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Here are some Boiler systems that I have installed recently for infloor heating and domestic hot water.

This one has 9 zones. 2 in garage, 4 upstairs which the tubing is imbedded in gypcrete, and 3 in the bsmt. also domestic hot water. we pre fabricate these boards and water test them, sometimes we'll wire them as well. This also gives us a chance to flush out all the flux and other impurities that get inside. usually we put the exp. tank on and other things but this was a heavy board, we even took the pumps off and I tried carrying them all in at once and broke the housing on one pump. oops.
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This job also had gypcrete and has 6 zones with 3 upstairs, 1 in garage and 2 downstairs. We usually use Trinity boilers.
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We used a conventional boiler on this job and as you can see it was not quite finished as we still needed to vent the boiler and put exp. tank on and put the gas drop to it. Zone valves were also used.
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This is a geothermal job but we only hooked up to the white storage tank. It was 2 zones of in between the joists heating. it was interesting because the temperature of the water was barely warm and was still heating the house.
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This was a small commercial building
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some very nice systems. what do you think about the nti boilers, i ran across one a couple of weeks ago. seemed to be a tight little boiler. oh yeah nice job w/ the cushion strut clamps theres no other way to go w/ boiler piping.:thumbsup:
 

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Discussion Starter #5
Thanks guys. Yeah the NTI Trinity boilers are pretty good. I've only been installing them for three years but seem to be a very reliable residential boiler. They say that it reaches 93% efficiency but it usually runs at 88-90%. I would recommend that a combustion analyzer be used when firing up to set the air/gas ratio. A couple times the boiler started shaking when first fired up and I heard people stopped using trinity's for this problem but a couple turns of a screw solves this. Not the best boiler but great for the price.
 

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Discussion Starter #9
I see in that 1st pick you used some John Gues fittings. Do you use them on permanent installs and if so how are they holding up?
Those were actually just samples I got when they first came out. In that pic I was water testing the board so I decided to use my two free samples to test the pumps. They held. They seem fine but I wouldn't use them for permanent installations. I have an air test with one of these caps right now, thats been on for 3 weeks already.
 

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Discussion Starter #12
One thing I recommend if anyone does these boiler systems with glycol and HB's would be to put on HB caps. I had one lady clean her entire floor with glycol, now that was expensive soap!
 

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Looks clean... but those systems are a pain to service. A complex system right up on a wall is not a good idea. I'd space them out farther to make servicing a bit easier. Example - I see a watts fill valve that looks like it can't be spun off when it fails. It will fail and start leaking out the top. Its nice to be able to spin them off. Looks better than couplings and you can do it wet if needed...

I see you like spirovents. We have too many problems with them and they are expensive to replace. We found an air scoop and autovent works quite well assuming the sysytem was properly purged to begin with.


But yeah, nice looking work. Its always nice to see somebody who actually puts effort into it other than just getting it done asap.


oh yeah - ball valves on each side of those pumps is going make somebody REAL happy someday... Especially if they have bleeders in them :)
 

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Discussion Starter #14
Looks clean... but those systems are a pain to service. A complex system right up on a wall is not a good idea. I'd space them out farther to make servicing a bit easier. Example - I see a watts fill valve that looks like it can't be spun off when it fails. It will fail and start leaking out the top. Its nice to be able to spin them off. Looks better than couplings and you can do it wet if needed...

I see you like spirovents. We have too many problems with them and they are expensive to replace. We found an air scoop and autovent works quite well assuming the sysytem was properly purged to begin with.


But yeah, nice looking work. Its always nice to see somebody who actually puts effort into it other than just getting it done asap.


oh yeah - ball valves on each side of those pumps is going make somebody REAL happy someday... Especially if they have bleeders in them :)
I actually haven't had the problems you say about the spirovents and the PRV's. I've had these types of systems in for 20 years now and rarely have problems besides maybe a pump failure. Spirovents are way better than air scoops and come with a 20 year warranty. If there is a problem, just take the top off with a wrench and replace with new top. I had to do this once because I dropped it before installation but didn't think it would leak. :no: Spirotherm gave me the replacement part. I know they can leak sometimes a tiny bit after 5-10 years but so do the autovents. And the PRV can actually be serviced from the top, the watts rep told me this. Never had to do this but I was going on his recommendations, is this a pain in the ass to do? The PRV's aren't even needed, I just put them in as a double protector in case the glycol feeder craps out. The pumps really should have ball valves but most of the pumps have check valves in them so there is no need for the second valve and the little bit in the other pumps can just be drained to a pan and then put back into the glycol feeder. very simple. Oh and I don't think I can space it out too much more as I don't get enough room already in the mech room. The first one shown was 15' long(including HWM), lots of wall space that I have to beg for.
 

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I actually haven't had the problems you say about the spirovents... Spirovents are way better than air scoops and come with a 20 year warranty. If there is a problem, just take the top off with a wrench and replace with new top. I had to do this once because I dropped it before installation but didn't think it would leak. :no: Spirotherm gave me the replacement part.

They clog up and leak all the time. And they are assembled with lock tite. Quite often, you need to put them in a vise and try to break them apart. All too often they are just too hard to repair... meaning - The cost of labor involved with fixing them is more than replacing them. With autovents on top of guage cocks, its a real cheap and fast fix.

And the PRV can actually be serviced from the top, the watts rep told me this. Never had to do this but I was going on his recommendations, is this a pain in the ass to do?

What goes bad is the rubber diaphram. It rotts out around the 5-10 year mark. They also clog up pretty bad which renders them useless. They look like the inside of galvanized pipes :eek: Opening them up is easy but no service plumber is going to carry a rebuild kit for them. Its better to just carry the whole valve. I stock an 1156, a T1156, and the sweat fitting from an S1156 on my truck. To rebuild them, it takes time to clean the body which, again, cost the customer more in labor than a replacement part for less than $100... So yeah, servicing them is an option but just not a good one.


The pumps really should have ball valves but most of the pumps have check valves in them so there is no need for the second valve and the little bit in the other pumps can just be drained to a pan and then put back into the glycol feeder. very simple.

The second ball valve is for replacing the pump when the time comes. It is SO MUCH easier, on large complex systems (especially with expensive glycol), to shut off two ball valves and replace the pump. Purging is not really needed this way but a bleeder in the ball valves, makes for a perfect yet simple replacement. I can gurantee you the pump will need to be replaced someday and its always nice to design systems with future service in mind. Matter of fact, I'd like to kill plumbers who don't :)

Oh and I don't think I can space it out too much more as I don't get enough room already in the mech room.

In situations like that, I like to use unions. Example - put a union on each side of the watts fill valve so it can be replaced without spinning it out. And also put ball valves on each side to keep the system from being depressurized. I am starting to do that on all my new boiler installs/bids now. It just makes too much sense to not do it... ball valve then backflow then fill valve then another ball valve... The extra $15 saves my customer a good $120 down the road every time it needs to be replaced.


BTW - Are you required to have a way to seperate your boilers in your jurasdiction? It looks like your minitherm is missing one. Here, in AK, we can use a pump flange, which you have, but the other side looks hard piped. Thats the way to go IMO. One less leak! But the city makes us use some sort of union on both sides :(

I just did a bid for a 6 pump system today. If I install it, I'll post some pics to show you how I do it and you can fire back at me :) Surely I have some "what were you thinking" design flaws to point out!

...........
 

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Very Impressive piping.

I was just wondering. Is it necessary to have individual circulators for each loop of radiant? Why not just use one pump and zone valves?
 

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Discussion Starter #19
TDB: Like I said, I haven't had any problems with spirovents or PRV's. instead of putting a ball valve then two unions and another ball valve for the prv, I just put one ball valve and the system stays pressurized, not sure why you need the other bv. 10 years from now when maybe the prv (which is not even needed on these systems to work), i'll put a half inch coupling in and shine it up real nice for you instead of putting two unions. would the inside of the prv still be corroded if it is only treated glycol inside it? I can understand the diaphram being worn out my system should still work without it. but If I start having problems, I will make changes. but the only three problems in 6 years and about 150 jobs is one expansion tank and one thermocouple(which the HO fixed himself) and one Trinity Fenwall control that was screwed up by lightning and a couple pumps here and there. Thats pretty good odds. I've had a spirovent in my house for about 12 years now and it works great still. not saying I will never have problems but nothing major enough to change my systems. like I said. I would love to have valves up the wah who but there comes a time when you need to be cost effective. I wont have any systems to service if I'm too expensive. I have never wasted expensive glycol changing out pumps, the little bit that comes out goes right back into the glycol feeder.

JoeTepleyP&H: It is not necessary to have circs on each zone. I can use one large pump and lets say three zone valves. If that one pump shuts down, now you have no heat. but if you used three pumps, at least you have 2/3 the zones working. That one large pump also has to be sized to circulate water through all zones at one time, but what happens is usually only one zone calls. So this causes increased velocity through one zone. Pumps have come down a lot in price so it makes individual zone pumping feasible.
 

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Thanks for the reply. . .That does make sense. I guess the only radiant systems I've worked on have been for secondary heating. So if the pump ever went they would still have the primary source.
 
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