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Replacing Ceiling mounted Thrush Compression Tank

WMno57
WMno57 Member Posts: 216
edited November 2020 in THE MAIN WALL
Two year lurker, first post.

100 year old house
Ornate Kewanee Boiler Co radiators
Large diameter gravity piping now conveying FHW
WM no 57 boiler
MidCo Economite nat gas burner
Thrush No 24 bladder-less compression tank in basement ceiling joist bay
One B&G red circ pump (NOT PUMPING AWAY)

Thrush tank developed a pinhole leak. Called the local Pro (well recommended, and has serviced this system before). He said "can't get a compression tank nowdays", will install a new bladder tank Monday. I got tired of mopping, drilled and tapped the pinhole, and screwed in a 1/8 NPT plug. Obviously not a long term fix, but I now have some time to think about my next step.

I see 3 paths available:

Have Pro install new style bladder expansion tank
Have Pro install new boiler
Ask Pro to order old style bladder-less compression tank (Thrush is still in business)

I like my current system. I wish I could buy a new one just like it. It has been heating this house with no problems for many years. The Dead Men got this one right. No big deal for me to drain the compression tank when needed.

I'm not trying to earn a "Green" merit badge. Nat Gas is cheap. We can't talk about price, but I'll bet the payback on a new system may be longer than that system would last.

This article from John Siegenthaler about converting to new-style bladder tanks says "DO PUMP AWAY".

https://www.hpacmag.com/features/expansion-tank-dos-and-donts/

Is pumping away more important with a new style bladder tank? I don't want to change to a new style tank, and then find out later I need to buy new pumps, filters, dirt mags, and labor to repipe to pump away.

My current tank is 12 x 48. Thrush makes bladder-less tanks, both code and non-code, in that size. The pictures show a vertical tank, but they use that picture for all their tanks. The drawing and specs seem to indicate a horizontal tank that would fit in my basement ceiling.

non-code
https://www.thrushco.com/430-024

Looking forward to your advice.
Thanks.
«1

Comments

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    Pictures of the whole piping at the boiler?
    Do you have an air scoop that in piped to the tank?
    You now have an air collection system that puts any air into the tank.
    With a bladder tank you will need an air elimination device to remove all air.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,844
    You can still get plain steel tanks. That guy doesn't know what he's talking about. Think about how long that tank lasted as opposed to how long a bladder-type tank will. You'll see why I like the older tanks.

    An Airtrol tank fitting will help keep this type of tank from getting waterlogged. @DanHolohan talks about this in one of his books- ISTR it's in "Pumping Away" but can't find it quickly.

    What is the length and diameter of your tank?
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    "Pumping Away" page 52.
    Shows pump on supply, but pumping into boiler still works.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,111
    Replace the tank. Or the plumber. Or both. As @Steamhead said, the old style compression tank lasts for decades, and the control fittings -- so you don't have to drain it -- are also still made and also last pretty much forever.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216

    SuperTech
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited November 2020
    Small 1/2 or 3/4 pipe coming out left side of green Thrush 115 Flow Control Valve goes to tank. Yes, I'm aware output from relief valve needs piped to floor. Also, there is no LWCO.

    My contractor is fine. This is a small town in the land of forced air. He is not a plumber, he is the owner of the only local HVAC shop. He installed the space pack AC in this house before I bought it. Everything to do with the hydronics was installed by dead men (some pro, some homeowner). I'm glad he is willing to service something this old that he didn't install.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited November 2020
    Right side of Thrush 115 on output side of boiler:


  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited November 2020
    The one and only pump. On the return to the back of the boiler:


  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    Steamhead said:


    What is the length and diameter of your tank?

    12 x 48.

    would this one work?

    https://www.thrushco.com/430-024
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    Do you have an isolation valve between the air scoop and tank?
    And also a drain valve on the tank?
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited November 2020
    I have this valve on the end of the tank. Yes there is also a working drain (ball valve) on the bottom of the tank. I've used it for the annual un-waterlogging. The green Thrush 115 Flow Control Valve has a flipper thing on it. It feels stuck.

  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    I've cleaned the valve stems with a wire brush, and loosened/tightened the packing nuts since these photos. Working good now.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    The flow control valve is there to keep hot water from gravity feeding up thru the system. It is closed until pump pressure hits it and open the flow valve. The flipper is most likely the manual open of the flow valve.....used if your pump failed.
    I would leave it as is.

    Your old tank has an air inlet tube that goes internally to the top of the tank for draining the tank quicker, it lets the tank drain without gulping air back thru the drain valve.
    There used to be drain valves that had an air port as such for easier draining, don't know if still available.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    House has 11 of these. Made in Kewanee, Illinois, 100 years ago.



    Steve MinnichSolid_Fuel_ManSuperTech
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    Beautiful look CI, great name but regretfully now gone.
    Plenty of their boilers still working though.

    If you have to drain your system for any reason, I would recommend replacing all the air vents on the rads.
    Once system is full and if one of these fail to open or reclose tightly then there is grief involved. Many here would recommend the change outs.
    You can cut the paint with a knife and unscrew carefully.
    New ones are chrome plated, some run with a key or screwdriver or both.

    That tank looks to be a match for replacement if the same size.
    However your old tank is end connected and this new is bottom connected. It is important that the connection pipe run up at a slight slope to the tank, this may require some swing 90 elbows maybe at both ends. The collected air needs to migrate up at the top of the pipe and the water movement on the lower part of the pipe, back and forth as it expands.
    I would replace the valve with a full port ball valve.

    And would be a good time to change the rad air vents also. IMO
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,844
    WMno57 said:

    Steamhead said:


    What is the length and diameter of your tank?

    12 x 48.

    would this one work?

    https://www.thrushco.com/430-024
    Yup.
    WMno57 said:

    House has 11 of these. Made in Kewanee, Illinois, 100 years ago.



    Beautiful!
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    Steve Minnich
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited December 2020
    When I bought the place, my contractor was against opening the plug for the vacuum breaker. Said he had seen old tanks where busting loose that plug opened a can of worms. We used the gulp method that day, and I subsequently have used the gulp method. Yesterday, after i drilled out the pinhole (half way up the side of tank), I drained the tank again. Didn't really need it, but I was there. Much faster with the vacuum broken.

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    Maybe they did not use the bedrooms and unhooked the rads not only to save heat but to avoid freezing of the rads.
    Many old valves would not shut off 100% to allow some water flow to prevent freezing. To them this may have been wasting heat up there.
    Where were they cut off at, upstairs or in the basement?
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited December 2020
    ...
  • 426hemi
    426hemi Member Posts: 64
    I have a similar tank, A bladder tank is less maintenance don’t have to drain the water out every year to get air back in and you don’t have to bleed the air out of your radiators every couple of months.  I don’t know where you could get a new tank like this might have to make or have one made any good welder/fabricator could make a replacement if you brought them the old tank, I would not replace the boiler it’s much better than anything made today it might last for another 100 years
  • PC7060
    PC7060 Member Posts: 501
    edited November 2020
    Hope you find a good replacement. I just removed a thrush control valve assembly and expansion tank as part of the install of a HTP UFT boiler. First thing I learned about the boiler when I first got house 5 years ago. Wondered why the boiler kept blowing over pressure valve dumping pressure and temperatures, then heating up again to repeat cycle. I too used the glug glug method to drain the tank and solve the cycling problem. Baby’s first step!

    I was able to find the drawings for the valve in a old patent application which was very helpful when the pump failed and I was able to reconfigure valve for gravity feed. Gravity actually worked very well with my large pipes and TRV equipped radiators. Even the basement radiators stayed warmed due to Venturi effect of flow on the main trunk lines produced by the rads on upper floors. 

    Hung onto the Thrush valve and tanks; love the design and the tank will join more of the old  dead mans gear “featured” in my shop.  B)
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 15,042
    Qualitytankinc.com builds compression tanks in Wisconsin, Most of the tanks you see in wholesalers around Chicago come from them. They worked on some custom solar drainback tanks for me.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    WMno57
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,331
    edited November 2020
    @WMno57

    Here you go. See the attached. You just need a wholesaler that sells John Wood Products. And the tank does not have to be ASME rated if your under 30psi which you are.

    The tank you showed is a floor mounted tank and will not work

    If it aint broke don't fix it.

    As far as pumping away on a reseidential system with low restriction pumping toward the tank works. I would change the pump location when you decide to change the boiler


    JW makes a 12 x 47 just what you need
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    Thanks guys.

    "We are holding our own"

    Boiler is on
    House is 64 degrees and rising
    The floor is dry
    Pipe plug in the pinhole is only weeping

    Local parts house checked the John Woods and Thrush parts numbers. He just called me back, says he can't get them from any of his suppliers. At least he knew what kind of tank I was talking about. He is still looking.

    Ed, I think that Thrush tank is ceiling mount. Their webmaster was lazy and used the same picture everywhere. Tanks are tanks,right?

    If anyone else has a parts number for a 24 gallon 12x 48 tank please post them up.

    Thanks
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,111
    A passing note on @426hemi 's comment that you have to drain an overhead compression tank every year and bleed air out of the radiators.

    This is, perhaps, true, if the tank is not properly installed with the correct fittings. If, however, it is correctly installed with the proper Airtrol fittings, including boiler fitting and in-line Airtrol or Rolairtrol fitting, it should never waterlog nor should there be any air left in the system to get into radiators.

    If a compression tank is installed with the proper fittings, it will function correctly for decades without attention.

    However, if someone has decided to add another air separator to the system somewhere, it will waterlog. If someone has just piped it with a T off the heating pipe screwed into the tank, it will waterlog or become full of air, and in neither case will it work properly.

    They are dead simple and completely reliable -- but like so many things which are dead simple and completely reliable, they can be screwed up in a number of creative ways.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    I don't have an Airtrol currently. I was reading about them, neat idea. I see I can buy an Airtrol from supplyhouse.com, but they don't seem to have plain steel tanks.

    At this point I just want to source a new tank. At 27 threads per inch I figure my 1/8 pipe plug has about two threads holding it in.

    None of these companies make the tank. I think the tanks are made in Greenwood, Indiana by Wessels.

    https://www.westank.com/expansion-tanks/expansion-compression-tanks/

    Ironically that is about two hours from me. I could drive there, drive home, slam the tank in, and be celebrating with a beer before the sun goes down today.

    Instead, I have to play the supply chain game, while my two tiny threads in the side of my old tank rust away.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,844
    R.E.Michel has one in stock at their Baltimore warehouse. Their part# is 2K542.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    Thanks Steamhead! They are closed now, but they have a branch in crown point, indiana near me. I called crown point and they won't sell to me, and they say their computer says none in stock company wide. I told them about Baltimore, and they are going to check into it and call me back tomorrow. My contractor is on their list so maybe he can buy it.

    Maybe I can hang out in the parking lot and pay a contractor to buy it for me. That is how I would score beer 44 years ago!

  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    It is encouraging to hear of a wholesale house that will not sell to a homeowner.......I am sure you may not agree with the policy but that was the standard for many years.
    If homeowners were on site buying items contractors would boycott the place.

    If your contractor has an open account there and he talks to them, you could probably order it under his name.
    EdTheHeaterMan
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,331
    @WMno57

    I gave you the spec sheet on John Wood tanks in my previous post. They are popular and most all supply houses have access to them
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited December 2020
    ...
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,111
    I might comment here: it is all well and good to applaud a supply house which won't sell to a homeowner -- or, might I add, to a building superintendent. Such as yours truly.

    We had two supply houses in our area some years back. One had that policy, the other did not. Guess which one is out of business now -- and it committed suicide even before the advent of the internet (I'll give them this: they stuck to their guns and were arrogant and rude to the common clay right up to the day the sheriff padlocked them).

    It is true that many homeowners will go to the Big Box for a low-ball Chinesium product. Not all will, however -- whether it is plumbing, electrical, carpentry, whatever -- and with the 'net, not to put too fine a point on it, either the business will serve the more knowledgeable -- or they will take their custom elsewhere, and the business will be in real trouble.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 14,844
    WMno57 said:

    Thanks Steamhead! They are closed now, but they have a branch in crown point, indiana near me. I called crown point and they won't sell to me, and they say their computer says none in stock company wide. I told them about Baltimore, and they are going to check into it and call me back tomorrow. My contractor is on their list so maybe he can buy it.

    Maybe I can hang out in the parking lot and pay a contractor to buy it for me. That is how I would score beer 44 years ago!

    As of now, it still shows in stock there. Location shows as "central distribution" which I'm pretty sure is their main warehouse. It's actually located in Glen Burnie, just south of the city.

    @WMno57 , yes, your contractor will need to do the deal.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    Ed, thank you for the spec sheet. I found a supply house that can get the John Wood, and another house that can get the Thrush. Have not found anyone in the Midwest who stocks these, but they will drop ship to me or my contractor. Have a price on the Thrush, no price yet on the John Wood. I'm hopeful I can get this ordered tomorrow.
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 10,331
    In my location one of the major HVAC supply houses have signs on their doors "sales to licensed HVAC only"

    They tell me it's a liability issue (and i can see that) homeowner comes in to buy a new cad cell control for his oil burner and wan'ts the guy behind the counter to tell him how to wire it.

    That being said they will bend the rules if you talk like you know what your doing.


  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,111
    Certainly there may be a perception of a liability issue, @EBEBRATT-Ed -- although that applies to any store, and will only become much worse with the proposed federal legislation to hold manufacturers and retailers liable for misuse, not just failure, of their products. How real it is at this time I'm not sure -- although nuisance lawsuits cost almost as much as real ones, and take up more time, and the impact is much worse for a small business than for a retail giant. There's also the problem of social media and internet sites such as Yelp or Google, which invite reviews and on which there is no penalty for malicious or slanderous reviews.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    edited December 2020
    Thank you to @JUGHNE , and @hot_rod for directing me to Quality Tanks!

    Thank you to the wonderful folks at Quality Tanks. They are a manufacturer of many kinds of tanks. Their tanks are available for purchase from your favorite distributor. They have a large inventory in stock at their plant, ready to ship.

    I made a single phone call yesterday morning to Quality Tanks. they listened to my problem, asked me for my location, and told me they would call me back.

    They called me back shortly, we discussed the options, and came up with a way to get their tank into my hands that afternoon.

    Do you need a replacement for a rusted out compression tank? How about a tank with a sight glass on the side? Maybe a galvanized tank for an old air over water well system. They have all of the above with specifications on their excellent web site. They can also make you a custom tank to your specs.

    http://www.qualitytanksinc.com

    On their home page they state;
    "We offer exceptional customer service and high quality products at the lowest possible price."

    They do, and they came through for me. They truly are EXCEPTIONAL.

    Ask your supply house for a Quality Tank. If they can't or wont get you one, call Quality Tanks directly with the part number from their website. They may direct you to another supply house, but one way or another, they will find a way to get you a tank.

    MY HIGHEST PRAISE AND RECOMMENDATION
    A+++++++++++++++
    Solid_Fuel_Man
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    Are you going to go with the sight glass?
    A good observation port into operation, however the top valve and rubber seal of the glass can eventually leak air.
  • WMno57
    WMno57 Member Posts: 216
    No sight glass for me. My opinion is the additional information is not worth the cost of potential leaks.

    I have an air over water well tank at another property. It has six ports with various controls and gauges. One of the upper ports has a very minor air leak. Not enough for me to tear it down and fix, but it does water-log faster.

    The nice thing about Quality's tanks, is you have a choice. You can spec two holes (drain and system connection) or four(drain,system, upper sight glass, lower sight glass). I went with two. Sure, you can plug them, but even that can leak, and my first air over water well tank developed a pinhole leak in a bad weld on one of the ports.

    Keep it Simple.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 8,960
    For water well tanks there was a device that would inject some air with each pump operation. Don't know the exact name but it was in the hardware stores near well pump items. Maybe for jet pumps only, IDK.

    Water well tanks are one place where, IMO, a bladder tank is a vast improvement over the old standard.
    Bigger is better in that situation, 1/3 size, less flex of bladder and fewer start/stop cycles. Might have 5-10 trouble free years.

    For what it is worth, I know of a local rancher who literally lost his head recharging the old type tank.
    It was in a pit, he was lying on the ground reaching down to the air fill valve with his head above the tank when the top popped off.....very tragic freak accident.
    WMno57