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Exercise Your Dump Zones

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by maple1, Nov 27, 2013.

  1. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    In the spirit of learning from others mistakes, maybe this will help someone out.

    Right in the middle of supper here tonight, the wind knocked the power out. This was about a half hour after I started my daily burn with the usual 1/3 or so starter load. Didn't pay any attention to the boiler since it handled this without a blip last year, and we were in the middle of a meal in the dark. So about another half hour later after I dug out the backup lights & while we were cleaning the kitchen up, I realized I was hearing some noises I shouldn't be hearing. So I tore downstairs to find things kind of warm - right about the boiling point at the top of the boiler. Long story short, and as far as I know, sometime between last year & tonight I had some air accumulate in the section of piping right at the top of the boiler that connects that to my upstairs zones with a NO zone valve in between. When the power dropped out & the valve opened, that released the air into my upstairs zones & airlocked them. Eventually and after a short period of 'oh crap', one finally started circulating with a bunch of gurgling. That kept the heat at bay, together with what was making it through my loading unit. I didn't really want to try to bleed anything then since our well tank only holds 5 gallons & we might have needed the water for something else & I didn't want to lose pressure on my system. The power finally came back on an hour ago, after which I spent a half hour getting the airlock out of my zones. That went in circles because on the first try, I pushed the air from one into the other.

    Anyway, all is well again - except our 'hi-speed' internet is still out & I'm on dial up right now. The price for living in the woods, I guess. Time to go to bed anyway.

    So - regular exercise from here on out.

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  2. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

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    I use a ups on my wood boiler as it is only running a fan and a circulator it should run at least an hour maybe even 2. Plenty of time to get the generator up if needs be. For a dump zone I have 4 iron radiators in the basement on a circulator zone. So far it has worked out pretty well. The ups is the best help though cheap insurance policy. I use a apc smart ups 1000. Hope this helps
  3. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    This little episode has gotten me thinking to add a UPS for my loading unit. I've got a couple around here not being used but with dead batteries, think I'll dig them out & get them re-celled. One thing I do like is redundancy - thought I had lots but I guess you can't have too much.
  4. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Good reminder maple. I actually added an auto vent to my passive dump zone in the ceiling of my boiler room. Air likes to get stuck in the top of the boiler, and I notice when I test the dump zone I can still burp a little out from time to time. Glad you got things back up and running!

    Shoeboxlen, are you just using the batteries that came in the UPS, or have your rigged up an external set?
    BoilerMan likes this.
  5. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    My thoughts exactly, I've had good luck with the Watts brass vents Made in Italy, just sweat in a baseboard T and screw in the vent in a high spot.

    TS
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Another good idea on the vent there guys. I thought I had all my high spots covered with vents, but this little spot snuck up on me & it's not exactly a system high spot. But the location right at the top of the boiler I guess makes it a good air trap with it hardly ever seeing flow through.

    Not too crazy about taking that particular piping section apart though - I'll likely get a vent & wait until the off-season.
  7. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I did mine last summer with a sharkbite slip-fitting. Just worked out better for me for the access I had. Not the high spot for my system either, but since its just gravity fed, I really wanted to be covered. Now when I trip it, any air there purges right away and I start getting gravity flow.
  8. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

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    I put new batteries in ups's all the time that's how I got so many people tend to replace the whole unit I just hit amazon and replace the batteries and walla! Gl
  9. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    I saw above you said you could run for an hour or two... is that based on actual run time, or just a calc on the load? I have a couple of UPSes kicking around with dead batteries, Im just wondering if its worth it to rig them up on the boiler or not....
  10. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I've been googling UPS stuff & batteries for a day or two. Not as simple as I was first thinking, if you don't want to just replace the batteries with what it came with. Issues with overheating on extended run times and extended charge times, off-gassing from non-SLA batteries, likely other things. Might just look for a deal on a new UPS. I did find some used 3000 units here (more than needed) that need new batteries, but new OEM-type batteries for it would be around $300. Yikes. Think I've ruled out what I was first thinking - wire one of my old UPSs up to a car battery.
  11. shoeboxlen

    shoeboxlen Member

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    I do not use a pc batteries I use generic sealed batteries that match the form of the oem. Generally run me $45 for 2 for my 1000. If you give me your ups and I can look for batteries and send you links to amazon if you like. I esti.ate my runtime by load. As all I am running with it is the circulator controller and fan. So little draw means long run time. You can also pick up a new app ups 1500 for under 200 bucks.

    Len
  12. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    I have a small APC Back-UPS 200, and have a line on a SU-3000. All with dead batteries. The 3000 is more than I need I think and new batteries here are close to $300 - but the 200 is pretty small. I can get the 3000 unit itself for next to nothing. Don't think I'm interested in ordering batteries on-line, in case there is an issue with them, and shipping/customs is usually a killer to get them north of the border. The only thing it would be running is the 15-58 on low, which is supposed to be 60w. Also have a CyberPower 450va that is getting long in the tooth, last time it was used it was OK but would likely need a re-cell as well. If I could run a 60w load for a couple hours that would likely cover me pretty good - 4 would be worst case (a full re-load on a hot boiler just before the power goes out). That's all with nobody home, which is rare in outage type weather. I've got a genny I could pull out if I had to, and a booster box that I keep charged. But that booster box has a light & radio so it gets setup front & centre in the livingroom when things go dark. Was thinking about just running the circ through another one of those, but I don't think it will charge while something is drawing power from it. (Can't find the darned manual).

    Think first I'll just change my loading circuit wiring so it plugs into a receptacle, then maybe just try the CyperPower on it & see what happens.

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