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Issues with Watts radiant floor manifold

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eurban
eurban Member Posts: 36
Hello and thanks for reading. I'm a general contractor and I am hoping to solve an issue that one of my clients is having with their radiant floor heating manifold. The equipment was put in around 2008. The manifolds are Watts stainless and the tubing is black Onix. The main manifold has some leaking going on as you can see in the pictures I have attached. It also has at least one actuator (far right) that isn't opening the flow when it should be.
I haven't had much luck in finding a parts breakdown of the Watts manifold. It looks like I can purchase replacement flow meters but I am wondering what exactly I should expect to be in need of replacement to fix the leak issues. Will the new flow meters solve the leak or do I just need some sort of gasket or o-ring?
On the subject of the actuator. Are these something that I should just go ahead replace in total (there are 10 total) to avoid frequent issues or is it reasonable to just replace the one(s?) that currently seems to be acting up. Actuators are Watts 22c and I will need to check whether they are 2 or 4 wire. I've included a picture of the outboard transformer and distribution hubs as well. Thanks for any advice




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  • eurban
    eurban Member Posts: 36
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    Here's a better pic of the leaks where I think they start at the top.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    I don't know that you could buy just a new gasket? Or complete meter assembly. I'll bet the water inn that system is pretty rusty and new meters would turn brown instantly :)

    It's a pretty basic o-ring. Might take one apart, go to the local auto parts for a handful of new rings. I'd clean, dry both threads and add a few drops of Loctite thread locker. Both glue and a new O-ring should cover it.

    In the Midwest Mack McClain reps Watts Radiant, or try the locater at Watts for nearby rep.
    Keith Whitworth works that KC office and knows that manifold well.

    Phone: 913-339-6677
    Fax: 913-339-9518
    orders@mackmcclain.com
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • GGross
    GGross Member Posts: 1,105
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    As for the actuator personally I would just replace the one that is bad. They don't seem to go out one after the other but rather they (as with all controls!) fail when it is least convenient for you.
  • eurban
    eurban Member Posts: 36
    edited February 2023
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    Thanks for the thoughts so far.
    I appreciate the picture hot rod! I should have thought to contact Watts directly and I will definitely see what their locator comes up with. I'm in the mid-atlantic.
    I am thinking that I should tackle the actuator issues in the short term and leave the leaks till the heating season is over. . . Maybe I'll order up 2 or 3 or 4 actuators just in case I missed an issue on some of the smaller loops. The one on the right that has definitely failed is the "master control" for another manifold with 4 actuators that covers 4 loops of slab heat in the basement and front entry. I guess it makes sense that it failed first as it has seen lots of use from 3 different thermostats. Honestly I don't really think that master actuator is really critical (I have it currently removed so that slab manifold gets full flow) for the moment since the actuators on the slab manifold seem to function ok. Basically if they are closed then the water will just loop over to the slab manifold and back when ever heat is called from any thermostat. Anyways thanks again! Cheers!
    Eric
  • kcopp
    kcopp Member Posts: 4,448
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    I am 99% sure the leaks are happening because on the tubing that goes out to the system. That is Watts Onyx. It is notorious for having a lot of oxygen ingress. Hence it will corrode system parts from the inside out. A system flush and a good regular dose of inhibitor is recommended.

  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 22,472
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    You have at least one fiber washer leaking also, on the red handle iso valve. You might wait till summer, and disassemble the entire manifold and reseal it. Those are not unusual leaks. It’s a stamped manifold, so those threads are not always the highest quality. Stem lube on the new rings helps them seal and stay pliable.

    Of all the metals in your system, that stainless should handle the o2 ingress okay. The ferrous metals are taking the hit, hence the brown flowmeters.

    Running a cleaner after you refill could improve heat transfer in all the wetted surfaces.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
    Ironman
  • eurban
    eurban Member Posts: 36
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    Ok thanks for the info on the oxygen ingress sensitivity. The entire house is radiant, using the black Onix tubing so the only metal parts will be in the pumps / boiler etc. Boiler is triangle tube prestige circa 2008 BTW. I also noticed that small leak at the red shut off. I will plan on a system clean out in the summer and can pull apart the manifold to fix the leaks then. I will also look into cleaners and additives. Great help here! Thanks!
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Never a fan of those manifolds...questionable metal content? They always struck me as "Pot Metal or "Munzt metal". I trust red brass or True Stainless steel. Mad Dog
  • eurban
    eurban Member Posts: 36
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    According to the Watts specification sheet the manifolds are made of 304 Stainless.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
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    Isn't 440 Stainless the best?  Back in 80s my biker friends & motor heads  threw that number around like it was the Gold Standard.  Mad Dog
  • eurban
    eurban Member Posts: 36
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    There are many different grades / types of stainless and I think there are advantages and disadvantages to each. 304 is a commonly used type and I don't think there is reason blame the metal choice as the reason for the leaks.
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
    edited February 2023
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    Not a metallurgist.....but I have seen installed materials from as far back as the 1860s in NYC, Brooklyn, Queens and The Gold Coast Mansions of Long Island Beautiful North Shore (3 miles North if where I sit) and I very respectfully disagree with you, sir. That stuff looks like Pot Metal to me and I don't have a high regard for ANY material thats going to look like that after what?? 25 years???  Give
    Me Red Brass Manifolds anyday.  Mad Dog 🐕 
  • Mad Dog_2
    Mad Dog_2 Member Posts: 7,241
    edited February 2023
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    The way I look at it this way:  its one if either 3 things
    1)Water Quality (can be controlled but expensive and another thing to test & maintain).
    2) Installer error (wrong dope, not tight enough, egged the fittings.  
    3)The Product's Physical/Chemical make up.  

    The easiest and most trouble free thing I can do, is install a proven, high quality material by a very good manufacturer.  Not knocking The Great Watts in any way! (Just about every company has a 🍋 lemon once in awhile).   I use many of their products on a daily basis but I just never cared for those manifolds and now I know why!   Just like some of those radiant companies that made the Lego-Like manifold blocks....they haven't held up well either.  Call it plumber's intuition or 'gut feeling.   Mad 🐕 Dog