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Hello All, Came across your website while researching for the umpteenth time a solution to my heating problem. Hoping you might have some insight into our heating problem that no one else has been able to resolve including my plumber. I’m also posting this in one other forum.
I live on the in Alaska in a 75’ by 30’ Quonset hut style metal building that sits on a slab. It was built in 1993 and the original owner who built it has admittedly said he would greatly change what he did if he did it now. He installed two 1000’ loops of ½” polybutylene qest tubing that are heated by a Bock 32E oil fired Hot water heater(since replaced with a new one) and has a single Grundfos UPS 20-42f pump pushing water through both lines. As it is an open system, the Bock also fills all our hot water needs in the living area. The building is broken up into a 25’ living area on the south end and 50’ garage/shop area on the north side. From what the original homeowner remembers, one of the 1000’s loops goes side to side in the 25’ living area and the other 1000’ loop goes lengthwise front to back in the garage area.
During cold spells below zero the heating system is lucky to maintain 50 degrees by itself. The only way we have been able to make it through the cold winters is to augment the heating system with a coal/wood burning stove. Several years ago, I purchased a Royall indoor wood/coal boiler but have never installed it due to my research on how the qest tubing would cause the cast iron boiler to eventually fail and running a heat exchanger with this inefficient system doesn’t seem to make it an option.
I wonder if adding a pump pulling water through would help or even upgrading to a bigger pump, but have limited understanding on how head pressure would affect these ideas. Lately, my thought is to install two zone valves after the pump so that I can concentrate more hot water to the living area as it becomes much colder since the stove is in the garage.
So from my limited understanding, my issues are:
1. Hydronic tubing runs are at least double of what they should be.
2. Polybutylene qest tubing allows oxygen into the water which will cause a cast iron boiler to breakdown more rapidly which will also create its own issue of iron particles in the system. Fortunately I haven’t had any other issues with the qest tubing.
3. The Bock hot water heater is probably overwhelmed to do the job even if all other factors were okay.
4. An open system, which may or may not be an issue depending upon how it is used?
5. Cement slab prohibits making any changes to tubing. I’m 6’ 5” and the ceiling in our living area is 7’ so running new tubing and then capping won’t work either.
I’m sure there are other issues, but these seem to be the main ones.
I appreciate any suggestions or input you may have that will help me.