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VIDEO: Hydronics Makeover in Century-Old House

How to modernize a 100-Year-Old Radiator System

By: Jason Abajian*, North America Water Sales Manager at Resideo

a house image.U.S. homes from the early 20th century carry such a wonderful sense of style and charm that is unique to certain regions. But even with that charm, we can all agree that the heating and cooling of those homes has, thankfully, come a long way!

Which is why we teamed up with award-winning contractor Dan Foley from Foley Mechanical and Mechanical Hub** to update the heating system of a multi-story, stone home built in the 1920s in Washington, D.C.

In this sponsored video, Dan Foley installed a state-of-the-art, multi-zoned hydronic system with all radiators on a single zone.

Foley and Jeff Riley at Coredron, Resideo’s water products manufacturers’ representative in the D.C. area, reviewed the project’s unique needs and challenges while demonstrating the innovative Resideo solutions that can drive new efficiencies and capabilities in the century-old house. With the goal to offer its homeowners more precise control of heating on each of the home's four floors while retaining the charm of the original radiators, the intensive system upgrade split one zone into three separate zones by floor, all controlled by their own thermostats, and added radiant floor heat in the basement, as well as several other modern efficiency elements.

Resideo Solutions Used

The upgraded system includes a high efficiency boiler with direct vent, new piping system, and an indirect tank that controls domestic hot water. To integrate the system, Foley chose several Resideo products:

  • -  The Expansion Tank has a fast fill and backflow preventor. Foley especially liked how contractors can simply order a single kit that provides the expansion tank, backflow, fill valve, and air separator so you, “don’t have to track down a bunch of parts. It all comes in one box.”
  • -  The Resideo Variable Speed Circulator Pump is a favorite among Foley and his team. The high efficiency of these electronically commutated motor (ECM) pumps stood out: they’re “fantastic,” with Foley calling out that, “we like them, and they work great.”
  • -  The Resideo Magnetic Hydronic Separator aims to keep things tidy from the start: it splits the boiler side from the systems side and acts as an air and dirt separator. Even with a flawless install of brand-new products, water substances and build-up can create issues. The removable magnet helps to grab metallic substances inline to avoid future issues throughout the hydronic system’s components. When cleaning, the magnet can be removed so that any accumulated dirt drops to the bottom of the separator and can then be flushed out the drain valve. Adding the new separator to hydronic installs and retrofits, source-side and load-side circulator flows are more easily balanced, minimizing air turbulence while protecting components from backflow and debris.
  • -  Resideo Press Zone Valve is a huge time saver, Foley said. He re-piped the entire three-story house, and since he didn't need to sweat or thread any of the valves – everything comes preassembled and ready to go – installation was very simple.
  • -  Resideo Hydronic Pro Zone Control serves as the brains of the operation. It simplifies wiring, indicates which zone is calling with an LED panel that is visible and functional whether the cover is on or off to save troubleshooting time, works with most thermostats and is protected by a five-year warranty. Dan added, “When I first got into the trade, we’d wire a transformer and hardwire every zone valve, and it would look like a rat’s nest of wiring! Resideo’s latest solutions have helped make my team’s jobs easier!"

Radiant floor heat was added to a new basement concrete slab and the existing cast trim radiators on the three upper floors were RE-piped and RE-valved. Foley Mechanical used this opportunity to zone by floor using Resideo zone valves.The homeowners have been happy with the result, noting that everything is performed “flawlessly” during the recent East Coast winter.

To learn more about Resideo’s hydronic solutions, visit Resideo.com/pro/water.

a hydronic heating system.

**Part of a paid advertising partnership.

Dan Foley brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to his role as owner and president at Foley Mechanical, which he founded in 2002. He started his career in the HVAC industry after earning his degree in Business Management from Virginia Tech in 1988. He holds Master HVAC and Master plumbing/gas fitting licenses in Virginia, Washington, D.C. and Maryland and serves on the boards of his local ACCA, PHCC and RPA chapters. In 2020, Foley was Mechanical Hub's Person of the Year.

Jason headshot.Jason Abajian* is the North America Water Sales Manager for Resideo’s Hydronic & Potable Water Solutions. Jason has spent more than 15 years working in the HVAC industry for Resideo Technologies, and previously Honeywell International. With a passion for education and making an impact on future generations, Jason worked for an HVAC installer in the summer, and was a high school teacher during the school year. What started as a summer gig turned into an ideal springboard for his purpose-driven career as a “Wet Head.” Jason is proud to work for an industry that can inspire others and deliver superior craftmanship, comfort and control with minimized environmental impact.