Continuing the ‘Fine Tuning’ of Our Heating System – Part I

During our first 6 months of whirl wind renovations we just got things DONE! (So we could actually inhabit our new house : ) ) But now 4 years later we are still going back and refining things. You may remember we did some “fine tuning” of the boiler water return back in 2012:

Well now we are working on the supply side. The impetus for starting this project was our the old steel expansion tank started leaking…

To be honest, I have had it out for this tank for a while since I always hit my head on its valve that sticks down below the joist!

I also never liked how our HVAC guy, who we had built the pump manifold, installed them hanging out in space.

And most importantly we found through using system if only our 1st floor kitchen floor was calling for heat, the hot water was still rising through the system up to the 3rd floor radiators through natural convection. (Before pumps that his how all theses radiator systems worked, though with much larger pipes.) At the time we originally redid the system with pex and broke up the house into zones, we debated having 1 larger circulation pump with zone valves or 5 smaller circ pumps, one for each zone. In the end our HVAC guy convinced us to go with the 5 circs, so when a zone calls that pump starts pushing water to those radiators or floor and turns on the boiler…

Granted this zoned system is still significantly more efficient than what we started with, but we want to improve the efficiency of the system even more by installing zone valves so the heat can only go to zones that are calling for it.

So time to drain the system & dismantle:

We pushed everything back to the wall to give use solid mounting for everything, to make room for a new diaphragm type expansion tank and air separator, and just get it all out of the way.

In doing this work, we had to redraw the piping and wiring schematics so we had it all planned out in advance… The 5 circ pumps and 5 zone valves did add some complexity to the controls.

We planned it in such a way to reuse as much as possible from the old manifold and in the end we were able to reuse all the old valves & pipes with just a few new joints and new piping to get back to the wall.

We also painted the wall behind everything before we started, to save us the trouble of painting around it all when we get to that project.

And finally away with that pesky old expansion tank!

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