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I ran across the system ......

kcopp Member Posts: 4,188
I have heard about this system but never seen one. The house is a here in Dover built in the early 50's a coal boiler, converted to oil, converted to gas. Runs great. The soft copper is embedded in the walls. No leaks. It has a form of outdoor reset. Surprising the boiler today was running at about 120F.... No condensing. I hope the pix come out straight.


  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232

    some of the old caddy wiring looks better than the uf cable and romex lol..

    i like this type of thing and tweaking it to look and behave just a little sweeter ...we have some different mixers these days i have lot of old parts and pieces around in the cabin out back .. i have considered making new things out of them when i have a spare moment and am into it one day..

    my buddy Fred takes of brass pieces and welds them on ball valves and a host of other fancy stuff .. my bendy Wendy tool seems to come in handy in that enterprise . lol..

    maybe when he has the headder he is making done , i will have figured out how to post a pic off my phone . i know you guys will see the care he took to make each individual valve handle and the parts and pieces he chose and think it something that you could do also.

    save your old brass ...it dresses up smartly.

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,188
    The thing I ....

    wonder about this is how would you modernize it? I suppose we will have to see after the winter as to what the gas bill is like. A mod-con would be nice but what do you keep and what do you save that is still good stuff. This Sarco system was ahead of it time....
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Old radiant systems:

    That was the Crème De La Crème system of its day. All modern PEX radiant systems owe their existence to that system. That must be in a really high end home in Dover. There are a lot of them in Southeastern Massachusetts. A few still on one of the Islands. Mostly designed by a PE that owned a heating supply wholesale business in New Bedford that catered to the large commercial trade. Dealt with HB Smith boilers. I installed a few of his systems when I worked for my old late boss. Because so few knew how they worked, and it was an isolated area, if the customer changed companies, the systems were usually ruined. They were replaced. That big Sarco blender was the heart of the system. I had a customer that the previous owner had done a huge gut re-hab in the early 1960's. 7 radiant zones through the Sarco and 4 regular, unmixed high temperature radiator zones. 10 years ago, some hot rod replaced the old Smith-Mills 2000 series 8 section boiler with a Weil-McLain WGO-7, cut out all the mixers, connected it all together and sends high temperature water through the plaster ceilings.

    I was always told that if you put that 180 degree water through the plaster and hard finish radiant ceilings that it would all crack. It never cracked. When I took over the account, I turned it down as low as I could but the house never worked right.

    Someone has worked on that system that knows what they are doing.

    Thanks for posting that. I'm sure that whomever installed that is up there somewhere with the old dead steam guys.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356

    I should have known that Dan would have something on it http://www.heatinghelp.com/files/articles/1221/258.pdf

    Was this the first ODR-controlled mixing valve?  What a wonderful bit of engineering history!
  • Ironman
    Ironman Member Posts: 7,119

    The copy date on the litho was April 1955. That's when I was born and it's still working. Proof Americans can build an efficient and economical system when we want.
    Bob Boan
    You can choose to do what you want, but you cannot choose the consequences.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,188
    the original...

    owner put the money into the heating system. The rest of the house is fine...nothing too crazy. Its just a cape cod w/ about 1800 sq ft.
  • Solid_Fuel_Man
    Solid_Fuel_Man Member Posts: 2,597

    This is great stuff!  100% agree Ironman, we CAN if we want to.  This basically all mechanical system is testimant that quality and engineering are superior to cheap cost and fast install.  Read the whole litho, very detailed and specific and noted all of the references to future serviceability and needed clearances for removal of the thermal element and forbidden to embed any capalary in plaster, in case of future replacement!  I can't say it enough, I LOVE THIS STUFF!

    Serving Northern Maine HVAC & Controls. I burn wood, it smells good!
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,188
    So let me ask w/ fear and trepidation....

    Here you have a system that is second to none but a coal boiler that is pre 1950...w/ a conversion burner in it. Gas bills during the winter ran $400/ month. How does one go about swapping out a boiler w/o ruining the system?
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,225

    Maybe the insulation could be upgraded? That should help the gas bills.

  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,188
    This is true....

    and they do plan on doing just that....however sooner or later ol' bessy is going to start to leak. I need to start planning on how to best come up w/ a plan of action.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,721
    Keep it simple

    Swap out the old monster for a good quality 85% CI boiler and call it a day . # 2 option , swap it out with a mod con that can easily pipe to the existing piping with out requiring additional or higher head pumps for restrictive HX and P / S piping. This unit should have ODR so when and if that Sarcotherm goes you will still keep that capability . HTP Pioneer comes to mind .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    edited June 2014
    Cast Iron

    You could go cast iron and us a Taco I-valve. Then you would be keeping the same system integrity and maintain the comfort that the owners are used to. Then mount that beautiful piece of equipment on a board on the wall behind the boiler.

    And whoever soldered in those ball valves by the manifolds should have their torch taken away from them and find a new profession


  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,225
    edited June 2014
    Preserve it!

    I think it would be great to let that piping and mixing valve remain in action!

    As far as replacing the boiler. Couple of things to consider, IMO. First, if the piping is done according to the system diagram that was posted, then the pump is creating a nearly equal pressure on both the hot and cold inlet of the mixer. That has to stay that way for it to work properly, I would think. That also means it would be impossible to do boiler protection and pumping through a Mod Con would never due, with the exception of a high mass HTP or similar. Another way to do it would be to set a buffer tank in place of the boiler. Use it for air separation, decoupling and plumb in the boiler of your choice.

    BETTER YET!!! Rip the guts out of the old boiler and set the shell back around the new buffer tank. That would be cool!! Also some of those boilers have 2 supply and return tappings. With a little Macgyvering, you might be able to use the existing boiler as a buffer for a new Mod Con.