Welcome! Here are the website rules, as well as some tips for using this forum.
Need to contact us? Visit https://heatinghelp.com/contact-us/.
Click here to Find a Contractor in your area.

Primary secondary nightmare..3 story home

Grega
Grega Member Posts: 20
I have a home with a Weil Mclain Ultra 360,000 BTU boiler. Another contractor installed all new sort of primary/secondary piping during a remodel some time ago. New owners now and want new cast iron radiators for hot water heat. Its a three story home and is very old. There is only one main circulator on the secondary loop and one on the primary. The whole thing looks wrong to me but I would like some help with this. I am attaching a pic of the system and hope it helps. Any links to piping a 3 story home primary secondary the correct way would be appreciated. This sketch is bad but the pipe sizes are on it also. Thank you in advance Ladies and Gentlemen.

Greg

Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,500
    Start off with this article... https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/understanding-primary-secondary-pumping/

    The fact that the place is three stories isn't really a problem. Just make sure that the pressure in the system is high enough, and the expansion tank is properly pressurized and sized. The system pressure should be in the 18 to 25 psi range. The expansion tank is sized based on the total fluid volume of the system.

    The cast iron radiators aren't a problem either, though the expansion tank must be sized for them. They will give much more even heat.

    If it were mine, I'd have more than one secondary zone, and I'm partial to individual circulators for each zone -- but zone valves work fine, too, assuming the main circulator is properly chosen.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    360k?........How many apartments in the building?
  • Grega
    Grega Member Posts: 20
    It is a single family residence
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,384
    Why would you install just one huge boiler, you should of installed 2 smaller, what would happen if one goes down in middle of winter. Your screwed. But that's another story. I really can't read your diagram, where's the pump for secounday, I would just install a different zone. Make it a few zone system.
    Larry_52
  • Grega
    Grega Member Posts: 20
    The boiler is existing and the customer is already objecting to pricing. That's why we are trying to reuse it, the entire home is being renovated. The diagram is rough but it shows an attempt at primary secondary, there is a pump on the secondary.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,384
    Weilmclain sells a premade manifold for P/S or like we been chatting in twoo other post, get the 4 in 1 hydro-seperator from calleffi. That's your best option. Your diagram looks a little confusing, you might want to zone it out. You may want to install thermostatic radiater valves for hot water, you do have a few options, does the job have outdoor reset to begin with?
    icesailor
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Is it zoning you are wanting ?. Having only one circulator on the secondary loop is not wrong so long as it is sized properly to deliver the flow rate needed if that is the impression the piping arrangement is giving you.

    you say that your installing new radiators. What kind ? Salvaged old ones, panel rads?

    It's hard to tell by the drawing how is the run going (into wall) tied back into the piping?

    Are the p/s T's properly spaced?


  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Why is it everyone wants to tear out the boiler room instead of trying to solve the problem?
    icesailor
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    edited February 2015
    Where is the x tank, and p/s circulator locations?

    Budget, and goals are going to dictate what can, and has to be done. If this is a Reno I hope the owners don't neglect the comfort system in lieu of the granite, and whirlpool tub.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,384
    Gordy, I went to a boiler job just last week, it just looked a mess the first thing I noticed was the airscoop, not even an airseperator with the extrol tank was on the wrong side of the pump. In other words it was pumping into the expansion tank and there was no 18 inches for the scoop. The customer complaint is when the wheather gets into the teens he can't get above 62. This its the secound season this new boiler was in operation. ( it's a Navien) also had two zones ( looks like original zone valves) It did have primerey secounday but it looks like they kept everything in the room ( double closet) and just did what they had to do to install the unit in general.
    first thing I told him was change the scoop to a air seperator to get air out of system better, and install the expansion tank on other side of pump. Sounds simple, but the shut off valves were all old style gate valves. And no shut off for the pump. That's why sometimes you have to start from the beginning.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    I guess im looking at as the only initial issue here is not understanding whether this set up fully complies to P/S. But i can already see more questions in this situation.
    icesailor
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    i think there is an issue with the over all piping in itself. P/S is pretty straight forward.
    icesailor
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Gordy said:

    Why is it everyone wants to tear out the boiler room instead of trying to solve the problem?

    AMEN!!!!!

    Tearing out the boiler room is like amputating a leg because of an ingrown hair.
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Gordy said:

    Where is the x tank, and p/s circulator locations?

    Budget, and goals are going to dictate what can, and has to be done. If this is a Reno I hope the owners don't neglect the comfort system in lieu of the granite, and whirlpool tub.

    Everyone can see the granite countertops and the whirlpool tub that will be used for about 6 months, and seldom used again Use records show historically.

    Visitors can't "see" problems in a heating system.

    People will spend money to show off things that can be seen, and not spend money on things they can gripe about. Just so they can gripe.

    GordySWEI
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Grega we need more information to help you.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,384
    It went from primery loop to 1st tee then about 6 inches maybe 8 then the pump, right off the pump It went to the pump flange then a small 1 inch nipple then the air scoop and expansion tank.
  • Snowmelt
    Snowmelt Member Posts: 1,384
    The nipple was like a 1 x close nipple it wasn't longer then 1-1/2 they ran out of room.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Greg I assume your a plumbing/heating contractor. Maybe your already involved in the Reno project through the plumbing end....maybe your just getting called to give an estimate to the heating system wants by the owner.

    I certainly hope they are not tearing out perfectly fine existing cast iron radiation.

    To the extent of the Reno you need to do a room by room comprehensive heatloss. If they are upgrading the envelope hopefully then things have changed....probably drastically.

    In knowing your heat loss everything falls together from there. I can see your going to have to come up with a good, better, and best plan with a comprehensive discription of what the pros, and cons are of each. The owners wants tieing in with this.

    Above all you need to verify the boilers sizing to the loads in question. With out knowing the heat loss kind its hard to make assumptions, but if that boiler stays I see a buffer tank in the system IF they want zoning. Maybe even if they don't. You have to sell the advantage of that high tech boiler, and what needs to be done to get the most efficiency possible from it since their budget will dictate it stays. Like over sizing radiation to allow lower return Temps so the boiler condenses. Trvs to modulate room temps based on ODR.

    Bath them in details. People like details whether they understand them or not it shows dedication to their project, and insight to their system, and needs/wants. How much you put into the proposal can reflect how much you get out of the effort. Not always though.

    icesailor
  • icesailor
    icesailor Member Posts: 7,265
    Shower them with factual and provable information. If you don't, someone else will be showering them with BS. Your information may not get you the job, but if it does, you're prepared.

    I was once on a committee to decide awarding a contract close to $1,000,000 for a renovation. It got down to 2 contractors. One was two guys with no experience doing that type of work. One did kitchen and bath installs, the other did "Historical Renovations". The other contractor had been a family business since the late 1940's. The low bid was the two. With a 8 1/2 X 11 sheet with the bid number, the other with the two owners, the Super who would run the job, and a secretary who kept notes. They each had a set of their own working drawings and a thick stack of each and every part of the project. Any questions asked, they all flipped to the appropriate page and gave the answer. The other two, just looked perplexed and the BS'er threw out some "Air Answer". They were also $250,000 less than the other. The committee members were enthralled by the low number. In spite of my telling the other members of the committee that they were bogus and to give the contract to the REAL contractors. Price prevailed. They never finished, and abandoned the job. Insurance companies were pissed, and someone else had to finish.

    Sometimes, you can't win. But you can try. Just always be prepared.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,537
    Having the ability to say, and not even say I told you so can be priceless.
    Canucker
  • Paul48
    Paul48 Member Posts: 4,469
    How big is this old house?....7000 sq/ft?