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Joined on March 4, 2013

Last Post on May 12, 2013

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@ May 12, 2013 12:48 AM in Cast iron baseboard

Burnham still makes cast iron baseboard I believe.



@ April 20, 2013 7:10 PM in Heat Loss Software Preference

The free Slant/Fin calc is often cited as a good freebee. I have used it and find it to be easy to use and easy to do what-if calculations. It is not been updated in some time but there is an Iphone/Ipad version.

Chris and ced48

@ April 20, 2013 12:35 PM in How would you control a Bumblebee circulator in a pure TRV situation?


If all zones are on, and the house is over raidited with 198' of standart BB and 24' of Hicap, why  won't I be able to pull all the btu's from the 80?


We are talking aout a D/T on the boiler loop not the zone side.


Design Day

@ April 20, 2013 8:49 AM in How would you control a Bumblebee circulator in a pure TRV situation?


Thank you for the reply. I do have a pump that has a curve that matches the required flow for a 30* D/T.

 I don't understand your statement:

 "Unless today it's your coldest day of the year and the space needs heat you can't pull out the btu/hr created"

I don't unerstand what the OAT has to do with it.  If its 60* outside and its 68* inside and I set all 3 Tstats to 72 and manually set the boiler to high fire with a water temp of design day, lets say 160 should I not be able to monitor the boiler rise and confirm my pump is pumping the correct amount? Yes, I realize it will not take very long to satify the Tstats, but it should be long enough to to the test.

You have a far greater understanding of these systems than I, and realize I am probably missing something.



Setting primary flow

@ April 18, 2013 10:00 AM in How would you control a Bumblebee circulator in a pure TRV situation?

I am still a little uncomfortable using D/T as there is no way to set a min flow as a backup. I would like to set it by firing the boiler on high fire and setting the flow to get the 35* D/T as shown in the Alpine manual. My confusion comes with what to do with the secondary zones. Do they all have to be running?  


@ April 17, 2013 9:45 PM in How would you control a Bumblebee circulator in a pure TRV situation?

I had thought about that but am not sure of the reliability of the D/T mode with the use of sensors and all. That would be the way to go as it would keep D/T's the same no matter what the output. I just don't think that is a safe way to go in this  new operating mode till its proven. Any thoughts?



@ April 17, 2013 12:39 PM in How would you control a Bumblebee circulator in a pure TRV situation?


Yes, thank you I do understand that but am not sure about secondary interference. Will not the zone's effect the the boiler rise? It seems that if I am flowing less than the boiler with one zone on or flowing all zones with more than the primary it will effect the rise. I was going to do as you suggest, as I have a clamp on digital temp meter that reads D/T, but wasn't sure what do do with the zones.


Bumblebee issues

@ April 17, 2013 10:25 AM in How would you control a Bumblebee circulator in a pure TRV situation?

I have 2 Bee's to be used in my home heated with an Alpine 80.
I installed the first one on the primary boiler zone in the fixed "CP" mode. I did this as the graph showed speed 2 to fit the requirements of 5' of head and 4.2 GPM. for a D/T of 35* The LED does show 22 Watts which is correct for speed 2 but the GPM shows 9.5GPM. That is over 100% error. Is the accuracy of the GPM readout really that unreliable? I even throttled the ball valve back a bit and the GPM readout actually went up and the wattage went down to 14. I just want to make sure that I am flowing te correct rate on the primary of the P/S plumbed setup.

My plan was to use the two of them on the two larger zones of my three zone house in the D/T mode. There is some repipeing yet to be done to the zones so I  though I'd use one temporarly on the Primary to see how well it worked.

Has anyone had experience with these pumps to see if the PM readout is so error prone?

Thanks for any thoughts,



@ April 16, 2013 5:12 AM in Will air in line effect heat output of BB

Thank you all for the suggestinons. There are no bleeders on the top floor zone as there is on the main floor. I will increase the pressure and flush that zone. The new installation has the zone pumps on the return line and NOT pumping away from the expansion tank as I understand it should be. When I called the installer back over he agreed it was easier the way he did it but said he would chnge it.



@ April 15, 2013 11:36 AM in Will air in line effect heat output of BB


Thank yu for the reply. I am surprised that there is no noise if it has  air. I did see the bleaders on  couple of the BB's and will crack hem later today and see if there is any air.


Will air in line effect heat output of BB

@ April 15, 2013 9:53 AM in Will air in line effect heat output of BB

I have have a new installation with 3 zones all fed with their own zone pump. It seems that in the upstairs zone there isn't much heat comming out of the BB even with 160* water. I am thinking that perhaps there is air in the line. I do not hear any noise of water running. I just cleaned all the BB removing dust and dog hair,etc. The BB are in the order of 30-40 years old. Do they tend to loose the ability to raidiate heat with age?


I got it

@ April 12, 2013 12:47 AM in BumbleBee question

Finally I got it.. More flow, more BTUs but lower D/Ts.  Thank you all or the time and effort put into this discussion. I will have the new 80 installed on this Sat and have a Bumblebee to put on one of the zones. Am anxious to see how well it will maintain the D/T.

I don't see how downsizing the top end of the mod rate will help with short cycling. Unless its caused by the boiler ramping up too fast and overshooting the set point by more than the overshoot limit. Short cycling is caused by the low end being too high for the load at the time, and that is not adjustable, low end is fixed.


Sorry, but am a bit confused

@ April 11, 2013 10:11 AM in BumbleBee question

As someone trying to learn hydronic systems for the past several months I am a little confused, after reading some of the posts here, by the relationship between flow and BTU extraction. As I understood it decreasing the flow in a hydronic heating loop would allow the emitters to extract more heat/BTUs from the water thus lowering the returned water temp. I do understand there are  limitations when we get into low water temps as BB does not do well with low temps. It just seems that returning water with a  20* D/T  is got to be more efficient that returning 5* D/T water because we haven't actually used many of the available BTUs in that water to do what it is supposed to do, dump the heat into the rooms.
 My guess is that 20* was chosen as a sorta standard because much higher would cause considerable differences in heat output from the beginning to end of a loop.
I look forward to any thoughts or comments.



@ April 9, 2013 8:40 PM in Circulators that you can set GPM

Thank you all again for the advice and guidence.
Well first the 150 is less than a year old and the plumber is buying the replacement boiler. We made a deal that he could have the old boiler if he would do some additional plumbing for me. Not too bad a deal as there was a $1500 rebate when I bought th 150 but the Alpine is derated to 92% now fo some reason, so the new ones do not qualify. Some of the redo was correcting his not "Pumping Away" setup. Zone pumps are in the return lines and I have had air in the upstairs zone two or three times now.

Yes Eastman, there are 5 circs in the photo. One is for the DHW and the others are for the 4 zones. I tied two of the 3 downstairs zone circulators to one thermostat and had very even temps in those rooms during the colder days. It was an attempt to unload the boiler more. Part of what my plumber is doing is to replumb those 2 zones as one. That has created differences on how to do it which leads to another question I have if I may:

Right now there is one line, a 28' run of 1" that splits and receives water from the  2 zones running each side of the house. One loop has 51' of bb and 41' of 3/4. The other has 42' of bb and 30' of 3/4. He wants to tie the two loops together where they split and eliminate the 28' 1" then feed it as a single long loop. I don't like the idea because if I shoot for a 20* D/T the last portion of the loop is going to be getting much cooler water and resulting, me thinks, in uneven heating. I want to keep it as is except feed the water to the 28' 1" and tie the two returns together making it  2 parallel loops abit with different head values. Put a circuit setter or something in the shorter loop to equalize the flow and it should work, I think. He sees my reasoning but not sure he agrees with it. What do those of you with far more experience than I think? 

The wife is off to Paris for a month to immerse herself in the language by taking an intensive language class. This leaves me with the dog and my copy of Modern Hydronic Heating which hopefully I will get through by the time she comes home....OK on to chapter 7.


Circulators that you can set GPM

@ April 9, 2013 10:18 AM in Circulators that you can set GPM

I am having a new Alpine 80 installed today to replace the way oversized boiler that was installed about a year ago. Having been doing a lot of reading and research and feel somewhat up to speed. One of the things I would like to do is set up the P/S flows properly as I understand the way they should be. My plumber came over yesterday with the new boiler. I talked to him about primary and zone flows and he said I just used whatever pump comes with the boiler and uses 007's for each zone. From what I have read you want D/T's on the primary of 30-35* and the zones should be 20* for best chance of operating in the condensing mode more often.The Alpine manual does have a chart showing required flow for a given D/T. I realize that this is at max output and will be less as the boiler mods down.  I have one Taco Bumble Bee that I will use in one of the 3 zones I have utilizing D/T to set flows. The primary however I want to set a fixed GPM and know that is what I have. Are there any pumps that you can set the actual GPM? The Bumble Bee does not seem to be able to do this.




@ April 8, 2013 9:03 AM in Too many options - need help

Currently here in Ma. they are offering a $1500 rebate for a 95% or greater installation of a boiler. An Alpine 80 is bout $3000. With the rebate the cost is $1500. I do realize installation costs are a bit higher but still seems like worth looking into.


Thanks Chris and Eastman

@ April 6, 2013 5:24 PM in Pumping Awa Question

Thanks guys for taking the time to explain this stuff to a hydronic dummy.
I am beginning to get it finally. So if my boiler is running steady state with, just say, all zones on and extracting the exact amount of BTU's the boiler is putting out it would measure, at the boiler in and out ports, whatever rise I had set the flow for.  
As we want to keep the input returning water as low as possible having a secondary flow greater than the primary is the way to go. So choosing a high D/t on the primary will give the best chance of this. So why would anyone choose lower D/T?


Looking at the charts

@ April 6, 2013 11:15 AM in Pumping Awa Question

In looking at the manual I appears tha the 80 requires 5.8gpm with a head loss of  10.3, so the BB would a wee too small. Now this is what I am still having a problem understanding. I have read many times that zones should be sized for a 20* D/t and on a mod/con P/S setup you want to have a high D/t on the primary for efficiency. The Alpine manual shows a flow rate at 35* of 4.2gpm with a total head loss of less than 6 which is well within the BB range. I just don't understand as a practical manor how one can get 25-35* D/t's on the primary circuit. If the boiler is putting out 160* water part of it is circulating through the boiler and part of it is 140* zone return water. Assuming all the zones are running and returning 140* water and the boiler is putting out 160* where does the 25-35* D/t's come from?


More pictures

@ April 5, 2013 7:02 PM in Pumping Awa Question

Here are some more pictures of my system.
The home is a 1860 built Sea Captains house on Cape Cod. It is 2300 Sq/Ft with upgraded windows and insulation. The boiler currently installed is an Alpine 150. I did the heatloss on the  on the house  by both the fuel used method and the Slant/fin calc and came out just slightly below 60k. After I did my homework and realized the plumber had not done his for this installation  I told him I wanted it removed and the proper size put in. He did agree and is replacing it with an Alpine 80. Hopefully early next week. Most of the piping will remain as it is which I am still concerned with.
Here are some more pics I took today. I understand why the pumps are in the return lines but the way I see it, its not pumping way. I am hoping this can be changed fairly easily as I am starting to hear water running in the upstairs zone, air in the zone.
The return manafold is the same size, 1", as the P/S plumbing. The flow through the P/S piping is ,return going left to right on the lower loop and mixed going right to left on the upper loop. The zone pumps pump into the return manafold then go through the P/S loop and then down to the air seperator and the compression tank. This is my concern as Dan says in his book "MAKE SURE YOUR SECONDARY PUMPS  ALWAYS  "PUMP AWAY"  FROM THE SUPPLY TEE TO THEIR ZONES." This does not seem to be plumbed that way.
 Hope that makes sense.

Thanks again for any suggestions,



@ April 5, 2013 10:06 AM in Just Don't Get Modcon Boiler Pump Charts!

I just called Taco and confirmed that the Bumblebee is a direct bolt in replcement for the 00 series. The data sheets do show a 1/16" difference in flange distances but the tech rep confirmed it is a direct replacement.

Great Questions

@ April 4, 2013 12:31 PM in Just Don't Get Modcon Boiler Pump Charts!

These are great questions. I have been wondering  myself abut the same ones.
If larger primary D/T's like 30-40* are best for efficiency what is the reason for choosing something lower.?

Pumping Away Question

@ April 4, 2013 8:42 AM in Pumping Awa Question

Just read Pumping away and as a hydronic novice learned a good deal and thoroughly enjoyed it.
As I have posted on another thread here I have a new installation wrought with issues.
The plumber that installed the WAY oversized boiler also plumbed the the zone pumps in the return line. In Dans book he describes why this is bad practice. He also makes it very clear that in a system plumbed P/S you must always pump away from the supply tee and toward the zones. This is not the way he plumbed it. I have included some pictures. Will this effect the operation of the  P/S interface?  Do I need him to come back over and correct it?
I have included some pictures that twill hopefully help.

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