Fuel Oil News

Fuel Oil News June 2014

The home heating oil industry has a long and proud history, and Fuel Oil News has been there supporting it since 1935. It is an industry that has faced many challenges during that time. In its 77th year, Fuel Oil News is doing more than just holding

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38 June 2014 | FueL OIL neWS | www.fueloilnews.com By GeorGe Lanthier* Polar Vortex This Winter's Freeze Provided a Backdrop for Some Heating Appliance Upgrades HVAC/ HYDRONICS R emember being back in school and your teacher would ask you to write an essay on what you did on your vacation? Well, this is going to be kind of like that. Unless you've been under a rock you know this winter was brutal for many of us – cold, snow, freezing rain and repeat. When I started writing this it was a beautiful day in February with the temperature going over 50°F and the forecast saying more 0°F weather and snow next week. Enough already. As I'm finishing the article we're at the start of April and hopefully the winter of 2013- 2014 is in the books. During the first polar vortex, we were on our annual vacation and in warm weather down south. Having turned 66 years old in November, we decided it was time I started acting like a semi-retired guy and took a month off for the first time in my life. So, we missed the first polar vortex and the associated storms. We drove down in the first December snowstorm and back in an ice storm, but it was still nice to get away. It was Christmas in Florida, New Year's in Georgia and a very nice time. During the second vortex at the end of January we went ahead with the plan to replace and modernize our boiler and associated heating system that we've been planning for four years. Not only a major upgrade of the boiler, but also adding lots of new control and technology strategies, and making the domestic hot water system more user friendly and energy efficient. In Figure 1 is the 25-year-old system that I've owned for five years. Don't mind the missing covers and such we were just starting the rip-out and conversion, and then I remem- bered we should have a before shot. The system was a three- zone with the original boiler to the house. It had not been properly maintained by at least two local oil companies, and that's enough on that subject. I replaced the burner five years ago and started planning the upgrade then. The tankless gas- ket was shot and did a lot of damage to the front of the boiler. You've never seen that before, right? The indirect was put in about 12 years ago and did a great job. Taco zone valves and circulators were original and you can't ask for a more depend- able lifetime than that. The replacement and upgrade is going to be a long term R & E (research and education) project that we see taking about one to two years. Most of the changes still coming will involve technology updates, new equipment and lots of control strate- gies. To form a good base we started with a new boiler, Figure 2. After lots of research I decided on the Slant/Fin Eutectic EC-13. Although many boilers were looked at, the single biggest decider was the Eutectic's extremely low noise level. A big factor when the boiler resides under your den and TV room. The burner is a Riello F3 with electric air damper, and at some point this burner will be replaced with a two-stage. The indirect hot water heater is a Weil-McLain Aqua Plus 35. No problems with the Gold one, so in went with a Platinum one. For now, and to form a baseline, the boiler currently has a plain (high limit only) boiler control and that will get replaced as soon as we have established that data baseline. The zone valves are now Taco Zone-Sentry and a fourth zone was added for the basement. The near boil- er piping is now a Primary- Secondary system using all Taco circulators, including Figure 1 Figure 2

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