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Sarcotherm radiant

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kcopp
kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
edited April 2017 in THE MAIN WALL
I have this customer.....
They have lived in this home here in NH for about 4 years. They have this wonderful gas fired radiant ceiling system that has 3/8" copper tubing embedded in plaster.
The boiler is a huge cast iron monster, from the 40.s w/ a old midco economite conversion burner.
System works well. Still has the old controls w few issues....
So the big question is they are talking replacement/ upgrade and want to be ready when the time comes.... It will leak sooner or later. Hoping to do the homework before it lets go....

Thoughts?

I hate to mess w/ old stuff if it works perfectly fine.

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  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,476
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    Maybe start with just a boiler upgrade, that would save some energy dollars, and clean up some safety concerns. probably open upside floor space.

    If and when the copper system fails upgrade the distribuition with the new boiler in place.

    I wonder how low it can run and cover the load?

    Think of all the scrap copper :)

    A electrical ground on the heating copper?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    kcopp
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    I wouldn't count on that system as a leaker any time soon. That system can be a huge benefit to a higher efficiency boiler. Dare I say mod/con?
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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    I was not thinking that the tubing would leak. Its the boiler I'm wondering about.
    Do I cut out the Sarcotherm stuff and put in a mod/con? Almost seems like sacrilege...
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,476
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    A mod con or another properly sized cast iron if the venting is still workable. All that iron, compression tank, valves etc could disappear.

    Does that big mixing valve even work anymore?

    That was possible heavy walled, soft copper, it could last another 20 years, if it stays dry and away from nails and screws :)
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Henry
    Henry Member Posts: 998
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    I have seen a few but they were all made with iron pipe. One was from the early 1900 which we replaced the boiler in the 80s with a Smith 19. It was a three floor mansion. I would put in a firetube mod/con.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    My old house mix temp was 115 max at design day. Think of the efficiency a mod/con could see. My ceilings were 6" centers 3/8" copper. Just a gauge design day was -9. Don't know what you have.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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    It all still works... Prob a mod con maybe w/ a buffer tank since the boiler has a huge mass?
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    The radiant has a lot of mass with the plaster. Depends on the size of the home. Is it zoned, or would it be?
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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    I looked again at this system today. Very neat stuff.
    Single zone. 1 - 120v t-stat on it.

    1 B&G 1/6 hp, 1725 circ name tag has H1 1/4, P-5, ser # MOT109-6 4-L on it... What would be the cross reference ?

    The customer is very happy w/ the performance... just not the $400+ / month fuel bill.
    Boiler is a converted coal US Radiator Corp RB-43 boiler
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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    Here are some more pix.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
    edited April 2017
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    Love the Flir images, and the craftsmanship laying that soft copper nice, and straight.

    How many SF of heated space? Can they get NG?
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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    1800 sq ft... The boiler has a Midco Economite gas conversion burner in the bottom of it... so yes, Nat. gas is there.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,546
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    It would be interesting to do a flir video of a heat call from beginning to end. See how fast that present circ evens out ceiling temps.

    Mine was 2100 SF radiant ceilings had a B&G 100 HV switched it to a B&G PL 30 wet rotor, and saved a few watts with a little higher flow rate. Single zoned just like this one.

    I'll bet a mod/con would drop that gas bill big time. Seems high though even with that old boiler. Efficiency must really be in the weeds.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,108
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    The Audel HVAC Library volume 3 #23250 (1976 by James E Brumbaugh) has the Sarco system as a prime example of ceiling radiant heat.
    Included is a picture of prefabricated radiant panel made of 1/4" copper tubing in metal lath for plaster construction. (I'm thinking 1/4" nominal-3/8" OD?).

    Many of the FLIR pictures show bends almost too exact for field bending as you only get one shot on the bend and hard to correct any minor overshoots.....(it would be for me anyhow).

    It would have been a real time saver for the install. Thinking of the tedium of hand tying PEX to mesh on the floor.....then do copper overhead......arms ache thinking about it.

    The Audel Library covers a lot of old concepts in steam also.
    To think that these books were written for the homeowner/layman and were probably in a lot of homes. Something not happening today as we all know.
    kcoppTurbo Dave
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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    The Homeowners gave me the go ahead to replace the boiler....
    I saved all the really neat stuff... Sarcotherm mix valve and the controls as well as the very heavy thermometers. Does anyone have a heating museum that I can donate these to? Otherwise they go to scrap....