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Why I turn off the pilot

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JakeCK
JakeCK Member Posts: 1,418
edited June 2023 in Gas Heating
This is pretty self explanatory. That little flame that burns, what 400 btu's, provides enough energy to actually drive my entire converted old gravity system. And that is despite the heat, and dirt trap, the guy who installed the boiler unintentionally created. 400btu/h is about the same amount of heat as a 100watt light bulb puts out if I'm not mistaken. When it's already 85 degrees upstairs I do not want to add even a single extra BTU of heat. Just sayin'.

On a side note I turned the basement dehumidifier on about a month ago. I have had to empty it exactly once. Sure we are experiencing some really dry weather right now but I used to have to empty it at least twice a day in the spring. I don't know what contributed to this the most, the polyiso on the foundation, or the repair of the storm and footer drains, but I'm not complaining. It's staying a lot cooler down there as a result. 


Comments

  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 23,675
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    On the flip side, a 100 watt bulb can come in real handy as a spot warmer. Not just chicks and so on, but we have a well pit in one place which is at risk of freezing in the winter -- and we just leave the 100 watt light in the pit on in the winter. No problem.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
    JakeCK
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,111
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    There was a farmer with the cold pump pit problem.
    The light bulb was enough heat.....but out of sight....was it burned out or not?

    So I set up 2 bulbs in series, maybe the 100 in the pit and a 25 within sight.
    Not sure of the sizes, it may have taken a little experimenting.

    But when outside bulb was on the buried inside bulb was good.
    mattmia2
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,981
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    JUGHNE said:

    There was a farmer with the cold pump pit problem.
    The light bulb was enough heat.....but out of sight....was it burned out or not?

    So I set up 2 bulbs in series, maybe the 100 in the pit and a 25 within sight.
    Not sure of the sizes, it may have taken a little experimenting.

    But when outside bulb was on the buried inside bulb was good.

    or just use a pair of 240v lamps and check on it occasionally. the 240v lamps will last for years at the reduced voltage although the output isn't easy to calculate because the filament is a thermistor, its resistance decreases as it gets cooler so it has a lower resistance if you burn it at reduced voltage so it uses more power than you would expect if you assumed it was linear.
  • JUGHNE
    JUGHNE Member Posts: 11,111
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    I think we settled on both being 100 watts. In series halving the voltage at each would only produce 25watts....no?

    In any event it was enough to keep things from freezing.
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,981
    edited June 2023
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    JUGHNE said:

    In series halving the voltage at each would only produce 25watts....no?

    Not quite because the resistance of the filament changes with temp so if you don't burn it at full voltage it is cooler and the resistance is less. This is for a 6v lamp but the same thing happens with a 120v or 240v lamp:


    ChrisJ
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,929
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    mattmia2 said:
    In series halving the voltage at each would only produce 25watts....no?
    Not quite because the resistance of the filament changes with temp so if you don't burn it at full voltage it is cooler and the resistance is less. This is for a 6v lamp but the same thing happens with a 120v or 240v lamp:
    That's also why incandescents almost always fail when first turned on rather than while in use. No?
    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
  • HVACNUT
    HVACNUT Member Posts: 5,894
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    My parents old house had a partial basement, about 400 sq ft. I replaced their boiler with a (dad supplied HD special) Slant Fin atmospheric with the vent damper. The following summer I found you could spontaneously combust from only the standing pilot just walking down the stairs. From then on I would shut the gas to the boiler and relight/check in the fall.
  • SlamDunk
    SlamDunk Member Posts: 1,601
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    The fastest return on an investment I ever had was converting my old boiler's standing pilot to an intermittent ignitor.
    Derheatmeister
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,333
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    SlamDunk said:

    The fastest return on an investment I ever had was converting my old boiler's standing pilot to an intermittent ignitor.

    Ever consider always on igniter? Will it last longer than a sparker?

  • john123
    john123 Member Posts: 83
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    what is an "always on" igniter?
  • ChrisJ
    ChrisJ Member Posts: 15,929
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    john123 said:

    what is an "always on" igniter?

    The only kind I can think of is a standing pilot. That's always on.

    Unless they meant a hot surface igniter, but those aren't always on, they're only hot when the burner runs.

    Single pipe quasi-vapor system. Typical operating pressure 0.14 - 0.43 oz. EcoSteam ES-20 Advanced Control for Residential Steam boilers. Rectorseal Steamaster water treatment
    mattmia2
  • jumper
    jumper Member Posts: 2,333
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    I was thinking about leaving a hot surface igniter on all the time. Maybe it's repeated heat up cool down cycles that eventually kill it?
  • mattmia2
    mattmia2 Member Posts: 9,981
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    jumper said:

    I was thinking about leaving a hot surface igniter on all the time. Maybe it's repeated heat up cool down cycles that eventually kill it?

    it is both the cycle and the being hot. i suspect it would only last a few weeks to months if you keep it always hot. my furnace has a system that supposedly modulates the power so it only gets hot enough to ignite the gas and it has lasted about 22 years so far. I think it only energizes it until it proves flame as well so it saves wear that way too.
  • reggi
    reggi Member Posts: 522
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    JakeCK said:


    On a side note I turned the basement dehumidifier on about a month ago. I have had to empty it exactly once. Sure we are experiencing some really dry weather right now but I used to have to empty it at least twice a day in the spring. I don't know what contributed to this the most, the polyiso on the foundation, or the repair of the storm and footer drains, but I'm not complaining. It's staying a lot cooler down there as a result. 


    What a difference from last year.. perhaps your answer? 😮
    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/188163/wow-that-uses-a-lot-more-energy-then-i-thought/p1
    One way to get familiar something you know nothing about is to ask a really smart person a really stupid question
  • JakeCK
    JakeCK Member Posts: 1,418
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    reggi said:
    JakeCK said:


    On a side note I turned the basement dehumidifier on about a month ago. I have had to empty it exactly once. Sure we are experiencing some really dry weather right now but I used to have to empty it at least twice a day in the spring. I don't know what contributed to this the most, the polyiso on the foundation, or the repair of the storm and footer drains, but I'm not complaining. It's staying a lot cooler down there as a result. 


    What a difference from last year.. perhaps your answer? 😮
    https://forum.heatinghelp.com/discussion/188163/wow-that-uses-a-lot-more-energy-then-i-thought/p1
    Indeed, and yes I know that those change are absolutely what have contributed to this much lower energy usage. It was more of a statement of surprise at how much a change and curiosity about which one contributed the most. My bet is the polyiso, maybe. But I'm sure it helps a lot that any liquid water that makes it down the foundation can drain away freely.