This project has broken me as a man... how foolish I was to think I could design and build my entire heating system from scratch and have it work without a hitch...
I need help. Here’s the back story... bought a house back in July that needed some “easy” renovations... fast forward to now and I still have no heat. The place had all electric base board so I ripped it all out and replaced it with hydronic baseboards (put the same size radiators back in the same spots). Bought a new Noritz 180,000btu Combi boiler. Tried soldering copper for my primary/secondary loops and learned the hard way that I can’t do that very well. So I ripped that all out and replaced it with black iron pipe and then used 3/4” PEX for my individual loops. I’ve finally chased all the leaks down, I’ve got all the air out that’s going to come out, but I can’t get it to heat my house. Let me be clear, the unit is definitely working. It makes hot water at all the taps and the supply for the primary loop is too hot to touch. Here’s the problem. Where the primary and secondary loops mix through the “common” pipe, it’s cooling the water down from the boiler so much that it’s warm at best and definitely no where near hot enough to heat a room.
Things I’ve learned through this experience:
1) this unit does not allow the primary to free flow through itself, put more simply, there is some kind of automatic controlled valve that prevents the primary loop water from being circulated constantly. It seems to circulate whenever it feels like it and I haven’t been able to figure out what triggers that. Either that or it flows at a much lower gpm than my secondary, and here’s how I know that...
2) I have 5 loops on this system (only 3 hooked up so far, still renovating...) when only one loop is calling for heat it seems to be able to heat that loop. Not adequately, but heat is being put into the room. As soon as a second or third loop calls the pressure differential in the common pipe becomes so great that it seems to just recirculate the water from the loops and not draw any of the boiler water. I know this because of the temp of the pipes. I can’t touch directly above the tee because it’s so hot, yet the tee and everything downstream is cool due to the different temp water mixing, or just bypassing all together, I’m not sure.
3) placing a gate valve in the common pipe did not fix the issue. This is how I learned that the unit does not allow free flow of water because with the common blocked I had ZERO flow through the system with the valve shut.
I’m left to believe that there is a serious balancing problem, my design traps air somewhere, my design is severely flawed, maybe some or all of the above, and possibly other issues that I have no idea about. Please help me figure this out. Thank you for anyone willing to donate some time... I’ve attached some pictures for refeeence, please ignore my **** show of an electrical panel, again, renovating.