Minimal heat produced? (water and heat)


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Old 04-05-06, 09:01 AM
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Minimal heat produced? (water and heat)

We just bought a house that has been empty for 4-5 months.

I have a feeling that the heater is not functioning proeprly. (water boiler maybe)

I feel like there is little air pressure coming from the vents downstairs, and it stays pretty chilly. Our hot water is not really that hot. I turn it up to full temp (hot) and i don't even come close to having to move my finger away.

I don't know if these systems are related.

It's a 8 yr old townhouse, 2 stories, 1700 sq ft. (8 yr old gas water boiler as well).

Any ideas?
 
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Old 04-05-06, 01:21 PM
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You are going to have to give us a lot more detail in order to answer your questions.

Do you have a forced air heating system? You mentioned "I feel like there is little air pressure coming from the vents downstairs, and it stays pretty chilly."

Do you have a heat pump?

What do you mean when you say "Our hot water is not really that hot. I turn it up to full temp (hot) and i don't even come close to having to move my finger away." Do you mean that when only the hot tap (or full over for a single-handle tap) is on that the water is only warm? Do you have a tank-type or tankless water heater? Gas or electric water heater? Have you checked the water heater's thermostat setting?

Please post back.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 01:35 PM
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I apoligize for the vagueness. I'm still new to this all.

I have a forced air natural gas heat system. (central air as well).

They're single handle fixtures, and yes, when I turn it all the way to hot, it is warm, but not hot.

I assume it is a tank water heater. I don't know. How would I check.

I've checked the thermostat, I don't know if there is a separate one other than the one we have downstairs
 
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Old 04-05-06, 02:13 PM
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Okay, it is unlikely (but not impossible) that your space heating and water heating problems are related.

First the space heating. In a properly designed forced air system there should not be a "high pressure" flow from the register outlets. Unfortunately few FA systems are properly designed but are designed for maximum economy to the installer and the homeowner suffers. The one exception is a "high velocity" system but these are rare in residences except for retrofit cooling systems.

Also, in properly designed (and also heat pump) systems the air coming out of the vent should be only warm on your hand, not hot.

I think your problem may be in the maladjustment of "balancing dampers" in the system. Does your upstairs area heat comfortably? Where is the thermostat for the furnace located in regard to the room(s) that you feel are not being warmed enough?

The water problem.
In your utility area, probably near your furnace will be the water heater. (It could be anywhere but that is the usual place. If it is a tank-type it will be about 18 to 28 inches in diameter and 36 to 60 inches tall, cylindrical in shape. It will have two pipes connected to the top, one is cold water to the tank and the other will be hot water to the faucets. There will be a "T&P" (temperature and pressure) safety valve in the top or side of the cylinder with a pipe that may go to within six inches of the floor or it may dissapear inside a wall. If it is a gas-fired heater it will have a three inch exhaust vent on top, possibly connected to the exhaust vent from the furnace. A gas water heater will have a thermostat about ten inches above the bottom of the tank. This is connected to the main gas line, most likely with a flexible pipe. The thermostat has a temperature dial on it and it may be set at the lowest temperature. There quite likely are not actual temperature scales on the dial but perhaps numbers and letters (1, 2, 3...A, B, C, HOT). If this is what you have I suggest that you turn the dial one number higher and wait for a period of time and then again see how hot your water is. You may have to turn the dial up several numbers before you get the water to your desired temperature. Be sure to wait for the heater to actually heat the water before raising the dial again.

If you have an electric water heater it will look similar to the description of the gas-fired model except there will NOT be an exhaust vent and there will be no visible thermostat. An electric water heater will have an access panel (or two) and the thermostat(s) are behind the panel. If you have an electric water heater post back and I will give you the necessary instruction.

A "tankless" water heater will look more like a box on the wall than a cylinder. I don't have any experience with tankless heaters.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 02:14 PM
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2 separate problems...

Downstairs heat - There may be an adjustment near the furnace to direct more air flow to the lower floor. In the summer, you will probably want to move it back as it is now so it doesn't over cool. Look for a small lever on the ductwork around where it connects to the furnace. There may be several of them to change air volume in various areas of the house. Experiment to find the most even settings and mark the position of each lever with a red permanent marker. Do the same in the summer and mark the new positions with a blue marker. After that, when the season changes, you can easily adjust the air flow.

Hot Water - The temperature setting on the water heater needs to be turned up. It was probably set low to save energy while the house was empty. Find the water heater. If it's gas, it has a dial on the front to set the temp. If electric, the dial(s) are behind the front cover(s). There may be 2 and both need to be set to the same temp. (around 120 degrees) BE SURE TO TURN POWER OFF AT THE BREAKER PANEL BEFORE DOING ANYTHING.

Doug M.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 02:20 PM
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Ooops, sorry furd... our replies "crossed in the mail". Looks like we came to similar conclusions.

Doug M.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 02:20 PM
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I won't be home til late tonight, but I will try it.

To my memory, (i was in there this morning), i did see a pilot light dial which was set to low. But I know that's not what you're refering to.

I do have a water tank. It has the vent that leads to a vent in the top of the utility closet.

The thermostat is located downstairs (the utility room is upstairs).

For the heating system...I will try closing a few vents upstairs, in hopes of it forcing more air to other vents. I will look for all of your suggestions. I also know I need to chair the air filter.
 
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Old 04-05-06, 02:27 PM
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i did see a pilot light dial which was set to low. But I know that's not what you're refering to.
A Pilot light dial wouldn't have a low setting so that probably IS the dial that needs to be moved up.

I will try closing a few vents upstairs, in hopes of it forcing more air to other vents.
Look for dampers (small levers I discussed in my previous post) near the furnace first. If there are dampers closing off the downstairs ductwork, closing the upstairs vents could cause the system pressure to increase which, in turn, can cause serious problems to develop.

Doug M.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 08:42 AM
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OK..So far....

I have turned up the temp and you guys were right about that. I don't know how high is normal, so that I can have hot water, and not waste money.

I haven't had a chance to play with the vents yet. Furniture just came, and (hopefully) like any new home owner, Im exaggerating how bad things look, and how nothing is working right.
 
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Old 04-06-06, 07:25 PM
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OK....an update:

The water problem seems to have gone away. Thank you all for your advice.

The heater problem...I'm still learning whats comfortable. I don't believe my front door is drafty, but there is a significant temperature difference between the upstairs and downstairs. (The heater is upstairs.

I did not see a lot of different levers. I think there is a gas lever and thats about it.

I can make it comfortable downstairs, but I'm trying to keep the cost reasonable
 
 

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