Smell from American Solartechnics Tank

Marshy Posted By Marshy, Sep 25, 2018 at 7:56 PM

  1. Marshy

    Marshy
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    Hi guys, I installed my Froling boiler and 820 gal American Solartechnics this past spring. Had it up and running around April and now has close to 80 hrs of operating time on it. I bought the tank used but purchased a new liner as the old one had mold stains and stunk like musty mold. Ever since I installed the new liner it gives off a plastic smell. It become much more than just a faint smell when the tank is brought up to temperature and seems to dissipate as it cools. All summer long it sat unheated and had no smell. Yesterday I heated it and it was obnoxious! My basement isnt finished living space but I cant imagine trying to cope with that smell if and when I do make it living space. Has anyone had this issue or is it just me?
     
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  2. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    I did notice a PVC smell long ago for the first season but it wasnt particularly obnoxious. If its coming from the vent you could route the vent to a window. As long as its uninsulated on the interior I dont think you would have any freezing issues. I do notice that when I do crank up the temps for the first time when it gets cold that I will get slight smell but it goes away after one or two cycles.
     
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  3. Marshy

    Marshy
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    I dont believe its coming from the dip tube. I believe it's coming from the top cover piece or from around the pipes going through the side to the htx. Maybe I should be staying closer to 170F top temperature in the tank? I have been going to 180F.
     
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  4. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    Maybe the intervening years have removed it from my memory but I do not remember PVC odor being a significant issue after a few thermal cycles.

    Time to talk to Tom.
     
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  5. maple1

    maple1
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    I'd maybe try dropping tank temps a bit? Not sure it's the problem or not, but doing so should up your overall efficiency a bit at least. (May turn out to not be significant).

    So - how is it performing otherwise, all told? Maybe you need to really get into a heating season to get a better idea - but you know, after your install thread, curious minds & all that... :)
     
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  6. Marshy

    Marshy
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    I love the boiler, very easy to use and very efficient. I'm still learning about charging the storage tank. I was able to take the storage tank from 65F to 175F top temperature in one and a quarter firebox loads of wood. The bottom temp stayed at 65F during the heating and I had my circulator on high speed in an effort to drive the heat down into the tank, it didnt budge. The bottom temp on a cold tank like that doesnt raise any until you start drawing heat from the tank and the return water from the heating zones actually starts adding heat to the bottom of the tank. For example, this morning my top temp was down to 145F and the bottom temp was up to 105F. Based on the little experience I've gained with it, it's best to fire the boiler to recharge around 130-140F top temp any less than that and my circulators seem to run a long time to meet demands. That become more of a factor when space heating with the regular baseboard emitters like I have. In the shoulder season like we are coming into my main goal is to not overload the boiler and rack up idle time. I alread have 8 hrs of idle with only 80 hrs of heating run time. Not optimal but it's part of the learning curve. Firing and refueling is much easier than a normal stove because of the draft fan and flue temp indicator. You typically have to leave the fire door cracked until the flue temp reaches about 180-200F before you can close it up and let it go. Thst all depends on how hot the water jacket is because I could be at 180 flue temp but if my water jacket is significantly less than the flue temp the flue gas temp takes a dive when I close the firing door... I'll give an update in my build thread when I get into the heart of the heating season.
     
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  7. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    I also have mine system set to switch over to my backup oil burner aaround 140 F as my standard baseboard really doesn't put out much heat at 140 F entering water temp. Depressingly I realize that I am not able to use a big chunk of my tanks storage capacity due to my emitters but its hard to justify putting in new ones given the premium they charge. I have considered just adding more standard slant fin and switching to ECM pumps to cut back on pump wattage and let the pumps run close to continuous.

    The biggest hassle is my boiler is a beast with a large water jacket. I need to run it quite hot to top off the storage but once I hit the max storage temp I have a hot boiler full of hot water. I can bleed some heat into my hot water maker tank which I run up to 180 F. but there is still a lot of heat left over. I can let it run direct to the baseboards bypassing the storage but definitely end up with overshoot. It was far more of an issue before I started using the minisplit in shoulder seasons, these days I don't fire the boiler off until the nights get cold so the overshoot is not as significant. Worse case is I can turn on a big unit heater in my basement.
     
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  8. Marshy

    Marshy
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    That's why I wish I could use my garage zone as a dump per say if the boiler is going to enter idle mode.
     
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  9. maple1

    maple1
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    Lots of stuff I can relate to in this post.

    Pretty sure my baseboard is oversized from when it was put in 23 years ago. And I have swapped in an Alpha circ. So when my tanks get on the low end it runs pretty well steady - usually is steady by the time I get to lighting a fire. I would definitely suggest just adding more Slant Fin (or the like) to anyone who is wanting more emitting power and already has it but doesn't want to retro fit something different (or new & expensive). It might not work as good as some panel rads but it does help - I usually don't feel the need to light until 130 or so.

    If I am needing to dump heat I just send it through the rads & the house becomes storage. Makes for some temp swings but certainly tolerable.

    And I had a mini-split guy out yesterday. Just waiting for his email with some $$ figures to consider. I still love getting out into the woods & making wood, but this year has really shown that I have other things I could be spending time doing that all said & done are likely more important and just as enjoyable. I have only spent half of one day in the woods so far this calender year. Will still be doing it as long as I am able, just not as much.
     
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  10. Fred61

    Fred61
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    Now that I've stepped out the door, do ya want me to hold it open for you? Oil is all hooked up. Haven't sold the EKO yet. Still sitting in the basement on a dolly.

    I've needed to run my mini split periodically for about three days now. Been in the forties. Going by the "daily usage" graph on the power company's net metering website, it appears to suck up a lot more juice in heating mode than in cooling mode. I ran the air extensively this summer and the usage was barely noticeable on the graph. I've returned less power to the grid this year than last due to less sunshine and hotter temperatures which affected the output of the panels. I presently only have about $180.00 in credit at this point and Sept may go down as the worst solar power month in two years, I suspect I'll use that up heating with the mini split by the end of Nov.
     
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  11. Marshy

    Marshy
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    I dont have AC so I have been considering installing my own minisplit system. If you get one with more than one emitter then they have ability to provide heating. Last thing I want to do it install a $5k minisplit system after doing a $10-12k boiler system lol.
     
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  12. Fred61

    Fred61
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    You mean like install it yourself? Do you have the equipment? some come with enough R 410 in them to fill the lineset but the lines need to be evacuates to a level where any moisture needs to boil off. and then the connections need to be sniffed for leaks. multi emitter systems are twice the work. The final pressure needs to be checked.

    After state and federal incentives I only have about $2000.00 in my 6000 btu unit.
     
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  13. maple1

    maple1
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    I got 6 years in before now seriously considering one. This summer was a hot one - that's one reason. Last summer we got a cottage on the water - that's another.
     
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  14. maple1

    maple1
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    Also you can both heat and cool with just one inside unit...
     
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  15. Marshy

    Marshy
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    There are many different ones to choose from. Most all of them come with enough refrigerant to fill "x" many feet of line set. Some have pre-evacuated line sets with special valves in the connection so that you do not introduce air/moisture into the system. Other systems use soft copper tubing and you flair your own connections. If I went with the latter I would do everything myself with the exception of a nitrogen pressure test and evacuation and charging of the system. I had a guy stop in an do a wall through to prepare a quote. His HVAC shop if less than 2 miles away. He never provided a cost estimate. The way he talked he made it sound like we could expect to pay close to $8K or more for a duel emitter unit, with one 18K and 9K btu. No thanks! I found a good online source for them and can get exactly what he was going to sell me for ~$5K.
     
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  16. Marshy

    Marshy
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    If you end up going with a dual evaporator unit from Mitsubishi you cannot get cooling only. All their 2+ evap units have ability to heat.
     
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  17. maple1

    maple1
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    The guy here the other day is a Daikin guy. He does good work & they are good units (so is Mitsu of course) and he only lives 10 minutes away. I don't know all the ins & outs of everybodys products (very far from it) but almost all installs around here are single head units that heat and cool. I don't think anybody is getting cooling only - or very rare. I think I'm looking at a dual head unit to get me going - but haven't gotten an email from him yet re. $$ & options. I have half my typical winters wood in - really liking the thought of not having to put much more in, along with the thought that maybe I still have 2-3 winters wood left in the yard. Time really caught up to me this year.
     
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  18. peakbagger

    peakbagger
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    I have a cooling only unit in my home office that I installed 10 years ago. I wish I could have heat but at the time they were just coming out with the cold temp heating option. I just cant justify ripping out a perfectly good unit. The lines and wiring are foamed into my attic so hopefully when it does go I can just reuse them as putting new ones would be difficult.

    These cold nights and warm days is when the minisplit is great for heat. Once it gets consistently cold I use it down to about 30 degree day time temps and then consider firing off the boiler. Whatever you do make sure the outdoor unit is well off the ground, sheltered from the prevailing wind and protected from snow blowers and snow plows. I also have pitched roof over mine to shed any snow that might land on it.
     
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  19. Fred61

    Fred61
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    Daikin has a longer warranty and sells for a lower price than Mitsubishi of Fujitsu.
    I posted incorrectly in my previous post. My inverter unit is 12000 btus.

    About 8 or 10 years ago when the window AC units became too heavy to easily handle I installed two no name units I purchased of the internet and they served me well but they were non inverter type so they were not so efficient plus they only performed well on the heat pump side down to an outside temperature of 40 degrees F. Still using the smaller one in the bedroom but mostly for cooling only.
     
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  20. Marshy

    Marshy
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    Well I lowered my boiler jacket set point down a few degrees to 179. I ran a small batch last night to bump my tank as the top temp was 135F. It was a little fuel left when I went to bed and was nearing 174F. The smell was not as pronounced but still an annoyance. Significantly better then two days ago when running a full firebox load. I will call Tom today to discuss.
     
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  21. tom in maine

    tom in maine
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    Just saw this. I am always just a phone call away.
    If you smell plastic, you need to check the seal on the tank cover. You should not be smelling plastic.
    If the tank is sealed properly there is minimal or no smell, especially after a year.

    Checking the cover seal is fairly simple. Once the tank is heated, you go around the perimeter and check the seal between the cover and the liner.
    Any folds must be completely sealed.
    There should not be any indication of condensation. Anywhere there is, there is an improper seal.
    You can wipe the condensation down and seal with Neutral cure (Low Odor) silicone caulk, or some canned foam.

    Also check the seal around the heat exchanger manifolds and the dip tube.
    Once again, there should not be a strong plastic smell near our tanks.

    Check the water level, too.
     
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  22. Marshy

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    Yeah, I have been pretty busy at work and home, I intended to call and I still will. I was pretty methodical about sealing the tank and water level has not move a fraction of an inch. Only place where it might not be sealed well is the dip tube. I heated a copper coupling and melted a hole in it smaller than the tube and pushed it though. It didnt get any sealant around it. Possibly that is the cause. I'll be in touch today.
     
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