John Siegenthaler: Hydronics Workshop

Expansion tank pressurization

Improper air-side pressurization 'wastes' some of the internal volume.

All closed-loop hydronic systems require an air space to absorb the increased volume of water as it warms during system operation. In most hydronic systems, this task is handled by an expansion tank. In most modern hydronic systems, it’s handled by a diaphragm-type expansion tank.


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Talking to my computer

My first experience teaching an online course.

Last fall, I taught my first online course dealing with designing hydronic heating systems. The course was titled “Mastering Hydronic System Design.” It was a collaborative effort between HeatSpring Learning Institute, BNP Media’s CE Campus and myself.


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Combining outdoor reset control and heat pumps

Don’t overcook it.

In past columns, we’ve discussed geothermal water-to-water heat pumps and air-to-water heat pumps via hydronic heat sources. Both can be a great match to low-temperature hydronic distribution systems.


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Some ways to simplify hydronic systems

Less is best when it comes to hydronic heating systems.

After completing a hydronic installation, especially one that’s taken you a few days longer than expected, do you ever ponder that there is just too much “stuff” in some of these systems?


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T and ∆T pumping when it comes to wood-gasification boilers

One application that leverages both control capabilities.

The market for wood-gasification boilers is growing in North America. Most are used in rural areas where natural gas in not available, and thus the cost of firewood is often very competitive against the alternatives of No. 2 fuel oil or propane.


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Parsing a number

Differences exist between rules of thumb and precise calculations.

 

Differences exist between rules of thumb and precise calculations.


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Nature vs. math

Formulas and assumptions don’t always predict what happens.

 The following formula has been around the North American hydronics industry for a long time:  


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Trade-offs in boilers

Two boiler characteristics that need to make a comeback.

 North American hydronic professionals can now choose from dozens of modulating/condensing (mod/con) boilers. Many are designed for wall-mounting. Those who design these boilers strive for small enclosures and low weight.  


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The basics of radiant ceiling cooling

No drips allowed.

 For decades, well-designed and -installed hydronic heating systems have earned a reputation for superior comfort. Still, potential customers who understand and desire the benefits of hydronic heating often ask, “But how does this system provide cooling?”  


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Biomass heating systems can use both big and little tanks

How they can work together in a wood-fired heating system.

 

Interest in biomass heating systems continues to rise, especially in rural areas of the United States and Canada. Although plenty of devices are available that burn wood to heat water, the state-of-the-art device is a wood-gasification boiler.


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