 PM in Hot water baseboard heating

you should start researching the consumer fraud protection laws in Mass , contact those who administer the program directives for Mass Saves and tell them about your problems . Next look in the find a contractor place on this site and have it properly addressed by someone qualified to install or repair such a system . Then go about retrieving damages from the guy who cannot read manufacturers specs and that does not know that Taco makes anything other than a 007 .

May I

@ December 8, 2013 3:41 PM in Advice on manifold placement

inquire to who informed you that an 1800 foot square home that is tight would ever require 40 BTU /sq/ft ?  Unless you reside somewhere relatively sub arctic this is a hard number to accept . 
The 006 pump you have there , where is that pump or are they both 006's ?  The 006 is not capable of 72000 BTUs but may be enough pump for 20 K at 3.8 feet head or less .  Gentlemen , am I mistaken or is this circ pumping directly towards the Expansion tank ?  Rice , if this pump is in fact pumping to the right of these photos it should be moved to the other side of the expansion tank . I also don't see a backflow prevention device on the heating side of this arrangement and the pump is also pumping directly toward the pressure reducing valve . Rice , a backflow prevention device is required on this piping so nasty heating water that may have unhealthy things in it don't hurt you and yours . A good place to pipe that PRV to would be to a tee right under the air elimination and add the BFP right before the PRV .  I would also use a TACO Delta T circ instead of the one that is there since all zones are pumped by one device . When you get the right pump in there you may get a lot of velocity noise and be moving too much fluid for beneficial heat transfer to take place .  Check the direction of the pump on the heater side of the Heat exchanger also , does it pump to the bottom of the heater ?  It should , you want your supply water being taken from the top of the water heater where it is the hottest .  We will be here to further assist you .    Is your water heater set to 120 or is the mixing valve ?
  I would also like to say that you have done some very nice looking work here .


@ December 6, 2013 7:05 AM in 1/2" pex homerun to iron rads

all of your GPM requirements , figure out the highest head circuit including all piping and devices .  You can install a single speed circ that closely matches your GPM and flow or you can use a variable speed pump . These methods will get you close to your desired Delta T .  All the pump factories make variable speed pumps , Taco offers the 00VDT series and the Bumble Bee , both are capable of closely monitoring and controlling Delta T. 00 series are not ECM circs and come standard in 008 , 0012 , 0013 .  Bumble Bee is an ECM circ that operates between 9 and 42 watts and can be set up for Delta T operation , constant or setpoint .   Swei is right on point with his Delta recommendations
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