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Old 11-26-11, 06:14 PM   #1
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Default How to add a new zone

Does anyone know how to add a new zone to a boiler? I'm getting worried that my basement will be a little colder than I want this winter but I'll freeze before I pay a plumber to do the work (because I can't afford it). I'm assuming it isn't too hard. Just a pump, some PEX, radiators and a thermostat........ Right?

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Old 11-27-11, 02:05 AM   #2
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I've thought about adding a zone, so I've given this some thought. I wanted to split the floors into two zones, so both would be a similar size. In your case the basement zone would be much smaller then the rest of the system, but the water must have a minimal flow rate through the boiler. You would probably have to use a pump which is more powerful than needed, and larger plumbing to reduce pumping losses. In this case the basement zone's pump should be plumbed in parallel to the existing pump, and maybe a one-way valve before or after each of the pumps. Each of the thermostats (one for the basement and one for the rest of the house) should be wired to only one pump, while their "ON" relays should be wired in parallel to turn the boiler on.

There is a second solution, which requires more hardware, but is more functional: Get (make) a small buffer with two pairs of inputs/outputs (not sure what it's called in English, translation from Polish is hydraulic clutch)

Hook the boiler up to one side, and the rest of your system to the other. Each zone on the system side has its own adequately sized pump (plumbed in parallel), as does the boiler side. This small buffer allows the water to flow at slightly different speeds on each side. If you have enough space, you can make the buffer slightly larger to hold more heat (a heat accumulator/battery is a larger version of this). Each t-stat turns on the boiler pump and its relevant zone pump. If the water flow through the boiler is faster than the system side can use the heat, then the boiler should adjust its burner's flame size and/or cycle on/off to keep the water at a set temperature.

I hope this was helpful (I'm not totally awake yet). I can make a diagram to show the set-up if needed.
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Old 11-27-11, 02:50 PM   #3
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How would I choose a pump? I already have 2 zones. 1 for the upstairs and 1 for the hot water tank so I can see basically how it all works. The water goes from the boiler to the pump to the radiators and then back to a manifold and into the boiler. There is armored romex going from the power switch to the pumps. The end of the manifolds are just caped off so I can simply add on.
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Old 11-27-11, 09:49 PM   #4
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I was thinking about using PEX, connected to the DHW on my oil burner,
but my roll of PEX is not rated for the temperature.

As for the pump, maybe you can just look at the pumps you already have and get something with similar specs.

When one of my pumps went bad, I looked at the type of cartridge pumps
on a new system at a neighbors house and got the same one for my system.
Years later, I replaced the other old style pump with another Taco cartridge pump.
Kinda looks like this one. NEW TACO 0011-F4 CAST IRON CARTRIDGE CIRCULATOR PUMP | eBay

My system already has two pumps, so if I wanted to add another,
I would check out the wiring on the existing pump relays to see
how I could add on one more pump..

If you wanted to avoid buying another reply box, maybe you could
hack a connection, using a thermostat to drive an SSR, controlling the pump??
That way, you could use a neat little DC power supply, instead of having
a hot-running & humming 24vac transformer burning up juice 24-7.
(I leave mine powered down, until backup-heat might be needed).

The only problem might occur during a burn-fail and allow your add-on,
to pump the boiler temperature down to a very low temperature.

My hobby is installing & trying to repair mini-splits
EPA 608 Type 1 Technician Certification ~ 5 lbs or less..
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