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Thread: Hot Water System Dilema

  1. #16
    DIY Junior Member jasonnewyork's Avatar
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    I read about the 2 pipe return. Not too sure what was there originally. I will mention to the plumber. The manifold setup seems way to complicated - think it was a neat idea but not a good solution for me.

  2. #17
    DIY Junior Member jasonnewyork's Avatar
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    John or HJ -

    Do you see any potential problem if I were to use 1" PEX for the main return and supplies lines instead of copper? This would be plumbed in a 2 pipe reverse return as John suggested. I have a very low basement ceiling so any space I can save is a plus.

    On a side note, I think the 2 pipe system is the best for me. My radiators have independant shut off valves so a monoflow setup would not work if one radiator was closed. I'm also thinking of installing thermostatic valves for the radiators on the 2nd floor to control temperature up there. I cannot use these with a monoflow system.

    Thanks again for the great advice.

  3. #18
    Plumbing Contractor for 49 years johnjh2o1's Avatar
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    Pex should be fine, you will lose a small amount of ID as compared to copper but not enough to matter. Glad to see you went with the reverse return.

    John

  4. #19
    DIY Junior Member jasonnewyork's Avatar
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    I'm one the fence here on what to do. One plumber came out this past Saturday, spent about an hour with me, and still waiting for a quote. I have another plumber coming out tonight.

    The first one has a large shop and came hightly recommended from a GC friend, so I would think he can handle this job. I guess it's a bad time right now. My gut feeling is they really don't want this job - taking there time with an estimate. I'm thinking they make more money on winter season startup service calls then my job.

    The second guy coming tonight is more a mom and pop plumber. He didn't seem as knowledgeable as the first guy. I will have to gauge his interest in my project. He came recommended from a friend of a friend.

    Both plumbers are licensed in my town, no hacks this time .

    I'm thinking I might attempt this job myself, thanks to your help and the knowledge I gained in the last month. If I don't do the work myself, I will be "driving" what is done. I guess I feel more comfortable with a licensed and experienced plumber doing the work. I'm not an expert by any means and will not claim to be one.

  5. #20
    DIY Junior Member jasonnewyork's Avatar
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    Can you guys take a look at this plan? Please let me know what you think. I'm going to recycle parts I already have so I only listed items that I need to purchase.


  6. #21
    DIY Junior Member jasonnewyork's Avatar
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    I want to thank John and HJ for their help - I really appreciate their contribution to this forum.

    I felt I should post an update on this situation to share with the others my experience. After all, we are here to help each other.

    Since my last post, I had another licensed plumber come out and give me yet another completely different solution. To be honest, I wasn't confident that the three plumbers that submitted proposals knew what to do. While I value John's suggestions highly, I was confused and not sure what direction to go.

    I decided to call Bell and Gossett and see if they could help me. They referred me a local distributor who also provides product support. What an amazing resource I discovered! The B&G rep asked me to fax the details of my home and heating system. Within 3 days, he emailed me a list of parts and requirements to rebuild my heating system from scratch. He and an engineer took my data and calculated flow rates, head losses, etc. I'm very confident their solution was well thought out and planned. My advice is if you are lost or want a professional second opinion, do not hesitate to contact the manufacturers. I know at least B&G stands behind their products and for that, I am and will be a loyal customer.

    I'm going to start this project this weekend. Please see the plan below.

    1. Combine first and second floors into one zone. Additional zone for basement baseboards will be added later.
    2. Use 1" PEX with Monoflow tees feeding 1/2" risers to the cast iron radiators.
    3. Keep existing 1" main supply and return lines.
    4. Replace zone valves with two B&G NRF-22 pumps for each zone
    5. Install B&G EAS for air removal.
    6. Install B&G Z-2 relay control box for zone control.

  7. #22
    DIY Junior Member jasonnewyork's Avatar
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    Default Conclusion

    I finally completed this project over the past weekend and wanted to follow-up with a conclusion as my experience may help others. I would also like to thank everyone who chimed in on this post as your suggestions/comments were very helpful.

    My final configuration was all copper piping, 1" main with 1/2" risers. I used B&G branded monoflow tees, one per riser, and a B&G NRF-22 pump. I also added a LWCO and a B&G relay box. The main was installed flush with the bottom of the 1st floor joists to better accommodate the finishing of the basement.

    I completed the final piping and wiring of my new monoflow system Sat morning. I filled it, bleed it, and fired up the boiler. I noticed right away, how much faster the radiators heated up compared to my inferior 1/2" PEX series looping. Mind out the house was around 74 degs inside but you can feel the heat coming off those things immediately. I temporarily wired the thermostat wires to light switches since it's too hot in the middle of the summer in NY. I ran the boiler till the water reached 180 and shut off. I let it cool to about 120 and fired up again. I did this several time to make sure no leaks and system working as intended.

    I must pat myself on the back as no leaks at all. Furthermore, the monoflow system worked beautifully. Since it's the summer, hard to gauge whether or not the radiators are heating evenly, so I used an infrared thermometer to measure the supply and return temps for each convector. I also checked the temps of the right and left, top and bottom of each radiator. They will were all equal, around 160-180 degs, so I am convinced the monoflow tees are working as intended. I did notice I had to bleed more air out of them compared to the series loop but nothing terrible.

    My only complaint, and I don't think there is much I can do, is the noise the pipes make as they heat up and expand. Since I ran the main and riser pipes flush to the bottom of the floor joists, as they heat up, you can hear a lot of creaking and cracking as the pipes move around. I used copper clamps to hold the pipes and they do not allow for any movement. I was thinking of replacing those with plastic PEX talons and pipe hangers mounted loosely. I do realized this will probably not remove all the noise but may help. Any suggestions here appreciated.

    The final test will be this winter but I'm confident the heat will work properly. This was a major job, estimates from local plumbers were $3000+. In total, I spent about $1800 in materials and countless hours but I'm happy with the results.

    Thanks again - Jason

  8. #23
    Engineer Furd's Avatar
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    To alleviate the creaking and groaning when the pipes expand and contract the pipe should not touch any structural supports (floor joists) or flooring where it passes through the floor and it should be hung (not clamped) in a manner that allows free movement of the pipe. I used "U" straps made from perforated metal "plumber's strap" that cradled the pipe (better is to cradle rigid insulation over the pipe) from the overhead structure.


    Just about anything would be an improvement over a series loop that used 1/2 inch PEX. The only problem with a Monoflo system is that it is sometimes more resistant to complete bleeding of air.

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