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Joined on January 19, 2012

Last Post on July 25, 2014

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Slow down

@ June 4, 2014 9:31 AM in Reconnect oil boiler after copper ransack

You are are correct that you have 2 separate water circuits in the boiler. You are incorrect in thinking you can fire the boiler with just the domestic side hooked up.
The domestic coil is submerged in the heating circuits water. The entire system needs to be hooked up in order to fire the system.

Have you pressure tested yet?

I would suggest pressure testing the boiler first to find out if this boiler is worth the effort. You don't need to test the domestic coil, if it leaks you will see it when you test the boiler.

Once you have determined if the boiler is good, post your proposed piping diagram on here for feedback.

You should really make sure you have wrapped your head around the key safety elements in a boiler system. Failure to correctly install the pressure relief valve or low water cutoff can result in a major explosion (see mythbusters).

Incorrectly venting are tuning can result in carbon monoxide poisoning (death).

From what I have seen in your posts so far, you don't seem to understand the job at hand.

An incorrectly installed boiler really can kill you.

Aside from...

@ June 4, 2014 8:56 AM in Noisy pump

Aside from the obvious, get the circulator out of the dirt and support the piping properly.
I think it is likely that the noise you are hearing is coming from the mixing valve. Those are really designed for domestic hot water systems and tend to make a noise that sounds like a small nail is stuck in the pipe. Changing the pump speed may help as may proper pipe support.


@ June 1, 2014 6:18 PM in Variable Speed pump control issue

The manual attached is for a relay module. Do you have a manual for the Geni?
0-10 VDC is usually just 2 wires or 2 wire and a ground. The voltage varies from 2-10 volts DC. The solar controller would be putting out the signal and the Geni module would receive it and ramp the circ up and down accordingly.
We would need the manual to be more helpful.

Crevice corrosion

@ June 1, 2014 8:31 AM in Rinnai boiler corroded in less than two years

I think Ice is on it.
The combination of O2 and the low PH makes crevice corrosion seem very likely.
Combine that with the fact that most of the damage is around welds and gasketed connections with dissimilar metals and I think the cuprit is pretty clear.

I am guessing this is not the first boiler this house has had. What happened to the previous on?  How was the system purged when this boiler was installed? You likely have a bad "cocktail" that is, in part, made up of the ferrous components of " boiler past"

Heat Generator

@ May 29, 2014 2:37 PM in Boylston device

That looks like part of an old heat generator. The part with the mercury has been removed. They were ingenius devices that allowed gravity systems to run at temperatures above the boiling point and still be a safe nonpressurized system.

Heat Load

@ May 29, 2014 12:17 AM in Heat load calc( to pay, or not to pay)

I have to agree with NBC on this one.
My experience with Engineers on heat loss calcs is, they round up, Big.
Unless you have a high level of confidence in the guy you are hiring, do it yourself.
Siegenthaler has great software on his site that make the process pretty foolproof. The biggest unknown is the air change rate. Without a blower door test, everyone is guessing on that one.


How I (Almost) Saved the Earth

@ May 29, 2014 12:03 AM in How I (Almost) Saved the Earth

There was a question about picking the right Engineer on another post that reminded my of this article from a while back.
Funny, Funny Stuff!


@ May 27, 2014 11:23 PM in Time for an upgrade/retrofit

I am not sure I am following your thoughts.
I would have no reservations using a triangle tube prestige or a WM 97 firetube model.
Either could be piped without primary secondary as you suggest with no issue.
The existing piping likely holds hundreds of gallons, not to mention the piping and rads.
A good dirt separator is essential with an old gravity system.
As for the DHW, if there is space for an indirect tank, that would be my personal preference.


@ May 26, 2014 11:17 PM in troubleshoot constant call for heat

The strange thing about your drawing is that, with it wired that way,if either t-stat calls, all 3 zone valves will open. I guess it has always been like that.
I assume you have disconnected the end switch wires from the zone controller and determined that a valve is still calling. Therefore the problem is in the valves. I also assume that none of the valves are open and that the problem exists even if the transformer is disconnected. Now you can go through them one at a time with either an Ohmmeter or by trial and error and see which one is giving you trouble.You may just have a bad end switch.
With the wirsbo zone valves there can be a problem where the taco controller "overpowers" the end switch in the zone valve. This is corrected by putting a resistor in the end switch circuit. My understanding is that it damages the switch and it must be replaced.


@ May 26, 2014 5:43 PM in Steam Radiator to Water Question

There are 2 issues that come up with these conversions.
Many rads that do not leak steam will leak water like a firehose.
Steam rads often lack the tappings needed to vent the air and are difficult to convert to hot water.
I would post pictures of you radiator and let one of the steam gurus on here tell you what you have.

Sr 504

@ May 26, 2014 4:39 PM in troubleshoot constant call for heat

I see what you have (I think). The sr 504 is controlling your 3 circulators, but not using the individual t-stats. It is using groups of end switches instead.
What you have will work just fine if you wire it right.
Do you have 3 manifolds with zone valves? Does each manifold have it's own circ? Are the circs in the mechanical room? How many wires are running to the manifold from the mechanical? Is the transformer in the mechanical?


@ May 26, 2014 9:57 AM in Grundfos MQ Booster

Ice is on track.
You will never increase the flow much without reducing the restrictions.
You might want to show the owner the performance curves on the MQ.
It doesn't go above 62 psi.


@ May 25, 2014 10:56 PM in troubleshoot constant call for heat

You actually have 3 different low voltage power supplies and circuits in your system. That is not the problem.
First you have the transformer in your drawing. It should be connected to a switch (t-stat) and a load ( zone valve). As J Star suggested, you should check that this is working correctly first.

Second, you have a power supply in the zone controller. It has a coil inside which closes the pump switch and the boiler switch once The end switches on the zone valves complete the circuit.

The boiler has a similar arrangement which tells it to fire once the terminals in the zone controller close.

As Carol Fey would say, it's just power supplies,switches and loads.

Start from the beginning and sort it out.



@ May 24, 2014 11:28 AM in Tips for quieting down a staple up radiant floor?

There is no new water introduced. The cooler return water is just recirculated. The taco I Series is a good one. Look in the instruction manual and it will all make sense.


@ May 24, 2014 9:33 AM in troubleshoot constant call for heat

The ends switches look fine.
On the yellow wires, the wire nut in the center should not be tying every thing together. The wires coming from the t-stats should go to there respective zone valves.
The sr 504 is not really the right product for this. The ZVC 403-4 would clean this up nicely.


@ May 24, 2014 9:08 AM in Tips for quieting down a staple up radiant floor?

The route of the problem is rapid thermal expansion. The quick increase of almost 100 degrees is too much.
Reducing water temps and going with outdoor reset would help greatly. As you know that's not a great idea with an open system.
I think you are either going to have to add a mixing assembly and close the system or live with the noise. You simply can't stop the expansion.
It is really interesting to me, the passion people have for their open systems. Almost like a religion...


@ May 23, 2014 6:25 PM in Time to pull the trigger

the tank should be designed for potable water. Make sure you reduce the pressure before you install it.(usually 15#)
The boiler could control both circs as well, as long as they are less than 1.8 amp combined.(they are)
If you are doing a fancy t-stat that needs a common the relay is a good idea.
Why not at least have the boiler control the boiler circ?


@ May 23, 2014 7:43 AM in Time to pull the trigger

What I was trying to say is that in either design you need one stainless circ and expansion tank.
The only price increase by going without the the HX is an additional SS circ.
If you go with the exchanger, you need the other stuff as well.
Yes 2 stainless circs total without the exchanger.


@ May 22, 2014 6:44 PM in Electric Water Heater Problems

The good news is you now know four guys NOT to call next time.
Thanks for the follow up.


@ May 22, 2014 9:22 AM in Time to pull the trigger

You need to buy a ss circ and expansion tank for the heating side either way.
If you don't use a  HX you need to upgrade the circ on the boiler side to ss for about $200.That's it
If you use an HX, you need another;
fill valve
heat exchanger
pressure gauge
expansion tank
misc fittings
At least $800 more.


@ May 21, 2014 11:35 PM in Help diagnosing hydro air problems....

I still think verifying the air pressure and checking that the air vent in the attic is working should be next. How many vertical feet is the handler above the boiler?
I think completely isolating the other zones (close the valves) and trying just the one is a good plan.
Pull the head off the zone valve and be sure it is opening completely.
Check the amp draw on the circ and inspect  the impeller.
Take apart the water side of the zone valve.
Inspect the piping especially inside the air handler for a partially closed valve.
The series of 90s on the intake side of the circ are not helping matters.


@ May 21, 2014 7:06 PM in Help diagnosing hydro air problems....

Ya a 26-99 will get it done. It should be moving about 6 gpm.
I think it is either airlocked of mispiped. Sometimes someone "knuckleheads" the boler piping and the water mostly runs around in circles.
 A picture would sure help.
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