Security Seal Facebook Twitter GooglePlus Pinterest Newsletter Sign-up
The Wall


Joined on January 19, 2012

Last Post on August 28, 2014

Contact User

Recent Posts

1 2 3 4 5 ... 82 »


@ 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.


Internet reviews

@ August 20, 2014 11:44 PM in Please Recommend a good gas to radiator boiler system

Why do you think you are going to find a review on the internet that will tell you which boiler to buy? All you will get is folks that have an issue with a misinstalled boiler or marketer pimping there product
Cast Iron boilers have been around forever and by design they are very dependable if installed correctly.
Nearly every manufacture in the country makes a solid dependable cast iron boiler. debating which one is better is like deciding between a Ford and a Chevy.
The real  question is whether you can find an installer who knows what they are doing?
A knucklehead installer can screw up a boiler just like a bad mechanic will screw up you car.
Find a good contractor who will do a heat loss calculation and install the correctly sized boiler per the manufacture instructions then have them install the boiler they are most comfortable with.
When it comes to cast iron,It's not about the boiler. It's all about the installer.


@ August 17, 2014 10:19 AM in Altitude and Deration


Thank you for your reply.
My experience with triangle tube boilers in particular is that the 2% per thousand works perfectly,even with the weaker gas. If you calculate how long it should take to heat a specific capacity indirect tank at full fire, the math works perfectly.

I have also noticed that the triangle tube needs very little combustion adjustment at altitude when burning propane. When the same boiler burning natural gas is setup with an analyzer, it always needs a richer mix. My theory is that no fuel deration is required at all because you are giving the boiler the fuel content it needs by adjusting the mix.

This is one of those things that everyone has a different idea about, yet no one has a great explanation.

One good test would be to clock the gas meter while simultaneously verifying a known heat load.

Thank you for your post,


Fire Tube

@ August 16, 2014 6:41 PM in gas condensing boiler recommendation

The stainless firetube heat exchanger is a plus.Triangle Tube first designed it and has improved on it.

All Mod con boilers interface easily with indirects so that would not be a consideration for me.

What negatives have you heard about the WM?

How well supported are they in your area?


@ August 16, 2014 1:40 PM in System's Architect

Asking NREL is a good idea.
What you are calculating is such a variable target that at some point you are going to have to make a (hopefully highly) educated guess.
Obviously, storing the water at lower temps (higher volume) with more insulation is advantageous.
I find you work very interesting, keep us posted.



@ August 16, 2014 9:22 AM in System's Architect

It is curious that these guys are putting the insulation on the inside of the concrete tank. They are loosing out on the additional BTU storage potential of the concrete itself.
Have you considered a precast concrete tank with a closed cell spray foam polyurethane applied to the outside? You can get almost R7 per inch at around 80 cents per board foot.
As far as the insects go , as much as they will vary by location, A dense closed cell foam will help. I have heard of additives that can be put in the foam to resist insects although I have not used them.
Very interesting dialog. I have learned much.



@ August 15, 2014 9:54 PM in Altitude and Deration

I am fairly confident I understand this correctly.
Non of the Guru's of high altitude want to chime in?

Cold water

@ August 15, 2014 12:48 PM in TT Smart 80 & Prestige Solo 110 Summer Gas Usage

You are correct that the heat you are loosing is through the uninsulated pipes in the house.

As far as your concern about cold water entering the system. Water is essentially incompressible right? You can only fit a finite volume of water any piping system. Unless someone opens a water valve somewhere in the house, it would defy the laws of physics for the cold water to enter the system. It would have to displace the the water that is already there and it cannot.

There are formulas that will estimate the heat loss through insulated and uninsulated pipe. What you are witnessing is consistent with uninsulated pipe.

An difficult but important concept to get your head around.



@ August 14, 2014 8:40 AM in Wrong aquastat?

That controller is designed to be able to run at a higher temp when you have a call for heat and a lower temp to keep the DHW coil hot the rest of the time. With an indirect it can be reconfigured to eliminate the "always on" feature.
You want to be sure that you are not consistently returning water colder than 130 degrees to the boiler. Your present settings sound like you are, although if the tankless feature has been disabled, the boiler may be ignoring the 120 setting.
Does your boiler maintain a temperature when there is no call?

I think you have 2 choices;
Keep the aquastat you have and set it so it turns on around 150 and off around 160 and forget it. Make sure the tankless feature is disabled.

Buy a controller like a tekmar 256 that will give you some outdoor reset and boiler protection features.I would leave the existing aquastat (just set it high so it only serves as a safety) and wire the tekmar in series.



@ August 12, 2014 11:29 PM in Boiler with mini split for heating

Check out the attached spreadsheet. After you plug in the local energy costs you need to figure out what the COP  of your mini split is at different outdoor temps.
There be a point when the outdoor temp makes the COP of the mini split low enough so that the Mod/Con becomes more efficient


@ August 12, 2014 10:01 PM in Indirect heating system

I think you need to take what you do know and work the math a few different ways.
The surface area of the radiator would be extremely helpful.
The duct size and the pipe size are also important.
Have you done a heat loss on the home?
What size nozzle does the existing burner have?
What is the oil consumption?

You are getting some great advise. You need to provide more info.



@ August 12, 2014 7:37 AM in Homeowner replacing gas with electric, seek input

You had a heat source that met the load. What size was it? The heat loss you did sounds pretty close. Unless you are trying to program big setbacks,(not recommended with high mass radiant).you don't need to overpower this thing. This is why outdoor reset is such a good idea. Think of it as a big freight train, if you get it going to fast (hot) it is really hard to slow (cool) it down. People like to put lots of gauges on these things. As much as it is useful to know you supply and return temp to make sure you have proper circulation, in a properly designed system, watching the gauges is a little like watching paint dry.


@ August 11, 2014 6:17 PM in In series Heat pump WH 50g and two electic 80 gallons

I think you first need to get a grip on your hot water needs. You can do this by either (or both) counting the fixtures and there flow rates or determining what you have now, that is working, and duplicate it. If you post the make and model of your existing indirect tank and the BTU rating of your boiler(furnaces heat air) that would help.
You then need to consider the local fuel availability and costs in your area and make9 a long term plan. I would be surprised if electric is much cheaper than oil. Do you have nat. Gas?

Tanks in series are ugly from a design point of view.
1 2 3 4 5 ... 82 »