1 week after cleaning, new boiler didnt start and baseboards different temps

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  #1  
Old 11-21-09, 09:23 AM
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1 week after cleaning, new boiler didnt start and baseboards different temps

My boiler is almost 1 year old and the guy that put it in just cleaned it Monday. today i noticed it getting chillier in here and even had heard the water circulating in my bedroom and thought it was funny the baseboards were cold. then i got distracted for a while and didnt check into it.

then as i walked by the stat i saw it calling for heat but the boiler wasnt firing. I pressed the reset on the riello and then it did start up.

But i havent had this problem ever in the past year. So why would this occur right after he cleaned it? it's been over 40 every night and they even put in that stuff to get rid of the water that was in the tanks on monday, cost me 18 bucks. so it cant be that it was frozen.

edit: (this is just an observation, not a new problem necessarily because i never checked temps before)

ok this is weird, my gf said she wasnt feeling any heat and by the sofa the baseboard was cold. I got out my infrared thermometer and went around checking things. 2 walls in the living room were 120 and 2 other walls were 71. obviously they must be on a different loop

i went to the pipes that lead from the utility room to the crawlspace and the supply pipe was 123 and the one return was 4 degrees colder than the other, which was 112. I guess thats no biggie because the 2nd return may have a longer run. I have no idea how things are run in the crawlspace.

so what in the world would cause a 50 degree difference in baseboard temps in the same room? it sounds like a blockage in the pipe? As i sit here the cold ones are now up to 103 so it must be running through ok now. But how did the one return pipe get to 112 but the baseboards be 71? was it just backfeed from the one return line to the other perhaps?

the whole thing is a mystery to me.

and in the time i took to write all this the 4 different baseboards in my living room are as follows: 101 107 115 134

what the heck? (yes i did bleed them all)
 

Last edited by luckydriver; 11-21-09 at 09:54 AM.
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  #2  
Old 11-22-09, 04:21 AM
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day 2 of myster: i woke up and heard the heat on then i confirmed in my bedroom the 2 separate baseboards are 20 degrees apart and it's not my thermometer, i touched them and it's the true temp differences. And while i didnt go around to the other rooms yet, it may be the same there very likely as well.

So is there any other explanation for such huge differences in baseboard temps in the same room other than that they are on different loops and apparently i have an issue in the one loop. No wonder i have such long recovery times I know baseboard is slow to begin with and never drop it more than 2-3 degrees, but still, now i wonder if i 'unclogged' whatever my issue is, wouldnt i be saving even more money?
 
  #3  
Old 11-22-09, 05:19 AM
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What tanks are you referring to and what is the pressure in your system?
 
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Old 11-22-09, 11:12 AM
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the taco 329 has a tag that says it's set at 12psi..i think that's the info you need

when he took off my filter and let it drain in his metal box he said he saw water in the oil so they went out and put in some stuff that dissolves the water. the tanks were unhooked over summer so it's very possible water got in then but he said that stuff takes care of it in a day
 
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Old 11-22-09, 12:05 PM
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Ok. So the oil tanks. There should be a pressure gauge on your system. What does that read?
 
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Old 11-22-09, 12:31 PM
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it reads 20psi on the boiler
 
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Old 11-24-09, 05:40 AM
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If memory serves correctly from your previous posts you have outdoor reset. If so that will explain the long heat cycles. When set correctly your heat zones will run for long periods of time since the supply temp is at what's required to maintain a set temp. Not good for those who like deep setbacks, etc
 
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Old 11-25-09, 06:15 AM
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yes tekmar 260....ok so if the cycle is so long, why would there be a 50 degree difference between baseboards in the same room even IF they are on different loops. (and if they arent then that's really puzzling)

a few degrees i can understand and even expect 10 to 20 by the time it gets back to the boiler but 50 seems excessive.
 
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Old 11-25-09, 02:39 PM
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Sounds like you've got some flow issues in that loop...

Maybe it's time for some on the back time in the crawlspace to see how the pipes are run?
 
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Old 11-26-09, 05:04 AM
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repairing flow issues sounds not very cheap nor fun. Can it be done from the supply and return pipes in my utility room?

going into the crawl may happen, just unsure when
 
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Old 11-26-09, 09:08 AM
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Lucky's pic album if anyone wants to take a looky:

boiler pics pictures by luckydriver - Photobucket

It looks like the return is two pipes teed together coming out of the floor. This must mean that there are two separate loops around the home, and the supply pipe must be teed elsewhere...



It would seem to me that the way this is piped that you would most likely have more flow in the return pipe to the right...
 

Last edited by NJT; 11-26-09 at 09:42 AM.
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Old 11-26-09, 09:34 AM
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Is this typical...

... of all the baseboards in the home?



Isn't there an air intake at the bottom of those units? That should NOT be blocked by the carpeting?
 
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Old 11-26-09, 10:36 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
... of all the baseboards in the home?

Isn't there an air intake at the bottom of those units? That should NOT be blocked by the carpeting?
Correct.

luckydriver, have all of the baseboards in that room been bled at each one? When you measured temperatures where did you spot the laser - to the top of the baseboard (not end caps) or down near the lower area of the baseboard? All of the baseboards in that room are painted the same color?
 
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Old 11-27-09, 07:00 AM
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now i'm more ticked..this morning went to turn up the heat and it wouldnt kick on..the circulators worked and it ran over 2 min and nothing...there's a 30 sec delay relay on it so i know to wait. but had to press the reset again and it's only been less than 2 weeks since he was here. So what in the world changed when he cleaned it that it wont start up without the reset button?

I've bled them all individually yes....and regarding the carpeting there are only 2 baseboards in the house that are that 'jammed up' and i have no idea why since it's the same carpet in LR and DR and the LR is fine with a tiny space below it.

all baseboards i tested are the same color (though i'm hoping to finish my LR with new white today) and i tested in the middle of the face. Plus i didnt really even need to use the infrared as i could tell one was cold and the other hot. But i wanted to quantify and i also went right up to it because i know on a wider beam you get avg temp of the surrounding stuff. This was less than 1ft away when i measured.
 
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Old 11-27-09, 09:04 AM
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Have you alerted the guy that you're having start-up problems? What are you waiting for? It won't fix itself!

a tiny space below it.
How tiny? the opening at the bottom needs to flow as much air in as the opening at the top lets out... you need to get that carpeting out of there and let the air flow through.
 
  #16  
Old 11-27-09, 09:57 AM
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Lucky, it's a shame you never checked the heaters earier in the year, when you where looking at everything else.
If you had, you would have discovered that the further the water travels from the boiler the colder it gets.
Even the same radiator will have a different temperature at each end - and as the hot water moves round it should end up about 20 degrees colder at the inlet pipe to the boiler as against the outlet pipe.
And all that heat is now in the air and the fabric of your home- probably quite a lot is heating the sky.
 
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Old 11-27-09, 12:05 PM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
Have you alerted the guy that you're having start-up problems? What are you waiting for? It won't fix itself!



How tiny? the opening at the bottom needs to flow as much air in as the opening at the top lets out... you need to get that carpeting out of there and let the air flow through.
yes left VM but was hoping to get ideas here what may be wrong all of a sudden

if you mean an opening that's about 1 inch i dont have that. Id have no idea how to get carpet out of there without disturbing the rest and it's not in the cards to rip it all up
 
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Old 11-27-09, 12:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Perry525 View Post
Lucky, it's a shame you never checked the heaters earier in the year, when you where looking at everything else.
If you had, you would have discovered that the further the water travels from the boiler the colder it gets.
Even the same radiator will have a different temperature at each end - and as the hot water moves round it should end up about 20 degrees colder at the inlet pipe to the boiler as against the outlet pipe.
And all that heat is now in the air and the fabric of your home- probably quite a lot is heating the sky.
20 isnt 50 though so it puzzled me why the 2 returns were well over 100 right next to the boiler but the baseboard was 70 still. no way does the water heat up between the baseboard and and the boiler

I dont understand your last sentence at all. shouldnt heat be in the air?
 
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Old 11-27-09, 12:13 PM
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I'd say that the water in the tanks could be playing a big part... or something was inadvertently misadjustsed.

No, of course don't rip it all out! But you do need to find a way to get some air flow... can you maybe neatly trim it back? You aren't getting half the heat out of those baseboards that you should.
 
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Old 11-27-09, 01:35 PM
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from ripping out other carpet, i'm pretty sure thats where the tacking strip is so i cant just rip out an inch or so unfortunately.

is there a primer somewhere where i can read why airflow is necessary? With hot water flowing thru i would have thought the metal heating up is what causes heat.
 
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Old 11-27-09, 01:48 PM
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Air needs to flow through the baseboard to pick up the heat.
 
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Old 11-27-09, 03:18 PM
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LD, is this snip from page 9 of the I&O manual for Burnham Base-Ray enough to convince you that there needs to be airflow?

2. Allowance for Finished Flooring to Wall-to-Wall
Carpeting:
If BASE-RAY is to be installed prior to the finished floor,
a wooden strip 2 in width and equal in height to the
finished floor should be installed along the base of all walls
where baseboard assemblies and trim are to be placed.
If allowance is not made for wall-to-wall carpeting, or for
carpeting that is to be laid with edges flush to the room
side surface of BASE-RAY, the air inlet of the BASERAY
will be restricted, resulting in a reduction in output.
To compensate for the wall-to-wall carpeting, baseboard
assemblies and trim should be raised by laying under them
a strip of wood 2 wide and the same thickness as the
carpet and pad.
Here's a link to the PDF if you want to look at the whole thing.

Burnham Base-Ray I&O

Also, you probably need to clean out the internal fins on those bb's to restore full output.

Almost all heat emitters need airflow because not only do they heat by radiant energy, they also heat the air by convection, and convection requires air flow.
 
  #23  
Old 11-28-09, 04:38 AM
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Heat loss

A couple of details, earlier in the year you wrote that you were happy to burn a bit more oil in order to keep the ground floor joists warm to stop condensation and wood rot, under the floor.
The down side of keeping the floor warm and not having insulation between the joists is that the heat moves downwards by radiation and conduction and then disappears into the crawl space and out into the sky.
That expensive heat does not radiate or convect into the room and help keep you warm.
As the back of the baseboard radiators is up tight against the wall at least 50% of the heat you put in goes into heating the fabric of the home and out into the sky.
To keep the heat from the baseboard radiators in the room, they need to be kept away from the walls.
The choices are, best fill the spaces in the walls and ceilings with polystyrene sheets, tightly fitted and fix at least one inch thick polystyrene sheets all over the walls on the room side to stop the heat leaking out through the wood work.
Or just move the baseboard heating away from the walls with a layer of inch thick polystyrene behind it this will reduce the heat loss by about 90%

I notice from your pictures that you have uninsulated pipes. This lack of insulation is costing you money with heat emitting into places that do not require heating.

Motto: Keep the heat inside your comfort zone and save lots of money.
 
  #24  
Old 11-28-09, 01:34 PM
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Has the guy that installed/cleaned the boiler been able to correct your problem? We all hope that when someone performs a service,that they stand behind their work.
 
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Old 11-29-09, 12:36 PM
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i left a message friday afternoon and gave him 2 days i'm going to be home to have this looked at so hope he calls me monday..just came back home and found the same issue..circs turning but no firing..water was 69 degrees. does this cause any harm other than wasting electricity?
 
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Old 11-29-09, 02:44 PM
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does this cause any harm other than wasting electricity?
The system says that I need 25 words to say: No.
 
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Old 12-03-09, 07:01 AM
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he is pretty busy but will be here in a few days.when i said it hasnt happened since sunday he seemed unconcerned but i said well it happened 3x since you cleaned this and zero times since last year so something is wrong.

it's almost like he didnt think it was necessary to come out because the thing still fires.

so is there any general 'solution' to this irregular lack of firing and the reset making things OK?
 
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Old 12-03-09, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by NJ Trooper View Post
LD, is this snip from page 9 of the I&O manual for Burnham Base-Ray enough to convince you that there needs to be airflow?



Here's a link to the PDF if you want to look at the whole thing.

Burnham Base-Ray I&O

Also, you probably need to clean out the internal fins on those bb's to restore full output.

Almost all heat emitters need airflow because not only do they heat by radiant energy, they also heat the air by convection, and convection requires air flow.

on that same page and on the following 2 pages, they show that there is a moulding on the top of the baseboards, effectively blocking air. And this is what i have in a few rooms of the house, but not all. Is it best to have or not have that on top of each?

and i dont know how to take the covers off but it doesnt look like a fun thing at all. Especially since it looks like the bleeder screw is 'built in' but i guess i'm not seeing how it all fits together
 

Last edited by luckydriver; 12-03-09 at 12:38 PM.
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Old 12-03-09, 03:21 PM
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Lucky, that molding on top won't block the air flow through the vents on the FRONT of the baseboard! How can it?

The air goes IN on the BOTTOM FRONT, and OUT on the TOP FRONT, and there are no 'covers' to speak of on cast-iron baseboard. Inside, between the upper and lower openings, are vertical 'fins'. The air flows in the bottom, over those fins, is heated and comes out the upper slot on the FRONT of the baseboard.
 
  #30  
Old 12-03-09, 05:10 PM
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it cant but i didnt know if it was important that heat come out the back of the bboard or not..with half my house having the 'cover' and half not, i had no idea which was right lol.
 
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Old 12-05-09, 04:50 AM
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argh, i'm glad he's coming tomorrow...woke up to cold house...then since it was dark, i noticed the red light on the f5...and according to the manual it means shut off for safety issues. always lights on the first reset though so i guess i'm all safe ?

edit..happened again within an hour. hope it's something easily fixable
 

Last edited by luckydriver; 12-05-09 at 07:01 AM.
  #32  
Old 12-05-09, 10:58 AM
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There is the possibility that one of your thermostats is either set too low or is not working.
Have you tried turning them both up?
I have wireless thermostats which for most of the time work fine but, every so often the batteries die and depending on the setting at the time the heating is either on or off... irritating.
It may be that the engineer altered the thermostat on the boiler while he was working?

The difference in the heat of the baseboard radiators may be exaggerated by the way the system was put together.

The best systems are two pipe with the outlet pipe making a complete circle, so that the water can go both ways, thereby balancing the supply to all radiators.
Then the return pipe is also a circle with the same result.

If you have a two pipe system where the pipes are in effect working in a straight line ie all the radiators taking their heat from the same pipe.

Then the system needs to be balanced, with gate valves or thermostatic valves on each radiator.

In effect the gate valve restricts the amount of water going into the radiators closest to the boiler, and shares the hot water between the radiators, allowing more water at lower pressure to enter the radiators that are further away from the boiler to make up for the heat loss en route.

Unfortunately, water always takes the route of least resistance, so if the water has unlimited access to the radiator closest to the boiler, then the pressure drops off and the hot water doesn't travel onto the further radiators.

Where you have thermostatic valves fitted on each radiator then you can ignore the balancing, leaving the valve to close and redirect the water further round the loop once the room is warm enough. Then if you want your living room to get hot quickly you pipe the hot water to the radiators there, once the room is warm, the water moves on to the next room.
 
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Old 12-05-09, 11:43 AM
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what thermostats do you mean ...i didnt see him take the one apart at the boiler. he didnt go near the one in my dining room at all so he didnt touch anything there. And thats the only one i have.

and since i have no idea how my pipes are run under the house i cant follow the flow. But if i do crawl under are you saying there will be valves i can adjust? that would be nice! Im just unsure if each baseboard pipes off a main line or if it's one continuous line ..actually i do know at least 2 lines are involved since there are 2 returns.
 
  #34  
Old 12-05-09, 12:05 PM
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When you turn up the thermostat in your living room - does the circulator/pump run?
Have you looked at the thermostat on the boiler?
Have you turned it up to maximum?
The thermostat on the boiler controls the heat of the water, at this time of year it needs to be close to full on, otherwise you won't feel comfortable.
 
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Old 12-05-09, 12:23 PM
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Perry, have you noticed the part about the red light on the oil burner control? This is not an issue with his thermostats, the oil burner is 'locking out' on safety...
 
  #36  
Old 12-05-09, 12:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Perry525 View Post
When you turn up the thermostat in your living room - does the circulator/pump run?
Have you looked at the thermostat on the boiler?
Have you turned it up to maximum?
The thermostat on the boiler controls the heat of the water, at this time of year it needs to be close to full on, otherwise you won't feel comfortable.
i thought the tekmar 260 controls the water temp? ANd yes i've come home to the circulators churning room temperature water for who know how long. Pure waste of electricity.
 
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Old 12-06-09, 06:56 AM
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UPDATE (numbers may not be exact..memory is shot)

he said when he was here to clean it 2 weeks ago he upped the air to 3.0 and it was 2.5 for the past year but it seemed like it needed more..i guess that was the mistake. So he backed it down to 2.65 and we will give that a try. He was talking about CO readings and i forgot all what he said but i want to say it was below 10 and i think he said he shoots for 10.5 to 11.5 but dont quote me..we were talking a lotta numbers and i'm clueless when it comes to this stuff. I just hope it's fixed. He was very informative and answered a lot of other questions i had so i'm glad i have him as my installer.

also talked about a few other things and as you guys already told me, he said definitely get the carpet from under the bboard..the house probably didnt have carpet when it was built. He couldnt quantify how much better it would be for me but definitely said it would be. Also based on what i told him about the 40 degree difference in temps in the one room he said that probably is on a separate loop in the same room. And i probably have the monoflow but really need to get under in summer and map out my system under there so i know what's what.

he just installed in house and did 2 pipe reverse return and i said i wish i had that! My house definitely isnt balanced lol. he did emphasize insulation and sealed up doors as a way for me to save more. And insulating the pipes in the crawl also would be a good idea of course. But then i wonder if taking that heat away would let my pipes freeze.

edit..since this thing is running full tilt at 156 degrees i went around and measured some of the baseboards..my cold spare bedroom (always closed in winter) barely had 100 degrees on the baseboards. no wonder it's so cold in there. it has the most radiation of the house too lol. My bathroom was about 120 and my bedroom about 115 and my hallway close to the boiler was 140.
 

Last edited by luckydriver; 12-06-09 at 07:26 AM.
  #38  
Old 12-06-09, 08:04 AM
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I can't recall where I read it, but if I recall the numbers correctly, CI baseboard is about 50/50. Radiated heat vs. convection heat. So the carpet is probably reducing the radiator output by 30% to 40% (figure that some air circulates).

The previous owners did the same thing here. In the rooms that got wall-to-wall the carpet is run to the wall, under the CI baseboard. And yes, those rooms are colder then the ones w/o W2W carpet. And are much warmer once the carpet was removed.

Your set up may be a series loop. This is where the outlet of one radiator feeds into the next. With the water getting colder on each succeeding radiator. Is the coldest rad furthest from the boiler?

A mono-flow system will also cool as you get further down the loop. But I don't believe as much as a series loop will. As not all of the water goes through the radiator, much is bypassed.

Al.
 
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Old 12-30-09, 06:07 PM
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Originally Posted by OldBoiler View Post
I can't recall where I read it, but if I recall the numbers correctly, CI baseboard is about 50/50. Radiated heat vs. convection heat. So the carpet is probably reducing the radiator output by 30% to 40% (figure that some air circulates).

The previous owners did the same thing here. In the rooms that got wall-to-wall the carpet is run to the wall, under the CI baseboard. And yes, those rooms are colder then the ones w/o W2W carpet. And are much warmer once the carpet was removed.

Your set up may be a series loop. This is where the outlet of one radiator feeds into the next. With the water getting colder on each succeeding radiator. Is the coldest rad furthest from the boiler?
no the coldest wasnt the farthest..thats the thing...i had a 50 degree temp difference in the same room. But since i have no clue how things run under the house, maybe it 'could' be the farthest on the loop because there are definitely 2 loops.

if i'm really losing 30% of the heat, that is not good. But now here's a quandry. the reality is my crawlspace will not be insulated for a very long time, if ever (long story i wont repeat in this thread) and with my infrared i've noticed there's a 2 degree difference in hardwood (61) vs carpet (63) in my living room. Therefore i think it's reasonable to conclude that carpet does provide a 'tad' of insulation more than the bare floor,. does that matter? i dont know. it definitely feels better on bare feet lol and id have to think it keeps some of the heat in the house vs down into the crawl?

so now i'm trying to figure out if it's worth losing the apparent insulating qualities of carpet vs gaining 'full' radiation if i unclog the bottom of the baseboards stuffed with carpeting. when it was 15 out last night the crawl was 45 degrees 75 RH and my sensor is near a 'leaky' window so the crawl may even have been warmer further back in the house.

your statement that your rooms got warmer with no carpet is very interesting and appreciated. It's real world experience. But things seem to be muddled here by my bathroom and spare room having very thin carpet (ie good ventilation below the baseboard) yet the bathroom is a degree colder than my bedroom with no carpet (maybe the external fan is leaking air though), and the spare room is many degrees colder to the point i need it closed all winter. It's a bizarre room but has the oldest draftiest windows and yet the most radiation in the entire house!

I have thought of one test project. My dining room carpet has a section of cat pee that never will come out so i'm resigned to having that carpet removed and just have the hardwood floor in there. That is the room with the thermostat in so maybe ill just rip that up and see how it affects comfort.
 
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Old 12-30-09, 06:48 PM
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LD, nobody ever said you had to rip out ALL the carpet! Chances are pretty good that the tack strip is at least an inch away from the baseboards. All you might have to do is cut back just enough to open the bottom air inlet... just enough to let the air flow through.

And also, check to see that they aren't all CLOGGED UP with dust and such. Use a mirror and a flashlight... put the mirror on the floor under the baseboard and shine the flashlight in the top... if you can't see the light, they need to be cleaned. Do a test with a wire probe... push it in through the top and down and see if you don't get big balls of 30 year old dust bunnies out. Bet ya do!
 
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