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Thread: Is a TriangleTube Prestige Trimax Excellence PTE 110 the right one of the job?

  1. #31
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    30' of baseboard at 200F emits abotu 22,000 BTU/hr into the zone. The output of the ESC3 is 60,000BTU/hr, so you have about 38,000 BTU/hr (633 BTU/minute) of excess. There's about 17lbs of water in the boiler, figure another 15 in the heating loop, and about 200lbs of iron with a specific heat of 0.11 for about a water-equivalent of 22lb, call it ~55lbs water-equivalent thermal mass. With 633BTU/minute of excess heat the temperature is slewing at (633/55= )11.5F/minute.

    The max programmable differential on the controls on the ESC-3 is 30F (according to page 15 of the manual) you'd be able to get (30/11.5=) ~2.6 minute burns out of it serving just one zone, which is far from great, but less than a total disaster. Clearly you'd like to be able to get more. If it's turning off at ~210F output and turning back on at ~180F, with 30' of fin tube emitting that heat it'll be ~7-9 minutes between burns, and 6-7 burns per hour. You can play around with it, try running it with 180F at the high limit, turning back on at 150F if you like- the burns will be slightly shorter, but the time between them longer. Ideally you'd be getting ~10 minute burns, not 3, but that's rarely going to be the case when micro-zoned like that. If you had space to add even 10 more feet of baseboard you'd be looking a only a 30,000 BTU/hr excess, lengthening the minimum burns to over 3 minutes.

    Measure the diameter & lengths of the distribution plumbing between the boiler and 30' zone. If you have a bunch of 2" iron that can add quite a bit to the minimum burn times too- my napkin sketch was for just ~40' of 3/4" copper pus the 30' of fin tube (70' of total 3/4" copper on that loop.)

    If you want to run it in outdoor reset mode you'd do better to replace the 30' of baseboard with panel radiators, as big as can reasonably fit. Replacing the 30' of baseboard a pair of Myson SD-70140G (55" x 28") panel radiators could deliver ~30,000BTU/hr @ 200F, but would also add about 75lbs water-equivalent of thermal mass to the loop if you run the numbers on the steel weight + water volume in the spec, so even running it a lower temp/lower output would still deliver reasonable burn times.

    Panel rads are not super cheap, but they are super comfortable compared to fin-tube, and you'd get it down to under 5 burns/hour with stabler room temps and cushy radiating heat emitter.

    With that much panel radiator & mass on your smallest zones you'd be able to heat just fine at condensing temps with a mod-con as small as the TT...-60 without short-cycling it, if you could find a competent installer, since at mid-mod in condensing mode is ~15,000BTU/hr, and a pair of SD-70140Gs at 120F AWT would be delivering at around 8000 BTU/hr, for a 7000BTU/hr (117 BTU/minute) of excess, and with something like 90lbs of water equivalent in the loop that's an overheating slew rate of ~1.3F/minute. With a differential of even 10F you're looking at a 7-8 minute burn time, and 4-5 burns/hour.

  2. #32
    Master Hot Water Mpls,MN BadgerBoilerMN's Avatar
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    There is really no excuse for a sealed combustion non-condensing boiler and micro-zones are not a sin unless they are in high load/sq.ft. areas and allowed to call the boiler independently. Still the answer is more radiation. European wall-hung panel radiators are the thing for sure, easily designed to 140 AWT and assured full-time condensing mode. 3 minutes run time is acceptable but if this only occurs under design conditions, I would not tolerate it.

  3. #33
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    The excuse here is that he can't seem to find anybody who seems to understands how to deal with a mod-con. The 3-plate c.i. beast that tolerates 110F return water could be DIY install. (Why pay hacks plumbers union scale + overhead if they're just a bunch of hacks who couldn't design an effective escape route from a paper bag? I still don't get how anybody would recommend simply swapping in the -110 here.)

    Increasing the radiation is strongly advisable no matter which way he goes on the boiler. (Who in their right mind would even install a 30' fin-tube zone in the first place?) You could take a buffer tank approach I s'pose and save a few hundred but he'd have do actually design it. Swapping the fin-tube for panel radiators would improve both comfort & capacity in these zones described as "cold", and are easier to deal with.

  4. #34
    DIY Junior Member AlexanderNY's Avatar
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    Still talking to various heating experts. Off course there are lots of opinions out there.

    One installer claimed that installing an extra buffer thank was very expensive ($1500 to $2000) and was wondering if just a larger expansion thank would do...
    He also wanted to use the delay-to-fire feature on the TT boilers to prevent short cycling.

    Another installer only wanted to install an atmospheric vented Buderus GC124/4 (103k BTU/hr) and claimed that a direct or power vented
    model would be more prone to failures due to the added electronics ...

    Yet another installer prefers the IBC boilers over the Triangle Tubes...

  5. #35
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer jadnashua's Avatar
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    FWIW, every installer will have his preferred equipment type, and that is not necessarily an indication of quality, just his availability and pricing, and if you're lucky, training. It's much easier to install something you've done before and have been trained on than have to take the time to read the instructions (if that happens?!) on something new. To get the most out of any install, it takes someone who is familiar with the equipment and can tweak it properly. Once you decide on a brand, you might want to call the distributor and find out who is buying them...at least they'll have a better understanding of the equipment than someone who has never seen one.

    The more electronics, the more potential for failure. Now, is that a common thing? Hopefully not! If it were very common, with the typical warranty period on these things, the manufacturer would have problems staying solvent.

    One thing that I firmly believe in, though, is both whole-house surge suppression, and point of use suppression on expensive items. Electrical noise and spikes on the power line are a reality. They act like an ax chipping away at the junctions on the electronics input circuits. Suppressing or minimizing them can make things last longer. Some devices have some built-in, but extra stuff isn't all that expensive, and is pretty good insurance.
    Jim DeBruycker
    Important note - I'm not a pro
    Retired Defense Industry Engineer; Schluter 2.5-day Workshop Completed 2013, 2014

  6. #36
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexanderNY View Post
    Still talking to various heating experts. Off course there are lots of opinions out there.

    One installer claimed that installing an extra buffer thank was very expensive ($1500 to $2000) and was wondering if just a larger expansion thank would do...
    He also wanted to use the delay-to-fire feature on the TT boilers to prevent short cycling
    .

    Another installer only wanted to install an atmospheric vented Buderus GC124/4 (103k BTU/hr) and claimed that a direct or power vented
    model would be more prone to failures due to the added electronics ...

    Yet another installer prefers the IBC boilers over the Triangle Tubes...
    He's an idiot- buy him a box of crayons & a coloring book and send him on his way.

    An expansion tank instead of a buffer? Huh? It's like topping off the windshield washing fluid rather than filling up with gas to have enough range to make it across the desert. I'll BET he's wondering!

    A $200 bargain-basement electric hot water heater (not wired up as a heater) can be impressed into service as a buffer tank at the flow rates seen in most residential systems. A commercial buffer tank with big fat ports might be necessary for any high-flow system loops, but if you used the buffer tank only in series the 1-4 gpm low-mass fin-tube zones (the only part of your system where it's needed) an electric hot water heater does just fine as a buffer.

    The delay feature can only reduce the number of burns per hour, not the time per burn- it's still a short cycle, just fewer of them. With boilers way oversized for the zone using the delay will sometimes mean that there isn't sufficient burn time in an hour to actually meet the load- it's (almost) NEVER the right solution to the heating problem, but it'll keep the boiler from burning out prematurely from doing 25 burns/hour.

    The Buderus guy has a point, but it's an extremely minor point. If the grid near house gets hit by lighting there's a somewhat higher risk of damage to the electronics than you'd get with heavy electromechanical components, which is why you should never use electronics (like say heating zone controllers, microwaves or TVS) in your house. This is a solved problem. He's also recommending a boiler more than 3x your actual whole house heat load, and 4x more heat than the 30' zone can deliver at 200F.

    IBC boilers look pretty decent, but even the smallest one roars, but can still get down to the ~15K range. I'm not sure how they get the 10:1 turn down and still have high efficiency at the low-fire end, and they might not be all that efficient at the low-fire end given their "Best net stack temperature in the industry – typically 5-10F at full fire" marketing. Since you'd literally never run the 15-150 at full fire, only the low-fire end of the range, it matters what the efficiency at the low end is. The sweet-spot on most mod-cons are on the lower 1/3 of the firing range, and below the sweet spot the lack of turbulence on the fire side of the heat exchangers becomes insulating laminar flows, with less effective heat exchange, and higher net-stack temps (=lower raw combustion efficiency.) I don't know enough about IBC to say if or how they've managed to solve that fundamental issue.

  7. #37
    DIY Junior Member AlexanderNY's Avatar
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    Still talking to various heating professionals. Had the Home Assessment Energy audit in the meantime,
    found a couple of small airleaks in the basement, but nothing serious.

    Found one installer that is willing to install the Triangle Tube Prestige 60.
    As great as that is sizing wise, he did not see the need for a buffer tank.

    Waiting for another quote from installer number two who seems more familiar with the whole buffer tank approach.

    1. How is a buffer thanks going to prevent short cycling of the boiler when only one of the small baseboard zones
    is asking for heat?

    2. From a cost point of view, is it better (cheaper) to install a buffer thank or add more radiation?

    Regards,

    AlexanderNY

  8. #38
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    The simple-math the burn time you get out o putting a cheap buffer such as a 40 gallon hot water tank (not wired up) in the loop is that it's adding 40 x 8.34= ~333lbs of water to the system.

    To raise 333 lbs of water 7 degrees (assuming that's the approximate differential hysteresis of the boiler around it's outdoor reset setpoint curve) takes 333lbs x 7F= 2330 BTU.

    At a minimum modulated output of ~15,000BTU/hr that means the minimum burn time is 2330/15000= 0.115 hours, which is 0.155 x 60= 9.3 minutes.

    The hardware for the buffer can be pretty cheap if you're using a HW tank- $200-250, but the cost to install it (and getting it installed correctly by a hack with no clue as to what they're doing and why) may be a cost adder, especially if you have to do it twice.

    Replacing a 30' stick of fin tube (or adding to it) with a $450 radiator capable of delivering over half the output of he Solo-60 at 140F, while adding about 40lbs of water-equivalent thermal mass might be more expensive, it offers a big uptick in comfort, and doesn't require much design-smarts on the part of the installer beyond plumbing skills. The thermal mass of that radiator adds about a minute to the min-burn time above what would have been happening with 30' of fin-tube. At 120F average water temp that radiator would be only delivering about 5000BTU/hr to the room, and assuming you have both the 40lbs water equivalent of the radiator and another 30lbs to work with (the Solo-60 itself has 25lbs of water in it), with 70lbs total it takes (7F x 70lbs=) 490 BTU to heat it's mass 7F, and with (15,000-5000=) 10,000BTU/hr that takes 490/10,000= 0.049 hours, or (0.049 x 60=) ~3 minutes- on the short side, but not a disaster. But with the 30-34' of fin tube you'd be under 2 minutes, which kind of is a disaster.

    Clearly 120F would be the low end of where you'd ever want to operate it, but 120F AWT(125F out/115F back, or 130F out/110F back) that's good for mid-90s combustion efficiency at the boiler. At 140F out/120F back you'd be well into the 90s, on efficiency and over 6 minutes for a minimum burn time. You can dial in the curve to see where it needs to be to keep up, but you'll probably want to set the temperature-floor at 125F as the minimum, and only drop lower if you're getting 5+ minute burns out of it with just the smallest zone calling for heat.

  9. #39
    DIY Junior Member AlexanderNY's Avatar
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    Ok, the information from the Home Energy assessment is in. The blower test determined the building shell leakage to be 2816 CFM50.
    Does this information solidify the choice for TT prestige trimax series 60 solo with an input modulation of 16 to 60K BTU/hr?

    Regards,

    Alexander

  10. #40
    DIY Junior Member AlexanderNY's Avatar
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    Thanks to all the suggestions on this forum and this particular thread, we now have a heating replacement plan
    that at least seem to include the right ingredaints: an IBC SL 20-115 MOD/CON Boiler (20k - 115K Btuh),
    a 33 Gallon buffer tank and an 40 Gallon indirect water tank.

  11. #41
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexanderNY View Post
    Ok, the information from the Home Energy assessment is in. The blower test determined the building shell leakage to be 2816 CFM50.
    Does this information solidify the choice for TT prestige trimax series 60 solo with an input modulation of 16 to 60K BTU/hr?

    Regards,

    Alexander
    Blower door tests give you the order of magnitude, aren't a precise way of determining the infiltration losses since it actually matters where those leaks are. (I hope you chased around during the test and figured out where the worst leaks are so you can remediate?) 2816 cfm/50 isn't super tight. It's also not super leaky about 2 air exchanges per hour, but it's usually cost effective to improve upon that a bit if you found the leakage paths. At 1500cfm/50 and lower the leakage is often harder to find and fix.

    Using really crude "N-factor" modeling, in your area you can divide the cfm/50 by 17-20 for the max infiltration rates to expect. So if we divide 2816 by 17 (the worst case) you're looking at 166cfm infiltration in a high wind, which is 9960 cubic feet per hour. At a delta-T of 60F (10F outside, 70F inside) the dumb heat loss number that adds up to is 9960c.f. x 60F x 0.018BTU/c.f. per degreeF= 10,756 BTU/hr.

    In reality it's literally never that high, since there's a "heat exchanger effect" along the infiltration & exfiltration paths, but it might be as much as half that figure- call it 5K. To be the full 10,756 BTU/hr requires that the leakage paths be large and low-impedance, so that the volumes of air entering the innermost skin is truly at the outdoor temperature, and the air leaving the outermost skin of the building is at the interior air temperature. It's still reasonable to go with a Solo 60, and continue air sealing.

    The 115KBTU/hr IBC is really extreme overkill here, but if the installer seems competent on the system design, it'll probably give reasonalble service, and the boiler & system should be tweakable to modulate most of the winter.

  12. #42
    DIY Junior Member AlexanderNY's Avatar
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    Would a 22 Gallon Buffer tank be large enough to prevent short cycling with a boiler with a minimum output of 20K Btuh and 2 mirco zones?

    zone 1: 34 feet fine tube baseboard.
    zone 2: 30 feet fine tube baseboard.

    Regards,

    AlexanderNY

  13. #43
    In the trades Dana's Avatar
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    Probably. Do the math. 22 gallons at 8.34lbs/gallon adds 183lbs of water to the system. You need to figure out how much else there is on that loop.

    20KBTU/hr is 333 BTU/minute. If we assume you get 5F of hysteresis around the outdoor-reset setpoint it takes 5F x 183lbs= 915 BTUs to slew that much, which takes 915/333= 2 minutes 45 seconds, even if you assumed the rest of the system mass was zero, and the fin tube emitted zero.

    It's safe to say that you'll be getting 3+ minute of burns out of it even in worst case conditions if you tweak in the reset curves & pumping rates, etc, which is OK for a low-mass boiler.

  14. #44
    DIY Junior Member AlexanderNY's Avatar
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    In the interest of full disclosure, we ended up with the following system:

    1. IBC SL 20-115, a high efficiency modulating boiler with outdoor reset control,
    2. a 40 Gallon Domestic hot water tank.
    3. a 22 Gallon buffer tank.

    The buffer tank is used to add thermal mass to smaller baseboard fine-tube baseboard zones.

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