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Are you ever done with your heating system?

I am constantly playing with my houses systems, I started with a Buderus Oil Boiler with 3 first co. hydro airs and Rinnai tankless. Then I installed a propane mod/con, GB, which I just switched to a TT 175, I installed a coal furnace into my first floor duct work with the return coming from the second floor {this works surprisingly well, you fill the hopper and it will run for 3 days, and make the house warm enough to melt candles... My outside units are Trane Xl Heatpumps.

So most of the time I use the mod con and I have it setup so the heatpumps work until it gets too cold then the mod con kicks in... I hooked in controls so when I fire the oil or coal the mod con and heatpumps are disabled, the oil hardly gets used, but sometimes I get pump outs and my slop oil which we use at my shop but when them tanks are full Ill take it home... When the tank gets near half way, I will turn the oil on for a while {this takes a while I have 2-330 ga tanks}...

In my garage I have a hanging water modine unit and a 90+ propane furnace, plus I designed a zone board so that I can use the coal and not shut down the rest of the house or force heat through it...

I have prestige thermostats but will be changing them when the new ones come out...

I have a 25KW genny {propane} and when the power goes out it runs the house like the power is still on...

My hot water system is simple, just a Rinnai ru98i hooked in, but I am going to install a new 60 ga Heatpump water heater tank to use just during the summer, why not cool the basement while making hot water... That will be my next venture....

Oh and when I just installed the new TT solo 175 I used Bumble bee circs... but other that that I left the system the same as when the gb was there.. I have to say the GB was a really nice boiler, but the TT is a couple steps ahead.... I have installed A LOT of Gb's and still install them, but now I recommend the TT too...

So does anyone else here never leave their poor heating system alone...


  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 5,866

    Has the elegance of simplicity been lost thread
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited February 2013
    Thats all it is...

    Gordy, I don't think it is too hard to figure out, its basically all automatic, granted a PJF tech with 5 years experience probably won't even want to touch it, but for the most part it is simple, the heatpumps work until it is too cold then the mod con kicks on, unless you run the coal or oil, if the sensor sees heat in the coal furnace or oil boiler the modcon kicks out.. If its the oil boiler running, the plate exchanger {I used a plate exchanger so the boiler water and mod con boiler dont mix} will get hot and use the mod cons circulators to circulate to the air handlers, if the coal stove kicks the mod con off, then the air handlers also shut down and the coal furnace circulates the air by itself... This is also wired into my genny circuit so the coal stove turns on instead of running the mod con and air handlers {the cola furnace uses less electricity and is less likely to be damaged by the gennys output if there was a problem}...

    OK Gordy, Ill admit it, its confusing, now that I typed that, it really is confusing jeeze, my wife will have to sell that place if something happens to me, because no one is going to be able to fix this thing, lol....

    I do like to use what I sell when at all possible, so when I get a new product, I throw it in my home first, but I see it a lot with Heating contractors, recently the owner of a local company installed this extravagant geo/ng back system in his home, he walked me through it and you can run A/C in one room and heat in the next, every single room has a t-stat, heated counters and toilet seats towel warmers, ect... He said he paid more for the heating system than he paid to do the foundation, framing, siding, roofing and windows combined...

    My uncle was in the business for a long time, retired years ago... He built his house in the 80's. Its about 6500 sq feet, has tons of high output baseboard all over the place... And about 2 years ago he called me because his trusty oil fired Burnham and amtrol where coasting him a small fortune... So since he has NG in the house, I said get rid of the oil and throw up a mod/con...

    He said definitely not!! natural gas is fine but no "plastic boilers" so I got the point and I sent my guy over to figure out the heat loss which ended up being around 140K BTU, IMO thats a good size for a mod/con, but he does have tons of zones, but its also a moot point because there was no talking him into it, Ill be honest, I just wanted to get it done, I charged him cost for parts and did the labor myself with his son {also in the business, well kind of he is a plumber}, so I knew a mod con would be fast and easy...

    So I ended up installing 3- 45K Btu Weil McLain gas boilers {with a BCP-3 control} and a Smart indirect. I piped it primary secondary style' and we used his existing zone setup {it was already a work of art, I believe there was 9 circulators and he installed them all in up and down lines, had to take him 20 hours of threading and soldering}. But he has noticed considerable savings, {more than I expected}.... The BCP-3 is a good control, there are other options that do similar things, but we got a great deal on the bcp3 back then with the 3 boilers, I want to say he spent around $4500 in materials {but he had the circulators and most of the piping already there... He bought the control 3 boilers and indirect... That is still less than a mod con will cost alone...

    We were recently over there for dinner and it was cold out {that cold snap after our blizzard} and the third boiler was on, he said that rarely happens, We had just opened the door 10 times in a row, opened his garage door, had 10 cold bodies enter covered in snow, and his grand daughter was in the shower.... I was glad to see it running because when I did the system I figured 2 boilers would be enough and by the time the third kicked in it would short cycle because the other 2 satisfied the load, but thats not the case, it works perfectly. It was the first time I ever seen the 3rd kick in and I watched it run for about 10 minutes, then it cycled off at the same time as the second and the primary kept chugging along for almost the entire time we were there...

    But my uncle is a good example of heating guys enjoying their systems, he shows that thing to everyone, he installed touch screen honeywells all over the place with outdoor sensors {had to take him a month to run them wires, only to see the prestige released about 4 months after he finished with the wireless outdoor sensors, lol... But he likes to play and has the money to do it....

    I figure a lot of the guys on this forum play with their systems as much as me but dont want to admit, although I have a few friends that are hvac contractors, that dont want to even look at their own heat at the end of the day, one of my good friends has a really nice home, and the junkiest Carlin oil fired peerless you have ever seen, tankless gasket is bad so it leaks down the face of the boiler, he got it out of a house when it was 5-10 years old and his boiler was bad at the time so in it went, 1" pecs connects it rite from the supply and return to the zone piping which is hanging by what looks like a make shift solder strap {when you cut a piece of solder and wrap it around the pipe to hold it in place lol}, he used his existing smoke pipe which was 5" with a reducer {peerless was 7" I believe} and there is more I can not picture but Im sure is wrong... He does great work everywhere else, but that thing is crazy wrong, but he says "it was free and only took 40 minutes to hook up", lol....
  • SteamheadSteamhead Member Posts: 10,684
    I never seem to have time to play with mine

    cause I'm so busy working on other people's systems ;-)
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    "Reducing our country's energy consumption, one system at a time"
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Baltimore, MD (USA) and consulting anywhere.
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 5,866

    Did you setup the boiler staging / sequencing so they alternate which one is priority in your Uncles house?

    Sounds like its in the blood to me, and you will find a few do the same around here, but I have not seen this kind of redundancy I will say. Should be a quad fuel discount somewhere for you.

    Put it this way I know you'll never be with out heat
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited February 2013

    Are you familiar with that WM control, it pretty much does everything, kind of expensive I want to say they cost $600 or so, and they need to be used with your boilers aquastats.

    I have used them a few times, when ever I am running a 3 boiler or 2 boiler setup, the weil mcLain CGi series boilers are great for this because they come in small sizes, so if you have a house with a 110K btu load you can run 3 cgi25's and not have to run in a chimney, run ODR and stage them for a cost of a mod con of the same size... Plus you get serious reliablity, what are the chances of all 3 boilers going down....

    But with BCP control, I pipe each boiler with its own circulator, then use a circulator for each zone and one for the DHW pulling off that loop, install your Outdoor sensor outside, install the controls "system" sensor rite before the system circulator, wire your zone controls end switch to the bcp and the indirects aquastat to the bcp {low voltage}, then the control has 3 tt outputs one to each boiler and you are done...

    So see the boilers aquastats still work you can just set them like high limits, they will run to there limit, but the system sensor you install is really in control, it watches that water temp and adjusts it according to the Outdoor temp, now if the first boiler doesnt catch its desired temp in the time you set in the control {there is pattern to follow to figure out your times}, it fires the second, then if the time again is past your setting the third will kick in.. Very easy to setup, and you can change all the curves and time limits second by second and degree by degree...

    Everyone I have installed worked exactly as it should have and the 3 small boiler setup does save fuel.. Your first stage is firing 35K btu's only to the temp that the ODR wants, then when it doesnt make that temp it pulls in number 2 giving you 70K if in the time frame it fails to meet the temp again in comes number 3 for over 100Kbtus and if that is not enough you should have put larger boilers... lol...

    As far as my system goes, I play and play, its like a hobby, when I am done with all the unistrut on my mod con {just did it a couple weeks ago, runs great} I will post some pics, but I havent had time to paint the unistrut, I primed it but no paint yet... So I have to finish the paint and screw them in, everything else is done...

    I put my circulators on plug in circuits wired to their designated zone, so if I have to change one, I can simply unplug it and pull the circ, then swap the wire to the new circ and throw it back on... plus each plug has a light and switch so I can turn the zone off if I want and see when the circ has power...

    Anyway as far as alternating priority boilers I couldnt do it with the control unless you manually change the lead boilers number in the settings, so we installed a switch panel that allows you to switch between number 1 and 3 so 2 is always the second stage but 1 and 2 can be swapped with the flip of a switch, and my uncle says he switches it once a year.... The boiler room is 75* in that house, it has baseboard and its own zone... I could have made a control that switched the lead boiler pretty easily but he was happy with the switch...
  • billbill Member Posts: 429
    edited February 2013

    And in my spare time I'll write my own manifesto:)
  • GusHerbGusHerb Member Posts: 91

    and I thought I was a big tinkerer! I'd seriously love to have a whole house with hot water heat to play with. Things are limited in the forced air side. Most of my tinkering has ended up simplifying zoning and getting the balancing just right. Always trying different t-stats. Got a Prestige upstairs, and am running a whole host of stats through the downstairs right now to test out.

    Give me a home with hot water and I'm sure I'll be messing with the system as much as some of you guys! I never stop thinking about this stuff.

    Oh and to answer the original question, that's obviously a resounding NO for me.
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    edited February 2013
    I don't watch tv, lol

    I don't watch tv for entertainment I listen to music, I have a high end stereo system in every room even the boiler room which on the other side is a gym.. So when I have a little time after work when most people would watch a tv show, to go down stairs listen to some music and tinker with my system.. I have been tinkering more since I swapped the GB for the TT, but before that I hadn't changed much in a little while.. {actually I havent changed much all together just added, the BB circs and tt are the biggest actual changes, but I installed the GB in a customers house, I explained it was used in my own home showed them pics and they love it so far, it has pleanty of life left in it {It may have 100 days of actual use} I had one of my techs open it up and clean the HE in and out and he said it didnt look used...

    When I built the house I was going to do radiant, but was so busy at them time I hardly had time to do the sheet metal alone. I would much rather have geothermal/solar with radiant and separate a/c, but we are only going to live in this house until the last one of my sons is done with colledge then we will build are last house, 1 floor no stairs, geothermal/ radiant {maybe solar electric}, under 3000 sq ft 2 bedrooms with a guest suite. Rite now our house is too big for a 2 people, we have 3 parlors, 4 full baths, 5 bedrooms 2 offices, it is fine with the kids here but insane for just me and my wife.. I will be happy with a single level sub 3K sq ft efficient house in an area with really low taxes, maybe farm land...
  • GordyGordy Member Posts: 5,866
    edited February 2013
    Wanna see craftsmanship

    Scan the thread " the fun has begun" there is a mechanical room to set the bar up in actually the bar would be a back drop to the work done.

    Work done by the Professor of comfort systems " at least in my eyes" of hot water heating Mark Eatherton call sign ME for short.
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    Very nice work

    I looked that up Gordy it's good looking work. Love the diamond plate. I have used a lot of different backboard materials from aluminum to ss and of course wood but the diamond plate is a nice touch.... Back when home values were through the roof nd oil prices were medium bad. And people had money. We did a lot more of that stuff. But lately it's the normal retros and speedy swaps with the occasional Custer that is willing to spend am extra 2000 for all the little extras...

    I normally use the plywood prime it with killz nd flat black it, then paint the unitsrut gloss white... And polish the copper with brassy when we are done. Nd normally try to use as few connections as possible which gets expensive. Its much cheaper to use a 1-1/4 t with a 3/4 reducer and 3/4 female adapter than a 1-1/4cX3/4fX1-1/4c fitting they are $50 each vs 18 to do it with the separate fittings...

    I always say you can do the same install for about $1500 less if you use the inexpensive parts and put the minimum amount of valves. But when you use sweat flanges with integrated valves, spirovents ,delta t circs, odr aqua stat/lwco's, purge stations kits, gauges, dielectric unions, water feed bypasses, and the extra 8 ball valves a good installer will throw in to isolate serviceable parts and zones. That stuff adds up and fast, you will spend 2000$ trimming out a good sized mod con correctly with pri/sec and good circulators... The wood back boards and unit strut parts are cheap but time consuming its literally like waiting for paint to dry. I usually have my guys go deliver the equipment hang the board paint it, layout all the parts and go back the next day to do the install... It has worked thus far, but some people don't care they could careless if you install it all crooked and a jumbled up mess, if it will save them$80 ... I still do. Good job but you don't have that extra budget to pay for the labor and parts to make it what I call "magazine worthy"
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,250
    BCP-3 control

    Is a re-badged Heat-Timer SEQ-3, possibly with a few settings that make setup of their own boilers a bit easier.  Triangle Tube sells one with their name on it as well. 
  • heatpro02920heatpro02920 Member Posts: 991
    Swei what is tts number

    I am new to the tt line except the smart tanks. I seen a few differences between the heat timer model I have one of them I installed at a horse barn running two big uticas that feed 6 water to air modines
  • SWEISWEI Member Posts: 7,250
This discussion has been closed.


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