March 10, 2014
No I’m kidding. I will be more than happy to walk you through the workings of this type of heating system. With a background that spans the last 40 years working on every kind of heating system you could imagine, I have come to enjoy jotting down the ins and outs of what I’ve learned about this common method of controlling the climate of our homes.
Hydronic heating systems are automatic. Once the thermostat is set where you want it, the controls for the zone do the rest.
One misconception that many people will have is that if the thermostat is turned higher, they are somehow ram-ping up the heating into super heater mode. This is untrue. Your zone is either on or off. The thermostat only has the ability to close the circuit or open the circuit. Your boiler receives this message and it comes on. when it doesn’t get the message anymore, or the thermostat has been satisfied, the boiler shuts off. There is no medium, just on or off.
This boiler is the heart of the system. Connected to it are manifolds that accept the piping coming and going from the rooms that are being heated. This piping is run through radiation of some kind within the room, and the convection process is used to transfer the heat from the heated water to the air within the room.
This radiation comes in all shapes and sizes today. No longer are the old bulky cast iron radiators the only type of radiation used with hot water heating. Baseboard heating units have been around for quite a while, and many radiator systems have been converted to baseboard.
New types of radiation may include designer radiators. Wall to ceiling units and towel warmer units are just a couple of the available innovations. Radiant floor heating seams to be the wave of the future. Many high-end homes with complicated multi-zone systems are using radiant heating as well as combined radiation types.
This piping forms a complete loop from the boiler through the room and back to the boiler. The water it carries is reheated over and over again. There are circulator pumps incorporated in the loop that will also come on when their respective thermostat calls, and this is how you get the heated water where you want it.
Some systems in smaller homes may be one single loop and, therefore, they will only have one thermostat and one circulator pump. Other homes with a lot of rooms will have many zones and maybe even a thermostat in every room for the ultimate in fuel saving capabilities, as well as the comfort that this type of control offers.
So the basic principle and series of operation are like this. No. 1, a call comes from a thermostat. The boiler and the respective circulator pump start. Heated water is circulated through the radiation within the room that’s calling. This continues until the room comes up to whatever the thermostat is set on. Your system then shuts off and waits for the next call.
Multi-zone systems are the same thing. The only difference is there are more calls from different places. The right pump coming on sends heat to only the calling zones. Other zones within the system will stay in standby, until their respective thermostat calls.
Being a completely automated system, hot water heating is a very convenient way to heat any home. The new innovations in style that have recently emerged within the radiation portion of this industry have only made it more popular. Designers are now able to use the radiation as a benefit of one kind or another that enhances their designs, rather then trying to hide the heater for aesthetic reasons.
Article by Robert Van Norden
March 7, 2014
Have you noticed odd noises coming from your heat pump? Are you cold when you should be warm and hot when you should be cool? You’re probably experiencing one of these common heat pump problems, most of which can be fixed with a little extra TLC or a repair if necessary. But the longer you wait to schedule heat pump troubleshooting, the more severe your problems could become.
Common Heat Pump Problems
Your heat pump problems can range from something as simple as a clogged air filter to a much more complex issue with the power source and more. But the most common heat pump problems tend to throw you signals so you’ll know when troubleshooting or repairs are required. These include:
Your heat pump has frozen over.
The outdoor coils of your unit are built to maintain a temperature of 32 degrees in normal conditions. So if there’s any moisture in the air, it’s likely to freeze when it comes into contact with the cold coils. Since your heat pump has a built-in defrost cycle, it should melt away any ice that accumulates. If the ice doesn’t seem to ever go away or continues getting thicker, you will likely need repairs done by a professional; this usually signifies an error with the defrost cycle of your unit.
Your heat pump is making odd noises.
This can often be a problem related to loose connectors, so you’ll want to check all the screws to make sure they’re secure. If they are all properly in place, you’ll need to contact an HVAC specialist who can identify the source of the issue and recommend the next course of action.
The temperature is wrong.
If the temperature you’ve set doesn’t seem to match that of the rooms in your home, it’s possible your problem stems from the sensor in either the thermostat or the heat pump itself. But if you put the heat setting on and are not getting any heat at all, your issue could be much more serious. In this case, try resetting the power supply. Should nothing change, the cause could be related to an overloaded motor or failed power supply—both of which require professional service.
Heat Pump Troubleshooting
If you’re experiencing one of the common heat pump problems above, the technicians at Jim Lavallee Plumbing & Heating can help. And if your issue appears to be rare, we can examine the unit further to assess the cause and provide recommendations accordingly. Whether you need heat pump repair or replacement services, we’ve got you covered. We also offer regular maintenance services that can help prevent many of these issues. Call us today to schedule service in Eastern Massachusetts and the Boston areas!
March 5, 2014
Hydronic heating is a safe, comfortable, economical and flexible way to heat any home. Hydronic systems circulate hot water through warming baseboards, radiators and/or radiant tubing in your floors or ceilings. There are many advantages to heating your home using a hydronic system, whether it is for a new home or as a replacement heating system.
- Heat is evenly distributed in a room: no drafts or hot and cold spots as with forced air.
- Minimal movement of allergens and dust particles.
- Space Saver: no bulky ductwork resulting in reduced square footage in your home.
- Heating zones allow you to customize the heating level per room.
- One system can heat your home and your domestic water:
- Use your boiler with an indirect water heater or
- Use a “combi” boiler that can output both space heating and domestic water heating from the same unit.
- Have warm feet through in-floor radiant heating.
- Your boiler can be used for snow melting or as a pool heating system as well!
Hydronic heat is usually in
1 of 3 basic configurations:
1. Simple wall hung boiler.
2. Traditional boiler and indirect tank.
3. Expanded system.
The gas boiler heats your home by burning natural gas or propane.
The gas enters a burner and is then ignited and efficiently transfers the heat through water tubes in the heat exchanger. The heated water on the other side of the heat exchanger is then delivered to base boards, radiators or in-floor heating tubes throughout your home. Water passes through these heater emitters and returns to the boiler in one of multiple circuits (zones). Hot water from the boiler can also be directed to an indirect water heater to supply your home with hot water, to a snow melting system, or even be used to heat a pool.
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You can run a hydronic heating system from standard wall thermotsats or configure into a wireless control system that communicates to your smart phone or anywhere in between. Whether you want to set it and forget it from a wall mounted thermostat or control your home’s temperature level when you travel, a hydronic heating system can work with all these technologies.
Today’s boilers also have advanced programming and accessories included, that optimize their operation and minimize your heating bill! One such technology is outdoor reset. It adjusts the boiler temperature that heats your home based on the temperature outside. This technology makes sure the system delivers exactly the right amount of heat to match the heat being lost out of the walls and roof. So you and your family feel an even heat that levels off as room temperature swings.
For more further information, or if you have questions, Please Contact Us!