Basic Radiant Hydronic Heating 101 Explained

Radiant heating systems supply heat directly to panels attached to the floor, ceiling or walls of the heating space. The system gets its name from the principle of radiant heat transfer: or infrared heat waves, which is the delivery of heat directly via the radiation of heat waves directly from the hot surface of an objectect such as the heating panels.
Radiant Hydronic Heating

A popular, super efficient, and super comfortable heating system installed in the most luxurious homes today is the radiant floor heating systems, which are heating panels located in the floor and is commonly called radiant floor heating or sometimes, simply floor heating.

Radiant heating is the ultimate in super efficient, luxuriously comfortable heating. A properly installed under floor radiant heat system is usually more efficient than forced-air heating because no energy is lost through air ducts. The lack of needing air flow ducts, also means less maintenance since the air ducts do not need to be cleaned, and less problems with dust and allergens collecting in the air from dirty forced air ducts

Hydronic (water or other liquid heat transfer) systems use are extremely efficient because they only use a small amount of electricity to run the circulating pumps that circulate the water, and this can be a huge benefit to homes of the power grid or relying on solar electric power. Additionally, Hydronic systems can also be heated with a wide variety of energy sources, including standard gas or oil fired boilers, wood fired boilers, solar water heaters, or some combination of these heat sources.

Radiant floor heating systems also rely on the principle of convection, which is the the natural circulation of heat within a room, caused by heat rising from the floor. Because of this, radiant floor heating systems rely on different mechanisms and principles than the radiant panels used in walls and ceilings.
Radiant Floor Heat

There are three basic classes of radiant floor heat:

1) air radiant floors;

2) electric radiant floors;

3) hydronic radiant floors,

which use heated water to transfer the heat to the air space through radiationad convection through the water heated floor panels.

In my opinion, Hydronic radiant floor heating is the creme de la creme of heating systems, and simply can;t be beat for both efficiency and comfort, and this is the class of radiant floor heating that we will deal with in this article.

Radiant Hydronic Heating Hydronic Radiant Floors

Hydronic systems are easily the most popular and economic radiant heating systems for cooler climates. Hydronic radiant floor systems pump heated water through tubes or pipes that loop form the boiler to the heated space and back. These heating loops are called ‘zones’ and are individually controlled using thermostats wired to circulation pumps and electronically controlled valves. The heat circulating pipes of a radiant hydronic heating system loop from a boiler through tubing laid in a pattern underneath the floor, often laid in metallic panels or concrete to help with the heat transfer.

The cost of installing these systems can be fairly costly, but the efficiency and comfort is unbeatable. I personally installed many hydronic radiant heat systems when I was a plumber in the Hamptons of Long Island, New York and I was convinced in their proven efficiency during this time. Of course, these were muti-million dollar homes and money was no object for the builders of these luxurious homes, so despite the ultra efficiency anf benefits, radiant hydronic heat may not be the best heating system for every home.
Floor Coverings of Radiant Heat System

Ceramic tile is the most common and effective floor covering for radiant floor heating, as ceramic is perfect for the conduction of heat well from the floor. Also the mass of the ceramic, concrete and adhesive is great for holding a high capacity of heat storage from the radiant loops. Other floor coverings can be used, but any flooring material that insulates will decrease the efficiency of the system.

Gas Water Heater Hot Surface Ignitor Troubleshooting

Many gas powervent water heaters use electronic ignition instead of a pilot light to ignite the burner. In the past few years (this being 2010), I had a few State Brand Gas Powervent Water Heaters that I installed have warranty problems.Gas Water Heater Hot Surface Ignitor Troubleshooting Each time, I showed up to the cold water heater, and tried to reset it, but it would end up in lockout. The State and AO Smith gas power vented hot water heater uses a sophisticated electronic control, with an LED troubleshooting computer, and LED troubleshooting guide in the manual.

Faulty Hot Surface Ignitors from AO Smith, State, American, USCraftmaster water heaters.

Both times, the problem ended up being a faulty hot surface ignitor. It was difficult to detect, because when the electronic ignition system would start, everything would seem to function normally. The hot surface ignitor would glow hot, the blower fan would turn on, the system would go through its gas safety checks, the gas would come on, but it would not ignite!? I ended up having to order a new hot surface ignitor, because although the faulty original ignitor would glow hot, it wasn’t reaching a hot enough temperature to ignite the gas!

The LED control is pretty handy, in that you cane look up the troubleshooting code that the LED pattern shows when the water heater ignition malfunctions. In the back of the manual, the list of codes corresponds with the problem that occurred with ignition and the tests to preform to troubleshoot the exact cause of the problem. If you can;t find the original manual that came with your State or AO smith power vent gas water heater, they can ordered or downloaded in .PDF format as long as you know the model number of your particular water heater.

The test that finally revealed this to me was a ohm resistance test performed on the hot surface ignitor itself. This is done easily by removing the two wires that connect the ignitor to the electronic control, and then doing your ohm test using the two wires.
My guess is that the hot surface ignitors are manufactured with a defective design, because both times this happened to me, the water heaters were less than a single year old and they should be designed to last a l LOT longer than that!

Troubleshooting a Water Heater Leak

Water Heater Leaks

Troubleshooting a leaking hot water heater is something that needs to be done from time to time, when your water heater leaks. If you notice water dripping, or water pooling out from underneath the tank of your water heater, use this troubleshooting guide to find the cause of the hot water heater leak.

Troubleshooting a Water Heater Leak

A water leak at the base of your water heater does not always indicate a hot water heater needs to be replaced. There are several other factors to check before determining the cause of the leak, ranging from the relief valve, to the water heater water inlet and outlet pipes. Although a tank corroding and springing a leak and needing to be replace is a common cause of leaks, often times, the leak may turn out to be a more minor repair.

Condensation drips from under the water heater vent.

In conventional gas water heaters, the gas combustion vent flue that is built into the center of gas water heater tanks can condensate near the top where the cold water comes into the tank, and then drip down the gas flue and drip on the gas pan. If the dripping problem appears when the tank is first filled with cold water, but then disappears when the water has had time to get hot, this usually indicates an acceptable temporary condensation condition.

If the condensation is a chronic issue, then there is probably something wrong with the vent. An improperly installed gas water heater vent can cause condensation problems, or much more serious issues and should be checked by a licensed plumbing or heating contractor to make sure the water heater is vented to code for safety reasons.
Water Heater Leaking from the Temperature & Pressure relief valve.

Troubleshooting a Water Heater LeakThe temperature and pressure relief valve is a brass valve near the top of the heater. A leak from this valve or from a pipe coming down from that valve is a common problem that has a wide variety of causes. A leaking T&P relief valve can be caused by the temperature being set too high, by the main water pressure being too high, or by check valves, pressure reducing valves or backflow preventers that prevent hot water expansion in the tank from escaping. Sometimes, the TP relief valve itself may just be corroded, or otherwise faulty.

If you find the leak is coming from your TP relief valve, turn off the power or gas to your water heater and clsoe the water inlet shutoff valve to the “off” position. Then call a licensed plumber to further diagnose the problem. High pressure and/or temperature causes relief valve leaks and can be a very dangerous condition, so shutting off the hot water heater and calling a licensed plumber is recommended.

Water Heater leaking from the drain valve.

Troubleshooting a Water Heater LeakIf the small brass drain valve at the bottom of the water heater is leaking, then you can sometimes temporarily fix it just by tightening the handle. Otherwise you’ll have to turn off the water, drain the water heater tank and replace the drain valve.

Water Heater leaks from an element, or other tank port.

If your water heater seems to have leak underneath the jacket, and you can inspect the area safely, you may find a tank tap or port leaking. Electric water heaters, can often develop leaks from the heating element gaskets, make sure to turn the electricity off before inspecting the electrical element ports. A leak could also develop at one of the threaded taps, or ports where the water inlet pipes or other valves screws into the water heater tank.

If this is the case, you’ll have to first repair the part that screws into the part, such as changing an element or drain valve that appears to be leaking, but if the leak is on the female threads of the tank tap itself, then the water heater tank will have to be replaced.Troubleshooting a Water Heater Leak
Leaks from the water pipes.

Inspect the water pipes connected to your water heater. The cold inlet and hot outlet water pipes are located at the top of traditional tank type water heaters, but sometimes on the side of other tank type heaters. If you find the leak is coming from the actual water pipes, then your leak is a water pipe leak, and not related to the water heater itself. You’ll have to shut the main water off and have the leak repaired on the pipe and or fitting that is leaking.
Water Heater is leaking from the tank, or pooling at the bottom.

If you can visibly see the water leaking directly from the tank itself, or coming out from the bottom of the tank, then the water heater will have to be replaced. By process of elimination if none of the things on the troubleshooting list above are leaking, then the leak must be coming from the water heating vessel itself and it is time to replace your hot water heater. The average lifespan of a water heater tank is only about 9-11 years old. Most tanks have a 6 year warranty, but some have higher.

If your water heater has developed a leak at the tank, turn off the power, and the water inlet shutoff valve and hook a hose to the bottom drain valve to drain the tank. Check to see if it is still under warranty, and start shopping for a new, more efficient, more comfortable water heater!

RIDGID R-15 Pipe Cutter Wheel Replacement Part 001

RIDGID R-15 Pipe Cutter Wheel Replacement Part 001

Watch as Joseph talks to you about the RIDGID R-15 Pipe Cutter.

The RIDGID R-15 Pipe Cutter comes with a spare cutting wheel that is located inside of the handle.

Just remove the philips head screw from the center of the wheel and then you can take that wheel and replace it with the broken one on your cutter.

Here are some screenshots from the RIDGID R-15 pipe cutter YouTube video:

 RIDGID R-15 Pipe Cutter Wheel Replacement Part 001

 RIDGID R-15 Pipe Cutter Wheel Replacement Part 001

Jandy LXi Swimming Pool Heater

Jandy is one of the world leaders when it comes to swimming pool heaters and swimming pool equipment. One of the bets of the best of the Jandy Pool Heater products is the LXi, which has been dubbed the Next Generation in Heating Technology. The Jandy LXi Swimming Pool Heater contains the most advanced features such as the superior hydraulic design as well as the lightest yet the strongest materials. This swimming pool heater was made to last. There are four main concepts that make the LXi one of the best heaters on the market today.

Compact, the Jandy LXi is the easiest swimming pool heater to install, this heater is about 33% lighter than most heaters and it has a 15% smaller footprint than other heaters, which provides more flexibility for installation. The second thing is Powerful; the LXi header was designed to improve the efficiency of the entire circulation system. The offset plumbing as well as the 2-inch universal unions does provide more flexibility for a more direct connection.

Reliable, this heater has a low NOx fan assisted combustion system; this makes the unit environmentally friendly. It also comes with a Hot Surface Ignition System that offers maximum performance every time. Lastly, Efficient, with the factory installed C-Fin Heat Exchanger; this heater was designed for low operating costs but greater savings. All of the models in the LXi Series have an advanced digital control system.

The control system is operator friendly and it has a built in backlit display. The system uses one touch automation. This is a great way to keep control of the temperature settings and if you need to make any adjustments it is just that easy. The unit comes with freeze protection and the exclusive Jandy Maintain Temp function. There is a built in automation swimming pool and spa switch and if you want there are additional control panels that can be used in the home or pool side.

Choosing the right Jandy LXi Swimming Pool Heater is important, if you choose something that is too small, you are not going to warm the water up efficiently and it is going to cost you money. If you buy a larger heater, then you would also be wasting energy, which results in wasting money. There are three different models available, the 250,000 BTU, 300,000 BTU and the 400,000 BTU LXi Heater. Jandy has a Pool Sizing Chart available on their website which tell you the specs depending on Temperature Difference, between the air during the coldest month that you run the heater and what your desired swimming pool temperature.

Jandy works to provide their customers with the right size heaters so they pool owners can have a comfortable, affordable experience with their heaters. Now may be the time to get rid of that old heater that is barely heating your pool but burning up your money. The Jandy LXi Series Heaters can properly heat up your swimming pool and save you money. Contact your local Jandy dealer for more information on the LXi Swimming Pool Heater System, you can find Jandy products at your local swimming pool supply store.