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Steam Boiler - Can the basement hot water zone get heat without upstairs calling for heat

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Old_Steam
Old_Steam Member Posts: 11
edited March 2022 in THE MAIN WALL
I recently had an old oil burner (converted from coal) steam furnace from the 1930's replaced with a new gas fired burner. The previous owner had a hot water baseboard zone, with its own Thermostat, plumbed into it to heat the basement. I know it worked but i didnt spend much time in the basement, so I never used it much. Now that I have a new gas burner steam boiler installed, I am also having a friend staying in the basement apartment, and looking for heat. The guy who put my new furnace in has it wired such that the basement can only get heat with his thermostat if upstairs already had the boiler warmed up calling for heat. If I go away for the weekend and leave the house thermostat down to around 60, he can never get it warm enough in the basement hot water zone with his thermostat.
My question is this, is there a way for me to have the system wired so that the basement can initiate the call for heat, instead of just borrowing some pumped hot water when I have my steam up high? The guy who replaced my boiler said he doesnt know if it can be done. He did all the plumbing of the new system, but he had another guy come in and do the wiring. He used a Taco SR501 for the basement zone.








My old boiler:



Comments

  • bburd
    bburd Member Posts: 926
    edited March 2022
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    Certainly it can be done. The basement zone circulator relay can be wired to T-T on the gas valve, with a high limit aquastat in series so the boiler water temperature will not exceed 180°F or so when the basement zone is calling for heat but the main house is not. Others will know if that particular relay has auxiliary dry contacts that can be used for this, or will need to be replaced.

    It’s quite simple for someone familiar with steam heat. Have you tried the “find a contractor” link on this site?

    Bburd
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    The wiring is easy. It's the piping that has to be right. Get someone else to make the supply and return connections to your boiler and set the aquastat directly into the cast iron. These systems are intended to work independently from the steam heat.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
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  • Old_Steam
    Old_Steam Member Posts: 11
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    So those supply and return connections don’t look right?
  • JohnNY
    JohnNY Member Posts: 3,244
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    Old_Steam said:

    So those supply and return connections don’t look right?

    Not from here they don't. It looks like you're supplying and returning without even going through the boiler. Either way, the aquastat being mounted to the piping is rarely a good option. That looks like a Williamson boiler. There may not be a good tapping in that unit. The manual doesn't show the right-side, end-section tappings but if it's the same as the Weil-McLain EG series, which I'm told is identical, then there are tappings labeled H and J that will have to be used.
    Page 38.
    https://www.weil-mclain.com/sites/default/files/field-file/EG PEG Series 6 Boiler Manual - Web Version.pdf

    Still not ideal. Weil and Williamson don't make this easy. US Boiler does. But Weil-McLain offers the tankless heat exchanger that makes all of it work even better....someone familiar with such things will make light work of this for you.
    Contact John "JohnNY" Cataneo, NYC Master Plumber, Lic 1784
    Consulting & Troubleshooting
    Heating in NYC or NJ.
    Classes
    LS123
  • EBEBRATT-Ed
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 15,752
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    @Old_Steam

    It would probably be smart to get someone in there that knows what to do. Of course the plumber cut it all apart when he took the old boiler out then didn't know how to reconnect it


    Check "Find a contractor on this site" and post your location someone may know someone in your area
    LS123
  • ethicalpaul
    ethicalpaul Member Posts: 5,757
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    All anyone needs to know: https://heatinghelp.com/systems-help-center/how-to-run-a-hot-water-zone-off-a-steam-boiler/

    I never even bothered to hook up my aquastat because in the winter there's always hot water in my steam boiler. You might find the same if the hot water piping was actually circulating through the boiler, as mentioned above.
    NJ Steam Homeowner. See my sight glass boiler videos: https://bit.ly/3sZW1el
    LS123