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Sorry, Another newb wood boiler question(s) Help.

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by gregV, Oct 21, 2011.

  1. gregV

    gregV New Member

    Joined:
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    First post...

    First, I know most of you are most likely tired of answering what may be the same ol questions for newbs. I have been searching here but just get confused and a little overwhelmed with all the additions and new ideas bouncing around. Is below too simple to work, and if it works am I just doing it wrong?
    Thanks VERY much in advance.

    My mom's old house had an older Tarm in it and she gave it to me. Now I need to hook it up obviously and have been racking my brain trying to figure it out.

    Background.

    My house is a 1790 30x40 cape. Insulated, but there is only so much one can do with a house that has been restored as close to original as possible. So, the house is warm, but in no way modern efficient. I kept it warm with 90% heat coming from my very old Home Heater wood stove, but at times it was chilly. My water is still oil heat so had to use oil to get that.

    My heat and domestic hot water is relatively new, Buderus G215 Boiler with a Buderus ST150/1 indirect water heater attached (see photos) . It's a water to forced air system with two separate exchangers, one up and one down.

    OK, I have set up the Tarm in a room on the first floor for now as I have no outside access to my basement to get wood down there I don't have the time or money to put it where I want it at this point (in it's own outbuilding maybe) and I also wanted to see if it worked OK this season before I dumped money into doing so. So as it is now, this is a somewhat temporary setup to get me through the cold northeast CT winter with little to NO oil.

    Below are two very rough sketches. First is how the furnace is set up now, and the second is what I am thinking would work in adding the Tarm. Other photos are of my existing system.

    W = domestic hot water
    F = Oil Boiler
    H = Water to air heat exchangers.

    Thoughts??
    Thanks
    Greg V


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  2. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    A slight change with the circulator. Removing the one off the Tarm and just using the domestic hot water one to run when Tarm get's to temp and is not being called. ???? Can one circulator have two demands?

    [​IMG]
  3. __dan

    __dan Burning Hunk

    Joined:
    Oct 5, 2011
    Messages:
    241
    I see several problems.

    For the cost of a temporary connection, you could probably get a new high end wood stove for less money and a more permanent value, better payback on investment.

    If you want the Tarm on the upper floor, it may be too heavy for the joists with the trim and filled with water. Floor loading could be too much, requiring posts directly underneath.

    The combination of a drafty house, no storage or thermal mass, and forced air heat is probably the most difficult combination. You need a higher water temp to operate the fan coil units, design issue. Smoke in the house issue.

    The Tarm in series will be hot when firing with oil. There's added heat loss, load there. There's supposed to be a three way thermal loading unit for the Tarm to maintain high return water temp.

    Just hooking up a free boiler is a large capital investment. Done right, the cost is averaged over the life of the install. An expensive new system that lasts a long time can be less costly than a free boiler connected temporary for a short time.

    My first thought would be to step back and decide what system you want as a permanent install over the long term, everything, especially the distribution. This could include scrapping the fan coils and ductwork, I don't know. Once you have a plan or dream of what you want over the long term, building it piece by piece is good. New windows and insulation could be the biggest payback for money invested.

    If you know the outbuilding is going to happen, waiting to put the Tarm there could save some money in the short term.

    For example, what is the basement floor. Maybe, in the future, you want to dig it down and pour an insulated radiant heated slab, add a hatch or walkout. That would do a lot for the basement and to moderate swings in temp in the upper house. It would be a good choice to heat that slab with the Tarm hydronically.

    That's a nice house in the picture. Amazing for 1790.
  4. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    Thanks for the reply dan. I understand all of the concerns, but there are reasons I am wanting to do this this way.
    In no way do I have money to get a new system, let alone just pay my existing bills. Let's just say that my work is somewhat dead. I have plenty of wood available so I am mainly doing this to not have to pay for oil.
    So, I have what I have and just need to utilize it the best way I can.

    Reinforcing the floor is absolutely not an issue and will be done. So this is no concern.
    This 1790 house is very original and has four fireplaces that I use whenever I can, when it's not TOO cold out. I hearth cook also so smoke in my house is a norm. ;-)

    "The Tarm in series will be hot when firing with oil. There’s added heat loss, load there. There’s supposed to be a three way thermal loading unit for the Tarm to maintain high return water temp" I'm not completely sure what you mean, but I am assuming the illustration below circled in red is what you are referring to? I also felt that the return on the domestic hot water would maybe do the same, as it returns to my boiler very hot as it is now. But it does seem that the illustration below is what is needed then. Correct?

    I'm not seeing any big investment here, but maybe that's because I am making this too simple? I would think that just about anything I use for this now can be used over again if I move the system. Removing my existing system is not an option as it is also central air. It also just cost me about $36K a few years back. Ugggg.

    I guess I am just trying to get through this winter with this for now. I know it's not the latest and greatest, but what I need to know really is if the way I have it sketch out will work. What do I "need" to make this work? I have zero issue with this being temporary at this time, so just looking for some guidance on getting it in. Days and nights are getting colder. :)
    Thanks for the complement on my home.

    [​IMG]
  5. __dan

    __dan Burning Hunk

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    Sorry, I did not know how new or old the forced air system was. Did not know if you could be moving to hydronic baseboards or something else in the near future.

    I honestly do not know what to recommend that would be less than $2000 WAG just for the trim parts, fittings, nipples, valves, flue pipe, pipe, relays, controls, circs, wiring. Parts, no labor. For $2K you could be looking at a new Quadrifire or something that would install easier. If you're hiring the install labor, the install is expected to last 20+ years. I really don't want to know the answer, a permit included.

    There is a way forward with the Tarm, but it involves spending money to do right. The place to start is with the right plan.

    There are plumbing diagrams to look at on the TarmUSA site.

    http://www.woodboilers.com/admin/uploads/public/WoodBoilerPlumbingSchematic0111Web.pdf
  6. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Way over my head to give you useful advice. BUT nice place! :)
  7. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    Thanks. But it's gettin cold. :)
  8. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    Not seeing that it would be near $2K to do this. ??
    I already have insulated stove pipe. I would so all the work myself.
    Anyone else with some input here?
    Thanks again.
    Greg V
  9. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    Greg
    No expert here, but YES it will work. I have almost the same setup with a 35 year old Tarm. I like the extra boiler of hot water to help when both zones want heat at the same time. The only difference on mine, is the circ between the boilers runs 24/7, keeping all water at the same temp. I know its not the most efficiant, but it works fine. Where you have the pipe capped below your circs, and below your return, just connect them together and you will have a primary loop.

    Paul
  10. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    Thanks Paul. I will think about what you said and get back to ya with questions.
  11. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    So Paul, would having the domestic hot water circulator running 24/7 in my last drawing be doing the same thing, but just now including the water tank and also keeping that hat as well as storing that heat? ??
    Greg V
  12. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    Like I said, no expert here. I think it would be better to use the larger diameter pipe to circulate the water, because both heat circs might want heat at the same time. Your domestic pipe is only 3/4", which might not work good to supply 3 circs at the same time.


    PS Love your house, mine is 120 years old but covered in vinyl crap!!!!
    Paul
  13. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    I say go for it, but do it as permanently as possible. The definition of temporary is one day less than forever.

    If you're going to go to all of this trouble for one winter, it still doesn't make sense to me, but you might consider hooking up the tarm with 3/4 pipe on a secondary loop with closely spaced tees and another circulator. That's probably as clear as mud, but look at the stickies and you'll get the idea. The advantage is that it might be easier to hook the plumbing up, and will make it much easier to restore the plumbing later.

    If it was my house and used boiler, I'd skip the return protection, especially with forced air heat exchangers.
  14. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    You mentioned you had some insulated stovepipe for this install, but do you have a flue to install it in? Or is it the triple wall stuff that you will run all on its own to the exterior of the house? (Yeah, I know it wasnt on your list of questions to start....)
  15. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    Clark', I am running triple wall pipe trough the wall to the outside and then up two or three sections. Easy-peasy.

    As far as being a temporary, I have no issue with this. The only thing lost is "time" when I move it and being I do it all myself it's just a non issue. Had to turn on my heat this morning for the first time. I need to get my ass in gear here! ;-)
  16. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    Greg
    This morning I looked at your diagrams again, and the top diagram is the exact same as my setup. Then my wood boiler is connected to the capped off pipe below your circs and the capped off pipe below your return, with a circ running 24/7 between the boilers.
    This would be easy to hook up (temporary), I say go for it. It might not be the best setup possible, but it would be better than burning oil.

    Paul
  17. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    Like this??

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  18. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    Not a hydronics guru, but I had been thinking along the same lines. But, with copper being so high, would 1.5 black be a better and maybe even less expensive choice (unless the 3/4 suggestion was also black)? When it's rolling, the Tarm will be producing a huge amount of heat, and the single circ in your current plan may not be capable of adequately moving all of that hot water fast enough through 2 boilers and the HW tank. If you skip the return protection, you could tape (and insulate) a $4 "frothing" thermometer onto the return pipe, to make sure the temps coming back are generally ok. I just checked your thread again, and see you posted a new plan that's just about what we're talking about - looks much better! Also, how about your insurance Co - will they be ok with this? Will they want it inspected?
  19. BoilerBob

    BoilerBob Member

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    Yes Greg, That is how mine is, and it works good.
    Paul
  20. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    What is a good choice for a low cost continuous run circulator? Links?

    Thanks
  21. benjamin

    benjamin Minister of Fire

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    Taco 007 is a common one.

    If you're going real cheap you can get a used pump off ebay, for roughly half the new price. Just check the model number to make sure you're getting one that's the right flow-head-hp for what you need.
  22. getitinboilerman

    getitinboilerman New Member

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    Sorry to say, but your salvaged wood boiler would not be worth the effort, I am a licensed master plumber ME,NH and Mass and in business for the past 26 years, spend the money and go buy an new Gasification boiler with storage if you want to save in your oil $$$$. It will work, trust me!!!
  23. gregV

    gregV New Member

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    SORRY in advance, but....
    Post like this just do agitate me. I think if you had read the thread you might get the fact that I DON"T have $10 friggin K to do as you suggest. I will refrain from what else I'd like to say here.
    Holy Moly! uggggg
  24. willworkforwood

    willworkforwood Feeling the Heat

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    You have nothing to be sorry about. The generalized statement that it "would not be worth the effort" isn't very helpful. If Getitinboilerman sees something specific about the boiler which highly likely to fail real soon, that would be meaningful information. He obviously didn't read your op, where you said you already heat 90% with wood. That makes the break even point for you on a new gasser with storage way, far out. Everyone's situation is different, and the advice offered here should be focused on each individuals specific circumstances.
  25. millerblt

    millerblt New Member

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    Greg, I installed the same Tarm boiler that you have, (1979 vintage) and heated my large farmhouse last winter and it worked out great. What you want to do will save you money, I to could not justify the cost of a new gasser. I installed it myself with much help from reading this site there is tons of good information here!
    One note is that this boiler needs a tall chimney, mine is 11' of insulated pipe straight up from the boiler and it is marginal at best.

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