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Thermal Shock

The more I read the less I know... Before reading on this forum I'd turn the thermostat without a second thought.

My building has 3 zones. Some zones are only used 2 or 3 nights a week. When zones are not in use I have been turning the heat down to 50deg and when in use turning up to 68 never giving it a thought. Now I'm wondering if this is a problem and could shock the boiler.

Comments

  • Steve MinnichSteve Minnich Member Posts: 2,617
    Not based on what you’re saying. The boiler is going from a cold start and then ramping up to the limit’s setting. 
    Author - Hard Knocks: My Life Inside Boiler Rooms
    PHC News Columnist
    Minnich Hydronic Consulting & Design, LLC
    https://heatinghelp.com/find-a-contractor/detail/minnich-hydronic-consulting-and-design
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,852
    Not a problem. I think what you may be thinking of is the caution not to introduce cold water into an already hot boiler. That can create a good deal of thermal shock, and if it's just no your day crack the boiler. But starting with both the boiler and the water cold or cool -- not a problem.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • MatthewKleinMatthewKlein Member Posts: 8
    My worry is that zone A will have the boiler warm then zone B will call for heat returning 50deg water to the hot boiler. Maybe I'm overthinking
  • Jamie HallJamie Hall Member Posts: 13,852
    I think you're overthinking it -- although I can see where you are going with your thinking, and it isn't completely trivial.

    The main thing is that it is unlikely that one zone will be pumping in much more than a gallon or two every minute (and that water will be room temperature), into a boiler which is warm -- perhaps 160? -- but full of water. That new water coming in will mix with the hot water, but it will take some time to bring the boiler water down to a cooler temperature, and by that time it is likely that the return water will be warming up. That situation is not likely to cause a thermal shock problem.

    Where there is the potential for a serious problem is in a steam boiler which has run low on water. At that point there may be -- probably is -- a good deal of iron at very high temperature above the now low water line. Hitting that with cold water can and does crack the iron, not only from the fast cooling but from the fact that it will be localised. This is also why makeup water should always be added to a wet return in steam practice, never directly to the boiler.
    Br. Jamie, osb

    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England.

    Hoffman Equipped System (all original except boiler), Weil-Mclain 580, 2.75 gph Carlin, Vapourstat 0.5 -- 6.0 ounces per square inch
  • MatthewKleinMatthewKlein Member Posts: 8
    Ahhh, so this is a steam boiler problem? Thank you for the information.
    This is a 600,000input/450,000output boiler. The room I'm worried about has around 170ft of 2in pipe and is around 225,000btu. That's a lot of cold water returning

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