Winterizing house---can I turn off water supply w/o harming boiler?

Old 11-20-06, 09:57 AM
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Winterizing house---can I turn off water supply w/o harming boiler?

Hi DIYers,

I have a newly acquired summer house here in New England. It has a 16 year old Burnham/Beckett boiler/hot water system. For the winter, we plan to run the heat at 45-50 degrees, but in case there's a power interruption we'd like to turn off the water pump (it's a well system). That way if a pipe bursts there won't be a flood as the well and pump keep sending water. We'll be checking on the house periodically during the off season.

Will this approach harm the boiler/heating system? I.e., does the heating system or boiler need to draw water from the well during simple heating operations? Since no one will be using hot water, there won't be any call for hot water.

Thanks for any advice!

Old 11-20-06, 02:54 PM
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The boiler shouldn't need to have water added to it unless it leaks. Unless it's a steam boiler. I would make sure it has a Low Water Cut-Off though if you're leaving it un-occupied. If it leaks enough the boiler could dry-fire and crack.
I don't like the idea of an un-occupied house with a boiler in winter anyway. You should have anti-freeze in it at the very least. And someone should check on it very frequently.
Old 11-20-06, 03:00 PM
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A LWCO and an monitoring system at an absolute minimum! Make sure the burner has been tuned and gone over--new filter, nozzle, tune up, etc.
If your circulators run on a call for heat (even if the furnace is cold) you will gain some time for freeze ups in the heating system.

Take a look at the Sensaphone units; the model 1100 is a good choice. Have the house checked on a very regular basis. Your other choice would be having the house professionally winterized: that will include adding potable antifreeze to the boiler system, toilet bowls, domestic piping, all traps, washing machine, etc. You still want some heat to avoid other problems!
Old 11-20-06, 03:17 PM
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In any of the homes here to set the tstat down to 45 or 50 Is just to low for what it can do to a home. Tape off the drywall, floors shrink and dont go back just on and on. Do keep open all door in the home . Also the kitchen cabinet doors and any cabinets doors in baths.
Old 11-20-06, 03:40 PM
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If by some chance you have a centrally monitored alarm system in the house, you could ask them if they have a "freeze alarm" they can wire into the system. That way, you could at least get a call if something went amiss...

Some of the _newer_ (yours probably doesn't have it) Beckett/Honeywell controls have an alarm output on the primary control that can also be used for purpose of alerting to a locked out burner.

There are also devices that connect to your well system that can shut the pump down if it runs too long, or runs dry. Contact your well guy about that.

Have fun in the sun!

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