Hot-water Heaters Instantaneous Coil And Storage Tanks.

Return Circulation Hot-water Lines and Expansion

The problem of supplying hot water to plumbing fixtures is one that has required years of study. Each job today demands considerable thought to make it a perfect and satisfactory hot-water system. We will find installations today where the water is red from rust, where there is water pounding and cracking. There are also jobs where the fixtures get practically no hot water. As each job or individual building has its own p

culiar conditions, they must be solved by the designer or the mechanic, using the fundamental principles of hot-water circulation. We must first know how much hot water is to be used, also the location of the outlets and the construction of the building; then the size of the pipes and the size of the tanks and their locations can be settled. If the job is a large one, a pump may be employed to insure the proper circulation. After this the pipe sizes and connections can be worked out. The one great enemy of hot-water circulation is air. Therefore, no traps or air pockets should ever appear in the piping system. The boiler, as it is often referred to, is the hot-water storage tank. A copper or iron tank holding sufficient water to supply all fixtures, even when every fixture demands a supply at the same time, is installed in a convenient place and the heating arrangement connected with it. A thermostat can be placed on the system and the temperature of the water controlled. According to the size of the building the problem of furnishing the plumbing fixtures with hot water increases.

Methods of Heating Hot Water.—There are a number of ways of furnishing hot water. Some of the installations are listed below.

A cast-iron or brass water back is placed on the fire pot of a stove or furnace. A separate stove with the fire pot and water jacket is used. A coil of steam pipe is placed inside a hot-water boiler or tank. Gas coil heaters are connected with hot water storage tank, also gas coil instantaneous heaters are connected with the piping direct.

Combinations of the above systems are in use and serve the purpose for which they are intended. For instance, the tank can be connected with a coal range and a gas coil heater, heat being furnished by the range alone or the coil heater alone, or both can be used at the same time. This combination can be connected with the furnace in the cellar, and during the winter months, when the furnace is in use, the water can be heated by the furnace coil. In warm weather, when the furnace is out, the range can supply the necessary heat. In hot weather the coil gas heater can supply the heat.

Connections of Tank and Heating Apparatus.—The ordinary house boiler or hot-water storage tank has four connections, two on top, one on the side, and one on the bottom. The top connections are used for the entrance of cold water into the tank and for the supply of hot water to the fixtures (see Fig. 71). The cold-water inlet has a tube extending into the tank below the side connection. This tube has a small hole filed in it about 6 inches from the top. This hole is to break any syphonic action that may occur at any time. The side connection is for the connection of the pipe coming from the top of the water back. The bottom opening in the tank is for the connection of the pipe coming from the lower water back connection, also for draining the boiler. The circulation of the water can be followed thus: cold water enters the boiler in the tube and discharges into the boiler below the side connection. From here it flows out of the bottom connection into the water back, through the upper connection into the boiler, through the side opening, then to the top of the boiler and out to the fixtures through the fixture supply opening.

Fig. 71.--Storage tank, and coil heater with thermostatic control valve. Fig. 71.—Storage tank, and coil heater with thermostatic control valve.

Fig. 69 shows a thermostatic control valve attached to the bottom of a heater coil, and at the side of storage tank. The best arrangement is at the bottom, for it does not shut off the gas supply until the boiler is full of hot water.

Connecting Tank and Coil Gas Heater.—The boiler and the coil gas heater have a different connection. The bottom of the tank and the bottom of the heater are connected. The top of the heater and the top of the boiler are connected. The accompanying sketch shows how this connection is made. If the tee on the top of the boiler into which the gas-heater connection is made is not the first fitting and placed as close to the outlet as possible, the water will not circulate freely into the boiler. This connection according to the drawing should be studied and memorized.

Fig. 72.--Instantaneous gas heater. Showing circulation heater or  booster. Fig. 72.—Instantaneous gas heater. Showing circulation heater or booster.

Instantaneous Gas-heater Connections.—An instantaneous gas heater is placed in the basement. The copper coil in it is connected at the bottom with the cold-water supply and the top outlet of the coil is connected with the hot-water system of piping. There is no need of a storage tank with this heater. When a faucet is opened in any part of the hot-water piping system, the water passing through the water valve at the heater causes the gas valve to open so that the whole set of burners in the heater is supplied with gas, and the burners are lighted from a pilot light. When the faucet is closed, the gas supply is shut off and the burners are put out. The pilot is lighted all the time. Space will not permit going over these connections in detail. It is a large field and requires considerable thought.

Safety and Check Valves.—When a meter is used on a water system, the water company demands that a check valve be placed on the hot-water system to prevent the hot water from being forced back into the meter in case the pressure got strong enough in the boiler. If a check valve is used for this purpose, or for any other purpose, a safety valve must be placed on the boiler piping system to relieve any excessive pressure that may be caused by having the check valve in use. There is today, with meters of modern type, no reason to use a check valve or a safety valve. If an excessive pressure is obtained in the boiler, it is relieved in the water main.

When water is heated, it expands. If the heat becomes more intense and steam is formed, the expansion is much greater, and some means must be provided to allow for it. This expansion can be allowed to relieve itself in the water main as explained above. When a check valve is placed on the piping, this means of escape is shut off and a safety valve must be employed. Without these reliefs, the pressure would be so great that an explosion would result. When steel pipe and steel boilers are used for storage tanks and connections, the pipe and tank will shortly start to rust and parts of the piping are stopped up with rust scales. The water also becomes red with rust when the water becomes hot enough to circulate. When the pipes are stopped up, steam is formed and a snapping and cracking sound is heard. To avoid these conditions, the piping should be of brass or lead and the storage tank should be of copper. The installation cost of brass and copper is greater than steel, but they will not have to be replaced in two or three years, as is the case with other material. A valve should be placed on the cold-water supply to control the entire hot-water piping system. A pipe with a stop cock should be placed underneath the boiler and should extend into a sink in the basement so that the boiler can be drained at any time for cleaning or repairs.

Connecting with Fixtures.—To have all fixtures properly supplied with hot water it is necessary to run what is termed a circulating pipe. This circulating pipe is a circuit of pipe extending from the top of the boiler to the vicinity of the fixtures and then returning to the boiler and connecting into the pipe leading out of the bottom of the boiler. From this circuit all branches are taken to supply all fixtures requiring hot water. This circulating pipe has hot water circulating through it all the time. Therefore the fixtures are supplied with hot water very quickly. The circulating pipe and its branches are run without any traps or air pockets.

Fig. 73.--Expansion  loop. Four 90° ells. Fig. 73.—Expansion loop. Four 90° ells.
Fig. 74.--Expansion  loop. Five 90° ells. Fig. 74.—Expansion loop. Five 90° ells.
Fig. 75.--Expansion  loop. Six 90° ells. Fig. 75.—Expansion loop. Six 90° ells.

When running the piping, it should be borne in mind that not only does the water expand when heated, but the pipe expands also. Therefore due allowance must be made for this expansion. The long risers should have an expansion loop as shown in Figs. 73, 74 and 75. There are installed on some jobs what is known as an expansion joint. This will allow for the expansion and contraction of the pipe. The writer's experience with these joints has not been very satisfactory. After a while these joints begin to leak and they must have attention which in some cases is rather expensive. An expansion loop as shown in the sketch, made with elbows, will prove satisfactory. If the threads on the fittings and pipe are good, no leak will appear on this joint.

All gas heaters must be connected with a flue to carry off the products of combustion.