Burnham ESC4, Short Cycling?


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Old 01-18-12, 12:45 PM
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Burnham ESC4, Short Cycling?

Hi All,

I'm first time user of this forum but I have been lurking for awhile.

Here are my specs:
Burnham ESC4, Nat gas fired,
3 zones, 120 lineal feet of baseboard
Indirect DHW tank,
Outdoor reset control.
High Temp 180 F
Temp Differential 15 F

Unit installed early December 2011. Very warm weather until this week.

When one zone is calling for heat the boiler fires and runs for about 2 minutes. Reaches the set point which varies depending on the outdoor temp then shuts down and circulater pump continues running for approx. 6 minutes before the temp. differential is reached and boiler fires and runs for about 2 minutes, circulator run 6 minutes etc etc. If I call for heat from 3 zones the boiler fires for about 5 minutes and shuts down and circ. runs for 4-5 minutes. Of course when DHW calls the whole sequence changes to provide hotwater to DHW tank. So far the system has run about 125 hours and has cycled over 3100 times.
This seems excessive to me but I'm no expert. My contractor thinks it seems reasonable and says once we get some cold weather it will run longer.

So my questions are:
1. does this sound reasonable and can I make it more efficient?
2.Should I adjust the high temp setting up to say 190-95
3.Should I adjust the Temp Diff. to say 20 -25 degrees?
4. What adjustments can I make to the outdoor reset to make it more efficient? I've looked at the ODR manual and it seems a little comfusing to me.

Any and all comments and suggestions are welcome.

By the way I really like this new boiler. The digital displays allows me to monitor it unlike my previous boiler. I replaced a 20 year old Heatmaker system which I also liked but felt that it was on its last legs. Anyone need parts from a Heatmaker HW 130,000 BTU?

Thanks in advance!
 
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Old 01-18-12, 01:15 PM
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Hello,
What's done is done.
Was there a heat loss done on your house
That is a lot of boiler. Seems oversized.

Anyway:
3.Should I adjust the Temp Diff. to say 20 -25 degrees?
Yes, try 25 or more if available.


.
Don't feel bad, my oil boiler is oversized. Durring the 3 degree nights last week, I had a beautiful rythem, 3 minutes on 3 minutes off, endlessly. more or less..
That is with a fixed , unadjustable, 10 degree differential.

Peter
 
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Old 01-18-12, 02:33 PM
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We both own the same model and had them installed about the same time. If you're in Massachusetts, it's a good thing you did it in December as the $500 rebate is not offered this year for the ESC, although the ODR rebate increased a tad.

I also fiddled with the differential. After noticing that the boiler temp displayed onthe upper LED and the temp on the thermometer/pressure dial differered by about 10 degrees (does yours also differ?), I thought I'd have to increase the boiler temperature to compensate. When all's said and done, however, and we gave the system a chance to prove itself; all was well. I did have to increase the lower end of the water temperature (it was running at 130 witih an output of 120 which was piddling heat and not worth running) but left the upper end at default 180. It will exceed that when needed via the boost setting in the ODR menu as it wants. Wait a few days after making a change in the menu to get a full understanding of the implication. I've experimented a fair amount and returned everything, except the low water temp, to default settings. I suggest you deviate from the default settings slowly; give them a chance to settle in as the unit is really slow to make changes, unlike what we're probably used to.


Night setbacks we were accustomed to are a thing of the past. I have changed them from 15 degrees (the old system quickly recovered from that) to 3 degrees. The ESC4 simply won't recover fast enough. And it's nice to enjoy the heat we otherwise skimped on.

Setting the differential to more than 15 seemed to make the place chilly between cycles, but that's personal preference. After a lot of experimentation, it's back to 15.


I do have some issues you may not be facing. The pressure tends to climb into the 25PSI range when hot and sinks to 18PSI when cold. The manual reference for a single story place like ours is 12PSI; that's not happening despite adjusting the valve. And the post purge, despite Burnham's literature which states it's fully compatible with everything, does not work with a multiple zone relay board.


We have the same frequent cycles you described. It has lengthened as the days get colder and nothing seemed to help. When it's really cold, I think you'll find it runs as you'd expect. The shoulder seasons, especially as warm as it's been, expect it to cycle more. Was thinking a buffer tank might help, but that's a lot to go through.

Would be good to resolve the pressure and gain something from post purge, but overall it's made a good impression on us. I have, on occassion, bypassed the ODR when we simply needed a quick strong shot of heat; like when someone leaves a door open that's no where near the thermostat.

I was really pleasantly surprised with the first full month gas bill. Despite all the time that it ran, the bill was much less than I expected.
 
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Old 01-18-12, 04:05 PM
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TBurr, PeteNH

Thanks for your thoughts. I'm over hear in Wisconsin and tonight is going to feel like winter finally.

TBurr, I'm unsure what you are referring to with Night Setbacks? Is that a setting on the ORC? I need to study that manual more. I've looked through the readouts available on the lower LED but have not gone any further than that.

I have not had any problems with pressure. It does drop when the system is cooled down but not much. Running at about 20psi.

There is a temp difference between the read out and the temp/press dial but not more the margin of error in the dial. I like the LED readout.

The post purge would be nice but you need an open zone to dump it to if I understand it correctly.

Do you have the indirect hot water system also?

I will go back and read your previous thread.

Lets stay in touch

Pat
 
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Old 01-18-12, 04:37 PM
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Night setback = turning the thermostat down at night. Nothing to do with the ODR settings.

Post purge = allowing the circulator to run for a few minutes after the call for heat ends to allow the residual heat in the boiler to dissipate and not go to waste.

What do you consider a margin of error for the difference between the upper LED temperature reading and the themometer reading? Mine's about 10 degree difference.

We do not have an indirect hooked up, but there is a provision for an easy connection in the future.
 
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Old 01-19-12, 10:31 AM
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TBurr,
Seems like your fill valve/presssure reducer has a problem.
Maybe it's a good idea to have a new on installed, before something unwanted happens.

Peter
 
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Old 01-20-12, 04:01 PM
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Yes, it's a new install and a dud.

It rests cold at 18 and runs at 25. The adjusting screw is supposed to tense a spring, or so it seems looking at the sheet that came with it, but it just screws in a bit and stops. I don't think it's adjusting a thing.

Getting the installer out to change is is a fruitless task. He's paid and gone. Actually overpaid - dumb thing on my part he charged for a part that was supposed to come with the boiler.

I wonder if he knowingly installed a dud part? I'll probably end up changing it in the spring. I don't think that running at 25 will cause any problem.

Wonder how the OP's doing with the short cycles?
 
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Old 01-20-12, 06:16 PM
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Size the boilers with a heat loss and don't micro-zone and the boilers will run as designed.
Did a heat loss for a guy in MA. He had almost 300k of cast iron radiators, 200k boiler. Heat loss was 84k at 5 degree design. The contractor refused to install an undersized boiler and won't be enough heat. He got someone else and just reported this week in low single digits, i believe he said 3 degrees outside, the home is warm and comfy. Go figure. It's ashame the unit was too small to heat the home according to his first contractor.
 
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Old 01-20-12, 07:36 PM
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Along the lines of microzoning, which would be most economical in the long term. There are two zones, for practical matters the same size each with their own pump.

1) Run one zone in an area that's occupied, leaving the other zone running in a minimal state as we've done for awhile or

2) Running both zones at a comfortable temperature 24/7?

I've learned that it's more economical not to turn the heat down much at night, and that the unit will short cycle in scenario 1 but not so much in 2.

This new system facinatingly defies the logic that's been ingrained for years with a dinasour large mass system. Is there a user manual or similar that will explain all of this stuff? Have had to question and dig it all out online. It seems having the pump on a lot, with the boiler maintaining a low temp is the way to go. But it's not clear about the load the boiler should have.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 06:21 AM
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Longer boiler run times is better as long as it is not continuous on cast iron boilers. Maybe a 20 minute max and 7 - 10 minute minimum. A mod/con is best in theory if it runs continuously. In real life hard to do. I have a mod/con owner in Idaho running 4 hour run times with a mod/con.
Many years ago the University of Illinois tested constant run pumps and one thermostat to start and stop pumps was an efficient operation. As water volume in cast iron boilers as decreased and temps increase faster the ODR makes sense. Lower boiler water temps less standby losses.
I would like to see less zones instead of more zones. When working with lower water temps it takes more time to recover the room temps. Do away with or limit night setback. The IQ control does not do post purger unless you have a single thermostat but maybe consider a pre-purger with two stage thermostats.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 06:55 AM
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Longer boiler run times is better as long as it is not continuous on cast iron boilers. Maybe a 20 minute max and 7 - 10 minute minimum.
Hello RBeck,
Could you please explain why 20 min is a good max time for cast iron?
This is news to me. Ii had been under the impresion that longer run times were better. even with cast iron.
no???

Thanks,
Peter
 
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Old 01-21-12, 07:28 AM
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Burnham es24n short cycling?

I recently converted to gas and upgraded an old gas boiler in a 2 family home there was an 110,000 btu 30yr old gas boiler running one apt and a 150,000 btu oil boiler runnning the other so the plummer converted both system to 2 matching es24n 105,000btu boilers but i am concerned they are short cycling one boiler has a run time of 429 hours with 4203 cycles the other has a 375hr run time with 3679 cycles it seems the average amount is roughly 9.5 cycles an hr....they were in stalled in spring of 2011. Ihad a problem in the street me or plummer wasnt aware of there was a clogged gas pipe that national grid repaired last week they put a meter at boiler it read 7 psi when boiler kicked on it dropped to 4 when the other boiler kicked on it dropped below 1psi so gas co dug up street found calcifieed pipe or something like that and now the boilers wich are on 2 seperate meters run with a strong flame up until last week they were running (starving for gas) but kept up because of mild weather now that it got cold and demand was there i realized i had a problem so now its fixed i have been kinda keeping an eye on boilers now to try and gauge how often they cycle now and it seems it averages out to be apporximatly 4 cycles an hour...like i said with 4203 and 3679 cycles reading on display i am concerned it is creating excessive wear and tear on controls and workings of boiler i see a few of u are from the area and have a comparable boiler the esc4 ...i have the set point difference set at 30 so it will cycle less and it seems to be keeping up with apts fine one apt is roughly 1100 sq feet poor insulation which had gas and the old 110 btu boiler and the other is roughly 1400 sq feet with a good amount of insulation and newer windows and previously had oil any input from u guys might help us all feel a lil better thanks in advance! PS I HAVE HL SET AT 180 ON BOTH WHICH IS FACTORY SETTING
 

Last edited by JEFFMASS; 01-21-12 at 07:30 AM. Reason: MORE INFO
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Old 01-21-12, 08:17 AM
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I think a 2 minute run time on these is pretty normal. I have 200ft of copper fin across 3 zones, so with any 1 zone operating it doesn't take long to heat the 3 gallons of water in the ES24 and whatever is in ~100ft of pipe. Only at the design temperature with all zones working would I expect it to run nearly constantly.

What is the net efficiency benefit of long run times? There's no fuel enrichment upon start up like with a gas engine so it seems like a wash to me, as long as the cycles aren't ridiculously short.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 10:13 AM
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Es24n over run time

I also just set the second boilers ciculator over run time to 10 min so when the call for heat is satisfied the pump will run for an additional 10 min essentally using the hot water in boiler and getting the most out of each cycle...and hopefully cutting back the number of cycles overtime... My 1st boiler has 2 zones on it and a taco control box ..is there a way to program the over run time on 1 of the zones ...???
 
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Old 01-21-12, 02:07 PM
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Could you please explain why 20 min is a good max time for cast iron?
You are right I should have specified when not design outdoors. Otherwise it will not heat at design.
I think a 2 minute run time on these is pretty normal
Other than being less efficient and shorter control life there is nothing wrong with two minute run times. Longer run times means the boiler is closer to the demand btu's and standby losses go way down. Solid state controls do not like to turn on and off too frequently.
Here is an except from the Honeywell S8610 instructions.
Frequent Cycling
When nothing is calling there is no power
These controls are designed for use on appliances that
typically cycle three to four times an hour only during the
heating season only. In year-round applications with greater
cycling rates, the control can wear out more quickly. Perform
a monthly checkout.
Page 4

My 1st boiler has 2 zones on it and a taco control box ..is there a way to program the over run time on 1 of the zones ...???
You would have to make sure the Taco relay and the boiler are on the same circuit, wire in two RIB relays. Kinda unconventional but it should work. I would be concerned about overheating but I guess you could play with the purger time. Have it dump into a larger zone to reduce the rune time on that zone. The wiring God, NJT should bless this first and maybe redraw. He has a nice program for that.

Here is a diagram:



When nothing is calling there is no power on the yellow wire unless the post purge is activated. When the yellow wire is activated it closes zone two relay and sends power to the zone two pump. If zone one calls it breaks the yellow wire so the zone two pump does not call.
Whaddya thinks NJT
 

Last edited by NJT; 01-21-12 at 04:27 PM.
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Old 01-21-12, 04:26 PM
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Can't I just be a wiring Bishop or something? I feel funny being a God!

make sure the Taco relay and the boiler are on the same circuit
VERY important! If on different circuits on the same HOT leg, these two circuits would get shorted together, not good ... but if on different circuits on different HOT legs... BLAM! So if anyone tries this, KNOW WHAT YOU ARE DOING!

I think that idea will work... and could be made to work for more zones, with additional relays wired like the one on the first zone... in series with the yellow wire.

In this arrangement, with only zone 2 calling, that pump will be powered from both the yellow wire, and the wire from the Taco... not a problem, as long as they are on the SAME CIRCUIT!
 
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Old 01-21-12, 04:41 PM
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My ES2 has short burn times as well. I don't see how I could possibly lengthen them with the set point so low. The shoulder seasons make it even worse.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 05:03 PM
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Drooplug, I divided the total hours by cycles (114/1923) and get 3.5 minutes per burn which is better than 2 that I stated before. I keep the differential at 15 since the boiler temp often goes up another 5 degrees after the burner stops, so its already effectively a 20F differential. Do you see that too?

Only way to get longer burn times is to make all the zones come on at the same time.
 
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Old 01-21-12, 05:50 PM
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es24n short cycling

i set my 2nd floor boiler with 1 zone to a 30 degree differential and a 10 min pump over run as of today at 20 degrees outside and it has cycled 7 times in 7 hours....now that is a big improvement i think! we will see in a week or so how its doing....back to my number 1 boiler with 2 zones i looked at ur diagram and am not sure i can safely do this on my own i have worked with electricity numerous times but i am not sure i understand what u are suggesting i do ....i think i need this explained in dummy lol...
 
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Old 01-21-12, 07:18 PM
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I had one zone previously and it didn't work. I split it into two zones because the one zone has a higher rate of heat loss.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 02:17 PM
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rbeck had it right when he posted "...... don't micro-zone and the boilers will run as designed."

We've found that the boiler goes into boost mode needlessly when two small zones call for heat at different overlapping times, and it might be just as well to combine two zones into one and just enjoy it. Since getting used to the lower temperature the ODR provides, it's readily apparent when the boiler is running in boost mode -- with a high water temperature.

That would also allow us to take advantage of the post purge, although at this point I'm not sure how beneficial that pump over run time is. Maybe rbeck can comment on that.

The more we learn about the ESC4, the more we like it. Wish it came with a user manual about achieving peak efficiency. There's a lot to learn, and thanks to places like this it's a lot easier.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 04:39 PM
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There's a couple things you can do before that. You could turn off boost altogether. You can also increase the wait time before it starts, up to 30 mins. My ES2 boost is still at the default values. I set the ODR high boiler temp. to the 160F design temp. but the boost was at times zooming the boiler up to 180F, so I made the high limit 160 also.

Yes the IQ control stuff is a techie nerd's dream.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 07:03 PM
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"You can also increase the wait time before it starts, up to 30 mins."

Really wish the installer explained this more.... am spending way too much time trying to learn about what I don't know I need to learn about.

Is that delay an option on the ESC model with an ODR? If so, where? Seems the differential setting would do something similar.

Along the same note, what's an ideal setting for the thermostat differential? How many degrees should it drop before the heat kicks back on?

Without it getting lost in the heaps, is a post purge beneficial with a power vented system?
 
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Old 01-24-12, 07:55 PM
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That wait time is for the 10F boost to kick in, not for the burner to start. My installer didn't give me the ODR instructions, but I found it online. I'd be lost without it. I recall my programmable thermostats have a setting for forced air and hydronic heating. Not sure what the internal difference is but probably different differentials. I only see mine drop 1F before it clicks on.
 
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Old 01-24-12, 09:15 PM
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I would turn boost off completly by setting to "0". There is not a burner on delay on the gas IQ control system, only on the oil IQ control system.
 
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Old 01-25-12, 06:04 AM
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Life without a boost

When I turn off the boost can I jumper the unused water heater terminals on the ODR for a quick extra shot of (180 degree max) heat as needed?

There will be times efficiency takes a back seat and we simply need the place hot for the old folks comfort when they drop in.

Does anyone ever thank you, rbeck? Your, and others, advice on this board is terrific.
 
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Old 01-25-12, 05:11 PM
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You can do that if it is not a nuisance or install a simple switch between 3 & 4. I would not want boost to work all the time for efficiency reasons.
 
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Old 01-29-12, 08:53 AM
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es24 burnham

hows everyone doing with thier short cycling??
 
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Old 02-27-12, 03:18 PM
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I've found over the past month that jumping terminals 3 and 4 is a great way to bypass the outdoor reset control and make the boiler operate instantly at a high temperature. It's essential sometimes, for us to have a quick, strong shot of heat and that means having to bypass the outdoor control regardless of energy use.

I went so far as to install a mechanical spring loaded 60 minute switch in the electrical box which had the old, since removed, oil burner safety switch and was easily able to run the wire. Turning that switch on, in conjunction with a call for heat, brings the room temperature up real fast.

I've used that method twice in the past month. Is there anything wrong with doing that insofar as system integrity?

My only concern is that someone unknowing would turn the switch on (it's in the kitchen) and I assume, if there is not a simultaneous call for heat, would just make the boiler water 180 and it would just sit there unutilized.
 
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Old 02-28-12, 05:30 PM
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How are you operating your heat zone pumps. Do you have an IWH?
Put a priority time in the ODR control so it times out.
 
 

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