Toronto Snow Melting Part II.

Toronto Snow Melting Part II.

Continuing from Driveway Snow Melt in Toronto Part I.

With the driveway finishing well on its way it is time for us to install the boiler and the hydronics for this Toronto Snow Melting System. The boiler is a Laars Mascot NeoTherm 399 condensing boiler. The guys from Luxury Stone Contracting are ant like busy setting the reclaimed granite bricks onto the driveway slab. Every single piece is evaluated and set into the mortar to the same line and level as the next one. It is an amazing look and process. These bricks served a TTC station for around a 100 years before they were replaced with something modern. This amazing heated driveway gives them a new life.

The granite bricks

The boiler install

We start the process by installing our signature checkered boards onto the wall of the garage. We use them for two reasons; to protect the wall behind it from being scorched while we solder up the copper pipes and fittings plus it is easy on the eyes.

Tibor ran out of hands to hold his phone while mounting the checkered board onto the wall.
Tibor ran out of hands to hold his phone while mounting the checkered board onto the wall.
The boiler comes in a crate and is not a flimsy contraption. It took 4 of us to safely carry it over the granite obstacle course without being rewarded with hernias.
The boiler comes in a crate and is not a flimsy contraption. It took 4 of us to safely carry it over the granite obstacle course without being rewarded with hernias.
First we attempted to mount it on brackets to keep it off the floor but Earth's 1G proved to be too much to hold this baby on without ripping the side of the garage off. It would mount better if we were on the Moon but Oxygen is scarce over there.
First we attempted to mount it on brackets to keep it off the floor but Earth’s 1G proved to be too much to hold this baby on without ripping the side of the garage off. It would mount better if we were on the Moon but Oxygen is scarce over there.
We decided not to fight nature and let this monster sit on its legs as intended. Ray of "Luxury Stones" was sufficiently impressed with the boiler. We need the capacity since every square feet of radiant snow melt requires 150 BTU/h heat. Give it less and the snow will either not melt or take forever to disappear from the heated surfaces. Those who undersized boilers or piping in a radiant snow melt system all regretted their savings. None of this will happen for this Toronto Snow Melting.
We decided not to fight nature and let this monster sit on its legs as intended. Ray of “Luxury Stones” was sufficiently impressed with the boiler. We need the capacity since every square feet of radiant snow melt requires 150 BTU/h heat. Give it less and the snow will either not melt or take forever to disappear from the heated surfaces. Those who undersized boilers or piping in a radiant snow melt system all regretted their savings. None of this will happen for this Toronto Snow Melting.
I am sorry to admit to my dereliction of duty but had too much fun with the install to remember taking pictures of the process. When I came up for air I even insulated the copper pipes leading to the manifolds outside. The glycol feeder sitting next to the hydronic expansion tank will keep the glycol pressure at a constant 15 Psi no matter what.Keeping the liquid at that pressure prevents micro bubbles forming on the heat exchanger surfaces inside the boiler resulting in boiling foamy glycol not moving the heat to where it is needed. Some installers skimp on the batch feeder in glycol filled hydronic heating systems and just fill them up st install. There is always a small amount of the hydronic medium evaporating through the air vents. This means that in about a year the glycol pressure drops so low that the system shuts down if the boiler has a low level cutoff or worse if it does not. We do not offer savings like that just to undercut the competition.
I am sorry to admit to my dereliction of duty but had too much fun with the install to remember taking pictures of the process. When I came up for air I even insulated the copper pipes leading to the manifolds outside. The glycol feeder sitting next to the hydronic expansion tank will keep the glycol pressure at a constant 15 Psi no matter what.Keeping the liquid at that pressure prevents micro bubbles forming on the heat exchanger surfaces inside the boiler resulting in boiling foamy glycol not moving the heat to where it is needed. Some installers skimp on the batch feeder in glycol filled hydronic heating systems and just fill them up at install. There is always a small amount of the hydronic medium evaporating through the air vents. This means that in about a year the glycol pressure drops so low that the system shuts down if the boiler has a low level cutoff or worse if it does not. We do not offer savings like that just to undercut the competition.
The larger of the two Schuller Manifolds is also hooked up. Once the paving is completed we will have a nice fiberglass/concrete enclosure like the one installed at the Medical Center Snow Melt System in Toronto.
The larger of the two Schuller Manifolds is also hooked up. Once the paving is completed we will have a nice fiberglass/concrete enclosure like the one installed at the Medical Center Snow Melt System in Toronto.
The Schuller 2 way Hydraulic Separator keeps the temperature difference between the supply and return of the boiler low enough to prevent cracking of the heat exchanger. Imagine the bottom having -20 C glycol enter it and the top to push it out at 70 C. A 90 C ΔT would cause so much stress in the heat exchanger that you would need to change it yearly. Our hydraulic separators continuously mix the hot and cold liquids to protect the boiler and the concrete slab from too sudden and large temperature differences. While it is more expensive than a pair of copper Tees it also equalizes supply and return pressure differences and traps sediment keeping it from clogging the boiler and flow control valves in the manifolds.
The Schuller 2 way Hydraulic Separator keeps the temperature difference between the supply and return of the boiler low enough to prevent cracking the heat exchanger. Imagine the bottom having -20 C glycol enter it and the top to push it out at 70 C. A 90 C this ΔT would cause so much stress in the heat exchanger that you would need to change it yearly. Our hydraulic separators continuously mix the hot and cold liquids to protect the boiler and the concrete slab from too sudden and large temperature differences. While it is more expensive than a pair of copper Tees it also equalizes supply and return pressure differences and traps sediment keeping it from clogging the boiler and flow control valves in the manifolds.

Toronto Snow Melting Electronics

It is time to install the snow and ice sensor. The Tekmar unit will be placed level with the finish surface in a place that always will have snow on it while low chance having a car parked over it.
It is time to install the snow and ice sensor. The Tekmar unit will be placed level with the finish surface in a place that always will have snow on it while low chance having a car parked over it.
The temporary plastic cover is removed and the conduit pipe going back to the boiler is unobstructed at the bottom. The top of the housing is level with the finish surface.
The temporary plastic cover is removed and the conduit pipe going back to the boiler is unobstructed at the bottom. The top of the housing is level with the finish surface.
With the sensor secured in place the gaps between the brick will eventually be filled with sand.
With the sensor secured in place the gaps between the brick will eventually be filled with sand.

 

The guys are at the gate with the bricks, the snow melt sensor is flush next to that solitary brick in the middle.
The guys are at the gate with the bricks, the snow melt sensor is flush next to that solitary brick in the middle.

 

It is time to install the intake and exhaust vents. It is a simple undertaking having the boiler next to the outside wall. Two 5" holes through checkered board, plywood, drywall, plywood and stucco go smooth with no screws, re-bars or wires in the way.
It is time to install the intake and exhaust vents. It is a simple undertaking having the boiler next to the outside wall. Two 5″ holes through checkered board, plywood, drywall, plywood and stucco go smooth with no screws, re-bars or wires in the way.
Intake and exhaust must have enough space between them to meet code and ensure plenty O² for clean combustion.
Intake and exhaust must have enough space between them to meet code and ensure plenty O² for clean combustion.

 

No birdies will nest in here during the summer.
No birdies will nest in here during the summer.
Time to install the snow melt controller and sensors. Automating the melt is standard feature for these hydronic radiant snow melt systems. It means the difference between waking up to knee deep snow and an hour long shoveling or driving over a dry or steaming granite brick layered pleasure road.
Time to install the snow melt controller and sensors. Automating the melt is standard feature for these hydronic radiant snow melt systems. It means the difference between waking up to knee deep snow and an hour long shoveling or driving over a dry or steaming granite brick layered pleasure road.
Wiring of the pumps, pump relay and snow melt controller taking place. All that remains is the 120 V from a dedicated breaker that will be supplied by an electrician and neatening the low voltage wires around the boiler. Note the insulating jacked around the hydraulic separator keeping the heat where it should be.
Wiring of the pumps, pump relay and snow melt controller taking place. All that remains is the 120 V from a dedicated breaker that will be supplied by an electrician and neatening the low voltage wires around the boiler. Note the insulating jacked around the hydraulic separator keeping the heat where it should be.

Finishing up this Toronto snow melting system

The granite brick paved driveway is almost completed. They will fill the cracks with sand and maybe seal the stones. Driving over them brings back childhood memories of basalt brick roads from Hungary. Not a bicycle friendly surface but as far as looks go it is one truly unique Toronto snow melting system.
The granite brick paved driveway is almost completed. They will fill the cracks with sand and maybe seal the stones. Driving over them brings back childhood memories of basalt brick roads from Hungary. Not a bicycle friendly surface but as far as looks go it is one truly unique Toronto snow melting system.
We need to fill every loop every tube of this snow melt system with glycol/water mix.Getting all the air out is very important as the pumps get damaged if they need to pump air. Every manifold has an air vent, the hydraulic separator has an air vent and by bleeding the tubes while filling them up not much air can still be trapped in the system.
We need to fill every loop every tube of this snow melt system with glycol/water mix.Getting all the air out is very important as the pumps get damaged if they need to pump air. Every manifold has an air vent, the hydraulic separator has an air vent and by bleeding the tubes while filling them up not much air can still be trapped in the system.

Once the system is filled and bled the electronics were switched on, the boiler's gas supply opened and it got fired up.
Once the system is filled and bled the electronics were switched on, the boiler’s gas supply opened and it got fired up.

This is the finish product, all that is left is for the snow to fall. Hopefully not in August but this is Canada so you never know. This snow melt system in Toronto is completed.
This is the finish product, all that is left is for the snow to fall. Hopefully not in August but this is Canada so you never know. This snow melt system in Toronto is completed.

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