Listen To The Band

If you’re not careful, this song will be in your head all day…

Disclosure time: I like The Monkees.  Admit it – the Pre-Fab Four did give us some fun, simple music.

And if you’re still listening to the band, let’s get back to our “simple” radiant system.

In our last blog soiree we examined the following job, and what would happen if we ran a single water temperature with only one zone:

The results were less than stellar.

We had to run 145-degree water to our radiant system to make sure the worst-case area (Living-Foyer) would be taken care of.  Problem is, no matter where we put the thermostat, most of the first floor would either be too hot or too cold.

And “tweaking” the flow on the manifold to “balance” things out?  Better to jump off the cliff now and save yourself a lot of time. We said in the last blog post there were three possible options that qualified as “simple.”  We’ve already crossed one off the list.  Here’s the next one:

Three separate water temperatures:

In this option, we’d use three simple, fixed temperature, non-electric tempering valves to provide accurate water temperature to three distinct areas.

Tempering Valve #1: 145 degree water for the Living-Foyer

Tempering Valve #2: 130 degree water for the Family-Kitchen-B’Fast

Tempering Valve #3: 120 degree water for the Dining and Utility

This should work just dandy – each area gets the water temperature it needs (except for the Utility – it’ll be a little-to-a-lot too warm, but it’s a utility area, we’ll cope).  Each area should feel just fine every day of the winter.

Problem solved, right?

Well, yeah

It’ll work, but it’s a tad heavy-handed.  Consider what you’ll need to actually pull this off:

3 tempering valves
3 manifolds + accessories
3 circulators
3 relays (or one 3-pump relay)
3 thermostats (for 3 zones)

Lots of stuff to buy, plus you’ll need more materials and labor to pipe and wire it all up.

Sorta like cutting butter with a chain saw.  It’ll work, but…

We need to go back to the basic definition of “simple.” WordMonkey provides the following:

  1. having few parts; not complex or complicated or involved; a simple problem; simple mechanisms; a simple design; a simple substance
  2. easy and not involved or complicated; an elementary problem in statistics; a simple game; found an uncomplicated solution to the problem
  3. lacking mental capacity and subtlety

This option fails the “simple” test on most levels.

Having few parts?  Three tempering valves, manifolds, circulators and relays?

Easy, not involved or complicated?  Try shoe-horning that 10 pounds of hydronics into a 5-pound closet.

Lacking mental capacity or subtlety?  Don’t know about the first, but it sure ain’t subtle!

Make no mistake – this option solves the problems created by the first option (click here to review).  But it’s needlessly complicated. We’ll look at a much simpler approach next time.

And speaking of simple – here’s a simple tune written by Mike Nesmith pre-Monkees that Linda Ronstadt made into a mega-hit:

And yes, they could play their instruments.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.