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Zone Creation Help

swellmanswellman Member Posts: 14
Hi,

We have a radiator system that had some rads added to it to accommodate a basement apartment renovation project (and provide some extra heat to a main floor addition). Basically - we kind of willy nilly added rads and now need to figure out the "balance"...

Basically, we found there was a really bad "balance" between the upstairs (main + 2nd floor) unit and basement unit that we couldn't get right which is leading us to consider some zones.

I've attached a picture to give an idea of what the "branches" on our current setup look like.
I then have attached a picture of how I think we can move one branch to be able to get all the basement branches in a "zonable" area.

My main questions are:

(1) Where do valves go?

(2) Do I try and do 1 or 2 circulators (we have been looking at the alpha1 and alpha2 options mostly)?

(3) We keep worrying about water temperature and what happens when one zone is open versus both open versus none open. E.g. We found with no zones that if we turn all the rads off upstairs the rads get WAY too hot downstairs. We turn the boiler temperature down. Butttt then we need heat again upstairs and then the boiler temperature is too low it seems for all those extra rads we now want heat out of... can zoning solve this? What can solve this?

Some other information that might be helpful about our system:
Branch A + B + H: longest run is ~90 feet (so I calculate a pump head value about 5.5)
Branch C-->G: longest run is ~150 feet (so I calculate a pump head value about 9)
Boiler is rated for 135000 Btu (sooo 13.5 gpm??)

Thanks for any direction you can offer! (I note that I read the "zoning made easy" document and got quite a bit of useful help out of there. I probably need to read it again... but it seems tricky to apply it to a system I'm not creating from scratch either?)




Comments

  • STEVEusaPASTEVEusaPA Member Posts: 4,216
    You , 'willy' and 'nilly' probably need to hire a hydronics pro to get some eyes on it, take some measurements, do a heat loss and design it right.
    Then you can start putting wrenches (and probably a sawzall) on it.
    steve
  • swellmanswellman Member Posts: 14
    edited July 24
    Here is an extensive map of the system if that helps put some "eyes" on it for the experts here. My husband has posted a few questions before (including this map/how we got to reading the Zoning Made Easy which was excellent). We just aren't sure how to apply some of the principles given it's an existing system versus from-scratch setup. Hence, we'd like to know if our case is one that might require zone + circ valves or zone valves alone could work. And how to address our water temperature problem because it doesn't seem to work to have a single water temp... e.g. temperature is good when all rads are open but too hot when all the upstairs rads are turned off.

    (I'll note about the Rad map it says "Problem Rad" on it - this is one of the things he posted about before and was the original reason for drawing the map).

  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,526
    That may be a little challenging to jump in the middle of and break into zones. It wasn’t really piped with that in mind.
    Is this work that you are trying to do yourself? Working with threaded steel pipe in those sizes takes some specific tools and piping skill.
    In some cases starting over with a home run system makes sense, if you can gain access to all the piping?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
  • swellmanswellman Member Posts: 14
    It is work that we are trying to do. My dad was an industrial millwright for 30+ years so we have the ability to run/re-run piping and add in the valves quite easily etc. He has other general knowledge about radiators/boilers but we have been looking for some "more expert" input to help guide us on zoning because that's not something he's done before. It's kind of what puts us in a tough spot with contractors because we there isn't really a way to pay for "expertise" without paying for labour. That's where we hoped a good forum like this one might help us.
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,526
    On paper, it's easy to show a fix. Basically a header from the boiler able to supply 3 zone circulators. How easily you could modify the boiler piping to accomplish this is the question.

    Your red zone piping to one circ, blue to a second, and pink third.

    That gives you 3 zones, one for each floor. Although not each radiator it zoned. manual valves at each radiator would give additional balance and control.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
    swellman
  • swellmanswellman Member Posts: 14
    I think we could modify the boiler piping okay to accommodate the zones. In terms of sizing the zone valves, it seems like 3/4" is popular but I am headed for a 1 1/2" line for my upstairs zones. It seems to me I would need to find a 1 1/2" zone valve so as to avoid a bottle neck, or am I missing something about plumbing the zone valve? Do they make 1 1/2" zone valves (I haven't really seen anything obvious yet with a quick google search).
  • hot_rodhot_rod Member Posts: 13,526
    You could use three circulators for 3 zones, no need to use zone valves. Using circulators allows you to make flow adjustments zone by zone.
    Look into the ECM style that have multiple speed settings. Grundfos, Taco, B&G, Wilo, Armstrong, AquaMotion all have circulators that are efficient and very adjustable.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    The magic is in hydronics, and hydronics is in me
    swellman
  • swellmanswellman Member Posts: 14
    Thank you so much for your help. I hadn't seen an example like this yet. I'll take a look into this more :)
  • swellmanswellman Member Posts: 14
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