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System Freeze Recovery

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ScoutRider
ScoutRider Member Posts: 23
It has taken me over a month to write this post.

Last year, I installed a new Bosch combi boiler, and 160 linear feet of Weil-Mclain Snug 9 and Burnham Baseray cast iron. I used Google Nest III thermostats. After a 2 month shakedown of the system, we traveled out of state for an extended period of time, comfortable with the fact that I could monitor the temp in the house while away. Disappointingly, the Nest thermostats have no "hold" setting, so I checked frequently to ensure all was well. Waking up one morning when the outside temp at home was -9, I was greeted by one of the thermostats reporting "offline" status. My Ring cameras were operational and online, so no wifi issue. A call to my contractor had him report back a virtual total loss of the system to freezing. About half of the cast iron sections were broken out, and of course there was related damage. I attribute the failure to a defective thermostat- it continues to fail to connect and operate correctly.

I am weighing my options at this point. I don't know if I can bring myself to do the cast iron again. Any suggestions for good quality fin tube baseboard?

Thanks

Comments

  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 500
    edited March 2022
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    Consider new baseboard as needed,  sized so the boiler can operate in the condensing mode for space heating.
       Protect your investment by including heat exchanger specific glycol when refilling the system; 30% glycol may be sufficient.
         Systems with glycol require some maintenance, but in my opinion it's cheap insurance & protection against power outages, mechanical malfunction, or other breakdowns that can occur even with new equipment.
       And if you have a low water cutoff on your system, consider shutting your make up water valve while away on extended vacations.
    Rich_49mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
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    Glycol is bad, but if you are away from the property for extended periods the alternative is worse. Presumably your insurance will cover the new CI baseboard.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 4,909
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    N E S T

    S U C K S !
    PC7060HomerJSmithreggikcopp
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,737
    edited March 2022
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    CI Baseboard is the best. Replace that and get rid of the NEst's they suck. I wouldn't use Glycol unless your out of town all the time.

    Technology is great stuff ...............until it doesn't work

    @mattmia2 advice to but a reliable mechanical thermostat in parallel with the other one is a solid idea.

    Mechanical stat, no batteries, no programming no nuthing

    another back up would be an electric water heater piped primary secondary with the heating system with it's own circ. below a certain temp yo fire up the water heater it's circ and the circs on the boiler system. A 5kw water heater will give you 17,000 btu of moving water
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,536
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    I'm very sorry to hear that you fell prey to the absolutely inevitable consequences of counting on the magic.

    That said, I agree with the above comments -- especially the mechanical thermsotat and, despite the hassles, the glycol.

    A malfunctioning thermostat is not the only thing that can go wrong, and there really are only two other choices if you are going to be away for more than a few days in cold weather: glycol -- or hiring someone reliable to check on the house every day in bad weather, and take action. Which isn't a bad idea anyway...
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    MikeL_2
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,342
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    Super simple to run constant circulation if it is a single zone. This is a good freeze proofing method and provides a nice heat when the boiler fires. When the boiler cycles off it pull all the heat out.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 2,477
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    Could be your router connection to the internet. I have found that there are other apps that are after market in the app store. Always best to use the manufactures app in setting up the thermostat. A Nest works best with a 3 conductor connection to your boiler control.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,536
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    Yep Could have been a bad thermostat. Could have been a glitch in your router connection. Could have been...

    I'll say it again, and I'll be a tad harsh -- not so much for you, @ScoutRider , but for the many others who are counting on the magic to prevent freezing, or low water, or broken windows, or running into a fire truck, or crashing the airplane, whatever. The magic won't, and you are a fool to count on it. In the case here, glycol would have been prudent, to say the least. In general, however, there is no substitute for a responsible person keeping track. If that can't be accomplished, perhaps it is better to accident proof the situation. It's a rare situation where one or the other -- or both -- can't be managed.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,737
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    There is no 100% way of avoiding a freeze up except for someone checking the building.
    kcopp
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,445
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    CI baseboard is really nice... if you go to fintube you will certainly notice a difference. Hopefully the HO insurance will help you defray the costs.
  • ScoutRider
    ScoutRider Member Posts: 23
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    Thanks for the comments all. I definitely should have considered glycol, but we are having a lot of work done on the house while we were away, and thought having the contractor there every day would be helpful. Since the failure occurred late on a Friday night, that didn't help.

    Replacing the cast iron seems unlikely at this point. In searching for suppliers of replacement WM Snug 9, I am having difficulty finding the individual LH and RH sections; I can find them as assemblies in 5 or 6 feet, but that doesn't work in most of the affected locations. I am (sadly) leaning towards a complete replacement with fintube. Any brand recommendations there? I don't want low end stuff. Thanks again-
  • MikeL_2
    MikeL_2 Member Posts: 500
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           I like Sterling Kom Pak senoir baseboard. Heavy gauge & sturdily stamped with several choices for end caps / trim; durable paint / finish, too.
       Consider Runtal baseboard if height or depth is an issue. Runtal also has a variety of other types of emitters.....
    kcopp
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
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    You could also use Burnahm Baseray. I think if you contact a real dealer rather than looking online they should be able to get you the parts you need. There is probably a lead time, but the dealer should be able to tell you what the availability is.
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,445
    edited March 2022
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    Where are you located?
    What do you need?
    I have some suppliers that have end sections in stock...
    We are coming out of heating season so there is some time...
  • ScoutRider
    ScoutRider Member Posts: 23
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    kcopp said:

    Where are you located?
    What do you need?
    I have some suppliers that have end sections in stock...
    We are coming out of heating season so there is some time...

    We are in Vermont. Still trying to decide on salvaging what remains or going with fin tube. Silly as it seems, not sure I want to do it again. We had 180 feet of used baseboard that we put HOURS into- completely stripping all old paint, spray priming and finish painting. Assembling sections to fit the new installation. After this, I don't know. But, I have to decide pretty soon. Will follow up with you should we go cast iron- thanks!

  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
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    Cast iron baseboard is much more comfortable. It holds heat and radiates ling after the call ends and it produces part radiant heat.

    Fin tube acts almost like forced air, it more or less only heats when it is on and produces very little radiant heat.

    As someone else mentioned 1, 2, or 3 tube runtal has some mass and produces some radiant heat, not quite as good as ci but a lot better than fin tube.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,838
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    If you replace the ci with fin tube you'll regret it.