Lowering Radiant Temperatures
The GlitchOverview: A project requires both medium and low temperature radiant floor panels. The installer proposes the following system design.
Since the mod/con boiler already has an internal outdoor reset controller, he decides to use a standard 1-inch tempering valve to lower the water supply temperature to the lower temperature zones. He also decides that since the boiler supply and return connections are 1 inch, he can pipe the entire system with 1-inch tubing.
Exercise: Can you spot at least four design details that are going to create problems?
The FixThe header piping in the original design is the same size (1 inch) as the piping to individual zone circulators. This will likely create a high pressure drop when all zone circulators are operating. The pipe size of the distribution headers in the fix drawing has been increased to minimize head loss and thus minimize hydraulic interference between zones.
The boiler circulator needs to be hydraulically separated from the circulators in the distribution system. This has been corrected using the closely spaced tees.
The 1-inch tempering valve with Cv=3.0 has been replaced with a properly size 3-way rotary mixing valve with much higher Cv (Cv=10) and hence lower pressure drop. Although a motorized actuator is shown on the mixing valve, it may not be required. A manually set (non-thermostatic / non-motorized) 3-way valve can provide proportional reset control to the lower temperature zones when the hot water supplied to the valve is reset by the boiler. The motorized actuator is recommended in situation where the lower temperature zones will have frequent setback or temperature adjustment. A check valve is installed in the hot water pipe to the 3-way valve to prevent flow reversal when other zones are operating.
A microbubble air separator has also been added, such that flow from the boiler passes through it during both space heating and DHW operating modes.