Makin my home and boiler more efficient

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Old 03-03-10, 06:52 PM
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I'm not sure if I should continue with this thread or start a new one? Current boiler and heat system setup pictures by samara2b - Photobucket

The link above is for photos of the heat system. While taking the pictures I noticed couple of things:
- The pipe used for the boiler bypass is 1" pipe not 1 1/2 " (not the same size pipe for the supply and return of the boiler), the bypass is probably not doing an optimum job protecting the boiler.
- The pipe size for one of the zones is 3/4" compared to 1" pipes used for the rest of the zones.
- The return Manifold is really rusty. (Shoul I start thinking about doing something about it?)

Any recomendations?
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Old 06-28-10, 10:55 AM
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These may be too obvious, but...

There is nothing inherently wrong with "underfiring" a boiler - it's just a heat exchanger. The only difficulty can be achieving a satisfactory combustion efficiency with a small flame in a large chamber. You wouldn't be dropping one nozzle size. If you want to drop to 50% of the current firing rate, you'll need the corresponding nozzle and a probably a flame retention head. You may also find that to achieve the desired efficiency the smaller flame may benefit from better atomization at a higher oil pressure, so you may want to get a couple of nozzles to suit your target firing rate at a different pressures.

Your evaluation of the bypass pipe should be based on the pressure drop at a flow rate rather than just the diameter. A short pipe with few fttings has very little pressure drop.

Likewise the zone piped at 3/4" ... the pipe is sized to carry the mass of water needed to transfer heat to the zone at a reasonable pressure drop for the circulator. More doesn't add anything. If the temperature drop between supply and return after its been running for a while is less than 30 degrees then its probably moving enough water.

For the rusty manifold... if it bothers you, try "Duplicolor Rust Fix" spray paint from your local auto parts store. (Autozone, Advanced Auto, etc. NAPA is hit/miss) Its a convenient rust converter. Allow a day or more before top-coating with something else. I happen to like "caliper paint" for these kind of applications, since its durable and stands up well to heat and wetting, and it will be right hear the rust fix at the auto parts store.
Old 07-07-10, 08:28 PM
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Thank you poly, the manual for the boiler recommended using the same diameter pipe for the bypass, once the heating season starts I'm going to measure the Delta T and if it was 20-25 degrees I'll be all set with the bypass.

What would be the best configuration/setup to better utilize the wood burning boiler? I want to use it to preheat the water coming back from the zones before it returns to oil boiler. I was thinking to use the aquastat on the oil boiler to turn the circulator for the wood boiler on when there is a call for heat (basically using the wood boiler as mixing valve). Or would it be better to have the circulator constantly running and maintaining the water temp in the oil boiler.

The ultimate goal is to have constant circulation heating system.
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Old 08-11-10, 08:43 AM
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Let me start off by apologizing for bring this topic up. I know that it has been beaten to death in the past. I am not defending nor opposing the products. With that said I was wondering if anyone has posted (I have looked and looked) their savings by using The Beckett or Intellicon HW+heat managers. Most of what I read is from individuals who say that their "LCD screen" says that they are saving, or the company says they will save "X%" a year. Has anyone actually sat down with their oil/gas bills and calculated the gal/lbs difference prior/post install. I did that when my new heating system went in. I also increased the size of my house by 30% at the same time. I ended up using the same amount of oil. I would take a general calculation such as "I used 900 gal of oil last year and this year I used 800 gal". I realize there are mitigating factors, but I am assuming that over the course of a year (or more) it would be a wash (a winter colder then normal would be offset by my daughter being away at college and not taking 45 minute daily showers). These products have been around for a number of years now, and based on the statements from individuals as to the number of units installed there must be some data out there of real numbers (again not what the LCD says. That info can/should be included as reference). Anything can be manipulated to give you what you want.
Again I apologize for bring this up.

Old 08-12-10, 04:49 PM
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No apologies Jim, as long as you keep our thirst quenched with some excellent homebrew! Beer 4U2

Yeah, we have beat this one to death... even managed to PO the owner of the company ... I say 'we', but it was really 'me' that did that I'm afraid.

I don't think there has been any real definitive data taken. In almost all cases that I can recall, there were other changes made, such as in your case, when the boiler was changed at the same time the device was installed.

As you say, numbers can be manipulated, and almost always are. The data you are looking for should always be correlated to "Heating Degree Days" (HDD or DD) in order to be meaningful, and that's a pretty burdensome chore that most people won't keep up with. I myself took daily data here for about two years. Some of my charts were posted here, but you may have to dig like crazy to find them. My data wasn't with the device installed... it's intent was to verify the heat loss calculations that were done.

And that's another problem with the kind of data you are looking for: In order to be meaningful, there would have to be at least a solid heating season of data taken BEFORE the device was installed to compare to. And the addition of the device would have to be the ONLY change made.
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