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A Steam Enthusiast's Outdoor Reset Control
I live in an 1890’s three-story brick home in south-eastern Pennsylvania with a one-pipe steam heating system. The boiler was replaced in 2009, and after fine-tuning and balancing the rest of the heating system (insulating the mains, re-sizing and replacing vents on the steam mains and radiators using the Gill & Pajek vent capacity charts), I began looking at other ways to reduce fuel consumption. An outdoor reset control was at the top of the list. The commercially available outdoor reset controls all lacked specific features I wanted, so with a background in industrial process control I decided to develop my own control, which I’ve dubbed "BMC" for Boiler Monitoring & Control.
This has been a work-in-progress since 2010. The first iteration was a time delay relay to control end-of-cycle short cycling on pressure. This was followed by a clock timer/relay control to schedule production of domestic hot water. For the third iteration, I purchased sensors and wrote some software to do data acquisition and charting of temperatures and pressure at the tail end of the 2010 heating season. The current iteration incorporates the mechanical controls into the software and adds outdoor reset modeling. I've had the software in control of the boiler since January 2012, with some fine-tuning along the way.
Before I get started, I'd like to take this opportunity to thank Dan Holohan and all the contributors here at HeatingHelp.com for sharing their knowledge and expertise over the years. Thanks guys!
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