11:03AM | 01/15/05
Member Since: 07/31/00
59 lifetime posts
Sorry for the length of this note and the duplicate in plumbing as well as hvac category. Have a bit of overlap in the two sections, and thought some of the stuff about our system might be helpful to know for others if they are interested in a hydronic radiant heat system.

My big issue is no hot water coming out of my faucets. Been this way for a week now, and I’m dying for a good hot shower in my own shower. (Others are dying for me to have one too….) Also, been awhile since I’ve been on the site, but some of the stuff below is what we/I’ve been working on the last few years……

We live in a reconstructed and modified timber frame barn. We have a hydronic heating system with a Viessman boiler, An Expansion Tank at the Boiler, Triangle Tube Smart50 indirect water heater, Argo 4-zone priority circulating pump management and Taco 007-F50 circulating pumps. We use pex installed inside a 6” slab along the entire floor of the house and the attached three car garage. (Most of our pets stay in the garage and so we keep a low level of heat in there for them. Not bad for us as a workshop either!) The system has been installed about two years. We keep the slab at a minimum of 60 degrees year round. We have no actual hot water heater, only the indirect hot water heater. All are installed in a 6’ high space under the end quarter of the barn. My husband calls it the mother-in-law’s quarters, but it’s really a space under the suspended slab that we were able to have due to the grade of the land.

Love the system! Fantastic even heat. Have to keep the floors clean as the dust floats up to the loft area a lot! No need for heat on the second floor or in the loft. It stays toasty up there during the winter. Our average bill for propane is about $105.00 per month. Perhaps a bit more with recent gas price increases. Electric including very cool air in summer averages about $75 per month. 3900 square feet, 3 bedrooms, 2 baths.

We had 13 of us in the barn for the holidays for about 2-3 weeks. 7 adults and 6 kids. Usually just the two of us, so all those folks may have put some extra stress on our hot water system. We finished unpacking our stuff around the barn, (we’re still in the process of completing everything) As a result, we had LOTS of washing and cleaning and showering.

Last Sunday everyone was gone. After starting a load of laundry, and following my husband’s shower, I found I had no hot water. We NEVER run out of hot water with the system we have. No matter HOW much is going on.

The temperatures were high outside, but we are pretty sure the heat was/is still working – we have a closed system of tubing in a 6” slab of concrete. The Viessman is cycling off and on. We replaced cartridge on Taco 007-f50 pump for priority zone 1 pump to hot water heater. There did not appear to be water flowing to hot water tank -- outside tank, and the pump appeared to be getting way over hot, making noise and hammering. Copper pipe was hot, but appeared to be only heat transfer from hot pump rather than from fluid in it. Water came out of the lower drain valve of the hot water heater, but did not refill. Left the hot water taps turned on each time we’ve worked on the system to be sure the system didn’t run dry. Couldn’t make it work and needed to do some more research, so last Sunday, we turned off the circulating pumps at the switch, but the boiler stayed on. Did the research, lived for a week without running hot water – ugh! My husband and I still love each other; not sure our employees feel the same about us, after a week of us taking sponge baths of heated water!

Today, after changing the cartridge, water was available in the lower drain valve. The circulating pump no longer makes a knocking noise. I released air and left it open in the valve on the top of the Smart50 water heater. Another pump is making some knocking noises – just a few, though for zone 3. Zone 2 is currently capped off and zone 4 is for the main house. Zone 3 is for garage and has less flow.

The fluid that came out of the drain system was very dark in color – found a bit of space in copper pipe sweat join that might have a minor leak near the water heater. Also had a minor link at a fitting (screw tight) for the garage zone. Tightened it with a wrench and it has stopped leaking. The circulating pump filter assembly was dry when I pulled it out after trying to get everything circulating. Air/steam did come out of the piping between the boiler as the circulating system came back on.


1) It’s been two hours since we changed the cartridge. Still have no hot water. Could we have another problem with the indirect water heater? Or could I have another problem?

2) Could the color in the fluid be from a chemical mixed with the system to retard freezing? Could the fluid be oxygenating? Is that a word?

3) I can sweat the pipes and repair the minor leak in the solder joint near the drain on the outlet back to the system without any problem, but should I do it that close to the Smart50 or could it damage a “dipping stick” in it? Or is that only on the cold water inlet on the top not the drain area?



07:13PM | 01/15/05
I regret that your situation is beyond my experience. Perhaps others can contribute.


01:38AM | 01/17/05
I may have the ability to redirect HVAC comments to the HVAC site. I'll try reading some instructions. I'm just not quite up to Moderator Operating Knowledge.


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