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should I add a Glycol supply to my system

jmoar
jmoar Member Posts: 18
Hello,

I have a radiant floor heating system in the mountains and do not have a separate Glycol tank supply like many of my neighbors. I was told by a contractor that it is also useful to see if there is ever a leak in the system as it would begin to drain faster than typical and indicate an under slab leak.

I would love some opinions as to whether or not people feel this is necessary or not or exactly how necessary.

Thank you! :)

Comments

  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,913
    edited October 2022
    Not necessary.

    ...But this sounds like this is not your permanent residence and that you may be gone during freezing conditions. If this is the case, what do you do to protect the rest of the potable water and drainage systems in your home?

    Blow out and/or drain all the potable water pipes and flush all the toilets then pour antifreeze in the tank and traps? Then still not necessary

    Leave the thermostat set at a lower temperature. just enough to keep the home from freezing up. Then It might be a good idea.

    I worked in a seasonal area where 70% of the property owners were away for the winter. Every winter, the local news would show some absentee home with water gushing out of the garage door after a deep freeze and then the thaw.

    My most expensive repair was a home that just about every baseboard radiator and water pipe burst. We needed to open up sheetrock walls to find all the leaks. My part including a new boiler was over $20.000 in the 1998-1999 winter. That's not including the carpenter repairs, sheet rock, carpets and general cleaning of the water damage. Insurance helped, but a WiFi thermostat would have helped to prevent it. (Were they available back then?)
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,535
    A simple freeze stat tied into the alarm system. 
    I’ve installed LP Controls on boilers that also notify the alarm company of an issue early. 
  • jmoar
    jmoar Member Posts: 18
    edited October 2022
    Ed,

    We are at the home about 50% of the time year round. It is basically freezing there all winter long, so yes we leave sometimes when it is freezing. We could never make sense of draining all the supply lines to leave for a short period of time. Just not sure if adding that tank would be worthwhile or helpful.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,535
    jmoar said:
    Ed, We are at the home about 50% of the time year round. It is basically freezing there all winter long, so yes we leave sometimes when it is freezing. We could never make sense of draining all the supply lines to leave for a short period of time. Just not sure if adding that tank would be worthwhile or helpful.
    Then your taking a chance. 
    At the very least shut the main water supply to the building. 
    WMno57kcopp
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,913
    jmoar said:

    Ed,

    We are at the home about 50% of the time year round. It is basically freezing there all winter long, so yes we leave sometimes when it is freezing. We could never make sense of draining all the supply lines to leave for a short period of time. Just not sure if adding that tank would be worthwhile or helpful.

    I figured that was the way you use the home. Not like the 1960s where you had a vacation home that was locked up for 9 months of the year.

    Then I might consider the Glycol Tank option. If you don't go that way then I would definitely install a WiFi thermostat to send low temperature messages to your phone. or a low temperature switch to the alarm company as suggested by @pecmsg. That is assuming you have an alarm system.


    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • jmoar
    jmoar Member Posts: 18
    thank you! i'm currently installing Tekmar controls to monitor all the temps in the home and possibly should have said that upfront. That way it will also alert me to low temps. I currently have three remote temp sensors in the home in various locations to make sure i get notified far before freezing. Last year i had an issue with a broken induction fan and found the house at 38 degrees when i got there after only being gone a week. SO.. i'm a bit nervous about the cold and think i'm getting that part under control. It's really whether or not one needs that glycol tank or not, if that makes sense.
  • pecmsg
    pecmsg Member Posts: 3,535
    Do you have a low temp alarm in the home?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 20,421
    May I humbly point out that an alarm system and wi-fi will do very little good in a power failure -- if they work at all?

    Further, if the alarm goes off or the wi-fi calls you, now what? Are you close enough so you can get there, diagnose the problem, and get someone out to fix it before things get dicey?

    Or do you have someone nearby on retainer to be notified, or better yet to check the property from time to time?
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • EdTheHeaterMan
    EdTheHeaterMan Member Posts: 4,913

    May I humbly point out that an alarm system and wi-fi will do very little good in a power failure -- if they work at all?

    Further, if the alarm goes off or the wi-fi calls you, now what? Are you close enough so you can get there, diagnose the problem, and get someone out to fix it before things get dicey?

    Or do you have someone nearby on retainer to be notified, or better yet to check the property from time to time?

    I offered that service to about ten of my service agreement customers. If the alarm or WiFi was activated, the customer or the alarm company would call me for service. I has access to do service as needed. If the call was covered by the agreement there was np charge. If the call was something I did not cover but could fix, then the customer got a call with the estimate to do the repair. If the call was because of something like a power outage or something I did not repair, I could do a whole house drain down if needed.

    We even had a brochure to explain the benefits of adding freeze protection to your service agreement.
    Edward Young Retired HVAC Contractor & HYDRONICIAN Services first oil burner at age 16 P/T trainer for EH-CC.org
  • jmoar
    jmoar Member Posts: 18
    I am pretty aware that without power or gas or internet I am out of luck, but that scenario I can't overcome. Yes i have alarms on the boiler for operation and I have separate temperature alarms in 4 locations of the home. All are dependent on some type of power, but i get that. I also get notified if only the internet goes out so i feel secure in notifications and understand some risks.

    I am 90 minutes away from the home so i really feel i am covered if something quits working. The real question was about adding a Glycol tank or not. Thanks for all the other input.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,195
    So it is a glycol system with no fill system now?

    I would add the glycol fill tank to maintain pressure should some air purge out. That boiler may have a low pressure cutout switch. So heat could lock off even without any boiler malfunction 

    What is the downside of adding a glycol fill, in your mind?


    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    GGrossjmoar
  • jmoar
    jmoar Member Posts: 18
    Bob, the only real downside would be money and i do have pretty limited space in the closet where the heating system is installed. That said i really don't know what a system would cost and what all is entailed in the installation. I'm hoping it is something i can do myself. If you have any suggestions on brands or things to look for i would be interested to know. thanks again
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 18,195
    You can Google around for pricing, Axiom is the main player and has the most engineered system in the small residential sizes. It would connect at the expansion tank connection,
    The tank is small and could be mounted above the boiler on a shelf, or remotely.

    I guess the $$ buys you peace of mind or insurance against a lock out condition. Is it worth it?
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    jmoar
  • jmoar
    jmoar Member Posts: 18
    Thanks to everyone for their thoughts. I ordered and Axiom DMF150 today to install in the system and think that is the best overall option. I appreciate all the responses so thank you! :)
    GGross