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House Not Getting to 70 in Sub Freezing Weather

JesseG
JesseG Member Posts: 19
I have 1 floor hour house (about 1200 sq ft) which uses a boiler and radiators for heating. Ever since I have moved in the house I have been fighting a losing battle trying to get the house warm. After the first year, the old boiler died and I got it replaced with a new boiler. Ever year I bleed the radiators to remove any air bubbles that hasn't helped. Last year, I had a heating audit performed where they found where air was leaking in the house and got it all sealed and put in insulation into my attic and sub-basement. All of this still has not resulted in the house getting above 66 when the temperature outside is 20 or below?

Is there anything else I can do? Tired of freezing in my own home and other then space heaters I feel like there are not real options.
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Comments

  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,544
    Jesse can you get a little more specific. If your not super technical load up some pix of your system. Once the Pros have an idea what we are all talking about some good questions and feedback will come your way
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    GW,
    Sure, sorry about that should have thought about taking some pictures. Below are some images. As for my radiators, i have 8 in total with 7 being base board radiators and 1 being cast iron.






  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    I also took a picture of the temperature gauge which was at 170 degrees.
  • SeymourCates
    SeymourCates Member Posts: 162
    In your last photo, you will see a gray box with the name "Honeywell" on it. Remove the cover of the box.

    Take a look at figure 2 on page 4 the following documentation and confirm that it is identical to your control:


    https://customer.honeywell.com/resources/Techlit/TechLitDocuments/60-0000s/60-2278.pdf

    If it is identical, turn the high limit dial to 190F and then wait. See if that solves your issue (it will probably take six hours in this cold).
  • GW
    GW Member Posts: 4,544
    If you’re handy, turn up the temp a little in that Honeywell (grey box) control. If you’re not handy, don’t, you may shock yourself or kill the control

    You may need 180 or even higher.

    Make sure your baseboards are clear and good proper convection can take place. Grab a flashlight, you want to be able to “see” through the fins. Make sure the louvres are fully opened (sometimes get close on by themselves)
    Gary Wilson
    Wilson Services, Inc
    Northampton, MA
    [email protected]
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,757
    That boiler has a internal piped primary secondary arrangement. Most likely cause is the system pump is not running. The culprit is normally the mixing board which is in the 3rd photo. It can be bypassed and have both pumps run at the same time until part arrives.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Thank you for all the responses! I'm not very handy when it comes to heating systems so I'll call a professional.
    Zman
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,327
    Looks like a Burnham Revolution boiler. They have an internal mixing pump, make sure it is set up and working properly as Uncle suggested. The controller on the early versions were somewhat finicky, as were the early Honeywell Smart Valves.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • mikeg2015
    mikeg2015 Member Posts: 1,187
    Need some temperature data to evaluate flows. Supply temp, return temp.

    Is the boiler running continuously or cycling on and off.

    Next I’d want to know what the radiant load is. Then knowing the gas bill compared to heating degree days to estimate builds gheat loss.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    So I had a professional come out and they said that the boiler is working fine and the temperature is correct. The issue is that the circulator pumped was installed backwards so that water isn't getting reheated after it circulates around the house. He said that he will replace the circulator pump and that should fix the issue.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    They said the part was overheating from years of operating that way. They finished putting in the new part and about an hour later my house is still 65 degrees.

    So frustrating, not sure what else I can do.
  • Gordy
    Gordy Member Posts: 9,514
    @unclejohn I was going to say you know how much work is involved cutting all the pipes loose and turning the boiler 180 degrees so the pump is pumping the right direction :D sorry to the OP I couldn't resist....
  • unclejohn
    unclejohn Member Posts: 1,757
    Call the company back and ask to speck to the owner. Like I said the issue is most likely the board or the internal pump. Use this link to find you install book, look at page 74. Your system pump is designed to pump away which it most likely was and now it is installed backwards. If the internal boiler pump doesn't work no water flows through the heat exchanger.
    https://file.ac/izXtTdMo_L4/

    Good luck.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Thank you @unclejohn. I've already reached out to the company and waiting to hear back.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 9,765
    How about a picture of the pump they just fixed, but from the back side of it. People here familiar with that system can tell if it is now backwards from where it should be.
    Include the pipes above and below it.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    edited January 2018
    So the guys came back out and said the internal pump and the board are fine. They weren't thrilled with the choice of the boiler but functionally they say it is fine as well.

    The senior engineer come along this time to assist and he said the problem is it needs to be re-piped. He said the placement of the pumps are completely wrong which is why the house never can get warm. I'm sure I'm butchering the explanation, but basically he says they need to repipe it.

    What do you guys think? Does that seem reasonable?
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,966
    Yup.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    OP said one large cast iron radiator, and the rest baseboard... Sounds like a thermal balancing issue to me, and based on what I can see from his pictures, that Taco 007 was pumping away, correctly.

    If you were water, and you had a choice of going through a large, wide open cast iron radiator or a 3/4" long skinny tunnel, which way would YOU go...?

    Just guessing, but I'd bet the radiator is hotter than blazes, and the baseboard, is just kinda hot...

    We've sent him through the "Turn it up" syndrome, to no avail, and no one has asked how long the boiler actually runs for.... Is it doing a 100% duty cycle, or?

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    @Mark Eatherton after the circulator pump was changed I haven't its seems like the pipes feeding into the baseboard radiator panels and the iron radiator itself are both very hot. I hear the furnace running every few minutes but its now 100% of the time.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    By the way this is an excellent forum. I wish I had found it earlier with years of battling this issue. Really appreciate all of the help and guidance from everyone, especially being someone who is really out of their element on this subject.
  • Mark Eatherton
    Mark Eatherton Member Posts: 5,839
    We need to look at the distribution piping. A simple hand written schematic would suffice. And welcome to the Wall.

    ME
    It's not so much a case of "You got what you paid for", as it is a matter of "You DIDN'T get what you DIDN'T pay for, and you're NOT going to get what you thought you were in the way of comfort". Borrowed from Heatboy.
    Rich_49
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Just to update everyone, I had a second expert come out. There thought was repiping may or may not help but he was doubtful that it would provide the heat needed during cold weather. What he suggested to me was adding a forced air heating system to work in combination or instead of the radiant heating.

    He said that while he liked radiant heating because my subbasement is not finished and no matter what I do it may not get the house warm during really cold temperatures. I mentioned that my AC unit (forced air) was about 20 years old (installed July 98) and that I would eventually need to replace it. What he then suggested was putting in a unit that would allow me to get forced air heating and AC. He said they could put a coil in the attic that would kick on during cold days that could provide extra heat in addition to kicking on my radiator.

    I'm intrigued by this option since growing up and in my first house I had forced air heating and never experienced any issues even with the houses being much bigger than my current house.

    Any thoughts on this approach over repiping?
  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 406
    Did this problem exist your first winter? Or did it start after the boiler was replaced?

    Either there is a very simple piping problem with your system, or there was never enough radiation to deal with the weather you are experiencing.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Yes it did happen the first winter and then the boiler died the next year.
  • hot_rod
    hot_rod Member Posts: 16,327
    So you have a complete ducted forced air system for the AC now? If so a coil could be added to heat via that system, from the boiler.

    I believe that boiler is around 84,000 BTU/hr. it should be plenty of horsepower for a 1200 sq ft home, probably twice what you need.

    Somehow, somewhere you are not getting the heat energy from the boiler to the space.

    If all pipes are hot, sounds like you do not have enough heat emitters, radiators and or fin tube.

    Seems a hydronic pro would be able to see that and be able to add more or bigger emitters.
    Bob "hot rod" Rohr
    trainer for Caleffi NA
    Living the hydronic dream
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Yes you are correct, I already have ducts in every room for AC. In the summer the house never has a problem getting cold. It seems from looking at the forums the heating pros seem to favor radiant over forced air. I guess my issues with getting the house warm for so long have turned me off to the thought of it. I have a few more experts coming out later this week for more opinions.

    So far, I have
    - Repipe
    - Add Forced Air
  • KC_Jones
    KC_Jones Member Posts: 5,082
    JesseG said:

    Yes you are correct, I already have ducts in every room for AC. In the summer the house never has a problem getting cold. It seems from looking at the forums the heating pros seem to favor radiant over forced air. I guess my issues with getting the house warm for so long have turned me off to the thought of it. I have a few more experts coming out later this week for more opinions.

    So far, I have
    - Repipe
    - Add Forced Air

    When you get one of these they will tell you what the problem is and make you warm. Seriously 85k BTU for 1200 square feet is way more than enough.

    If the person who installed the boiler doesn't understand why it's not working then I would suggest they don't know what they are doing. The problem isn't the system, it sounds like the problem is the contractor.

    I wouldn't trust the advice you got from that contractor.
    2014 Weil Mclain EG-40
    EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Boiler Control
    Boiler pictures updated 2/21/15
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Absolutely, all of these contractors are no longer the ones that did the original install. I essentially gave up on them figuring this out after having them come back several times over. Both the contractor who suggested repiping and the other who is saying to put in forced air are completely new contractors.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,966
    If the forced air option was a hot water coil run from the boiler, it might be a viable option -- provided the piping and radiation problem is simply that there isn't enough radiation and you can't add any more.

    If it is a heat pump, then no. A heat pump is a decent bet in the shoulder seasons, but in the more severe cold we have been having it isn't, at least in my view. Particularly when you have ample capacity in the boiler and just need someone competent to make use of it.

    Where are you located? Have you tried the "find a contractor" tab on this site? Or we may know someone who works in your area who actually knows what they are doing.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Good idea didn't check out the contractors listed on this site. I live in Bethesda, MD just outside of Washington, DC.
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 18,966
    edited January 2018
    Get hold of @Steamhead . He's in Baltimore, and if he can't take it on (he does mostly steam) he'll know someone reliable in your area who will.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    @Jamie Hall Thanks will do.
  • Steamhead
    Steamhead Member Posts: 15,349
    Thanks, @Jamie Hall . Before calling us, @JesseG should see if @Dan Foley is available- he serves the DC metro area.
    All Steamed Up, Inc.
    Towson, MD, USA
    Steam, Vapor & Hot-Water Heating Specialists
    Oil & Gas Burner Service
    Consulting
    KC_JonesDan FoleyRich_49
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    @Steamhead Thanks will do.
  • HomerJSmith
    HomerJSmith Member Posts: 1,567
    The boiler is only half the system and I must confess is usually the source of most problems, but the piping to the heat emitters and the heat emitters are the other half of the system. How about pictures of that. You say the baseboards are hot. Anything over 98.6 degrees is hot. Take measurements with a thermometer, both input and output. That way you know.
  • JesseG
    JesseG Member Posts: 19
    Resting a thermometer on the pipe coming into one of radiators it reads at 113 degrees. Doing the same on a pipe coming out of the radiator reads at 97 degrees.
  • Robert_25
    Robert_25 Member Posts: 406
    Sounds like your flow is going somewhere other than the radiators. Please post a diagram of all boiler and radiation piping. Hand drawn is fine.
  • BobC
    BobC Member Posts: 5,309
    The right set of eyeballs on a problem makes all t he difference, glad to hear your system is working.

    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
    kcopp