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Pressure drop after two weeks of use

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Comments

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,269
    The majority of plumbers own or have used SharkBites, many won't admit it. Emergency repairs only, they may tell you!
    I don't see the pressure drop being much if any more than a copper sweat ell? They are rated for the pressure and temperature you will be running, they are fine.
    They depend on an O-ring for the seal. Just like press fittings do. Although the press fitting manufacturers call them sealing elements, not o-rings :) I think the hydraulic industry depends on o-ring seals predominately, also.

    Looks like two manufactured panels, the upper is a primary secondary, the lower is a distribution. If you have closely spaced tees on a pipe run, properly sized and piped, you have primary secondary, by definition of the term.

    You actually have a manufactured Primary/ Secondary fitting from what I see? Does it say "critical" on the handle? That valve needs to be open, unless you are purging.

    I don't see an isolation valve between the boiler and relief, so it is protecting the system. There may be a relief inside the boiler also? I'd rather see the relief on the boiler somewhere, but you are protected.

    If flow is as in this attached drawing they also are fine, pumping way piped properly.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    You are correct on the critical valve. That is for filling/pressuring up.
    There is not a relief in the boiler. There is one outside that came with the boiler. Then there is one on the upper panel. The inspector was confused why there is two in the system. He said there is no need for two. 
    I just installed everything per instructions.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,927
    edited September 2022
    Well, there is a difference between Pressure Loss and pressure drop. Pressure Loss in a piping sys can be more easily understood by its old term Friction Loss. Water flowing thru a sys creates friction when the water molecules rub against the pipe walls. It is the resistance that the piping, fittings and hardware that the water flows thru. This resistance to flow needs pumping power to overcome that loss so one has the flow one requires. Of course, pressure drop is a reduction of the pressure, which can be because of leakage.

    You would do well to read the Idronics online magazine put out by Caleffi, a leader in hydronic manufacturing. Volumes 12-16-19 specifically separation of the boiler circuit from the distribution circuits, location of pumps, etc. If you expect the pumps to move water thru your sys at startup, it may not happen if there are air bubbles some where. These are circulators not pumps although we do call them pumps because it is easier to write. They circulate water, but for that to happen the circuit must be completely full of water, no air bubbles. We normally pump water and glycol thru the sys with a pump moving water thru the sys at +2'/sec to remove any air. It's your upper flr that's problematic, the high points.

    You need some kind of supply of water or water and glycol into the sys with an auto fill.
    sys. As an example:
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Axiom-MF200-MF200-PRESSURE-PAL-Hydronic-Mini-System-Feeder-6-Gallon
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,269
    The manufacturer of that panel supplies a 30 psi relief, not knowing who or what will be connected to it. It protect their components.

    It not uncommon to see those panels connected to a water heater which has a 150 psi relief valve.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    That refill system is what I am thinking I am going to do. Until the leak visually shows itself or is obvious, that is the more logical thing to have.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,207
    You can also use a largeish expansion tank and a prv. It is less expensive and simpler than the tank and pump.
    HomerJSmith
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    Good point!
    I like that idea.
    Thanks!
  • pedmec
    pedmec Member Posts: 713
    where is the discharge tube for the pressure relief valve draining to? is it exposed so you can see if its discharging?
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,927
    edited September 2022
    Ok, I just looked at the installation manual. The iron pipe with the Teflon tape is actually the pressure relief discharge piping and not the gas supply. Ya, you don't need two PRVs . You haven't piped this boiler as a primary/secondary sys as the instructions on page 40 shows. I think you are going to have to re-pipe the sys, for starters. Sorry for the bad news. If you decide to do that, I may be able to help you with that. I would get rid of that lower pump and replace it with a ECM pump, such as.
    https://www.supplyhouse.com/Grundfos-99285998-ALPHA1-Circulator-Pump-1-16-HP-115-Volt
    https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/catsy.782/X-C+IO.pdf

    Using sharkbite fittings require that you ream the inside and outside of the copper pipe before putting it together.

    GroundUp
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    The relief pipe just goes to 4" above the floor per code. 
    All the pipes are reamed outer and inner. 
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,269
    Ok, I just looked at the installation manual. The iron pipe with the Teflon tape is actually the pressure relief discharge piping and not the gas supply. Ya, you don't need two PRVs . You haven't piped this boiler as a primary/secondary sys as the instructions on page 40 shows. I think you are going to have to re-pipe the sys, for starters. Sorry for the bad news. If you decide to do that, I may be able to help you with that. I would get rid of that lower pump and replace it with a ECM pump, such as. https://www.supplyhouse.com/Grundfos-99285998-ALPHA1-Circulator-Pump-1-16-HP-115-Volt https://s3-us-west-2.amazonaws.com/catsy.782/X-C+IO.pdf Using sharkbite fittings require that you ream the inside and outside of the copper pipe before putting it together.
    How is it not piped primary secondary? Not sure what model boiler, looks like a Burnham Alpine

    From what I see it is P/S. Different from the manual is the expansion tank location.?

    The tank location makes the boiler loop the primary. In the manual the distribution loop is primary since that is where the tank is connected, either is fine But regardless with the special primary secondary fitting it is similar to the header kits most manufacturers offer for P/S

    If it is a water coil Alpine, it may need a bit more circ, depending on the desired delta. The 15-58!should meet the required minimum

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,927
    edited September 2022
    I'm learning as I go, too.

    Perhaps it's the location of the pumps that makes me feel uneasy about separation.

    I think that the return pipe from the closely spaced tees to the boiler should be the pipe with the boiler pump. I think that the distribution circuit pump should be located on the pipe to the manifolds. That pump should be a ECM pump or a fixed speed pump with a differential by-pass valve.


    I think I would have gone with a hydro sep. We don't mount the pump with the electrical control box under the pump. We rotate the housing so the ele box is on its side or at the top.
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    I see your concern with the set up. Just curious though, on page 40 of the manual you pointed out, where the boiler pipes connect to the system, they are connected kinda the same manner as the picture above where you wrote in the word conflict. How do they work like that? Does the hot and cool water just stay separated?

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,269
    Is the lower circ pumping from left to right? Does this go to the supply manifold, zone valves installed in the proper flow direction>If so your panels are perfectly fine, no conflicts or need to change anything.
    ? These are "universal" pump panels from Menards. I have not seen a sep panel in their offering. And I doubt many, if any Menards employees could explain P/S or hydraulic separation :)

    The ECM delta P circ for the distribution would be as nicer, but not sure Menards offers those. They look to be private labeled Grundfos to Hydro-Smart the manufacturer of the panels for Menards.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    The lower one is right to left flow. Everything is flowing according to the instructions and indicator arrows. The system works and works rather well. Its just the weird pressure drop after such a long duration of running (2 weeks).
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,269
    Eric_79 said:

    The lower one is right to left flow. Everything is flowing according to the instructions and indicator arrows. The system works and works rather well. Its just the weird pressure drop after such a long duration of running (2 weeks).

    It will take some trial and error testing to solve the leak issue. It may be a non issue if you had air pockets that were never completely removed. Valve it into bite size pieces to confirm the various sections are leak free.

    If you leave the boiler piping in a test you are limited to 28 psi. Valve off the boiler and you could test with 60 psi or more. Stubborn, tiny leaks show much quicker with elevated pressure tests.

    Turn off either of the circ iso valves on the upper circ, and the valve to the right of the Y strainer. Now you have isolated the boiler, exp tank and relief valve to do a higher pressure test. Hook a garden hose, with a wash machine jumper hose, to one of the manifold drain valves and take the pressure up.

    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,927
    edited September 2022
    I see your concern with the set up. Just curious though, on page 40 of the manual you pointed out, where the boiler pipes connect to the system, they are connected kinda the same manner as the picture above where you wrote in the word conflict. How do they work like that? Does the hot and cool water just stay separated?

    Eric, that wasn't my concern. The installation instructions shows the boiler pump pumping toward the boiler. Your installation shows the boiler pump pumping away from the boiler. The instructions show the distribution pump pumping toward the zone valves and manifolds. Your installation shows the distribution pump pumping away from the manifolds and zone valves. As I said, I like pumping into the highest pressure loss. That would be the boiler heat exchanger and the zone valves and manifolds and the flr circuits. The reason that the instructions are printed that way is so one pump doesn't interfere with the other pump. The closely spaced tees separate the functioning of the boiler circuit from the functioning of the distribution circuit. Look at the arrows showing the direction of flow on the instruction manual (P40) for both the boiler circuit and distribution circuit.

    The way I see it, if you're losing pressure. The sys has a leak or an air bubble that is gradually being absorbed-most likely.

    The pressure relief valve at the boiler is definitely a high spot that has trapped air. Cracking the PRV and allowing the boiler water fill that pipe may help. Look for high spots where air might be trapped. You need a Flir camera to look for leaks in the Pex.
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    That seems to be the common consensus with everyone. I think I am going to really take some time and pump each zone for a good amount of time on each run and see if I can flush out any more air bubbles. If that does not work, I'm gonna probably go with an external pressure tank and keep a pressurized reservoir to replenish. I wish I could use well water but lucky for me when they drilled the well they hit a salt water vein and our water is salty. Don't think that is such a good idea in these systems lol.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,269
    Have you tested the water? Hardness and TDS are the critical numbers to know. You don’t want to put a lot of minerals in the system that will cost the inside of the boiler

    Id blast it with well water, add a hydronic conditioner to fix some of the waters issues if it test out of the parameters in the boiler manual.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    I know the tds number is high. We need an ro system just to frink it . Even then it makes the coffee taste funny 
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,496
    Unless somebody flipped the volute in the lower circ, it is flowing left to right. That's how they come from the factory. Your lower panel is flipped, which would make the flow through the manifolds backwards. Do the flowmeters work?
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    Yes they do. All are set the same.
  • 4Johnpipe
    4Johnpipe Member Posts: 479
    I'm afraid the issue may be the shark bite fittings. The system heats up and "cracks the air" with no auto fill pressure drops. The system cools and creates a vacuum 10 times the pressure of the rating of the seals. Its small but with that many shark bite fittings and boiler cycle's it is slowly happening throughout the day.

    Retesting the loops is not a bad idea, however I'm convinced it's the push on fittings.
    LANGAN'S PLUMBING & HEATING LLC
    Considerate People, Considerate Service, Consider It Done!
    732-751-1560
    email: [email protected]
    www.langansplumbing.com
    mattmia2
  • MrStu02
    MrStu02 Member Posts: 6
    I too am suspicious of the shark bite fittings. I don’t use them myself, they seem need constant pressure to maintain seal. I have removed them from a small commercial system, as within a decade they were weeping throughout the baseboard system.
    Also prefer to use a purge cart when dealing with high concentrations of glycol. That way I can run each circuit through the cart until the solution runs clear. Makes for a good start.
    Also, I have heated several smaller commercial garages with infloor, and without water supply. I will oversize the expansion tank, purge, and leave it pressurized as high as possible.
    And someone probably mentioned that fresh water is 14% dissolved air, that releases as the temperature approaches 180 degF. If your system doesn’t get that hot, it takes a lot longer to remove the dissolved air. Good luck, you have indeed found “heating help”.
  • mvickers
    mvickers Member Posts: 22
    Pesky evaporative, waiting for corrosion, leak?
    Get a fluorescent dye kit, inject the system, wait a couple days of running, darken the room & use the black light.
    Unless in the slab, you WILL find the smallest of leaks, and if in the slab, the old black pepper may cure it 🧐
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 7,207
    4Johnpipe said:

    I'm afraid the issue may be the shark bite fittings. The system heats up and "cracks the air" with no auto fill pressure drops. The system cools and creates a vacuum 10 times the pressure of the rating of the seals. Its small but with that many shark bite fittings and boiler cycle's it is slowly happening throughout the day.

    Retesting the loops is not a bad idea, however I'm convinced it's the push on fittings.

    It won't go in to vacuum if there is a cold fill pressure above zero. There is a slight possibility the circulator could pull a portion in to vacuum if the cold fill pressure is too low. The cold fill pressure could become zero if there is air already in the system that works its way out. If it is happening only when the system runs but not if it sits for weeks at a time it is very likely that it is air pockets trapped out in the system and air dissolved in the fluid.
  • joeba
    joeba Member Posts: 24
    I'm not sure if Sharkbite fittings are rated to be used with glycol.
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    They can up to 200 degrees.
  • joeba
    joeba Member Posts: 24
    The rubber seal in the SB fitting may not like glycol
  • joeba
    joeba Member Posts: 24
    If I fill a system (especially with glycol), I would suspect a pressure drop for a bit while air works its way out of the system, but a drop to 0, no. That is the reason some on this forum will recd. leaving the feeder on for a month or so, before turning it off. The other thing is the expansion tank. In the summer, I turn off the boiler and feeder, then I lose pressure over summer. It turns out, the expansion tank lost charge, and water enters it, but with the feeder off, does not maintain the pressure. TBH, I would be a litttle concerned with radiant running under a slab and not being able to see if there is a leak. An IR camera is your friend here.
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    Ya I saw I left that out. Their site says they can handle 100% glycol.
    joeba
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    I'm gonna bring home an ir camera from work and do some checking to see also. That is a good idea.
    Will it show even with this slow of a pressure drop?
  • joeba
    joeba Member Posts: 24
    I would look for a leak while the system is running. You may be able to see some fluid trails from the loops.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,927
    edited October 2022
    If you think the sharkbite fitting are a problem, then... I would take metal tape and cut it into 1" wide widths and wrap them around the sharkbite fitting at each end and the pipe going into the fittings. Keep it tight and smooth, thereby sealing the ingress of air. Might work, won't hurt.
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    Good idea. I have the air separator closed now and the wife fired it up for actual heating the house today for the first time. Gonna see how it goes for the next couple weeks other than might be a few days that it isn't ran as the temp fluctuates.
  • HotanCool
    HotanCool Member Posts: 54
    Where does the relief valve terminate? Can you see if it drips? Black iron directly into copper???
  • Eric_79
    Eric_79 Member Posts: 35
    It terminates 4 in from the ground. I checked there are no drips or puddles.
    Black pipe all the way from the relief