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Poor radiant floor hydronic installation

samsimg
samsimg Member Posts: 4
I need professional advice from the community regarding the radiant floor and DHW hydronic installation in our newly purchased 2 story built green home. I'm an Electrical Engineer and have a sense for engineering, but what I really do not like what I see in our home.



Our system comprises of a Navien thankless combi boiler for radiant floor heating and DHW. The radiant floor system has 2 zones with pumps. The DHW system has a 5 gallon hot water buffer tank in line and a demand activated hot water circulation system. See picture.



From a design point of view this is all very good, BUT the way it is executed/implemented gives me a goose bums. I need some professional advice whether our installation is acceptable or not. According to my standards this is very poor craftsmanship and I am asking the builder to re-do it and create a proper hydronic panel.



Thanks,

Sam

Comments

  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    edited June 2014
    Where to start

    Did it pass inspection.



    There are so many things that's wronge I can't even start.

    Where are you located ?



    No need for a pressure reducer , I didn't see any servicing valves on the machine .



    Why is that expansion tank on a water side and not heat, you need one on both side, I'm not sure that's passable.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Installation:

    Simply stunning.

    If it works, it is "acceptable". I doubt that the installer can make it any better looking. The boiler seems to be plumb and level on the wall though.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    edited June 2014
    Wow!!!

    Your instincts are correct grasshopper. I am going to save that photo to show to customers while bidding jobs. I cannot say that I have seen something so, so, I don't know what to say. I hope you can get it re-done, but by a different contractor (I can't see how that one even has a license). It looks like the T&P and the pressure relief valve are piped directly to one another? Can't say that I've seen that one before, and I've seen allot of hack jobs. I would not even consider running that system in its current state. Why ruin a decent boiler?



    The more I look the more depressing it is. As far as I can follow the spaghetti, it looks like the expansion tank is being used for both domestic and heating, no gas cock. If your builder won't have it redone, it would be lawsuit time in my book.





    Rob
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    Rob

    I saw that tooo, I thought my screen was just to small.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    Okay

    Okay, I do see the gas cock, when I blew the picture up it was out of my screen shot. That is an amazing feat of gravity not one pipe hanger needed to support that maze. Incredible!



    I quit, I can't look at it anymore!
  • Paul Pollets
    Paul Pollets Member Posts: 3,515
    My 2 cents

    Sawzallectomy required!!!
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    pipe attatchment practices

    in zero gravity.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,693
    edited June 2014
    WOW

    How anyone can use the right stuff and just be clueless on how to install is remarkable .  Do you gentlemen think those pumps are supply or return side ?

    This is certainly not acceptable Sam .  Could you please tell us eho the builder is and where you are located ? This is something I have been actively lobbying against in New Jersey . Seems that builders like to stick the GREEN tag on anything and continue to screw unsuspecting home buyers . 

    Were you able to see this prior to closing ? This is certainly a legitimate reason to demand that this be done properly .  
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    Rich

    They do look like there on the supply side, I come across ugly looking things like this all the time.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,693
    edited June 2014
    Writing on the wall

    I did miss that George .  It does appear that they are on the supply side but the S & R pipes are bass ackwards , Supply should come first in the order . The closest circuit to the boiler will receive boiler temp water only until the return fluid re enters the primary loop and the second circuit will only receive water at a temp of the mixed fluid . Would not even surprise me to find out that the second circuit required higher water temp than the first but that would impart the idea that this guy had an idea and made a mistake . That in my opinion is a stretch .  You know these Naviens better than I so which port on the boiler is Supply , right or left ?  If it is the left what I just said would be incorrect but then the circs are pumping toward the expansion tank and air eliminator and unfortunately directly into the potable water which appears to be connected to the tank . How the hell does something like this happen ?
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    shared x tank

    how is this done with different domestic, and radiant system psi requirements? or is the radiant domestic pressure?
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,693
    edited June 2014
    Another

    good question about this quality install .  Have you ever seen anything this bad Gordy?  Can't really say that I ever have , well maybe a couple this bad .  I do believe I see a PRV on the heating side
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,693
    Sam

    Could you display a picture of the paper taped to the wall to the left of this thing ?
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    Gordy

    I do see a pressure reducer I don't see a back flow protecter . The machine had a pressure reducer in the machine itself. The right side of the NCB has a 1/2 water way for boiler feed.
  • Rich_49
    Rich_49 Member Posts: 2,693
    edited June 2014
    One mystery down

    The expansion tank is not on potable and heat .  George , I see a RPZ BFP next to the left side of boiler w/ airgap. Kinda hard to identify anything .

    Gotta wonder if this is even barrier tubing .  Really curious as to what is stated on those 2 - 3 papers to the left on the wall .
    You didn't get what you didn't pay for and it will never be what you thought it would .
    Langans Plumbing & Heating LLC
    732-751-1560
    Serving most of New Jersey, Eastern Pa .
    Consultation, Design & Installation anywhere
    Rich McGrath 732-581-3833
  • samsimg2
    samsimg2 Member Posts: 2
    edited June 2014
    Thanks for your feedback!

    Hi All,



    Thank you for your feedback and opinions. I really appreciate it. Finally I have confirmation that this is just wrong...



    Our house is located in Seattle, WA, and we are scheduled to close in two weeks. This came up during my inspection walk-thought and I don't know if it has actually passed inspection. For the moment I don't publish any names of the Builder and Contractor until we actually own the house.



    The papers on the wall are the actual WA Plumping Permits.



    The NCB-240 has 2 separate loops for DHW and space heating. DHW is integrated with a heat exchanger in the NCB. You find the details in the Navien NCB Application Drawings and Installation Manual.



    Here a link of more high-res photos for those who can handle it:

    http://1drv.ms/1lpRstD



    This list of issues is endless:



    - No check vales and mixing vales on the radian floor secondary loops

    - No servicing valves on the primary loop

    - No expansion tank for the DHW circulation system



    - The weirdest thing is the way they plumped the expansion tank:

    If you follow the pipes carefully, you notice that it's plumped together with the Auto Feeder / Make-up Water and the valve to connect the expansion tank with the Air Eliminator is closed. They may have thought the Auto Feeder valve of the NCB is always open and would allow water to pass to the expansion tank, but it's electronically controlled and only activated when needed.



    There seems to be a backflow preventor (left of NCB) and a regulator (below NCB) for the Make-up Water tough. As well as pressure relieve vales on both systems/loops are there.



    Another issue is that they plumped the DHW circulator return line to the NCB DHW outlet and the boiler will never fire when the on-demand circulator is activated to preheat the pipes.



    It's a mess!



    Sam
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    I'm Glad

    I'm glad that you showed back up. If you have not closed on the home you still have power. I personally would not settle for that mess unless I planned on having it redone anyway.



    Are there remote manifolds that the mains go to?

    Are the relief valves tied together like it looks in the photographs?

    Has it passed final inspection?

    What did the rest of the piping look like and what type of system is it i.e. staple-up, over-pour, in slab?

    Is it O2 barrier tubing on the heating side?

    How large is the home? 



    It is tough to follow the mess of piping in the photographs. I would see if you can get a few thousand knocked off the purchase price and get someone in there who knows what they are doing after settlement. I would not want the person who did that to come anywhere near the home ever again, much less to "fix" it. Can you get more photos of the manifolds, plumbing et al? Please keep us posted as to how it goes. Your install should look something like the second photo Snowmelt posted above (in the first photo the install is not complete).



    Rob 
  • Weezbo
    Weezbo Member Posts: 6,232
    I am going with Paul 's perspective ....

    at a glance it explains why none of us smoke crack.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    What you need

    First you need servicing valves on the heating loop.



    I started using either caleffi or taco, one inch hydronic seperater, for the P/S looping, just a much netter looking job.



    How is that B.F.P. On the right piped in the equation, personally all you need is the watts D-9 back flow. I would get ride of all the pex and flex on that job and go with hard pipe right up to the wall.



    Stick some D.T. Pumps on Nd you will be really good to go.



    Call navien up and get the out door reset for the machine, a lot of people don't buy them because they don't know.
  • samsimg2
    samsimg2 Member Posts: 2
    edited June 2014
    One way to do it better...

    Spent Sunday afternoon to sketch an improved install layout. I added a thermostatic mixing valve on the DHW and the missing expansion tank. The heating loop got servicing valves, but is still missing desirable 3-way mixing valves for proper temperature control of the 2 zones.



    BTW: Our two zones are:

    - concrete slab radiant heat on the 1st floor and

    - staple-up radiant heat on the 2nd floor.

    As you all know, these two types need different

    temperatures. At least they made 2 secondary loops...



    Most ideas came from here:

    http://www.finehomebuilding.com/how-to/articles/add-a-tank-and-pump-to-a-tankless-water-heater-to-save-energy.aspx



    Sam
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    That looks good

    The only question, I have is where is your pump for the domestic water & do you really need the storage tank on a domestic application.



    How many showers do you have?
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,334
    Just a thought

    Even though that looks nice, I would go with a hydronic seperator.



    Like I mentioned before. They make the job look more professional.
  • RobG
    RobG Member Posts: 1,850
    edited July 2014
    Still?

    From the look of the existing work, I still have questions.



    Is it O2 barrier tubing?



    Are there remote manifolds and can you get pictures? (from the look of the install I am worried that it is just one long loop for each zone).



    Is this a BIG builder touting green construction or a custom builder. I don't need a name, it's just a question.



    Paul Pollets of "Advanced Radiant Technologies" is in Seattle and can fix the system I.E. sawzawl surgury. I would highly recomend talking to him. No contractor wants to get involved in any litigation. That is why I recomended getting the builder to knock off a few grand so that you may get it repiped properly. It would only be a day or two's work (if the rest of the system doesn't look like the boiler room).



    JMHO,



    Rob