Radiant hydronic gurus - Knight or Triangle Tube mod/con

Discussion in 'Workshop and Home Improvement' started by haystax, Dec 7, 2008.

  1. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    Finally getting around to the boiler install on the new house. I will be buying a boiler and indirect tank this week and hopefully working on the inside of the house with the heat on by Christmas...hopefully.

    I'm looking at a 110K BTU boiler and it will be propane fired supporting a slab zone, warmboard radiant subfloor and indirect tank. Will be using a 3-way mixing valve and have an idea for starting water temp from the Uponor ADS software. Will most likely be doing the install myself as I live in the absolute middle of nowhere and I haven't found anyone that is interested in traveling for a decent price.

    I have been using Uponor stuff for tubing and manifolds and am happy with my supplier of these, probably using Grundfos circs because I like that brand in other pumps we buy. Not sure on relays/controls but i figure I can't go wrong with either of these brands' stuff there either.

    Is there a real difference in ease of setup and installation and longevity and quality of components between these two boilers? I have been told that the TT does a better job of keeping clean and burns cleaner longer on propane than some. I also like the idea of a stainless heat exchanger and integrated indirect loop. And which style of indirect tank is the best?

    Thanks! :beer:
  2. tonkota

    tonkota

    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Which models? Are these the ones with the Giannoni heat exchanger? A lot of the condensing boilers of this size (which you will need for a radiant set up) have the same heat exchanger. I'm going to use a Hamilton EVO boiler here pretty soon.

    http://www.hamiltonengineering.com/products/evo.html

    Lochinvar does make good stuff, but I haven't specified them on a project.
  3. Toyo FJ40

    Toyo FJ40 SILVER Star

    Messages:
    1,022
    Location:
    Eastern PA.
    Can't help you with the boiler because I've never used either of those brands before but I can make a suggestion for the 3 way mixing valve. I've been using the Taco i series mixing valve with outdoor reset. You set the design temperature and it varies the temp by outside temperature. It also will shut down the loop at a set outdoor temp like 65 degrees.
    I've had good luck with the Super stor Indirect water heaters

    Taco i series mixing valve

    Kevin
    Last edited: Dec 10, 2008
  4. tonkota

    tonkota

    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Taco makes some good stuff. We seem to get them on a lot of our jobs even though we specify B & G pumps.
  5. Toyo FJ40

    Toyo FJ40 SILVER Star

    Messages:
    1,022
    Location:
    Eastern PA.
    I use to use Taco radiant blocks because they were a nice injection pump radiant setup with outdoor reset but the i series mixing valve does the same job for about 1/4 the price. Taco pumps are much nicer than the B+G , The new radiant pumps are 3 speed with a built in flow valve.
  6. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    Thanks for the replies - still have not purchased the boiler and have two more plumbers "helping" me to decide. Most of the guys I've talked to recommend Grundfos pumps - we've had great luck with Grundfos submersibles and booster pumps at least.

    The main bridge to cross at this point is what zoning method to use - valves vs circs vs injection

    Want to keep the system as simple as possible because I will be responsible for maintenance and troubleshooting any issues that develop. Will be doing most of the install myself with a radiant tech doing the combustion analysis and initial setup of whatever boiler we go with.

    Thanks for the replies -
  7. spressomon

    spressomon glutton

    Messages:
    11,097
    Location:
    Central Coast
    haystax,

    Curious: Is your radiant system in concrete or? A friend has a home at Kirkwood and I'll never forget the first time we visited them during ski season...the radiant floor heat left an indelible impression! Gotta have it someday!
  8. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    Spresso -

    Basement slab is heated and main floor is Warmboard radiant. DHW will also be heated by boiler. Cheaped out and didn't put tubing in the garage slab.

    I am just hashing out the details as we speak. Looking forward to the radiant heat although at my pace we might get to test it out by August:frown: I do believe it is the way to go though, keep hearing about how much everyone else hates their heating system this time of year. We will have a woodstove as well, in fact just picked it up last week.

    I guess I need to dive in and then figure it out as we go - seems to be the way I operate anyhow, don't know why I'm wasting time trying to plan ahead:D Sure could use it today, damn it is cold out. Never really ready for the first days of winter.
  9. tonkota

    tonkota

    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    A few more questions:

    How are you sizing your boiler?

    How have you determined your heat loss and hot water needs?

    What supply temperature for the radiant are you thinking of using?

    What domestic water temperature do you want?
  10. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    I have received two proposals from a supply house and plumbing company - both suggesting a 110K output boiler. Another conversation with another radiant specialist suggested 140K!! Compnents in their packages seem rather large based on reading I have done. Max flow is 4.5gpm and highest head loop is 2.2

    I have been using the Uponor ADS software for heat loss calcs, according to that package total radiant load is ~45K btu/hr. The indirect tank will be in addition to this figure.

    Software suggests 131* for Warmboard zones and 86* water for slab zone.

    I would like to heat the indirect tank to around 140* and use a tempering valve on the outlet to get down to 120*. I need to do a mixed water temp calc for the shower head flows and master bathtub fill.

    At this point I am leaning towards a 60gallon indirect tank w/ higher storage temp rather than a 89-105 gallon tank. I'm not sure that the 110K boiler will modulate low enough if few zones are calling for heat. I have also NOT included the heat output of the woodstove to the heat loss calc. I'll play with the figures some more and see how it affects the total loss.

    I am using the suggested design criteria of 0* and 16mph wind. I really think that I would be fine with the 60k boiler with the indirect tank being the largest draw. With an outdoor reset and few zones calling for heat most of the time I am a little reluctant to risk short cycling and basically "idiling" a larger boiler than I need.

    I am also trying to get a handle on which zone circulator to use - I want to use a variable speed Grundfos circ but am a little confused on how much head loss to add in to the system in a zone valve system. Don't want to throw too big of a pump into the mix either.

    Thanks for your time!
  11. tonkota

    tonkota

    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Spokane, WA

    We found the Uponor software adds a little extra (more than 10% downward loss). Our Trace models came out a little lower. But, reguardless, the average I think (I'll verify tomorrow) was 25btu/sqft (for Spokane WA) and we are using 120*water/glycol. On one setup we used a main 180* loop and taped off of that to get the 120* water. I can get you the schematic if you like, it was pretty simple (for a job with just over 9 miles of tubing).

    Grundfos makes good pumps and you feel comfortable with them so go for it. To me (not a maintenance guy) they are all the same as long as they were sized right.

    Radiant info from Taco:
    TACO - HVAC

    and another program: (just make up some information, you don't need to register it to use it)
    TACO - HVAC

    and I have a boiler information (more than you ever want to know about boilers :)) pdf if you want that.

    The HSS software will help you size your pump. One more thing, about the indirect tank, if you have 140* water and you want to mix it down to 120* or something, that will be a little difficult at 2gpm. There isn't enough of a temp. difference to really control. It will fluctuate a lot.


    I'll write more later and we'll get you straightened out. :D
    Last edited: Dec 15, 2008

  12. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    Thanks for the input, I've been spending some time on the Taco site and getting some good info. The variable speed Delta T pumps look like exactly what I'm after. Not sure if the Grundfos variables act this way or not. Will research that a little more tomorrow. My internet connection isn't performing well due to some snowfall right now tonite.

    I played with the ADS software some more and noticed the design Delta T was 20* instead of 10*. This basically doubles my flow and head loss and puts me in a position to spec a lot more pumps and in the more common sizes.:doh:

    Regarding the heat exchanger on the Triangle Tube - it is an independent design by the parent company in Belgium I believe. Viessman is the only other company to use thier own proprietary HX but the cost of the Vitodens is really too high for me, I think the TT offers the best value.

    I am waiting for proposals from two other plumbing companies right now, neither of them are familiar with the Triangle Tube or Uponor components but we'll see what they come up with. At least one has been interested in the actual boiler install and combustion check - that is a bonus but we'll see what it costs.

    The more info the merrier is supose. I already have a ton of stuff from Uponor, Caleffi, Grundfos, Triangle Tube, Knight Lochinvar, and now quite a bit of Taco. Going to try B&G's site next and with all that I should be able to pick and choose enough stuff to get going. Or get too much info to wade through to ever make a decision.

    Looks like I will most likely be going with the 60K Triangle Tube and 60gallon TT Smart Indirect tank. It is a real toss up with Taco and Grundfos circ pumps.

    BTW - do you have experience with RadiantDirect out of Spokane?
  13. tonkota

    tonkota

    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    I do not have experience with Radiant Direct. I'd never even heard of them until just now.

    And I was wrong on the btu/h/sqft. It looks like we have 12-14 btu/sqft in the basement and 10-14 btu/h/sqft on the other levels. We designed around a -5*F temperature and 10* delta T with 115* water/glycol mix. 12" loop spacing with 6" spacing around the exterior. You will only need one pump for your radiant system, the valves on the radiant manifold will modulate the flow.

    http://www.uponor-usa.com/~/media/Files/Product Documents/TruF_EFTMeter_IS_10 06.aspx?sc_lang=en


    Have you thought about the Modulating Delta from Triangle Tube?
    Modulating Delta

    I don't know what a budget cost is compared to a boiler and indirect tank.
  14. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    Wow - more stuff to consider.

    I had seen the flow/temp meters in the Uponor catalog but wasn't exactly sure what they were for. I think you have to buy an expensive readout tool to even use them. The ADS software gives number of turns per loop for balancing and the chart and directions come with each manifold. I may install a inline thermometer on the return side to see at a glance if the Delta T is within the correct range. I am really leaning towards the Taco DT circulators - they seem to be an ideal fit for my situation.

    I hadn't looked into the combination Modulating Delta product but it looks to be too large for my project at around 150K btu

    They do make a combination mod/con wall mount called the Excellence but it is rather small. I think that I will go with the Solo 60 and Smart 60 and count on using the woodstove if we get too a really bad cold snap where the system cannot keep up. Adding 15K to 25K of btu/hr in the great room and kitchen zones lets me send ~16K to the bed and bath zones so I'm not concerned about being a little on the light side of spec.

    Going with a 60 gallon storage tank will have a slightly longer reheat time but enough capacity to not be a problem even with the large master shower we've got planned. Haven't taken time to do those mixed temp flow calcs but i'm sure the 60 will handle it.

    I might only use one circulator with the Solo 60 instead of a primary secondary setup. P/S would probably benefit the recharge time on the indirect the most, a variable speed pump on zone valves and a relatively low loss HX should make that possible.

    Radiant direct advertises in a few mags that I subscribe to and promises to help w/ DIY radiant but their quote was more of a ripoff than any of the others with basically zero support

    The main goal is to get enough info that I can install this myself or at least protect myself from buying a huge system that is way overkill. I think I have already pared things down enough that I may be able to have a "real" plumber make up a modular-ized pump and control board that we speed up the onsite setup time tremendously.

    Thank you for your help, if you've got any info specific to variable speed circulators and zone valve control strategies that would be great. I'm not sure I understand some of the outdoor reset valves - won't the mod/con itself take care of the outdoor reset? Is it worth the extra effort to have the mixing valves themselves work on a seperate reset above and beyond the boiler's reset?
  15. tonkota

    tonkota

    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
    Remember, those 60k etc are input ratings, and the higher temperature water you want, the less efficient the boiler will become. The literature will say something like 99% efficient, but that is with 100* return water. Also, I don't see a Solo 60, just a 110 on their website.

    I'd also size the system for the whole load. Just in case someday you are laid up and can't carry wood. Going up a size won't be that much more honestly.

    My brother is going through these guys for some of his stuff, I'm going through a buddy of mine to get the Hamilton EVO boiler.
    http://www.pexsupply.com/
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  16. Toyo FJ40

    Toyo FJ40 SILVER Star

    Messages:
    1,022
    Location:
    Eastern PA.
    I've done a lot of Uponor systems and have done a few radiant using Zurn radiant. The Zurn has nicer manifolds than Wirsbo with flow meters on each loop. I'm doing a snow melt system now with a tekmar setup and I still like the Taco for simplicity. With the heat exchange and the primary and secondary loops the tekmar system uses 6 pumps.

    If you set up your indirect heater with a priority control than hot water recovery shouldn't be a problem.

    If the boiler uses an outdoor reset but has a domestic hotwater control that bypasses the reset than you don't need a mixing valve with reset. Although if your radiant is calling and the domestic heater calls you could dump some heat into your radiant even if your above your reset temp. The Job with the snow melt I used 3 Wiel McLain ultra gas boilers that are doing radiant, snow melt, spa and pool heating and I had to use outdoor reset on the radiant block because I couldn't use resets on the boilers.
    Last edited: Dec 16, 2008
  17. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    I believe that the TT is factory setup for IDHW priority, input and output water temp sensors, ODR sensors and the SOLO 110 has its own output special for the indirect plus a factory installed 15-58 primary circ. These are two conveneinces but I'm still not sure I trust the published turndown ratio enough to go with the 110. That being said it was a balmy -18*F this morning when I woke up!

    I looked at the injection mixing systems and the Tekmar but for the installation I have I want to keep everything as simple as possible. I see that Grundfos 15-58 pumps are on sale at pexsupply.com right now so I might just go that route and buy 4 for the price of one of the variable speed units and live with a little inefficiency at that price. Tempering valves and motorized zone valves probably run with Uponor components all the way through.

    I just discovered the wiring and piping schematics in the ADS software and that will be a great help, especially for the wiring.

    Emailed the plumbers with the new plans on smaller equip, still no word back at this time so I might be on my own for good.:eek:
  18. tonkota

    tonkota

    Messages:
    2,121
    Location:
    Spokane, WA
  19. haystax

    haystax

    Messages:
    1,260
    Location:
    Diamond Valley, Nevada
    I am using the Tru-Flow manifold - Tru-Flow Jr to be correct. Your previous link was to electronic temp and flow gauges and I don't think I will be using them. Based on the software, there is a number of turns per loop to balance each manifold and that should get me close enough

    I haven't seen any other brands' manifolds but I a very pleased with the design, heft, and features of the ones I've got. For the price, they should be pretty damn good.:mad:
  20. keystone

    keystone

    Messages:
    3
    Radiant design

    a picture is worth a thousand words I uploaded a picture with a piping diagram to my pictures. Take a look should help clarify things for you. The picture is for larger jobs so you will need to modify it some. you will not need to zone by circulator otherwise you will way overpump the job even with a variable speed pump on each zone. Best way will be to use a Grundfos 15-58FC or equal for the boiler loop and the system loops and use zone valves to control the flow to your zones. The boiler will control your boiler,dhw and depending on your control strategy . you will need to use Taco, Uponor or Equal to control the zone valves system pumps and the call to the boiler for heat. Your target flow rate and delta T on the heating loops should be around 15* by doing so as the zone valves close your delta T will drop down to around 10* thereby eliminating the need for the variable speed or differential pressure bypass valves, even so on a system this size you are not dealing with very much pressure or flow. Your piping could probably be accomplished with all 1" copper or equal. As far as boilers go, its a toss up, each boiler has its advantages and disadvantages. Be sure to choose one that is well supported for your area and has good representation so if and when parts or service are needed it will be readily available. Triangle tube makes a good product, it has roughly a 4-1 modulation rate and remember that the input is not the boiler output you need to derate the boiler for combustion losses and altitude. I Like the Peerless Purefire that has recently come out, stainless heat exchanger, condensate neutralizer, 1 year parts and LABOR warranty w/optional 5 and ten year parts and LABOR for around 100 and 300 dollars repectively, English question and answer programming for the programming and diagnostics of the control. makes setup and troublshooting simple. Outdoor reset and DHW priority with heat recovery features. When your boiler has all the controls there is no need to add all the Taco outdoor mixing and reset controls its just redundant and extra work and money since you are dealing with only two temperatures and a very low BTU system. There is absolutely no benefit to complicating this job, Use the manual tempering valve. Dont stress its going to be really simple. Your posted flow rate of 4.5 gpm looks like its for the 20*. as far as circ sizing Dont for get to add in the head loss for your supply and returns to your remote manifolds when sizing your circs. Wirsbo ads on the manifolds tab gives you the option to give total distance one way and pipe size, then when you look at your manifold detail it gives you the total head and flow requirements. use that number to size your system pumps. a 15-58FC will hit it nicely for the boiler, speed setting will depend on the boiler choice, and for each system pump supplying water to your high and low temperature zones you will want to use the 3 speed 15-58FC or equal and probably use speed 2 or 1 depending on the total flow and head of the zones. Refer to your calculations and the pump curve charts available. There are three ways to avoid cycling try and limit your zones to larger areas of equal heat loss within the low fire range of the boiler, use a buffer tank, or use indirect tank with a decent amount of boiler water and pull the heat from the tank for the smaller zones. Method three is my least favorite and most complicated. Lastly be careful of most of your online radiant designer and sellers. Many will try and convince you there products are superior for this and that reason, compare prices locally with contractors and wholesalers. Stay with the brands you are looking at they are all great choices none of them should steer you wrong. Lastly I would not recommend sizing larger then the 110 boiler, If you are worried about dhw use a larger tank sized for the demand. An indirect tank with a 110 is similar to 2 - 3 water heaters depending on size and fuel source could be more again the charts are available for each manufacture for you to know up front which tank you will need. If you have further questions you may also check out heating help.com and click on the Wall. Its a forum where many radiant heating profesionals hang out and are more than willing to help.
    On edit: I noticed you made the comment about the btu loss of the house and adding the dhw load, you need not worry about adding for dhw needs, the boiler will prioritize the dhw when there is the need dedicating all available heat to heating dhw, then switch back to space heating when that is done. You wont notice the heating interuption due to the stored heat in the floor.
    Last edited: Dec 19, 2008

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