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Joined on November 26, 2011

Last Post on April 23, 2014

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@ January 22, 2013 11:39 AM in How wood boilers control heat output?

Oh my.  This really does need some attention ASAP.

water won't cool off

@ January 22, 2013 11:36 AM in a little perplexed

until you pump it out into the distribution loop.  The point of the tank is to let the boiler burn the whole load of wood without overheating or needing to be choked off.

How many pounds of wood does the boiler firebox hold?

buffer tank

@ January 22, 2013 11:13 AM in a little perplexed

Is simpler than a dump zone.  A standard (tank-type) electric water heater will do this at the lowest cost.  Don't hook up the elements.  You need to pump enough water to keep the temps under 160F and it needs its own relief valve.

from the bottom of the header

@ January 22, 2013 11:01 AM in No pressure? (and a few other questions)

to the middle of the gauge glass, or the NWL marked on the boiler.  Where on the gauge glass does your waterline usually sit?

Dimension A

@ January 22, 2013 10:51 AM in No pressure? (and a few other questions)

What is the distance (in inches) from the lower header pipe to the normal waterline?

temp of the water

@ January 22, 2013 10:39 AM in How wood boilers control heat output?

Is affected by the rate of water circulation through the boiler.

Separating storage and distribution is not optional IMO with solid fuel boilers.  As Mark pointed out, the boiler needs a large enough tank to hold all the BTUs in a full load of wood, minus some minimum load figure during the burn time on a mild day.

1,000,000 BTU/hr

@ January 21, 2013 10:54 PM in What to look for in a contractor to replace my low pressure steam boiler



@ January 21, 2013 10:52 PM in Help with understanding the possibility of non-traditional use of PEX was started by a friend - they use HDPE tubing.

actually rather traditional

@ January 21, 2013 8:28 PM in Help with understanding the possibility of non-traditional use of PEX

other than the contact with salt water on the external side of the PEX.  Might have problems with EVOH, so perhaps a non-barrier PEX and nonferrous pump/boiler would be called for.

What is the heat requirement for the tank?  This will determine the required length of pipe.

Silent -- hmmm.  The acoustic coupling of water to PEX is quite good, so you'd need isolation between the pump and the tubing as a start.  Probably worth conducting a little experiment to see what velocity is audible.

sounds more like a bugffer tank than a dump zone

@ January 21, 2013 8:21 PM in Plg. & Htg. Contractor

Why not install a 40- or 50-gallon electric water heater instead, and limit the temps to something more reasonable?

it depends

@ January 21, 2013 3:07 PM in Primary/Secondary or Primary Only

On the flow requirements (load size) and the boiler HX design.  Low restriction fire-tube heat exchangers can be direct piped much of the time.

"We hired Home Depot

@ January 21, 2013 2:59 PM in 160 combo-heaters removed from housing project

because they can do the work faster."

... by subbing out to every unbooked contractor in the region?

there's so little steam around here

@ January 20, 2013 11:10 PM in Gifford Loop

I doubt they'd even notice the couple of inch difference.



Burns clean and has fantastic lubricity, but there are caveats:

It doesn't like cold (cloud point and cold filter plug point are both possible much of the winter.)

Its solvent action does a number on NBR O-rings and washers.  A fluorpolymer like Viton will work.

The residual methanol attracts water, making it hard to keep dry (several times more water than you get in dino-diesel.)

...and PLEASE DON'T SHOUT when you write.

Why not a Smith 19HE?

@ January 19, 2013 9:04 PM in Megasteam Gas conversion?

still curious...

0013 curve

@ January 19, 2013 8:56 PM in 0013 taco circulator

read the PDF

@ January 19, 2013 8:45 PM in Boiler Plumbing Problem

that Chris posted above.  Also available at

oversized is good

@ January 19, 2013 12:47 PM in Large heating bills - where to go from here

as it will let you run cooler water temps, allowing a mod/con boiler to really shine.  Room-by-room heat loss will tell you what temp at design conditions - be sure to size any additional radiators using the new supply water temp.

In-floor tubing will work better than dangling radiators, but needs its own reset curve.  You can do this with onboard controls on better mod/cons, but if both zones are calling for heat at the same time, it's better to use a motorized mixing valve on the RFH zone.


@ January 19, 2013 12:35 PM in Vacuum air vents on one-pipe systems

Plenty of DDC manufacturers make suitable controllers, and Mark S here has been rolling his own

line voltage thermostats

@ January 19, 2013 12:30 PM in need help upgrading old MEARS thermostats...

Honeywell and Aube both make suitable stats.

If the Unico cooling is adequate

@ January 19, 2013 10:48 AM in Large heating bills - where to go from here

but the heating is insufficient, more radiant sounds like the right answer.  As you seal and insulate the house, you will probably find the Unico useful for Make-Up Air.  I'd leave the first floor outlets until I was absolutely certain they weren't necessary to the final design.

Where are you located?


@ January 19, 2013 10:34 AM in 0013 taco circulator

Is a pretty big pump for a residential system.  Does the pump serve just this one coil?  How big is the load?
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