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Joined on January 19, 2012

Last Post on September 1, 2014

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@ September 1, 2014 4:18 PM in too many outdoor resets? (boiler vs mixing valve)

Do you own the buderus?
I am not a huge fan. I believe you will have to use their controls. I find them very counterintuitive. Be especially careful with water quality.


@ September 1, 2014 1:04 PM in too many outdoor resets? (boiler vs mixing valve)

The best way to do this is to have a controller manage the boiler and the mixing. This way the boiler is always running at the most efficient temp. As mentioned, some boilers have on board capabilities. Companies like tekmar also make (fairly expensive) but really nice external controllers.

What you are describing will work. The disadvantage is that the boiler will always fire to the temp needed for the hotter zone. You will lose some overall efficiency.

If the temp curves for your 2 zones are parallel ( not a high mass and low mass), the cheapest way to do it would be to install a non thermostatic mixing valve on the cooler loop. Once set up, one zone would just lag the other a certain number of degrees. The boiler would be set to the reset curve of the hotter zone.You would still lose the efficiency,. A very low cost solution.



@ September 1, 2014 8:41 AM in Floor Board Radiant Converting To Underfloor?

I think you should do a before and after heat loss on the area you plan to remodel,just to see where you are.
The near boiler piping is quite a bit different when you go to high efficiency. You will save materials and labor if you do it now.
I personally prefer the thick extruded aluminum plates like uphoner joist track. There are other good ones out there as well.
I know it is counter intuitive, think about warm ceilings, (heat doesn't really rise) hot air is lighter than cold. Radiant heat is like a beam of light.
Check out uponers CDAM manuals as well as the Radiant panel association.

Size to heating

@ August 31, 2014 9:21 PM in hot water demands

Hot rod, I completely agree that the DHW demands can be higher than the heating load. In that case it is far better to upsize the storage rather than mess with heating efficiency. A large indirect sized to a small condensing boiler is a great match as the large heat exchanger will drag down the boiler return temps making it very efficient.Tankless units are often a good call as well.

Heat loss

@ August 31, 2014 6:56 PM in Weil Mclain ECO 155 gas piping design question

The baseboard length will tell you the largest boiler you could possibly need.
The heat loss will tell you exactly what size you need.
With both pieces of info, you will know what your design water temp needs to be in order to maximize the efficiency of the new condensing boiler.
Cool stuff...


@ August 31, 2014 11:21 AM in Weil Mclain ECO 155 gas piping design question

Of course it is about sizing.
An incorrectly sized boiler will short cycle and have reduced service life and efficiency.
You can not do a piping design without accurate flowrates and you cannot figure flowrates without sizing.
The new boiler is more efficient than the old so should be smaller. The home has likely had insulation upgrades so the requirements would have changed. Who is to say the previous installer put in the right size?
If you are going with the "bury your head" in the sand approach, put in the 155 and pipe it primary/secondary per the manual and walk away.
If you want a properly sized and designed system, do a heat loss calc.


@ August 31, 2014 10:03 AM in Weil Mclain ECO 155 gas piping design question

How did you arrive at 155? How many LF of baseboard do you have? Have you done a heat loss?

The manual on that one is a math contradiction. You cannot have a max flowrate of 14.5 gpm and a t of 20  it just is not possible.

First determine the heating requirements, then work through the MW manual?

Recovery Rates

@ August 31, 2014 9:36 AM in hot water demands

The amount of storage is really not the question. Ironically most in the industry are still focused on it.

The recovery rate is far more important.
A typical electric unit only makes about .5 gpm in most setups.
A gas fire unit might make 1-1.5 gpm
An indirect would typically be in the 1.5 to 3 gpm  range depending on the boiler.

I home that would need a 120 gal electric might run just fine on a 40 gallon indirect.

Anyone that just looks at the tank size and says it will work is clearly uninformed.
If you don't ask what type of heater, you could easily be off by a factor of 6.

The correct approach is to look at the combination of storage and heating capacity and make an informed decision.

Many of the manufactures has calculators and charts that show the relationship between the two in order to help with sizing.

BTU/Hrs / 500/ Delta T = GPM
1KW/Hr=3415 BTU/Hr

Show the customer the facts and let them make the decision. Explain that this is about math not opinions.



@ August 31, 2014 9:12 AM in Burnham Alpine Furnace

No gas pressure.•Gas pressure under minimum value shown on rating plate.•Gas line not completely purged of air.•Defective Electrode.•Loose burner ground connection.•Defective Ignition Cable.•Defective gas valve (check for 24 Vac at harness during trial for ignition before replacing valve).•I am not seeing anything in the manual about the sage controller.
Code 27 is an ignition failure.
The most common cause is a bad ignitor. It is a wearable part that needs to be changed occasionally.
What did the plumber do in his "service"? Did he do a combustion analysis? If not He should have.
It is a little surprising that he did not address your problem. What you have is one of the most common issues with boilers in general and the boiler told him what the problem is.
Even though changing the ignitor is pretty easy, I would want to make sure a combustion analysis has been done before randomly changing parts.


@ August 30, 2014 2:04 PM in Boiler Mate WH7L Noise

Chris you crack me up! You really should come for a trip out west. There are thousands of folks living about 8,000 feet. Most heating systems are hydronic. We have running water,electricity and everything. Some wells are as shallow as 30 feet others approach 1,000 feet.The average is probably around 100'  Most folks have city water that comes from reservoirs.

Back to the original question.
The boiler is in the attic. Low system pressure is likely.
The circulator is pumping into the expansion tank, so whatever your system pressure is, you will have less behind the circulator.
The amtrol heat exchanger has  very high head resistance.

I think that the sound you are hearing is is water flashing to steam in  the heat exchanger. At that altitude water boiler in the 195 degree range. If you have negative pressure, you can boil water at room temp.

What is the system pressure and temp?  Do you trust the gauge?
Try raising the pressure it or better yet repiping the circulator.

Maybe the the lack of air is clouding my judgement but I think this is your problem.



@ August 30, 2014 9:05 AM in Floor Board Radiant Converting To Underfloor?

The first step is to do a room by room heat loss. Every room in your house loses heat to the outdoors at a different rate, therefore every needs to be treated differently from a heating point of view.

Next, you need to figure out what type of boiler you plan to install. High efficiency boilers are great products. The truth is they are not much more efficient than regular boilers unless you run them with low return water temps.
If you go the high efficiency route, you want to design your heat emitters for  return water temps no higher than about 130 degrees.

You will not get satisfactory performance out of a low temp radiant installation with plateless staple up or hangers. You need to pull the heat out of the tubing and transfer it to the occupants. Concrete and aluminum plates are very effective at this.

Do to the different heat losses in the different areas of the house, an assembly that is perfect for one space may not be appropriate for another. In floor radiant can be tough over existing uninsulated slabs.The downward heat loss is tough to overcome. A radiant ceiling or panel wall rad may be more appropriate for that application.

Your existing boiler is not designed for the low water temps the high efficiency boiler requires. You would likely need to do some extensive repiping to make it function correctly in a low temp environment.

Heating domestic water with your boiler via an indirect heater is a solid plan.

What type of existing warm floor do you have? Does it have aluminum?

Pictures always help



@ August 29, 2014 8:38 AM in First timer with questions

The wires should go to heat loop demand 1 on the boiler.
I am not sure if system sensor comes with the boiler. I don't think you need one with your single temp heating. The boiler already knows the water temp. The system sensor is for multitemp systems and variable speed circs.


@ August 28, 2014 3:09 PM in Zone valves and RIB cubes

I am guessing here but it is likely that the RIB is being used to isolate the 3 wire zone valves from a boiler that does not play nicely with them.
Which RIB do you have? How is it wired?
I think RIB makes some really useful and versatile products. Most of the ones you see in heating systems are just DPDT relays in a handy enclosure.


@ August 28, 2014 10:23 AM in Granite steps snowmelt

I think it will be a difficult task. My experience with concrete is that if you don't get the tubing within a couple inches of the nose of the tread, the snow melts then freezes right where you don't want it to on the nose. There is so much surface area on the nose that it is the first to freeze.
If money is no object, I would think that using several inches of insulation underneath and placing the tubing directly under the block would yield the best results. It also helps to run lower water temps and maintaining a constant "idle" temp to get more even heat.

Any chance they will do concrete treads with granite caps?

End switch

@ August 28, 2014 10:14 AM in First timer with questions

Usually the  boiler would be wire to the "X-X" terminals rather than the pump switch. Either will work.
The zone valves on supply or return is debatable. Some say the supply is better because you get less ghosting of heat.Others feel that valves last longer on the return. I don't see a right or wrong answer.

Gas line

@ August 28, 2014 12:02 AM in First timer with questions

As long as the gas line is properly secured and not touching, it is not a problem running along side a hot water pipe.
My reference to control wires was regarding your original question 8. I don't think your setup will use the boiler pump out terminal as you don't seem to have that type of pump.

Looks pretty good.

@ August 27, 2014 8:32 PM in First timer with questions

I would not change the piping you have. I can't see them but assume you have check valves on the dhw and boiler circs? Technically the dhw circ is pumping towards your expansion tank which is incorrect. In reality, the boiler and the indirect have such low resistance that it will work just fine.
It looks like the 120 volt power to the circulators is wired to the correct terminals. And the boiler will turn them on and off. Do you have circs with 0-10 vdc control capability. The control side of that arrangement can be 18 gauge wire but the power to the circ should be line voltage wiring, usually 12 or 14 gauge.


@ August 26, 2014 10:19 AM in First timer with questions

Could you describe the flow of each circ?
left, right, up, down?

Control Logic

@ August 26, 2014 9:41 AM in First timer with questions

As for your questions about circulator placement,it has more to do with the location of the expansion tank than whether you are pushing or pulling.If you post piping pictures it would help.

The way the controls work are as follows;
When the t-stat calls for heat it closes the circuit where you have wired the t-stats. The controller then sends power to terminal 1 (neutral on 2) which activates the motor on the zone valve. If you have a 4 wire zone valve, the "end switch" wires will be connected the corresponding 3 and 4 terminals on the taco controller. If you don't have a 4 wire zone valve, you can jumper terminals 3 and 4. This tells the controller the valve is open.
Once all this has happened, the taco controller will close the "X-X" terminal to tell the boiler it needs heat. It sounds like you would be connecting this to the "heat loop demand" terminals on the boiler.
The boiler should control the DHW  using a sensor. The Taco should not be involved.
It is hard to tell if you have the circs wired correctly without a piping diagram. Unless your circ is capable of 0-10 VDC control (most are not) it should not be wired there.


@ August 21, 2014 7:30 PM in New Boiler Radiant & Baseboard Taco Controls Question HELP!

The attached document should answer your question on the spacing.
The elevation of the circulators is irrelevant. Put them at a nice serviceable height and call it good.
Yes you will need a zone controller for the high temp valve and another for the low temp valves. Letting the boiler control the system circ is a good idea.

Boiler Protection

@ August 21, 2014 6:27 PM in New Boiler Radiant & Baseboard Taco Controls Question HELP!

You need boiler protection. A Taco I valve will do what you need and provide outdoor reset as well.

Not only will the condensation from low return temps destroy the boiler, The cold slab will draw down the temp of the system on startup and starve the baseboards.

Thank You

@ August 21, 2014 12:13 AM in Altitude and Deration

Mark thank you for the input. Truly appreciated.
I think I will have to leave propane for another post. Not a very regulated product which has left me scratching my head more than once.

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