System Theory & Troubleshooting
Every seasoned HVAC technician in New England has been exposed to hot water heating systems at one time or another. But how many technicians really understand the technology that goes into a properly designed hydronic heating system, whether it be for a residential or commercial structure.
Most HVAC mechanics have purchased packaged boilers, attach a couple loops of copper tubing with baseboard radiation to them, put devices on them like expansion tanks, boiler feed valves, zone valves, additional pumps, and then we fill the systems with water and fire them up. Later, we often see that the pressure in the system isn't staying where we originally set it. We also might see large temperature differences between rooms or areas, and we might get complaints that there are noises in the pipes. We sometimes see the relief valve releasing water because the pressure keeps going up and up causing the valve to open. Customers hear the pipes creek and groan as they heat up and cool down. And we too often hear the always popular "one moment it's too warm ~ next moment it's too cold" complaints from our customers.
Using proper hydronics system design principles will help alleviate many of the above problems. Understanding the four critical pressure devices in a hydronic heating system, and how each device affects every other device in the system will go a long way to solving pressure problems. Understanding pumps, pump performance curves, flow rates verses heat rejection rates, boiler temperature verses system temperature drop, and understanding the difference between the popular "bang-bang" electrical control design verses the much better modulating system temperature design will help solve many of the cold - hot - cold - hot problems, the creaky noise problems, and the lack of temperature consistency from one room or area to another. You will learn about primary - secondary loop systems, and how such system designs can supply very hot water for fin tube loops while it can also supply reduced temperature water for one or more "in floor" radiant heat zones. You will learn about pipe sizing, friction in pipes, estimating water flow rates, temperature drops, and what "thermal mass" means.
You will walk away from this course with a set of manuals, and a new understanding and appreciation of hydronic heating systems. You will be able to quickly identify system configurations and types. For those who successfully complete this course - you will be in a position to identify and correct problems that so called "contractors" can't even comprehend.
This is not an easy course, and it requires class participation, and a solid working knowledge of basic math, including basic algebra. It also helps to have had exposure to hydronic heating systems, and the components that make up such systems.
The "Hydronic System Theory & Troubleshooting" course runs for a minimum of 24 hours, and can be scheduled evenings, or days. Class size ranges from 10 to 16 students. Students must bring a calculator to class.