Intellicon HW on a Columbia Emerald Boiler?

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Old 11-23-08, 08:12 PM
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Intellicon HW on a Columbia Emerald Boiler?

Hi all,

I've been reading a ton of posts answered by NJTrooper and he really sounds like he knows his stuff. So, if you're reading this, can you give me a hand? I have Columbia's Emerald model EM-100. It has an AFUE rating of 83.1 according to Columbia's site. I guess that's not bad for an oil burner but I'd like to do better. It has a Becket AFG burner on it.
I've been reading about the Intellicon HW+ heat manager. It sounds really promising and I'd like to install it on my system. But can I install it on my system? I'm a single zone system. There's a Honeywell L8124C on it. I'm guessing this is the Aquastat but I don't see any sensors going to any of the pipes.
The system operates fine. It doesn't supply domestic hot water to the house. Although I have read it is possible to. When the programable thermostat kicks on, the burner fires up. While it is running, I will have periods when it is on, turns off for 5 minutes, comes on for 5 minutes, etc. The times may not be exact but I am unsure whether the thermostat is cycling the boiler on and off or if the Aquastat is doing the cycling. When the burner is off, the single circulator pump is silent.
Hopefully, i have provided all the necessary info for you. Thanks
 
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Old 11-23-08, 08:51 PM
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Domestic hot water

how do you get it? Just watch the water temps on the boiler. When it reaches likely 180F it shuts of, as it gives up its heat to warm the house, the water cools and cuts in the boiler when it hits the cutin temp...usually 170F. but the pump continues...normal
 
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Old 11-23-08, 09:24 PM
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I really don't know much ... just a very good BSer ...

Hvac described what I call the boiler 'bouncing off it's high limit'.

If the t'stat is still calling, as hvac said, the circ will continue to run ...

If your boiler is oversized, it's very possible that the HW might save a few percent ... I'm skeptical about their claim to 10% savings ... 2-3 % might be optimistic.

What it probably will prevent in your case is the short cycling ... on a heat call, the boiler would fire up to high limit. The HW would widen the 'differential' (the low temperature that the burner cuts back in at), so you would get a longer OFF time on the burner. Of course, this would be followed by a longer ON time ... and that's a good thing (probably where the savings would accumulate... longer burns, more efficient)

10% savings ? I say NOT... but to help short cycling ? maybe ...
 
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Old 11-25-08, 08:34 AM
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OK. So i've contacted Columbia Boilers. They sent me a owners manual/installation manual. Also, they said they use the intellicon hw on another boiler in a different series they sell. With good results.
So After some research, i found a Tekmar 256 which measures outside air temp. Both are under 2 bills. Can anyone give me their opinion as to which is a smarter choice?
 
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Old 11-25-08, 09:33 AM
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interesting thread ill be following. My installer said the tekmar 260 is good with my columbia solaia so I'll probably get that in a month or so with the install. Except now xiphias says it may not be a good match so i have to figure that out quickly to see why not
 
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Old 11-25-08, 05:15 PM
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For the same price ? There's no question ... the 256 of course ... one other thing about the 256 I would like to mention: If you turn on the feature called "Auto Differential" you have just switched on the feature of the HW ... cuz what Tek does with that Auto Diff is the same thing the HW does ...

Between the 256 and the 260 there is another nice feature in that an INDOOR SENSOR can be used with the 260 ... the 260 also allows control of an indirect water heater ... which you don't need ... so the only advantage to the 260 in your case would be the indoor sensor ... the indoor sensor gives the control another set of data on which to act ... three variables instead of just two makes it easier for the control to find the 'sweet spot' ... but the 256 will do the job ...

Read about the 256 here:

Tekmar 256

Page 8 has the bit about the "Auto Differential" ...

AND, the 256 will give you OUTDOOR RESET ... just don't set the BOIL MIN too low a temp... you don't want flue gas condensation problems.
 
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Old 11-25-08, 08:46 PM
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Smile Intellicon HW

Hi I have installed dozens of the Intellicon HW and have yet to see any savings of less then the 10% promised by the mfg. The technology it is based upon is a heck of a lot more sophisticated then a old style outdoor reset such as the Tekmar, additionally the tekmar does require a fair amount of calibration and more then one outdoor sensor to be anywhere close to being accurate. The Intellicon that I have installed on my unit at home is showing about 11% savings over the course of the last 8 months the boiler itself is 2 year old european triple pass cold start with an Indirect hot water tank and a hydrolevel 3150, this setup is as efficent as you get and I am happy, my customers are happy......on a last note the mfg of the Intellicon guarantee's 10% savings or the purchase price is refunded, the tekmar offers no such guaratee....
 
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Old 11-25-08, 09:10 PM
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Jack, errrr... I mean North Man ...

How are your customers able to determine that they are in fact saving 10% ? Have you tracked the degree days and correlated them with measured fuel use ? or, are you going by the 'display' on the unit ? How can that display calculate fuel savings if it has absolutely no idea of how much fuel is being used currently, per degree day ... and how much was used last year, or the year before ? What is that display actually telling you ? How much it 'thinks' it is saving based on some software geeks idea of fuel savings ... based on what data ? The rate that the supply water drops in temperature after a burner firing ? That's almost no data at all !

The technology it is based upon is a heck of a lot more sophisticated then a old style outdoor reset
Just so you know, the "AUTO DIFFERENTIAL" in the Tekmar unit is ALL the HW does ... in other words, one small little function in the Tek, is ALL of what the HW is about ...

What technology ? You can't call an obsolete 8 bit microprocessor and an op-amp and a couple opto-isolators 'technology' ...

The ONLY thing the HW does is measure the temperature of the supply water after the boiler fires, and widen the differential if it cools slowly, and narrow it if it falls more quickly.

As a solution for short cycling, the unit may have it's place... but for 10% fuel savings ? Not...

I'm sorry Mr. Hammer ... errrr, I mean North Man Heat, the HW is smoke and mirrors ... a clever ruse ... but we're both entitled to our opinions, aren't we ?
 
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Old 11-26-08, 06:48 AM
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I installed the Intellicon's poor cousin, the Beckett HeatManager. It's based on the same principle. I've been watching it off and on, and typically it would go into 'economizing' mode for a minute or 2 before firing the burner. Burner run times are about 10 minutes, so that seems to suggest a 10% savings.

My boiler is an old Thatcher unit, which is high mass similar to your Emerald. The boiler temperature takes a while to drop as a result, and the HeatManager varies the burner cut-in depending on the rate of heat loss. Sometimes it's above 150*, sometimes below. Some calls for heat are finished in economizing mode without firing the burner at all.

I *think* it's saving me money, but there is no way to tell for sure until I add up the bills and compare to previous years. To muddy the picture I also installed a new burner and outside air intake, so I may never know.

Your aquastat has a low limit, which means you are keeping the boiler hot all the time. Maybe check into a cold start aquastat, as long as the Emerald is compatible with it. Also, the hookup of the HeatManager/Intellicon takes an hour tops. The most difficult part is figuring out where to mount it.
 

Last edited by oil_boiler; 11-26-08 at 07:16 AM.
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Old 11-26-08, 03:57 PM
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Yeah, kinda hard to compare apples to apples in your case...

I have a HM hooked up... and I can say that it hasn't saved a dime on _my_ system... but there are reasons for that which aren't related to the operation of the control. More on that in a minute...

The HM does nothing to the high limit ... so the boiler will (can) fire up to that ... say 180 ...

If it determines that there is heat left in the boiler after the heat call, what it does is purge that heat into the home before firing the burner.

The lowest temp it will target is 145 ...

As soon as the burner cuts off, the HM/HW starts taking measurements of the rate at which the supply is cooling off. It does this on EVERY burner cycle, and calculates a 'new' differential after each one.

My boiler has a few 'extra' controls on it ... one of them (an aquastat) runs the circulator after a heat call until the boiler temp falls to whatever that 'stat is set to ... I use 130 as the low setting ...

The reason the HM won't save on _my_ system is because it is ALWAYS sensing a heavy 'load', because the circ is ALWAYS running after a heat call, and the temperature on the supply is always falling fast. So, the control gets confused... and sets a VERY small differential (around 8°), which is totally incorrect for this weather ...

OK, I shut down my add-on a'stat and let the HM 'do it's thing'... I see the same sorta pattern... a heat call will come in and the HM will economize for a minute or two before firing the burner ... up to HIGH LIMIT >>>

and, THIS is where it isn't saving as much as a good ODR could ... because a heckuva lot of savings could be had by simply firing the boiler up to ONLY the temp that's needed to replace the heat in the home ... by allowing the HIGH limit to come down, you are saving on BOTH ends ... and don't forget that the Tekmar has the function of the HM/HW ... BUILT IN ...

I really have no problem with the HM/HW for WHAT IT's WORTH ... I remain very skeptical of the 10% guaranteed savings ... and I highly doubt that any homeowner would be able to PROVE that he didn't save 10% ... and thus wouldn't be able to collect on that guarantee. I would like to hear from someone that tried or was successful ...

Thing is... to say that the Tekmar stuff is in any way inferior to a simple little 'adaptive differential' device is just silly ... the HM/HW has it's place ... and might actually do a good job on a grossly oversized boiler heating a small home with low mass radiation (fin tube...) If that unit can save 10%, THIS is where it would shine. On a well designed system, properly sized boiler, forget it ... in other words, if your system doesn't 'short cycle', you will never achieve that 10% claim ...

For roughly the same price, why not just go with the 256/260 and get the function of the HM/HW along with ODR ? Two controls for the price of one... such a deal!
 
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Old 11-26-08, 04:03 PM
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I *think* it's saving me money, but there is no way to tell for sure until I add up the bills and compare to previous years.
You would need to correlate the fuel burned with Degree Days ... because if there are more or less DDs, well, it's apples to oranges again ... historical DD data is available for download from NOAA for one ... I'm sure there are others ...
 
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Old 11-29-08, 04:57 PM
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Not to mention your set point

There is no way to prove or disprove the savings if in fact there are any at all. Thats the great selling point of this snakeoil gadget. Theres no way to call your bluff on it. Just look at what the readout says. I'll bet the software probly says something like " if X=<10% then let X =10%". The onboard computer is laughable at best. It's a fly in the ointment if you will...one mor thing to fail. KISS
 
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Old 11-29-08, 10:43 PM
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I put the Intellicon HW on my boiler a few months ago and I kind of like it. The reasons I installed one is because I have an old over-sized boiler in a small house. My aquastat for heating has a fixed 10% differential. I have 2 zones. One zone has only one radiator and that is the most used room so the heat is always on in that zone. The HW seems to be helping with short cycling. For me installing the HW was quick and a lot easier to install than upgrading the aquastat. The HW has an adjustable low limit or cut in temp setting (also an adjustable low limit for domestic coil). I look at it as sort of a glorified aquastat.



Plus it has a few perks like digital readout for boiler/domestic hot water temp. Also displays total burner run hrs and total burner economized hrs. As of today it says my burner has ran 121 hrs and it has 20 economized hrs. Maybe they fudge how they count those hrs I don't know. At least now I have a lot more control of my cut in temp. I have it at default 145 deg for now.



So maybe for some it might be worth it.
 
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Old 12-01-08, 05:44 PM
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Responses to numerous negative threads concerning HW+ controls

I normally don't respond to these forums, but I will break my rule and do so, since there is so much nonsense being said about the Intellidyne HW+ control.

Based upon what I've read there seems to be a number of individuals that have an axe to grind with Intellidyne for some unknown reason. Some of you think that you have been communicating with me but sorry you are wrong. Sorry NJ Trooper, I am not North Man Heat……

While some of the contributors to this blog seem to be knowledgeable, the information they are disseminating is based upon assumptions, conjecture, and ignorance of how the IntelliCon products really work.

I take a lot of pride in my company and products. We are 100% above board when it comes to performance claims.

Intellidyne prides itself on complete customer satisfaction. Not only do we have a performance guarantee, we also warrant the product for 15 years against any kind of failures. Basically, if you don't burn it out during installation there is very little you could do to not get a replacement if necessary. We also have the finest technical support people – bar none. We actually walk Installers (some of whom shouldn’t be installing our controls) through the installation, checkout and programming phase. On-site installers get preference when calling in.

FYI, I have been in the temperature control industry since the early eighties and have done all types of Process and Comfort temperature control work.

I am not going to get into why one micro-controller over another. If it does the job I want what is the difference. FYI – we use a Microchip PIC18F2520. It has and does everything I need. If it didn’t I’d use something else. The fact is, the circuitry in our controls could be done a hundred different ways, as well as the programming too. It is the method of what we do that is important.

I resisted the request of sales for many years to include a means of displaying savings on our controls. I wouldn’t do it until I was satisfied that the method was sound and truthful. The savings calculation is not in all of our products because the method used in our HW+ or FA controls is not applicable for our other products. I feel personally offended by someone’s statement that the calculation is some stupid if-than-else Boolean calculation based on B.S. (smoke and mirrors, snake-oil). My experience has shown me that these very concepts usually come from people that employ them in their own day-to-day activities OR let’s bash what we really don’t understand. I welcome and challenge any of you to give me a call if you really want to have a meaningful discussion on any subject or concept relative to our products. You can get our number from our website (Intellidyne - Energy savings, guaranteed.).

Let’s discuss the savings calculations as well as our other timers/counters. First of all, the counters are just that, they add up seconds (units of time). Whenever the relay in the HW+ is de-energized and there is a call signal present on the yellow lead, the RT (run-time) counter, counts up. When there is a call on the yellow lead, and the HW+ is inhibiting the burner from firing, the ET (economizer timer) counts up. By themselves the RT and ET are not sufficient to perform the savings calculation, other information is necessary. Our proprietary and patent pending process does not need to be normalized for heating degree-days. Without giving up too much info, suffice it to say that we are able to extract the original cycle (one without the HW+) from the actual cycle that is influenced by the HW+. What is important here is that in order to make them relevant to each other (since they can be of varying time durations) they are extrapolated to the same time reference. This is necessary or we wouldn’t be able to average them together properly. We know the time of each portion of the cycle, as well as each temperature. With that info we are able to calculate the savings. Due to the way that we are extracting the original cycle from the actual, we are benefiting the original cycle due to the fact that the heat exchanger is already hot, as well as some other factors which results in the savings actually being understated. I have no problem with that, do you? If anyone wants to discuss this further, you are free to call me….

Now let’s discuss Outside-Air Temperature Reset (OATR)….. an absolutely fine technology, except that it is never implemented properly, which results in less that optimum savings.

OK – here is the real nitty-gritty, OATR works under the assumption that the Boiler is sized to provide sufficient heat on the coldest days in a given geographic area (usually happens about 1% or the time) and that the same amount off heat is not required on any day that is warmer than that design day. Great, works, but…… Who programs the temperatures that are needed, and what are those temperatures? Is it a linear function (actually not) - but the OATR controls usually only have two points for setting the slope of the reset function. Next, the OATR requires an outdoor-air temperature sensor (added installation expense), and how many have you actually seen it installed on a north wall with a sun-shield? This sensor incidentally only reports dry-bulb temperature. If it is sunny out, the reset temperature calculated by the OATR control may be unnecessarily high. What if it’s cloudy, or windy? The calculated temperature may be too low. Have you ever seen a contractor spend the time to properly profile the home to achieve maximum savings (that could take months). That is not economically practical for the contractor, so rule-of-thumb settings are used, at the expense of the customer. Why put something like that in unless you are going to spend the time (and money) to do it right.

The other thing about OATR is that they are considered by most boiler / burner manufacturer’s (as well as the Department of Energy) as duty-cycle controls. One of the reasons that the manufactures don’t like duty-cycle controls is that since they not only control when the burner is started, they also control when it is stopped. This may prevent the boiler from getting up to proper operational temperatures and leave condensation in the flue. Also, trying to maintain a lower average water temperature leaving the boiler, may lead to shorter on cycles which actually decreases burner efficiency, since the boiler would rarely get to a steady-state condition. That inefficient method of cycling is exactly what the HW+ does not do. The HW+ varies the average water temperature by only affecting the low end. This can still yield the same average water temperature as the OATR, but the boiler is always brought to the same operational temperature. This results is fewer cycles, but cycles that are slightly longer (to make up for the btu’s shed while the burner was being held off) and more efficient. The HW+ does its calculation by reading the temperature of the water leaving the boiler, and the rate at which this water temperature is changing. This rate of change has a direct relationship with the load on the heating system. It also takes into account, outdoor temperature, whether or not it is sunny or windy, if someone left a window open, etc.. because it is all reflected into the rate of change of the water temperature. Now for some really cool stuff – the HW+ calculates its initial setpoint when the call for the burner to fire comes in. After that, if the rate of change of the water temperature varies, it may calculate a new setpoint up or down, depending upon whether the load has increased, decreased, or stayed the same. FYI – the NYSERDA study demonstrated the reduction of pollution as a result of using an IntelliCon Control. Since most of the pollution occurs (on oil fires boilers) during the burner starts, reducing them by 20% - 50% can’t help but reduce pollution.

Our products are spec’d and sold by Honeywell and Johnson controls. They are OEM’d to Beckett and a number of Boiler manufacturer’s. Don’t you think they did their own testing? Intellidyne products went through a 2 year study funded by NYSERDA (New York State Energy Research and Development Authority) and was audited by Brookhaven National Laboratory (BNL), the report of which is public information. NYCDCAS (don’t remember what it stands for), BNL (the Oil heat guru), and other city and state agencies across the country have done additional testing as well.

I challenge any of you to show me any product that has been tested by so many independent agencies and has actual case studies here in the United States. All Intellidyne products are made here in the U.S.A. by and for Americans, and we will continue to do so.

P.S. - thanks, i'm going to look into whether or not Tekmar is infringing on my patent..... and btw are they made here in the States?
 
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Old 12-02-08, 08:50 PM
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Hey now! there's something different ! Howdy Mr. Hammer ... love the name ... Jack Hammer ... but I gess you've heard that all yer life, eh?

I am not North Man Heat……
Thanks for clearing that up! If you ain't him, then you certainly oughta put him on the payroll ... cuz he is a good rep for your product!

Can you blame anyone for being skeptical and cynical in this day and age? How many times have you heard "If it sounds to good to be true ... " and so on? How many of us have bought the "Tornado Vortex Fuel Economizer with Rare Earth Magnets" and then go on to swear on a stack of bibles that it was saving you fuel mileage on your car just because they didn't want to hear their spouse say "I told you so" and their friends to snicker behind their backs as to what a fool you were?

Do you think there is a significant number of users who feel the unit hasn't saved them at least 10%, but are just to lazy and apathetic to bother going through the return qualification process?

Can you tell me what the process would be for collecting on that money back guarantee? What exactly does it take to prove that 10% was not saved?

All Intellidyne products are made here in the U.S.A. by and for Americans, and we will continue to do so.
Thank you sir! I applaud you for this. Seriously... standing ovation. :USAF:

ignorance of how the IntelliCon products really work
OK then, maybe you can ejumicate us a bit!

What (in terms of fuel savings) are the absolute BEST set of conditions for the unit to operate in? (i.e. save the most?) and the WORST? (i.e. when it wouldn't be expected to save much at all?)

What effect does the built-in differential of the boiler aquastat have on the unit? If the boiler aquastat had a fixed 25° differential, how much would you expect the unit to save? Perhaps a better way to state the question would be to ask; Would a boiler aquastat with a 25° fixed differential cut in to the savings that is claimed possible?

Can this device save anything during the 'shoulder seasons' when a typical home heating boiler might not ever fire above say 150°? Doesn't the device require the boiler get to at least 170° on a regular basis?

Does the device measure rate of change on a temperature RISE, during the burner phiring fase? or does it only measure temperature on the post burner cool down?

I've read most if not all the reports you cited ... but I forget now, which one was it that tested the unit over an entire season in the same house, with all other factors as closely controlled and the same as humanly possible, AND fuel savings weighted against degree days? In other words, the one that gives a true average expected seasonal saving comparison...
 

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Old 12-02-08, 08:57 PM
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Intellicon HW+

I am very suprised that NJTrooper who is the moderator for this thread could not grasp the workings of the Intellicon HW+. As I have stated in previous posts I have installed (100's) many of these devices with almost flawless results with satisfied customers. The mechanics of the Intellicon HW is fairly straight forward to undertsand and for the life of me I could never understand why a customer would want to spend the $1,000+ for the Tekmar let alone it takes a tremendous amount of effort to ensure it is installed and operates correctly. It takes me all about 10-12 minutes with a customer to discusss the differences between the Tekmar and the Intellicon and guess what, 100% of the time the customer goes with the Intellicon HW+....go figure....I will give the Tekmar points with its "pretty design" and slick web site however dollar for dollar the Intellicon HW has always proven to me, to blow away the Tekmar in function/maintenance/intial cost and return on investment, so I have to ask the question is it just a lack of understanding of the Intellicon that has NJTrooper confused or is the Tekmar just more sexy?....btw the tekmar is sort of mfg north of the border with most the components out sourced south of the border so patent infringement may be a pain, which btw shouldnt we be supporting our american made products which the Intellicon is and the tekmar isn't....JHammer I would just suggest make the Intellidyne web site just as slick as the Tekmar, put the control in a "prettier" skin and raise the price by $200 you would put the Tekmar unit in a sales skid that they may never recover from....
 
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Old 12-02-08, 09:18 PM
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Yeah... Jack, put that man on your payroll ..! if he's not already.

NMH, I fully grasp what that little gadget does. Based on it's limited set of data input, it either widens, or narrows the differential... and that's ALL it does!

All I have said all along is that I'm skeptical of the 10% claim on savings. If you haven't heard that, you haven't been reading and comprehending.

I never once disagreed that the thing wasn't easy to install, and easy to operate ... and ya know what? I actually agree that given a choice, most ppl would probably choose the simple little gadget over something that would require them to actually excercise a few of their brain cells. America has been so dumbed down, they will believe ANYTHING they are told is true by a smiling salesman.

Never said it didn't have it's 'place' ... in fact, in several cases I've said it DID ... I just don't think it's the be all, end all to save fuel. I HAVE ONE connected to my system and operating as I type. Trust me, I know exactly how much it saves on my system. And I'm one of those lazy and apathetic types I spoke of earlier...
 

Last edited by NJT; 12-02-08 at 09:35 PM.
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Old 12-03-08, 06:49 AM
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insight sought

It's been more than I expected following this thread I started. And frankly, this is the best part about forums. Thank you everyone that have responded.
I'm one of those novices that maybe shouldn't be installing either of these devices, but I've never let lack of experience stop me in any other endeavor, why start now?
What I am wondering is: I think from what I have gathered, I have a cold start system. I don't know if that's the correct term, so I'll describe what my boiler does. When it sits idle, the water in the system can be as cold as room temp, then it gets a call to heat, and it kicks on and heats up. I don't know why or when it kicks off (is it cycling b/c it reached it's upper temp or the thermostat upstairs is telling it to stop).
SO I guess my question is, what would either of these units do for me? When my boiler shuts off now, it stops the circulator pump from operating. Would these stop the firing and continue the circulation? Would these not allow the temp of the water to return to room temp? Do these work with programmable thermostats?
Thanks in advance. I'm really trying to green my home as much as possible in order to reduce my impact on the environment. That's not always so easy with a 100year old house in Philly. I'll be blowing insulation in the crawl space soon, that is right after I get rid of all the knob and tube that's up there!
P.S. on a side note, does it make sense for me to get rid of the louvered door on the boiler room and install a sealed door and a fresh air vent for the boiler? I'm thinking that every time it fires up, it's pulling cold air into the house from all the cracks.
 
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Old 12-03-08, 11:56 AM
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Originally Posted by Sip View Post
P.S. on a side note, does it make sense for me to get rid of the louvered door on the boiler room and install a sealed door and a fresh air vent for the boiler? I'm thinking that every time it fires up, it's pulling cold air into the house from all the cracks.
Not going to get involved in this thread (interesting though it is), but what you ask above is a serious safety issue.

Your boiler requires a certain amount of air for combustion. Too little air and it will (should) lock out due to combustion gas spillage into the building. Combustion gas contains large amounts of carbon monoxide (CO), which of course is lethal in high doses and a significant health risk at lower, prolonged exposures.

As you improve the envelope of your building by insulating and air sealing, the ability of the boiler to get enough air may become an issue. The solution is to either introduce outside air (the so-called "fan in a can") to the boiler, or replace the boiler with one that draws its combustion air from outside the building (sealed combustion boilers).

There are specific guidelines in the National Fuel Gas Code (and all boiler installation manuals) for amount of air and openings for outside vents as you suggest. They typically lead to having a very large opening to the outside, which even a sealed door will not abate.

If you are making a long-term commitment to greening the home and staying there a while, I suggest to start saving for a new boiler rather than doing the fan in a can or other means of providing sufficient air for combustion.

So the short answer is don't change the louvered door to a sealed door. The louvered door is there to provide adequate air for combustion. Changing it is dangerous. Potentially lethal, particularly if the boiler safeties fail and you don't have CO detectors in the home.
 
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Old 12-03-08, 05:15 PM
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combustion air

I remember one of the debates on outside air being ducted directly to the burner was flame impingement from such cold air. One of the solutions was to use a dryer vent on an outside wall coming into the basement and the dryer hose set in a 5 gal bucket. The gravity fed air, being more dense/heavier would stop filling the bucket when air pressure balanced and when the burner started, (air pressure drop), it would cause the cooler air to spill over the bucket onto the cellar floor and warm it up a bit before being blown across the blast tube. I havent actually seen anyone use this method, but I was told it's out there. I personally think it would look like hell but I've also seen basements/mechanical rooms that look like a dumpster was emptied there.... I think this warmer air helps the oil viscosity so that it can atomize the fuel easier... I think that by now, there are exhaust setups that do this also out of metal. I did it in a concentric PVC pipe on a Trane gas fired unit last year, and it worked great. Only one penetration was visible.
 
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Old 12-03-08, 05:24 PM
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I believe that 5 gall bucket trick serves as a 'heat trap' of sorts... and man, what a great place to chill up some beers, eh? OK, how about this idea... get an old fridge from the side of the road, and cut two big ole holes in the top, one for the vent in from outdoors, and another for a piece of vent going out and down to the floor. The one from the outdoors would go into the fridge and run to the bottom, while the one exiting would come from the top ... just like a water heater ...

Now THAT's going green! You could keep cases and cases pre-chilled ! Beer 4U2
 
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Old 12-03-08, 05:47 PM
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Don't suggest it!... Someone will actually try that LOL

I saw a picture of an AC condensing unit mounted to a 15' pole about 8' from the house. They had welded a platform at the top of the pole and mounted it on that. I have no idea how they did that without at least a cherry picker... I lived in a rented house for about a month many years ago that used a 20X20 box fan one would buy at KMart, and this landlord used it to blow air into the return of his warm air furnace because the blower died several months earlier and this looked like a good idea to him....
PS That fridge idea was histerical! I'll bet you've probly seen stuff like that...
 
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Old 12-03-08, 07:54 PM
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I'M thinkin' of tryin' it !

My butter is churnin' ! I got all kindsa ideas now ... but we're gettin' way out on the thread drift limb ...

Let's talk more about ducting outside combustion air ... I forget the formula ... something like 100 sq in per so many GPH, or BTU or something ...

Many of the manufacturers recommend using a baro damper on the intake to the boiler 'Justin Case', the idea being that the burner would pull some room air, and some outside ... either to partially warm the air, or in case of a blocked vent ... the boiler could still get some air ...

As long as the system was properly designed to provide adequate combustion air under all conditions, I don't see any reason why not ...

hvac, say more about the flame impingement ... I wonder if that's what happend to the engine in my old Goat with the Ram Air package ? Seriously though, any idea why it would cause that ? More expansion of the air in the combustion chamber ? curious...
 
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Old 12-03-08, 09:17 PM
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What I am wondering is: I think from what I have gathered, I have a cold start system. I don't know if that's the correct term, so I'll describe what my boiler does. When it sits idle, the water in the system can be as cold as room temp, then it gets a call to heat, and it kicks on and heats up. I don't know why or when it kicks off (is it cycling b/c it reached it's upper temp or the thermostat upstairs is telling it to stop).
SO I guess my question is, what would either of these units do for me? When my boiler shuts off now, it stops the circulator pump from operating. Would these stop the firing and continue the circulation? Would these not allow the temp of the water to return to room temp? Do these work with programmable thermostats?
Yes, sounds like cold start.

The high limit will shut down the burner and the circ will continue to run if the heat call is not satisfied. If the heat call continues, the burner will fire again when the water gets to the lower end of the differential built into the control.

If the heat call ends, the burner and the circ will shut down.

The Intellicon would probably help with the short cycling. It should widen the differential. This would still allow it to fire up to high limit, but the water would/could get cooler in between firings. So, the firings would be further apart ... but a bit longer ... you may accumulate a couple/few percent of savings over the season ... The manufacturer claims 10% ... believe it if you will ...

An outdoor reset system would save you more, but ONLY if it was properly installed, and programmed. You can use the out of box settings if you like, but you won't be maximizing your savings. There IS a learning curve that you should commit to before installing the controls. Improper setting of the controls can cause long term damage to the boiler by allowing flue gases to condense.

The boiler will pretty much behave the same as you are used to with the Intellidyne ... nothing really obvious unless you pay attention to the temperatures that the burner cycles on / off .

With an outdoor reset system, you may notice there is more time spent circulating cooler water, and it won't fire up to high limit unless necessary to replace the heat loss.

Yes, no special requirement for thermostat, programmable is fine.
 
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Old 12-05-08, 08:12 PM
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impingement

as the fuel air supply gets colder, the viscosity of the oil gets thicker and the atomization of fuel gets a bit worse...the fuel droplets get larger and the volume of the fuel gets less (less surface area on the ignited fuel for the O2 offered )the flame gets a bit longer and flue temps rise because the heat released takes a bit longer with less intensity. I'm probly doing a horrible job verbalizing this....Sometimes the flame may even hit the back wall of the combustion chamber which would cool off the flame even further.... This is my understanding of it. I think of gasoline @-30F will light but it doesn't light like it does when its 90F. The problem with diesel or #2 is it thickens fairly easy when it gets cold. Where I live if you have an outside tank, you use zero blend or kerosene when it gets cold out.
 
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