We are familiar with most every type of hot water or hydronic heating equipment whether it is forced air or radiant, fueled by natural gas, oil, propane, electricity, solar, air to air heat pump, ground source heat pump, wind or water.
Whether you have big cast iron radiators, copper baseboard, cast iron baseboard, convectors or a radiant floor. Whether your system is gravity fed single pipe air or modern duct work. We can repair and optimize your hot water heating system or systems.
We can also interface into your hot water (hydronic) or steam boiler to produce unlimited amounts of hot water using heat exchangers.
While we try to avoid it, there are situations that call for new equipment If you are using propane for your hot water needs we recommend using an instant water heater such as the Aquastar (Bosch), for larger applications we would recommend either the Hydo-pulse or Glow core. These systems have large capacities and are over 90% efficient and can greatly reduce your standby losses.
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If the expansion tank gets water logged the pressure will rise immediately as soon as the burner is fired. Especially if all the radiators or convectors are full of water (they should be). When bleeding radiators you should always start with the top floor first and work your way down. The automatic water feeder will take care of the rest. Although there is nothing wrong with having radiators with trapped air in rooms where not much heat is desired.
Most relief valves are set to relieve at 30PSIG. You should open the valve once a month to prevent it from sticking and flush any crud out of it (see hot water heater repair below). If the relief valve fails then replacing it is not a major deal as long as it ratting exceeds the input of the burner and you use no pipe reducing fittings, which in residential applications is easy to do. If you have a bad drain valve replace it at this time.
If your gauge on your boiler is sticking then you should replace it they aren't very expensive and you won't be able to solve problems if you can't get an accurate pressure reading. If you have any doubt replace your gauge or add another one 0-30psi will do for most residential applications (they are not expensive). Commercial applications where tall buildings are involved require higher pressures aprox 1/2 psi per ft. A typical pressure would be 30 psi (60 ft) on the water feed and 50 psi (100 ft) for the relief.
If you have an oil fired boiler it is very important not to let the boiler run too cold or you will get condensation and soot that will have to be cleaned out every season. On very old houses the piping is large enough that the system will work with out a circulator pump and one was only added as an efficiency measure (with a curse). They were designed to work without a circulator pump and were coal fired by hand.
If your boiler makes your domestic hot water through a device called a tank less coil then if the controller is working correctly it will prevent the circulator pump from operating until the temperature setting gets up to the minimum for domestic hot water. On a call for heat the system will rise to the (high) limit setting which should be at least 20 degrees higher than the low setting. The differential setting is for the low setting only.
If you have a cheap copper baseboard controller on your system with cast iron radiation it will turn on the pump with the burner and make a mess of the fire box. A strap on aquastat should be added to this system and set to about 140 degrees F. This will prevent condensation and greatly improve efficiency. With big cast iron radiators there is enough flow by gravity that the circulator may never come on.
A similar situation holds true
for gas but you can run it at a minimum of 130 degrees F. Never use an
oil fired boiler for a radiant floor without mixing valves and other controls.
The radiant floor runs so cold compared to the dew point of the flue gases
that you will have to clean the boiler twice a season.
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This text written by: Scott Meenen * G & S Mechanical copyright at common law.