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For Homeowners... How a winter boiler startup should work

Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
It was a Crane boiler (round, about 5 Ft high, firetube with turbulators), I believe 130,000 Btu/Hr. Originally fired on oil, and converted to natural gas (the natural gas burner was rated for 175,000 Btu/Hr).

My memory (without checking) is that my calculated heat loss is about 55,000 - 60,000 Btu/Hr. Thus the boiler was at least twice too large.

The Vitodens 200; 6-24 is also too large; but it is the smallest model that Viessman makes.



  • Perry_3
    Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
    For Homeowners... How a winter boiler startup should work

    Ahhh... The old joys of winter startup of the boiler.

    Used to have to take out the burner and replace the thermocouple (required wrenches and disconnecting/reconnecting the gas line); which the local HVAC company taught me how to do. Manually light the boiler, oil the circulating pump and seal with a special electric motor oil, recharge the system with water (via a garden hose to a connection) to pressurize the system to 20 PSI (there was a large air over water expansion tank - but a boiler fitting slowly leaked water and you had to make it up every couple of months),then wait a while and ensure the circ pump started. Or I could pay the local heating guy about $100 to do all of that every year (except I always had to dump the 5 gal pail under the slow leak and repressurize it with water every few months).

    I like the new method better that I used tonight:

    Turn the selector switch from the faucet symbol (domestic hot water) to the faucet and radiator symbol (domestic hot water and heat).

    The circ pump started, the boiler instantly fired, and within 15 minutes the entire cast iron baseboard system on both floors was up to a stable 110 F and heating the house.

    Now that is the way to start the heating system.

    Vitodens 200 boiler, Low loss header, RS Sensor (in place of old house thermostat), 1950's era Monoflow T cast iron baseboard heating system, Vitocell 300 Domestic hot water tank; and I vented the entire thing out the side of the house so that I could abandon the old chimney (and relocated the boiler as well to free up basement space).

    I will be doing the annual inspection/cleaning in a few weeks.

    Come next May I will turn that selector switch back again.

    I like the new way better.

    Oh, one minor detail I forgot to mention: I cut my fuel usage by 45% last year by installing the new boiler. The gas company came out and changed the meter because they thought it was defective... That dosn't hurt either.

    So, why don't you all join me - and I got a lot of the information I needed to get the job done right by many of the great people on this forum.

    Edited to add: I had the boiler system installed by my local HVAC company, and they will do the annual service. However, I had to educate them on mod/cons in general, why I chose the boiler I did, and provided some installation help (how to do it right) based on information from this forum and the Mfr rep (who I was able to get to help us). All this because I do not live in a large city and the experiences of heating people with modulating condensing(mod/con) boilers in this area was extreemly limited.

    Yet the payoff is worth it.

  • Steamhead (in transit)
    For those of us who don't remember

    what type of boiler did you have before? How oversized was it?

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  • Ernie
    Ernie Member Posts: 94
    Boiler startup

    Perry, I got tired of manually turning the winter/summer switch on my Vitola and instead let the Tekmar 260 controller take care of all those time consuming tasks. Now if it could only brush out the HX and set up the burner!
  • summer/winter

    In the Vitodens coding you can select the spring shutdown date and the fall startup date. Also, there is a warm weather shut down point depending on where your curve is set. However, I do like to turn that switch ;)
  • Perry_3
    Perry_3 Member Posts: 498
    Unfortunately, Mother Nature does not follow our calendar

    I tend to shift from heating to air conditioning and back in about 1 week each late spring and fall (I turned off the window A/C just last week).

    Mother Nature does not so closely follow our human calandar that I can program the Vitodens 200 in when I need to turn the heating off and on each year.

    I will note the value of the RS temperature control module (which some people do not like).

    It responds to the house temperature and can change how the boiler is operating (which curve it is on at the moment). So, on system startup with a cool house it eventually ramped the system temp up to 120 F out of the boiler (or that is as high as I saw it); but withing several hours was allowing that to drop and this morning it has the system temperature at 90 F now that the house is warmed up.

    So much simpler and quicker than just running on the reset curve - and changing the curve when you want the house temperature to change - and waiting for the house to slowly warm up because the system water temp just went up 5 degrees (if you are lucky). This is especially usefull for when you have guest over who may need a warmer house temperature for a day or two.

    I do understand that the RS Sensor is not sutable for radiant floor applications due to the long response time. But it is perfect for people with baseboard or standing radiators - which is most retrofits.

This discussion has been closed.