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Robert Jones

Aqua Therm heating system

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Hi,

Yeah, I've seen about a dozen over the past decade. Think of them as an oversized car heater and the water heater as the engine block that's heating the water being circulated through them; simply an air handler with a coil plunked down in the path of the air from the blower with hot water circulating through it, a supply on one side of the air handler and supply ducts carrying air to the rooms on the other. It's very basic.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Oh,

I forgot to mention, sometimes you'll see them hooked up to a conventional tank-type water heater and sometimes to an indirect water heater. Both will use a circulator but only the system using the conventional tank-type water heater will have a timer on it; that's so even in the summer when the heat isn't being used it will periodically cycle clean water through it so water doesn't stagnate and develop bacteria in the coil inside the air handler. Also, either type will normally have a mixing valve plumbed into the takeoff above the water heater so one can adjust the temperature, 'cuz the temp on the water heater is usually cranked way beyond what's safe for household use.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by energy star

never get one.

They probably wouldn't work real well in New Jersey's frigid winter climate but folks here who've owned them seem to like them. Those, or another manufacturer's variation on the same theme, are what I see in a lot of the high-rise condos in downtown Seattle.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I put seven of them in one house with two oil fired boilers. All were manufactured by the First Co. It's not that the quality is sub-par, just something about the finished product that makes them not to appealing. (to me)

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Thanks Mike,

It was hooked up to a 50 gal natural gas conventional water heater. Here is the pic of the top(of the water heater of course). Thanks for your help with this.

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tn_2009211590_IMG_1175%20(Medium).jpg

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One of the things to look for is to see if the water heater has been replaced.

I have seen them replaced with a water heater that not designed to handle the added load of the heating unit.

There should be a mixing valve for the supply to the house since the water temp. is higher than what you would want in the house.

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Originally posted by Chad Fabry

The installer was so conscientious that he/ she insulated the TPRV discharge.

LOL! By the looks of the framing, it appears that it's in some kind of a lean-to shed attached to the house. If we get a shaker, I wonder which will fail first - the shed or the two rinky-dink struts nailed to that brace.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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I am guessing my confusion was warranted this time:)

Mike it was a lean to attached to the back of the home. Water heater is approx 9 years old.

This 900 sq ft, 60 year old home, had so many "home owner" repairs that it took me just as long to finish as a 3000 sq ft home when the report was completed.

Thanks for everyone's help.

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I have always seen this application with a thermostatic switch to turn on the pump and the fan at the same time. If you use the timer mentioned you will only have heat when the timer is on. Being a sealed system with pottable water you should not get any bacteria unless the system is contaminated.

We allways specify (In the start up manual) to the owners that they should cycle the system once a month during the summer months to protect the pump from hard water build up, since the pumps do not have alot of torque at start up.

This sytem is very common in type 1 construction and is capable as long as the water heater and the fan coil are properly sized.

Originally posted by hausdok

Oh,

I forgot to mention, sometimes you'll see them hooked up to a conventional tank-type water heater and sometimes to an indirect water heater. Both will use a circulator but only the system using the conventional tank-type water heater will have a timer on it; that's so even in the summer when the heat isn't being used it will periodically cycle clean water through it so water doesn't stagnate and develop bacteria in the coil inside the air handler. Also, either type will normally have a mixing valve plumbed into the takeoff above the water heater so one can adjust the temperature, 'cuz the temp on the water heater is usually cranked way beyond what's safe for household use.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Rocon

I have always seen this application with a thermostatic switch to turn on the pump and the fan at the same time. If you use the timer mentioned you will only have heat when the timer is on. Being a sealed system with potable water you should not get any bacteria unless the system is contaminated.

We always specify (In the start up manual) to the owners that they should cycle the system once a month during the summer months to protect the pump from hard water build up, since the pumps do not have alot of torque at start up.

Originally posted by hausdok

Oh,

I forgot to mention, sometimes you'll see them hooked up to a conventional tank-type water heater and sometimes to an indirect water heater. Both will use a circulator but only the system using the conventional tank-type water heater will have a timer on it; that's so even in the summer when the heat isn't being used it will periodically cycle clean water through it so water doesn't stagnate and develop bacteria in the coil inside the air handler. Also, either type will normally have a mixing valve plumbed into the takeoff above the water heater so one can adjust the temperature, 'cuz the temp on the water heater is usually cranked way beyond what's safe for household use.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Yes, of course they have a thermostat that activates the pump and the fan - it's no different than a hot air system that turns on the inducer fan and kicks on the burners at the same time in response to a stat. However, it is not true that the only time that one has heat with this system is when the timer is on. When the timer is on standby the heating system still functions normally in response to the thermostat.

Have you ever tasted the water at an exterior sillcock after you haven't drawn water from that sillcock for a year? Bleeaach! I have a friend who owned a home with one of these systems. She had heat even when the timer was in standby mode. The timer is only really needed during summer months when the heat isn't being used. Without the timer you get, for want of a better word at this moment, stinky pipe syndrome.

You aren't supposed to plumb these systems so they have constant circulation through them and the water is changed whenever someone draws from a faucet somewhere in a house. None of these should be plumbed like that. So, like a hydro-massage tub that gets bacteria buildup in the pump and recycling loop because the hydro-massage system is never used, you get bacteria buildup in the heating loop if you don't cycle clean water through these systems at least once a day. That's why an indirect water heater works best for these; you don't have to be concerned with bacteria.

A couple of years after she bought her home, the timer went out on my friend's system. She didn't know exactly when, but she noticed a gradual odor and difference in the taste of her water and then got diarrhea. Her water tasted brackish and had a bad smell. She called me up to ask me what I thought it might be. I asked her to check to ensure the timer was functioning; it was not. She got it fixed, flushed the system out, the water tasted normal after that and the trots subsided.

If one were to plumb one of these systems directly in line with the potable plumbing loop there'd be no more need for a circulator than you have on your normal house plumbing; however, then I suppose you'd have to deal with the issue of damage caused to the system by pipe scouring.

The other way I've seen these done is with a conventional tank type water heater and a plate heat exchanger halfway between the water heater and the heating loop. The system had a plate exchanger the size of my cable modem. When a thermostat demanded heat, the pump on the heating system side of the plate exchanger circulated water through the heating loop until the temp in the room in question was satisfied. I guess that this system didn't require either a timer or a pump on the water heater side of the plate exchanger because the loop to the exchanger was very short - probably less than 8ft.

I'm not a plumber or an HVAC guy; it was a plumber/HVAC guy that explained these setups to me. It made sense to me then and it makes sense to me now and, for me at least, the easiest way to make my clients understand what it's like is to tell them that it's very much like an oversized automobile heating system.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Rocon

. . . Being a sealed system with pottable water you should not get any bacteria unless the system is contaminated. . . .

They're all contaminated. There are all kinds of bugs in the water all the time, just in tiny quantities.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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Originally posted by Jim Katen

Originally posted by Rocon

. . . Being a sealed system with pottable water you should not get any bacteria unless the system is contaminated. . . .

They're all contaminated. There are all kinds of bugs in the water all the time, just in tiny quantities.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

Geez,

Thanks Jim, it's not bad enough that I have to live with IBS, now you got me thinking about critters that I thought the chlorine was killing. [:-bigeyes

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Mike,

The way I discussed having a timer on the system that only activates the pump and not the fan would be if you have the timer supplying power to the pump, therefore if the timer is off even if the thermostat activates the circuit it would not have power to activate the pump. The way you described using the timer is an interesting alternative and seems to be viable. whether it is someone adjusting a timer a couple of times a year (your way) or someone cycling the system once a month (my way) we both agree that the device should have water running through it to keep it cleaned out. I think we are both correct yours for bacteria, mine for mineral deposits. I do still believe that if your friend was getting diarhea from her tap water something els might have been the culprit since a closed loop of pottable water is different from the jetted tub example you used since we typically do not recirculate bath water int to pottable water.

I did not sugest plumbing them to have constant water flowing through them this would loose alot of heat ant during the summer tha A/C would be dealing with the radiant heat every time someone washed their hands or showered. The pump should only function when called upon from the thermostat. (separate loop from the water heater to the hydronic heater with a recirculation pump in line)

You discuss correctly the reason for having a tempering valve for the POU water "either type will normally have a mixing valve plumbed into the takeoff above the water heater so one can adjust the temperature, 'cuz the temp on the water heater is usually cranked way beyond what's safe for household use."

The tempering valve mixes cold water into the water going to the points of use (faucets and devices). The line going to the POU might have a different recirculation pump in line this pump has no effect on the heat loop.

I did not comment on a heat exchanger type of hydronic loop that is separated from the pottable water. It would seem to me that in this type of system separated from the pottable system one might add something to the water in that loop to keep it fresher, but would make it not drinkable.

I do not believe or intend that my comment refuted your information. I just added my knowledge of the systems that I have seen. And pointed out my opinion. yours is a possible option that I had not previously considered. The systems that I have seen are governed by the city of Los Angeles code which is more restrictive than the CBC (California Building Code) which is more restrictive than the IBC. I believe if the way that I have seen these installed passed all of these codes (someone cannot sneak this type of thing past a city of LA inspector)

I agree that your analogy is consice and very visual.

On another subject:

Mike, why is it that when I post something I get alot of push back from you ever since my first post where you identified me as "Mr. expert witness". I just feel there is some annimosity. There is more than one way to do most everything.

I know that I do not know everything and like this message board since it exposes me to things that I might not have seen.

on the otherhand I have over two thousand families living in homes that either I have built (GC in 3 states, + other prof licenses) or had signifficant impact on the Entitlement, D&D, and CA. I do work for a Engineering firm and which is one of the top five in the US, They recruited me and I am the only non engineer thay have ever hired for senior staff without an engineering license.

Originally posted by hausdok

Originally posted by Rocon

I have always seen this application with a thermostatic switch to turn on the pump and the fan at the same time. If you use the timer mentioned you will only have heat when the timer is on. Being a sealed system with potable water you should not get any bacteria unless the system is contaminated.

We always specify (In the start up manual) to the owners that they should cycle the system once a month during the summer months to protect the pump from hard water build up, since the pumps do not have alot of torque at start up.

Originally posted by hausdok

Oh,

I forgot to mention, sometimes you'll see them hooked up to a conventional tank-type water heater and sometimes to an indirect water heater. Both will use a circulator but only the system using the conventional tank-type water heater will have a timer on it; that's so even in the summer when the heat isn't being used it will periodically cycle clean water through it so water doesn't stagnate and develop bacteria in the coil inside the air handler. Also, either type will normally have a mixing valve plumbed into the takeoff above the water heater so one can adjust the temperature, 'cuz the temp on the water heater is usually cranked way beyond what's safe for household use.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

Yes, of course they have a thermostat that activates the pump and the fan - it's no different than a hot air system that turns on the inducer fan and kicks on the burners at the same time in response to a stat. However, it is not true that the only time that one has heat with this system is when the timer is on. When the timer is on standby the heating system still functions normally in response to the thermostat.

Have you ever tasted the water at an exterior sillcock after you haven't drawn water from that sillcock for a year? Bleeaach! I have a friend who owned a home with one of these systems. She had heat even when the timer was in standby mode. The timer is only really needed during summer months when the heat isn't being used. Without the timer you get, for want of a better word at this moment, stinky pipe syndrome.

You aren't supposed to plumb these systems so they have constant circulation through them and the water is changed whenever someone draws from a faucet somewhere in a house. None of these should be plumbed like that. So, like a hydro-massage tub that gets bacteria buildup in the pump and recycling loop because the hydro-massage system is never used, you get bacteria buildup in the heating loop if you don't cycle clean water through these systems at least once a day. That's why an indirect water heater works best for these; you don't have to be concerned with bacteria.

A couple of years after she bought her home, the timer went out on my friend's system. She didn't know exactly when, but she noticed a gradual odor and difference in the taste of her water and then got diarrhea. Her water tasted brackish and had a bad smell. She called me up to ask me what I thought it might be. I asked her to check to ensure the timer was functioning; it was not. She got it fixed, flushed the system out, the water tasted normal after that and the trots subsided.

If one were to plumb one of these systems directly in line with the potable plumbing loop there'd be no more need for a circulator than you have on your normal house plumbing; however, then I suppose you'd have to deal with the issue of damage caused to the system by pipe scouring.

The other way I've seen these done is with a conventional tank type water heater and a plate heat exchanger halfway between the water heater and the heating loop. The system had a plate exchanger the size of my cable modem. When a thermostat demanded heat, the pump on the heating system side of the plate exchanger circulated water through the heating loop until the temp in the room in question was satisfied. I guess that this system didn't require either a timer or a pump on the water heater side of the plate exchanger because the loop to the exchanger was very short - probably less than 8ft.

I'm not a plumber or an HVAC guy; it was a plumber/HVAC guy that explained these setups to me. It made sense to me then and it makes sense to me now and, for me at least, the easiest way to make my clients understand what it's like is to tell them that it's very much like an oversized automobile heating system.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Originally posted by Rocon

Mike, why is it that when I post something I get alot of push back from you ever since my first post where you identified me as "Mr. expert witness". I just feel there is some annimosity. There is more than one way to do most everything.

I know that I do not know everything and like this message board since it exposes me to things that I might not have seen.

on the otherhand I have over two thousand families living in homes that either I have built (GC in 3 states, + other prof licenses) or had signifficant impact on the Entitlement, D&D, and CA. I do work for a Engineering firm and which is one of the top five in the US, They recruited me and I am the only non engineer thay have ever hired for senior staff without an engineering license.

Pushback? I'm sorry if you feel that it's pushback, I certainly didn't intend for it to seem like that. I suppose I could use a lot of those smiley icons to try and show folks that there's no animosity going out through the keyboard but I just don't have the temperament to dink around with those for every single post I make or every paragraph of every post I make so that folks won't get their feelings hurt by the blunt way that I write.

Seriously, I didn't even associate the user name with any previous posts; I was just pointing out what I felt was an inaccurate statement. Would you prefer that I preface everything that I say to everyone that I disagree with on the net, "Excuse me, I don't mean to offend, and I hope you don't take this the wrong way and think that I'm being too pushy, but,"?

My memory is so bad these days that I'm able to remember who, maybe, a couple dozen users are by their user names and because they hang out here all the time; beyond that, it's just a name posting back. I rarely even bother to click on the user name and try and remember who they are when it doesn't click immediately.

There are some folks in the business that I do hold some animosity for, 'cuz they should be somewhere else doing something else instead of fleecing customers and other home inspectors, but as far as I know none of them hang out here - at least not openly. I know they lurk 'cuz I have their IP addresses highlighted and I can see when they're here. You don't have to worry - you're not in that group.

If I've offended, I apologize, but I've always thought I was pretty much of an equal opportunity curmudgeon and groused at everyone evenly.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT !!!

Mike

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Originally posted by hausdok

Geez,

Thanks Jim, it's not bad enough that I have to live with IBS, now you got me thinking about critters that I thought the chlorine was killing. [:-bigeyes

Aw heck, the little beasties are probably good for you. Like the live cultures in yogurt.

- Jim Katen, Oregon

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from the NY Times a few days back.......

"In studies of what is called the hygiene hypothesis, researchers are concluding that organisms like the millions of bacteria, viruses and especially worms that enter the body along with “dirtâ€

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Originally posted by kurt

worms may help to redirect an immune system that has gone awry and resulted in autoimmune disorders, allergies and asthma.

These studies, along with epidemiological observations, seem to explain why immune system disorders like multiple sclerosis, Type 1 diabetes, inflammatory bowel disease, asthma and allergies have risen significantly in the United States and other developed countries."[/font=Courier New]

So, don't sweat too much about a couple bugs......they might be good for yez.......

I suppose that explains the friggin IBS.

ONE TEAM - ONE FIGHT!!!

Mike

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Hi Guys. I lost my home in Waveland Ms to Katrina. Two years before my heating system had problems and a local contractor suggested a aqua therm system. As I remember, we installed a larger hot water heater,a copper line to a coil and a water pump.

This system worked great and I was very satisfied with. Now this is what I remember and I am sure I left out something, so cut me some slack. I would like to install the same type system in my,new to me house. I dont understand the thing about the water contamination angle ? I always had plenty of hot water for showers etc. and the water tasted like it did before the change.

I'm a newbe and this should be considered before piling on.

Any info or suggestions would be appreciated.tks Chuck

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