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What type of pipe?

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by tuolumne, Jan 12, 2008.

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  1. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

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    I brought home an EKO 40 and two 500 gallon propane tanks last night! What are my options for piping the main circulation loop. I have a pair of adapters that got me from 2" british to 2" npt in iron pipe. Is this section typically all done in iron pipe? I have no means to cut/thread the pipe to custom lengths, so some sweat system would work better for my limited tools and skills. Boilers I've seen usually have iron pipe...are there reasons to avoid copper for this application?

    Edit: A second question....should I attempt to drill/tap the propane tank where needed, or cut a hole and weld a threaded flange to the surface. I will need to borrow equipment to do either.

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  2. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Great boiler choice! And all that storage. You're going to have a honey of a system.

    Most professional boiler installations use black iron pipe for the headers, which are basically just manifolds that the pumps and piping connect to. There are several reasons for this, one of which is that copper connectors going directly into the boiler won't hold up as well over time as black iron. Another factor to consider is that black iron fittings are a lot cheaper than copper, and you can buy cheaper, threaded ball and gate valves and screw them directly into black iron nipples, instead of using expensive copper thread to sweat adapters. I did all my piping off the boiler with black iron and just went with the pre-cut lengths that you can buy at any hardware store or big box outlet. You just design your piping around standard sizes. And if you need a special size, they can custom-cut them at the store for a small extra charge.

    I bought mine from Cozy Heat and they suggested making a 1.5-inch primary loop from the boiler supply into the return, so that you can pump hot supply water into the return to keep the return water temps up, which is important to protect the boiler from corrosion. Your supply and return lines can be piped right off the primary loop. Here's a picture of what mine looks like. I used the copper because I had it laying around, but black iron would have been just as good. The 3/4-inch copper pipe next to the larger one is the pressure relief valve drain. I have both 1" and 3/4" inch supply lines coming off mine because the EKO 60 produces more heat than my existing 1" line could handle. But one-inch should be fine for a 40.

    The green Taco 007 pump in this pic is wired directly into the EKO controller and controlled by it. There may be better ways to do the piping, but I basically went with what the dealer recommended.

    I don't know what to suggest on the tank connections. Aren't there existing tappings that you can adapt for your use?

    Attached Files:

  3. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

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    Thanks Eric. I sure have a lot to figure out now! I looked at pricing, and I'll go as far as I can with black pipe using standard lengths. I plan to use 1-1/2" for the primary loop since that's what the diverter valve and pump will be. The tanks actually have a bunch of existing holes, but most in the wrong spots to overcome stratification. I may be able to use one existing hole with a bushing and a dip tube, but I'll need to make at lease one more on each tank. I also need to find the right size plugs for the remaining half dozen holes on each tank. Do you use those two high cleanouts?
  4. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    If you're talking about the plugs at the top of those returns, then I put them in for vents. But they're also good places for adding expansion/instrumentation. It's always worth doing, IMO, when you consider how little it costs to replace a 90 with a tee and a plug.

    BTW, if you need to buy valves and copper fittings, check out Ebay. You can get stuff for about half what you'll pay at any local outlet. I bought 8 1" brass gate valves, for example, for $50 including shipping from an Ebay store. The same valves cost around $8 each (plus 9% sales tax) at my local Home Depot.
  5. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

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    Eric, what are the 3/4" pipes coming out either side of the EKO? My manual hasn't arrived yet. In the picture you posted above, one is visible on the right side with a cap on it.
  6. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Those are overheat protection, which I gather is required in Europe but not here. I had to cut one off to fit my boiler into the boiler room. What happens in Europe, apparently, is that you rig up a domestic water feed and some kind of a valve that opens when the boiler hits the overheat setpoint, and it flows water through the pipes (and I think there's some kind of a coil in there), and down a drain. You can't use them for DHW, however, because the pipe is black iron. So to answer your question, they're not for anything you will need to do.

    You can download the manual directly from http://www.newhorizoncorp.com, but there's no mention of the pipes in it. I think the current manual is for earlier models, which don't have this thing.
  7. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    I hooked mine up so I can have hot water for my donkeys in the winter. I put a ball valve on it and draw hot water. At full flow it is quite warm and the donkeys love it. It's also nice when I get my hands dirty to be able to wash them off.
    leaddog
  8. drizler

    drizler Minister of Fire

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    Hey how much are those old propane tanks goin for? I will be lookin for at least one real soon for a solar project . Luckily the guy at the locas scrapper is pretty good about saving things for me if I want something big and heavy like that. I have some old 100's to use but one of those big monsters is what I really need
  9. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    Eric -- regarding the overheat loop -- with substantial water storage, and/or if a large gravity fed loop, I agree that this probably not needed, but my dealer (Tarm) advised to install a gravity fed loop at >= 10% of boiler btu rating, controlled by a n.o. valve, so jic there is a power failure when the boiler is in high burn and near idle, an overheat will not result and possibly blow the pressure relief valve. Might be overkill, but I did it anyway.

    Other experience or opinions?
  10. Nofossil

    Nofossil Moderator Emeritus

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    I use battery backup. The idea is to run the system for a few hours, then let the fan die and run the circ until it's cool - before the battery dies. Love to get circs that draw less, since they are the big load on the battery.
  11. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I left the impression that gravity-feed overheat protection is not necessary in this country. It is. The reason I said what I did about those pipes sticking out the sides of the EKO is that I already have a gravity feed overheat dump zone plumbed into my system, so I didn't need them. But using what came with the boiler might be the best alternative. I'm not sure what kind of hx is between those two fittings so I don't know if it would convect by gravity, but I assume it would. IMO, you need some strategy for getting heat out of the boiler in the event of a power failure. I have a couple of cast iron radiators in the unheated attic above my boiler room connected to my supply and return lines.
  12. verne

    verne Member

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    Eric , even with large storage do you need a dump zone? would a radiant zone in the barn slab work ? could I use the zone in the winter to warm up the barn? turn on off as needed.Im trying to get a plumbing plan in order . Thanks scott
  13. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    I would be cautious about an hx providing a gravity feed. Test it to make sure it works before relying on it. I doubt there would be sufficient gravity flow through the hx.

    Battery backup is great, but especially if using an hx and two pumps, one for each side, plus boiler elec requirements, current draw plus time is heavier than typical computer UPS can provide. Also, watch VA draw, not the same as watts, as most UPS are rated VA. In a typical system VA = about 1.4 watts. Assume pumps x 2 = 2 amps, boiler electric 1.5 amps, total amps = 3.5, watts = 120 x 3.5 = 420, VA = about 600. A UPS rated 600 VA likely can provide that only for a few minutes, so probably have to move to a much larger and expensive UPS.

    Radiant zone in slab likely not work for gravity fed loop unless at higher elevation than boiler. Gravity means hot water rises into heating zone, then cools and flows back through return to boiler. My overheat loop is a series of baseboard radiant units plumbed in parallel and located on the ceiling of the boiler room.
  14. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    I don't think there's much of an hx between those fittings. I bet it's just an iron pipe loop or two, so I suspect it will convect, but there's probably no good way to test it before getting it hooked up. If you want to use it, I'd call Zenon or your dealer and ask them.

    verne: The amount of storage you have is irrelevant to overheat protection strategies when the power goes out unless you have a battery backup or a generator or some other way of getting the heat away from the boiler in the event of a power outage. The fan shuts off in a power outage, but so do your circulators. Depending on where you're at in the burn cycle, the boiler might overheat. If you have a nice bed of coals, for example, they're going to keep putting heat into the water, with no place for it to go. A gravity-feed dump zone allows the hot water to circulate and be replaced by cooler water, which should keep the pressure relief valve from popping.

    The EKO manual recommends using a water heater tank. If you have 40 gallons of water at room temp and gravity allows you to replace the water in your pressure vessel with that cooler water, it will go a long ways toward keeping things under control. My radiators are a similar idea, except that they provide a means of continually dissipating the heat instead of a one-shot deal. I suspect both work equally well. The best thing to do in each case, is to plumb a zone valve into the line leading to the tank that opens up when the power is cut. That way, it works even when you're not home or otherwise occupied. If you wire it up to the circuit running your pumps, then the valve will open up and protect the boiler if the circuit breaker trips.

    You could get by for years without something like this, but it's a nice safety feature that won't break the bank.
  15. leaddog

    leaddog Minister of Fire

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    The build in overheat protection pipe is made to be hooked up with cold water and controled by a temp controled valve and the discharge to go to a drain. It would not work for a power loss if you water source is a pump but with city water it would work. Running cold water in and the water temp comming out is very warm to the touch so it is a fairly large ex.
    leaddog
  16. Eric Johnson

    Eric Johnson Mod Emeritus

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    Thanks for that, leaddog. Thinking about it in that light, those connections probably wouldn't work for power-out gravity feed heat dispersal because they don't allow you to circulate boiler water--only an external source. As Jim suggested, I don't think a heat exchanger is going to provide a fast enough response time in this particular application.
  17. verne

    verne Member

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    thanks, I think I got it. Im trying to get this piping scheme finished ,with hopes of finding a few $ savers before spring. When I get it on paper Ill try to post It for some advice
  18. tuolumne

    tuolumne New Member

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    I paid $630 each. I should think a scrap yard would be less.
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