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1 zone now, considering 2 zones

maybemark
maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
As many of you know, I have about a 2400 sq ft house ,with only 1 zone. My house is between 90 and 100 years old, I have a high heat loss around 72k. My largest part of my loss, is in the living room. I have 3 outside walls one wall of windows, the room is about 14 x 20 with 12' ceilings in it. The attic has 18" of blown in, and i have a fireplace in the room.
This room has always been the coldest room in the house, My thoughts were, make that 1 room into it's own zone.
Oh, forgot to tell you. I have 2 massive radiators in the front bay, coverd over by a top and only heat comes out of the grating in front.
I would like to try abd keep my budget down, is there a way to do this, without spending a fortune?
I really would like to get your ideas on this
If you already don't know, I will be putting in a whn 085 with a 40 gal indirect heater
thanks
mark
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Comments

  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    if i put it on a zone, should i make water temp higher for just the living room?
    what would be the best thing to do?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    If the room is perpetually underheated, you need to address that directly.

    Is there an operable damper on the fireplace? How about a chimney top damper?

    Are the windows tight? What kind of window treatments? Cellular shades are not very expensive and can literally work wonders in many cases.

    As to zoning, do you have any rooms with southern exposure or which are infrequently occupied? A wood stove? Those are the things which most frequently lead me to recommend zoning.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    thanks SWEI for responding.
    I have tried many things. Thewindows are about 15 years old, Marvin, a quality window. I have 12" of masonry with plaster right on the inside clay time, what i did, I fired out the walls, and between the firing put dense foam panels. i did put a damper on the top of my chimney. As far as window treatments, i have none. That area is filled with plants and it's a western exposure, the radiators are under the plants. last years I got an idea, to blow the hot air from the covered bay area, so i got a fan, took a temp control swith, and had the fan run, and it did make the room much warmer, but my electric bill got much higher
    Mark
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    I wouldn't have thought a little fan would bring my bill up, maybe it was several things, besides the fan, that raised the bill
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,217
    You can substantially increase the output of the radiators by taking the top off.
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    I would suggest you consider borrowing, renting, or buying a thermal imaging camera and spend a bit of time with it. You might be surprised what you learn.

    I'll repeat my suggestion of cellular shades. They're really not that expensive and could solve the entire issue (not to mention saving you a boatload of fuel over the decade or so they should last.)

  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    harvey
    you are absloyly right, if i take off the top, that would solve my problem, but them i won't have a top, to put about 20 some plants.
    SWEI, putting up shades would probably help, but then my plants won't get sun
    Mark
    all of these idea would work on heating that room, or, help make it warmer, but, I love plants, and I would hate to loose all that area for plants
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 1,710
    Cheap thing to try is increasing water temperature.If other rooms become to warm,you can try to throttle radiators there or just cover them with a blanket or something.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    Jumper, i did think about that, I do have valves on all the radiators, a couple might be stuck open, but most work. I was thinking increasing the water temp of the boiler, and throtling down the valves on all other radiators. If i do this, will i be loosing effeciency of the boiler?
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Any reason you can't open the shades in the day and close them at night? Even closing them halfway will make a big difference on a cold day.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    many of my windows in my house does not have shades on them because i have alot of plants in the house. I don't have a problem with the rest of the house, only the living room.
    I guess I can get them, and pull them down at night, and raise them in the afternoon.
    there is no draft coming fom the windows, they are a very high quality window, but only thermal pane, and windows is a loss, even if they are quality
    shades would help, i don't know if it would solve the problem
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    Do the windows have low-e glazing?
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    taking off the top would solve the problem, but i'm not going to do that
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    yes, they have low e
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    depending on the outside temp. there is anywhere from a 3 - 7 degree difference. when i firred out the walls, and aplyed drywall over it, it helped some, but still not enough
  • SWEI
    SWEI Member Posts: 7,356
    One more option to consider would be motorized shades paired with a sunrise/sunset aware controller.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    I don't think the windows are the big problem, though i think SWEI idea would help. It's getting that trapped hot air out, from under that bay, what would solve the problem.
    My fan idea worked well, but for a cost
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    swei
    there is only about 48 sf of windows, not really alot
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    I wonder if i would put a buch of holes from the basement, up to the bay, if that would push that hot air out, or would that just warm the basement
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,217
    Build a shelf right above the radiator. Set your plants on it, then take the top off.

    If you turn that room into it's own zone, you'll more than likely have to do primary secondary piping. You might be doing that anyway?

    You could also add some baseboard radiation.

    Personally, I wouldn't let a couple posies get between me and good heat!
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    Harvey
    we all are different.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    edited December 2014
    Mark can you live with just drilling a lot of holes over the radiator to help convection, or even slits in a way to keep the shelves purpose, and still let the radiator do its thing. At one time that room was probably never cold until the rad got encapsulated. Your a carpenter get creative.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    Havey
    this has been this way for almost 100 years. You make it sound so simple to take the top off, you don't have a clue what is behid doing this.
    the radiators are back to back of each other, then a dead space behind them. To the face of the the radatof screen is about 3 feet
    1 radiator about 6' the other about 4' , plus I won't have my finished hard wood floor under there.
    Your thought would work, but alot to do and it will look ugly when it's all done
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    Gordy
    I thought of holes on top, but i was wondering holes under from the basement, would convection happen that way?
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,217
    Do you have any pics you can post?
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    Gordy
    You might have the best idea. Maybe I can make some vent cuts.
    that wouldlet the hot air come out, plus it would not look too terrible
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    It's,gotta,get out through the top Mark. Are you familiar how a radiator, or baseboard works? Post a pick of your radiator enclosure.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    Gordy, maybe you didn't see what I wrote, i like your idea, and I think I will cut maybe 4 vents, to let the air out on top
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    As for lock top dampers they are the bomb. I have a couple myself.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131

    Harvey Ramer
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    2 huge radiators hehind that screem
    if i put 4 vents. 2 in the front by the screen on each side maybe 6 x 10 and 2 by the windows 6 x 10
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    2 people asked for a photo, i take one, then i don't hear any feedback
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,217
    Ok, my bad. I wouldn't be pulling that top off either. Looks like they are built in. 4 6x10 vents in the top will help but I have reservations about that being enough. Plus it would be a shame for that nice window sill.

    I believe, were I in your shoes, I would use 2 small fans. If you make a partition even with the bottom of the radiators that reaches from the front panel to the back wall, then you could install 2 of those super quiet bath fans to draw from below the rads and force the air across the rads, through the front panel and out into the room.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    harvey
    Maybe you didn'r read at the begining
    last year, I put a fan beind the radiators, and hooked it up to a attic thermastat, so, when it reached a certain temp, the fans would go on. it worked great, but my electric bill was so high. But, maybe it was more than the fans that made the electric bill high to begin with
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,228
    edited December 2014
    As an experiment you could put a couple of muffin fans in back of the radiators if possible; if putting them in back of the radiators is a no go then perhaps between the radiator and the grill? Muffin fans only draw 14 watts each so the cost to run them would be very small.

    If that did work a thermostat could be wired in so the fans would work only when the radiators were hot; no sense in blowing cool air.

    Bob
    Smith G8-3 with EZ Gas @ 90,000 BTU, Single pipe steam
    Vaporstat with a 12oz cut-out and 4oz cut-in
    3PSI gauge
  • Harvey Ramer
    Harvey Ramer Member Posts: 2,217
    You only need small fans. I'm talking maybe 20watt motors. Wire them so they turn on once the rads warm up. Also wire in a room thermostat to shut off the fans when the room reaches setpoint. It shouldn't have more than a minimal impact on your electric bill.
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    I don't know what a muffin fan is.
    I saw these 2 small desk fans, sall but very powerful, hooked them inline with an attic fan thermostat, then pluged them into a near by outlet. This way, the boiler was off, but the radiator was still hot, so it continued to stay on, until the radiator cooled downto switch the thermostat off.
    Like i said, it worked fine, i don't kow what the wattage was on them
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    Bad
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    I just looked up muffin fans. i used them on built in home entertainment centers for the recievers. i didn't build the units, i would assemble it and instl them
  • maybemark
    maybemark Member Posts: 1,131
    gordy
    when you say bad, what is bad? please explain