AskNACHI.org » Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System


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Old 2/6/13, 12:08 PM
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Default Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

Can you please tell me what would be considered the “normal operating controls” for this type of heating system?

Is there any way to effectively tell if this type of system is in working order without verifying that the water solenoid valve is open?

Would this type of system be described as electric?

Thank you!
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Old 2/6/13, 8:04 PM
Jeffrey Moore Jeffrey Moore is offline
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Default Re: Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

Could you provide more specific as to the manufacturer and model of the system



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Old 2/6/13, 8:09 PM
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Default Re: Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

[QUOTE=Unregistered;998677]Can you please tell me what would be considered the “normal operating controls” for this type of heating system?

Is there any way to effectively tell if this type of system is in working order without verifying that the water solenoid valve is open?

Would this type of system be described as electric?

Thank you![/QUOTE]
Hydronic means water.
It is a hot water system consisting of water circulating either through copper or galvanized piping more that likely if it has baseboards.

There are many different types .
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Old 2/7/13, 12:16 PM
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Default Re: Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

[QUOTE=jmoore5;998881]Could you provide more specific as to the manufacturer and model of the system[/QUOTE]

I can't get up into the attic but it appears to be a First Company ceiling mount style air handler with hot water heating coil design. I'm taking this from the information I got on replacing it. It does say the existing is by First Company. It is about 30 years old. My unit has a centrally located water supply which serves several units.

My big problem is the inspector said the heater worked at inspection but the water valve was turned off and had not been touched in years as there was years' worth of undisturbed dust on it. I believe that in order for heat to have been produced (other than the current 90+ temperature at the time) the water would have to be turned on. I don't know much about these things, but it seems common sense that if the water produces the heat and the water is turned off....there can be no heat. Additionally, my son and I were standing in the air coming out of the vents to cool off.

As soon as the HVAC guy turned the water supply on, it started vigerously leaking. I'm sure that is why it was turned off in the first place. My home inspector states that he only has to check the normal operating controls and I believe he did not do this.

He described the heating system as "electric". I'm really not sure if he even knew that this was a hydronic system. Would electric be a correct desciption?

Can you shed any light on this?

Thanks!!
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Old 2/8/13, 10:18 PM
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Default Re: Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

http://www.hydronicheating.net/how-it-works.html
http://www.hydronicheating.net/types.html

http://www.firstco.com/products

You need to get the model/serial number off the unit. If it's indeed first co give them a call with the info and they can tell you all about it.

Electric Radiant Heating
Hydronic systems are not the only means of radiant heat. Electric heated floors are an alternative method of radiant heating that can be suitable in some residential heating designs. While this website’s focus is about using a whole house hydronic system, it is important to know all of your options so that you can make a decision on which configuration or combination of systems will work best for you. Here are a few things you should know about an electrically heated floor:

•Design – Electric radiant floors work in a similar fashion to an electric blanket. Typical installation is done by rolling out a thin layer of matting or mesh that contains the low voltage electric heating coils laid out in a pattern similar to hydronic radiant tubes. They are glued or stapled to the subfloor and a thin layer of self leveling cement is spread over the top. After this sets up most flooring types can be placed above the electric flooring with tile being the most popular choice. Finally, the system needs to be connected to the home’s electrical supply and a thermostat. You will want to make sure that the electrical connection is done by a licensed electrician, but the actual floor installation is a great project for a do-it-yourself homeowner.
•When to Use – Floors that are heated electrically are not usually used as a whole house heating system, instead electric radiant flooring is used as a secondary system to focus on specific areas of the home. Their easy installation flexibility allows homeowners with forced air heating to complete a small remodeling project and add the luxury of radiant heat to the areas where they most need it. Bathrooms, kitchens, basements, and garages are popular areas to install electric heated floors because they allow you to have evenly heated warm floors at the specific times you and your family enjoy that space.
•Cost – An electric radiant floor system can have a less expensive initial installation cost when compared to hydronic heat. This is due to the ease of laying down the electric coil matting instead of hydronic loops, and the fact the electric heated floors can be readily connected to the home’s electrical system. On the other hand, operation costs for electrical radiant heat is much higher than that of a hydronic system, which is why most people prefer their whole house heating solution to be hydronic, and save the installation of electric radiant floors for targeted areas only.



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Old 2/8/13, 10:24 PM
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Default Re: Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

[QUOTE=Unregistered;999083]I can't get up into the attic but it appears to be a First Company ceiling mount style air handler with hot water heating coil design. I'm taking this from the information I got on replacing it. It does say the existing is by First Company. It is about 30 years old. My unit has a centrally located water supply which serves several units.

My big problem is the inspector said the heater worked at inspection but the water valve was turned off and had not been touched in years as there was years' worth of undisturbed dust on it. I believe that in order for heat to have been produced (other than the current 90+ temperature at the time) the water would have to be turned on. I don't know much about these things, but it seems common sense that if the water produces the heat and the water is turned off....there can be no heat. Additionally, my son and I were standing in the air coming out of the vents to cool off.

As soon as the HVAC guy turned the water supply on, it started vigerously leaking. I'm sure that is why it was turned off in the first place. My home inspector states that he only has to check the normal operating controls and I believe he did not do this.

He described the heating system as "electric". I'm really not sure if he even knew that this was a hydronic system. Would electric be a correct desciption?

Can you shed any light on this?

Thanks!![/QUOTE]
To be honest from your description of the system I am not sure.
A/C could have an air handler and Heat could be anything.

If it was hydronic it would be baseboards or as Billy mentioned radient but I doubt that.
If you have pictures they will not allow upload on this thread but you could send them to me at elliotthomeinspection@gmail.com
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Old 2/8/13, 11:15 PM
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Default Re: Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

[QUOTE=belliott;999763]To be honest from your description of the system I am not sure.
A/C could have an air handler and Heat could be anything.

If it was hydronic it would be baseboards or as Billy mentioned radient but I doubt that.
If you have pictures they will not allow upload on this thread but you could send them to me at elliotthomeinspection@gmail.com[/QUOTE]

There is no a/c and no baseboards. This is the only heating for a small one bedroom condo. There are normal vents like you would have with a gas furnace. The property has no gas and it is definitely a hydronic system as we have had a home warranty inspecter and an HVAC repair person look at it. The home warranty people said it was a pre-existing condition. I will try to get some pictures and send them to you. I would appreciate anything you can tell me.
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Old 2/9/13, 12:17 AM
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Default Re: Help, Help! Hydronic Heating System

OK if you said condo before I missed it.
You may be talking about a simple air handler panel ,usually about 3-4 foot wall panel and behind it is a series of pipes that pump either hot water or cold water through an exchanger and fan(blower) setup.

It is either a 2 or a 4 pipe system with 4 pipe also being known as ambient.
With a four pipe system you can have hot or cold at the same time .
Older are always 2 pipe sytems and the management controls which is supplied by switching over from one to the other according to season.

This means you do not pay for the boiler or chiller fuel but do pay for the electric which turns the blower motor.

You own the wall equipment.

Sound about right?
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