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New to hot water

Boston_2 Member Posts: 107
Hi All,

I am new to hot water heat and could use a little help.  For the last 8 years we have had steam heat and with all the help from this wall and Dan's books i know a ton about steam and now get called to my friends houses when they have a problem before they call the HVAC guy.

We just bought a new (to us) house and it comes fresh with an older Burnham boiler (1980's) that is over sized.  We have had some trouble with the standing pilot but i think we have that fixed now. i have already ordered Dan's book, but i do have some questions.

What temp should the aqua stat be set too? It's set to 180 but that seems high? Is it better to run the boiler a little colder or warmer?

There are some older steel circulators (3 zones), is it worth replacing them? They make a little noise but nothing to bad.

There appear to be two air valves, one on the boiler and one on the return connected to a large cast iron trap (maybe an air separator??).  With steam valves you know when they need to be replaced, i am not really sure if they need replacement. One seems to have leaked at some point in the past.

Any thoughts on the best thermostats for radiant heat.  We had a vision-pro with the steam, but i am not sure if that is still the best option.

Any helpful hints would be appreciated.



  • Jean-David Beyer
    Jean-David Beyer Member Posts: 2,666
    Any thoughts on the best thermostats for radiant heat.

    If your radiant heat is tubing in a concrete slab as  mine is, my recommendation would be to get the cheapest digital thermostat you can find. One with no setback in it. Because setback does not make sense with the long time-constant in a slab. You would get great overshoot and undershoot. I used to get that and hated it. Furthermore, it can take up to 24 hours (in my house) to recover from even a few degrees of setback.

    By the time I got a new mod-con boiler I had a fancy digital setback thermostat that had 28 different settings, 4 for each or the 7 days in the week. It was no better than an old GE snap-action mechanical thermostat. What made radiant comfortable was the outdoor reset the mod-con offered.
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