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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    3

    Arrow Before and After: Installation of a Triangle Tube 175

    I am very new to this board but hoped my experience recently in installing a Triangle Tube and Indirect Hot Water heater would be useful to someone.

    I have an 1893 Victorian house in central Denver, CO with a mix of radiators, baseboards, and a radiant loop in a small addition. I had a Crown boiler (210,000 BTU, <60% efficient) that was most likely installed in the late 1950s/early 1960s. It probably replaced the original coal fired boiler, converted to natural gas when Denver banned coal in the 20s.

    The Crown boiler was always undersized for the head load of the house; on cold snaps (<0F) the house would slowly cool down about 1F a day with the boiler running 7x24. This year as I turned it on for the season I saw water leaking out the back on warm up and cool down; the cast iron was starting to crack; it was time to break down and replace it.

    I got at least 5 quotes for this work; all supplied info for a traditional (cast iron) boiler and a condensing boiler. The Triangle Tube units seemed to be the most popular choice in condensing boilers. Quotes varied from $8.5K - $15K for a traditional and $11K - $21K for the condensing unit. And that didn't include the indirect water heater!

    With the federal tax rebate and a 20% Historical Preservation credit, going with the more expensive condensing boiler seemed like a good choice. Every single HVAC person highly recommended the addition of an indirect water heater, and I went with the Mega Store unit (53 gallons). In the end I chose the guy who has been repairing my system for several years; although he was a small operator his price was on the low end and I trusted him. He did some great stuff like put little LEDs on the pumps so I could tell which one was running.

    Attached images show my old (40+ year old) Crown boiler and the new Triangle Tube Prestige 175 which replaced it. A thermal mix valve is used to take 160F water from the indirect heater and mix it with domestic cold water to make 130-140F domestic hot. A secondary pump on a separate thermostat is used to "steal" heat from the main loop for the radiant loop. Currently we have disabled the outside temperature sensor but as I get used to it I will probably turn that back on. It doesn't seem to scale up the flame very fast and I have a great deal of water to heat up from cold.

    The house is large (3600 sq feet + 1600 sq foot basement) and the radiators are set up in a pretty illogical manner; my HVAC guy put in lots of valves to adjust flows in and our of the "loops" which actually make no real sense in terms of an area of the house.

    Any insights, suggestions, and similar experiences? Thanks for reading!

    Andy in Denver



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    Last edited by denverandy; 11-13-2009 at 12:25 AM.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: Before and After: Installation of a Triangle Tube 175

    Andy,

    Congrats on what looks like a great install---and a great improvement I'm sure over the old Crown unit.

    Triangle Tube is a class act in both their boilers and the indirects.

    Here's hoping you're getting much better heat at much lower fuel costs so far---and that as the temp creeps below 0 the house will remain toasty warm.

    Victorians can be hard to heat & major changes to the windows and insulation of exterior walls is sometimes needed.

    Are you toasty warm & saving big $$$ on gas bills???

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Before and After: Installation of a Triangle Tube 175

    Quote Originally Posted by NashuaTech View Post
    Andy,

    Victorians can be hard to heat & major changes to the windows and insulation of exterior walls is sometimes needed.

    Are you toasty warm & saving big $$$ on gas bills???
    That remains to be seen. The boiler has been in operation about a week now! I was fortunate to schedule the replacement during a week of record high November temps (highs close to 80, lows in the 50s overnight).

    I have lots of blown-in insulation in the attic and have storms (or double pane windows) throughout the house. You are right that the hard part now is the lack of any insulation in the walls; it's lath on plaster and three (or two) bricks in every exterior wall.

    I am secretly hoping for a big cold snap this winter to see how well the new unit works!

    Andy

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Nov 2009
    Location
    Denver, CO
    Posts
    3

    Default Re: Before and After: Installation of a Triangle Tube 175

    Some followup to my experience with the Triangle Tube -

    Yes, I have been nice and warm this winter. For a while too warm - and too much of a delta between the first and second floors (second floor would be 75F, first floor 66F). I wrapped one radiator in a decorative cloth, and put a shelf on top of another, and this has helped cool the upstairs a bit. I now run with the downstairs about 65F and upstairs about 71F.

    Savings - I ignored one month, as it was partial and they also drained and reheated the water from cold several times during the install.

    The first full month it was a wash compared to the previous year. I had kept the house too warm, and through a colder month (several days below 10F). Subsequent months have seen a 20-25% lower therm usage on my bill, and the house is still 2-3 degrees warmer than before.

    My contractor ran the small radiant loop as a separate zone with its own thermostat but did NOT set it up to activate the system on demand, only to "steal" heat from the rest of the system. (A pump cycles when the thermostat requests heat) This has failed to keep the small radiant zone warm during the coldest days, and also makes it so the radiant area must be kept no warmer than the main part of the house. This was mis-communication on my part and some amount of laziness on his part. I may have him fix this over the summer.

    This is another case of using a condensing boiler to heat with a variety of output methods - cast iron radiator, baseboard, blower under kitchen sink, and radiant loop. Water in the system rarely gets much over 130F. Initially, we had disabled the outdoor reset as the installer was not happy with the intensity of the boiler firing. It is now active and I don't notice any problems with the heating.

    The indirect water heater is great. There is simply no way to run out of hot water. I did have one "hard fault" recently; probably due to a power spike of some sort; a reset cleared it up and it has not recurred.

    Andy



  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2008
    Posts
    550

    Default Re: Before and After: Installation of a Triangle Tube 175

    Andy,

    Thanks for posting back and sharing very interesting info and heating performance on your new system.

    Here's hoping you have many years of comfortable heat and extensive fuel savings.

    If you get a chance, click onto my name & send me a PM so I can send you some material from the hydronics engineers and spe******ts that I think you will find interesting.

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