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Thread: Hot Water heat - Glycol? Other closed-system option?

  1. #16
    Like an engineer alternety's Avatar
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    It rather looks like the relief valve has a turn-off in the pipe. I tried to zoom in on that photo a few days ago but it did not work.

    One also wonders why there is water there.

  2. #17

    Default Hot Water Heat & PEX

    Thanks to everyone for the suggestions and advice regarding the hot water heat.

    If I remember correctly, the water evidenced in the photo is due to some minor work I was doing to replace a rubber hose with clamps to a Sharkbite connector. I'll admit, however, that the maze of pipes is very complicated and confusing.


    Additional photo's can be viewed here:

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...current=39.jpg

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...current=40.jpg

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...urrent=221.jpg

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...urrent=219.jpg


    We've only owned this place since August 2007 and recognize we may have to live with some of these things until we can have on-sight experts make recommendations.

    If there exists a hazard, I will ask someone to address it ASAP. Please explain the potential hazard referenced in the earlier post.

    One of my other posts in a different Terry Forum asks:

    I have a lot of plumbing work to do in our cottage, and it's likely I won't begin until early Spring. So, until then I'm getting all of the info I can, I'm buying supplies, and I'll keep being thankful for the advice.

    This PEX stuff seems too good to be true regarding service life and its resitance to freezing, and it's likely I'll use it everywhere I can. One thing I did notice on another site, however, is that you cannot let it become exposed to sunlight or it will deteriorate. How about indirect lighting from a bulb? Can it be painted to keep it from falling apart?


    Thanks for your help. To ensure the proper handling of my goal to avoid a freezing situation, I will consult a professional during my next visit there.

    Regards,
    Richard

  3. #18
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBlanc View Post
    If there exists a hazard, I will ask someone to address it ASAP. Please explain the potential hazard referenced in the earlier post.
    We need pics of the other side - the water heater on the left in your original pic.

    There's a pipe that comes out of the tank's side, near the top, runs straight down towards the ground? Right above the puddle in the original picture. The bottom of that is where the problem might be. There should be nothing connected to the bottom of that pipe, it needs to be left clear. But from the angle the first picture is taken from, it looks like maybe there's a valve at the bottom of it?
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  4. #19
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    I am not real good at heating parts identification, but in picture 40 is that small box attached to the pipe aside of the expansion tank a low water or high temperature cutoff? If it is, it needs some wires. If it is one of those devices, that is dangerous.

    The diagonal pipe at the wall from the pressure release valve on the boiler seems to just stop at the floor. Just make sure it is not blocked. If it does open water will run on the floor. If you do use glycol and that happens it will be annoying. That is the same type of assembly that is raising the questions on the other side where it looks like a relief valve feeds a pipe that has a manual valve toward the bottom. The pipe from a relief valve must never be capable of being blocked.

  5. #20

    Default Hot Water heat - Glycol? Other closed-system option?

    Thanks for all of the replies and comments. Please know that I am completely unfamiliar with any of the work perform at this cottage. If it is inferior, unsafe, incorrect or otherwise bad, I'll only know it if others like you let me know.

    Below I've attached links to other photo's taken during previous trips. I believe one or more of the photo's will show the areas of potential concern. After viewing, please comment.


    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...urrent=214.jpg

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...urrent=213.jpg

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...urrent=215.jpg

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...urrent=218.jpg

    http://s83.photobucket.com/albums/j3...urrent=221.jpg


    The pipe that runs straight down off of the water heater is not plugged. It is, however, too short. An inspector recommended I lengthen it and route it into the hole where the other drain is.

    I don't know anything about expansion, pressure relief or temperature cutoff. This setup is as exactly the same as when we took possession of the property three months ago.

    We will next visit the property next week and I can take additional photo's at that time (if necessary or desired).

    Lastly, as mentioned previously, I want only to create a system that does NOT rely on the well. I am unaware whether the system ever calls for additional water, because we haven't been there enough to notice. Provided the system is leak-free, it sounds as though we can ask a professional to retrofit it to a mixed-glycol system. If you agree, please let me know.

    Thanks again.

    Richard

  6. #21
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBlanc View Post
    Below I've attached links to other photo's taken during previous trips. I believe one or more of the photo's will show the areas of potential concern. After viewing, please comment.
    The first three are still set to private, i think - I get a page asking Richard Leblanc to sign in. The other two work, but aren't the area of concern.

    The pipe that runs straight down off of the water heater is not plugged. It is, however, too short. An inspector recommended I lengthen it and route it into the hole where the other drain is.
    Then you're okay.

    The top end of that pipe, where it connects to the tank (whith the yellow paper's hanging, in your first picture on this thread) is a valve that opens automatically if the tank gets over-pressurized. Sometimes people who don't know any better block the pipe, then it's a hazard.
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
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  7. #22
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    Ideally, a system would never need any makeup water. A boiler will not work right if it does not have the required amount of water in it at the right pressure. Too high, and it shuts down, same with too low. There are safety devices that (should) shut it down if the conditions aren't right. You have to consider if you can live with the situation where there is a small leak (or a big one) that shuts the system down because it couldn't auto-fill through the makeup supply valve because you turned off the water. If you can, then yes, it should work. Keep in mind, you are relying on the safety features to turn off the boiler. Think of a tea kettle left on the stove after it boils dry. Not a pretty picture. If you didn't drain all of the water lines in the house and prep the traps, when the boiler dies, the whole house's plumbing, toilets, washing machine, DW, and maybe frig if it has a water dispenser could be ruined.

    If you leave the phone on, you could install an alarm that monitors the inside temp and maybe a water sensor to detect spills and it could call you or a monitoring company if something went wrong.

    There is nothing better than someone checking the place on a regular basis, though.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  8. #23
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    Do you have some reason to believe there is a leak? With the makeup water turned off, does the pressure in the system drop over time?

    If there is not a leak it is not "dependant" on the well. In a closed hydronic system thre is really nowhere for water to go. The only way you will need more water is if a pressure/temp protection valve opens. If that happens you have other problems and this should never occur. You might get very small losses from the gadgets the remove air. But I don't think that would be measurable.

  9. #24

    Default Hot Water Heat

    Again, thanks for the suggestions from everyone. I'm now considering a new option involving a retrofit to forced-air natural gas.

    The hot water heat system does not appear to have any leaks, and while there yesterday I bled every bleeder screw at each location. I found no air in the system and believe it is leak-free.

    However, I am still not comfortable unplugging the well pump, because it MAY need to draw water at some point. In addition, I just don't like the thought of leaving my well plugged in for the whole winter while the house is unoccupied.

    Since we expect to spend only a few days there each winter, and since I do not like to pay for heat when I can't enjoy it, I am considering a new furnace. I'd be interested in your thoughts.

    I've seen the new flexible ductwork and it seems to be easy enough for a mechanical person to work with. The house is 1450 square feet and a new furnace seems reasonably priced.

    The ductwork would be placed in the attic (unless the crawl space is preferred), and there are no known obstructions. Any thoughts? I'd really be interested to know if this is a project beyond the ability of most laypersons.

    If I do it, we'll have a used 3-year old hot water furnace / boiler system for sale in mid-Michigan next spring.

    Thanks.

    Richard
    Regards,
    Richard

  10. #25
    Jack of all trades frenchie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LeBlanc View Post
    I've seen the new flexible ductwork and it seems to be easy enough for a mechanical person to work with. The house is 1450 square feet and a new furnace seems reasonably priced.

    The ductwork would be placed in the attic (unless the crawl space is preferred), and there are no known obstructions. Any thoughts? I'd really be interested to know if this is a project beyond the ability of most laypersons.
    The flex ducts are pretty ineficient, because the irregular surface interferes with airflow somewhat...

    Having said that, I see them used a lot, on AC systems on the island, because they transport a lot easier (everything on the island comes in by ferry), and it's a lot cheaper/faster. For vacation houses, they're pretty typical.

    They're pretty easy to use.

    For heating, I think there's a certain distance from the furnace that has to be rigid duct... but I'm not sure. Probably somebody here will know.
    Master Plumber Mark:

    there is nothing better than the
    manly smell of WD 40 in the air
    while banging away on brass with a chisel and hammer...

    it smells like......victory......

    do not hit your thumb...
    __________________
    Just so everyone's clear: I'm the POODLE in the picture ("french", get it?) The hot woman is my wife.

  11. #26
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    If the ducts are only for heating, running them in the crawlspace may be preferable...the heat rises. Trying to push it down from above can leave you with cold feet and a hot head. if you want to consider a/c, then it's preferable to have them in the ceiling for the same reasons...the cold air falling is much more comfortable.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  12. #27

    Default We stayed with HW Heat

    It's been a while since I viewed this post. In retrospect, I am so glad we kept the hot water heat.

    If I were to build a house, it would have that type of heat over conventional forced air. Clean, quiet, stable temperatures, etc, everything is great.

    Thanks for the wonderful advice within this forum.

    Richard
    Regards,
    Richard

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