Boiler with no fill system

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Old 03-10-17, 09:07 AM
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Boiler with no fill system

I bought a house last year with in-floor heating in the detached garage. The garage has two sections, with one of the sections being completely finished into a family room. It was a foreclosure, so I didn't have a chance to speak with the prior owner about the system. I had a heating person come check out the boiler system earlier this week, so that we could start heating the family room section. He indicated that the system does not have a fill system, so they would not touch it until we have water run out to the garage and then they would gave to install a fill system to the boiler before operating it.

I know the previous owner used the heat for maybe 7-8 years prior to me buying the home, I've heard stories from neighbors of him having people over to watch football in the room all winter long. Had I not wanted the system serviced before using it (I am not familiar with in-floor boiler heat), I would have probably just turned the heat on and started using it.

Do I really need to have water run out to the garage? Or is this maybe a new code since mine was installed that is now causing the concern? My garage is only about 10 years old. The boiler is a Hydro Therm.

Thanks in advance for any advice.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 09:15 AM
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Welcome to the forums.

I'm not the boiler pro but I do service them and I've never seen a boiler installation with no water line fill connection.
I'm guessing a garden hose was used to fill the system.

I would certainly want my boiler connected for automatic fill.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 11:04 AM
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I've seen it once or twice. Not the greatest of ideas, and was maintenance intensive getting the pressure set right and keeping it there.
As for exact code requirements I'm not sure.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 12:07 PM
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PJmax


Welcome to the forums.

I'm not the boiler pro but I do service them and I've never seen a boiler installation with no water line fill connection.
I'm guessing a garden hose was used to fill the system.

I would certainly want my boiler connected for automatic fill.
Thanks - That's what I was thinking too, they must have used a garden hose. The strange thing, I had to have an external hose faucet installed last summer, there was none on the outside of the house.

roughneck77


I've seen it once or twice. Not the greatest of ideas, and was maintenance intensive getting the pressure set right and keeping it there.
As for exact code requirements I'm not sure.
I am really surprised that the previous owner that had the garage built, would not have connected this properly. For the amount of money he paid to have it built, I wonder why he would have skipped the fill system.

So this is something that can be done in your opinion? What do I need to keep the pressure at for it to work properly, or does that vary? Thanks
 
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Old 03-10-17, 12:34 PM
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Before you go and just fill with water I'd make sure that the system doesn't have antifreeze in it. Might explain why there is no direct connection to a potable water supply.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 12:47 PM
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Is there a separate boiler in the garage for this heat or is it run as a zone from the house boiler.

I worked on one where it was the same situation. They ran supply and return lines underground to the garage from the boiler in the basement and just added another zone.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 02:57 PM
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If it is antifreeze, and you "need" an automatic fill system, you can buy them. Not exactly the cheapest thing though.....

MF200 - Axiom MF200 - MF200 PRESSURE PAL Hydronic Mini System Feeder (6 Gallon)
 
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Old 03-10-17, 04:10 PM
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It may be referred to as "anti-freeze" but do not mistake automotive anti-freeze for hydronic anti-freeze.
You would need to check to see what is in the system, make sure it is not auto anti-freeze before you do anything.
Inhibited propylene glycol is the most common heat transfer fluid.

You can use a simple gear pump that can pump to about 50 psi.
depending what pressure you want to operate the boiler you can make sure there is a pneumatic tank that is pressurized to 2 psi less that the operating pressure.
Hook up the pump to the system, run the pump to circulate the fluid back to the container to remove air from the hose.
Hook up the hose to the system and add anti-freeze until the pressure is where you want it.

This is a common method to add fluid to an independent closed loop heating system and is how some workshop floor heat systems work.
 
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Old 03-10-17, 06:09 PM
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...that is pressurized to 2 psi less that the operating pressure.
The air side of the expansion tank needs to be pressurized to the same as the cold fill pressure of the heating system. Generally this is 12 psi but in a radiant floor system it could be less as these systems run much cooler than most hydronic heating systems. Slab temperatures should not exceed about 90 degrees F. at the most.

Since the system is closed it should not require any "automatic" filling means. Losing pressure after the initial fill means there is a leak and IF it leaks the leaks must be repaired or the system abandoned.

Understand well that IF you use it, the response will be VERY slow. It may take a day or even two to raise the room temperature significantly above colder outside temperatures. It is not a system where you turn the heat up at ten AM Saturday morning to watch the game starting at noon.
 
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Old 03-11-17, 04:05 AM
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There is a floor heating strategy commonly used in this area that works fairly well.
The temperature of the slab is controlled to a level that is a few degrees below what you would want the room temperature to be.
Supplemental heat, normally electric in our area, is then used to stabilize the temperature.
In parking garages and workshops with large doors the supplemental heat is usually pretty large since our temperatures are commonly at -30 degC in the winter.
The supplemental heat doesn't operate for very long considering that air itself is pretty easy to heat.
 
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