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Turn Off the Oil Burner?

jpjp Member Posts: 1,935
trying to make heads or tails of it, so I ask questions.

to me it would seem rough on the boiler running it with no load other than the little bit of water in the local pipes.

plus I've seen many boilers not piped P/S so then what???


  • R.N.R.N. Member Posts: 3
    Turn Off the Oil Burner?

    I have a hot water heating system with a 4 year old oil burner. The oil burner only provides heat; domestic hot water is provided by a separate water heater. When the oil burner was installed I was advised that it had to run all year round or problems would develop. This seems extremely wasteful. Is it really neccessary to run the burner during the non heating months? What problems could develop? If it must run, should the temperature be lowered? Thanks in advance!
  • realolmanrealolman Member Posts: 513
    I would

    not run it all year long. Some of this depends on how yours is hooked up . If it maintins a constant water temp and then the pump runs when the thermostat calls for heat, you would have to shut it off... kill the power or something.

    If it only runs when the thermostat calls for heat it shouldn't run when it's warm outside anyway.

    Although it's too late for a short answer, I'd shut it off, and get it cleaned next heating season. I would not say it would hurt anything, but I do think whatever soot is in there absorbs moisture and swells up or something ... looks pretty crappy, but actually be detrimental above the cost of running it for no reason all summer?... I'd say no, but whether it was or not, I wouldn't run it all summer... but do get it cleaned either way.
  • MaynardMaynard Member Posts: 74
    Leave It On

    Turn Down Aquastat To It's Lowest Setting For Summer To Prevent Boiler From Sweating Internally. You Will Use Very little Oil. H2O + Soot= Plugged Boiler When You Try To Use It For First Time In Fall...Of Course We Are Talking About Pin Type Boilers. If You Have A Triple Pass Boiler It Will Not plug...I Would Still Keep It On.
  • Jim PJim P Member Posts: 29

    I shut my boiler off all summer. I turn on the boiler once maybe twice a day just to heat the indirect fired water heater(for laundry and showers). I have not had any problems. My father inlaw has been doing the same thing for 15+ years with no problems.

  • lchmblchmb Member Posts: 2,495

    As soon as possible (if you do shut it down) after heating season, get the boiler cleaned. That way all of the build up over the winter will be removed.
  • LeoLeo Member Posts: 24
    What brand

    What brand and model boiler is it? Some you can get away with shutting off, some will plugg. Save on oil but make it up in service. I do many tune ups during the course of the year, I get to see the best and the worst.

  • LeoLeo Member Posts: 24

    By turning it on to heat the hot water you are burning off the junk. You aren't turning it off completely.

    As soon as I open a system I can tell if it is left on or off or some variation.

  • mtfallsmikeymtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765

    If you are doing a fall cleaning/service, fire it up for a while to dry it out real good a day or so before..nothing worse to deal with than damp soot!
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935

    why would the boiler sweat from the inside?
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 132

    I agree with Maynard's post. Turn it down so it will keep the unit a little warm. He called it sweating, I call it condensation. Mix the water with the soot and you get sulphuric acid (or something else that's not to good for the metal), not to mention a build up of scale that's tough to deal with. A boiler set at 100 degrees for the summer will use very little oil.

    And to echo Mikey, wet boilers play havoc with the electronic testers. I tell my guys not to use them if the unit is wet.
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935

    why would it condensate? keep in mind, it will be at room temperature?

    have you ever seen a glass of water at room temp sweat or condensate?
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 132
    It happens

    I've seen it. Picture a cool evening into a cool summer morning, followed by a warm moist afternoon. Basements aren't sealed so that warm moist air gets in. All that is needed is for the boiler to be at or below dew point and the moisture will drop out of the air on onto any water bearing piece of the boiler. Same way the domestic pipes sweat in the summer, though the domestic pipes are probably colder so they sweat more.

    Dew point is the key.
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935

    what you are telling me is that everything in that basement should be wet from condensation, anything metal at least.

    you really see this happening?

    wouldn't running boiler in summer cause excessive combustion condensation from extremely strong cycles?

    how long does it take to heat the water in the primary piping?
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 132
    Ya got me...

    ...but the water comes from somewhere. If not from a leaking top mounted coil, you tell me where it comes from. I've cleaned wet boilers and wet furnaces. Maybe it's just the soot inside attracting the moisture.

    I will definitely be the last person to claim I know it all, or anything for that amount. :)
  • Paul FredricksPaul Fredricks Member Posts: 132

    In my mind, if the aquastat is set at 100 degrees, it's no different than the burner running to maintain temp the rest of the year. I'll bet, though I don't really know, that the unit probably runs 10 - 15 minutes a day, maybe less, to maintain that 100 degrees. I'd be surprised if it has any real affect on boiler integrity. I'd think it would be worse to leave it off.

    .02 (mine)
  • mtfallsmikeymtfallsmikey Member Posts: 765
    Paul hit it right

    Lots of basements are cool/humid in the summer (that's why people run dehumidifiers!), especially older houses with stone foundations and dirt floors, or old coal bins. The soot does not get "wet", but draws moisture, and when you do a cleaning in late summer or early fall, it's like trying to brush grease. There is no way aanyone can effectively clean any boiler when it's in that state. I asked all of my customers to fire up one or two days before the cleaning to dry them out. and, maybe run it once every week or two for 10 min. or so.
  • leelee Member Posts: 458

    Ever been in a basement in the summer that was damp and humid? What do you think is happening toi the inside of the boiler? Cast iron type pin boilers will be plugged, steel type boilers will have soot in them that resembles black, crusty concrete. I, personnally add a fee above and beyond the normal cleaning charge due to the extra time needed to remove this junk. The cleaning charges are not figured for 4 hours to clean heater.

    If your basement has no humidity problems, you might, MIGHT, be ok. If your basement is like any around here, southeast PA, I wouldn't turn off.
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935

    why don;t you fix the whole damp problem with a dehumidifier?
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935

    Is that running 10-15 minutes once a day, or 1 minute 15 times a day?

    how many gallons of water are we talking about heating up?
  • Bob BonaBob Bona Member Posts: 2,075

    cycle time is irrelevant. The water content is whatever. Main thing is that the burner comes on once in a while so the heat exchanger stays above being stone cold to help avoid the dreaded wet soot. Some basements are arid and don't have this problem, others aren't.

    Been there and done that.

  • leelee Member Posts: 458

    Around here, many old homes with stone basement walls. You could put in three dehumidifiers and still have issues. Now they would be saving a little oil but using a heck of a lot of electricity. And where do you drain dehumidifier?, In the sump pump hole?
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935

    i have a stone basement too.
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935
    cycle time?

    doesn't a very short cycle time promote condensation in the burner area? isn't that why cast iron boilers need to run above 140F water temp?

    seems whats probably happening is negative house pressure in the summer, cool night air is coming down the chimney and causing condensation.
  • Bruce StevensBruce Stevens Member Posts: 82

    the 140* return water is an issue if it is prolonged, you can get away with bringing up a cold start boiler to over 140 however the 100* minimum cycle is no worse that the cold start except that 100 degree min keeps the boiler dry between cycles, and I agree that cold air at night dropping into the boiler is a cause of the issue at hand, however the 100* min also solves that issue.
  • leelee Member Posts: 458

    Are you located in a climate that is humid in the summer?
  • jpjp Member Posts: 1,935
    that depends

    should have been the answer to the post, since we all live in varying climates, we all have different takes.

    my basement gets wet in spring due to snow melt and heavy rains on occasions. i still think it better to attempt to dry entire basement and not just the boiler. otherwise what use is it to live over a swamp?
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