American Standard A-3 Temperature Control help needed

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Old 04-08-12, 12:37 PM
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American Standard A-3 Temperature Control help needed

Here is a link to an album of the boiler in question.

Photo Album - Imgur

My cousin has dangerously hot (fury of a thousand suns) water from her faucet. She has a 7 year old daughter and is afraid she'll seriously burn herself.

The temp gauge on the oil boiler reads 180 - which I gather is a normal operating temperature for the boiler itself.

Is there anyway to adjust the max temperature at the faucet? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated.

-Brian
 
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Old 04-08-12, 03:21 PM
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On that boiler, the faucet hot water ("DHW") is made by virtue of an internal coil (the circular-looking thing, top right corner, behind the aquastat). There is usually a mixing valve installed that moderates the temperature of the hot water coming out of the coil by allowing some cold water to mix in before it goes out to the faucets. Your pics don't show enough of the piping coming out of the boiler and coil to determine whether your cousin's DHW system has a mixing valve. If not, she should have one installed. If there is a mixing valve already installed, then it probably has failed.
 
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Old 04-08-12, 03:27 PM
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Hi Brian, probably the least expensive solution in the short term would be to have a 'tempering valve' installed on the outlet of the hot water coil from the boiler.

What a tempering valve will do is not allow higher than it's setting (typically 120F) water through to the fixtures. It does this by mixing some cold with the hot before it goes to the home.

Here's a page to one popular manufacturer, there are many:

Taco-Hvac: 5000 Series Mixing Valve

In the long term, as a future project, one could install an 'indirect' water heater, but at more cost... probably around a grand or so. This would be a separate tank that is heated by the boiler water.

Short term, it might cost a couple hun to have a plumber install the tempering valve.

I'm not familiar with that old control... older than me probably... if you could kill the power to the boiler and slide the cover off and get a well lighted, in focus close shot there might be some adjustment we could suggest. Look inside the cover for more model information... google is giving me nothing on that part.

(I see Rock has beaten me to the 'post reply' button! but great minds do think alike!)
 
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Old 04-08-12, 07:21 PM
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You guys are awesome. This forum is a great resource.

The first picture that comes up in the photo album shows the two cut-off valves for the hot/cold water coming up through the copper pipe. (Yellow levers that look like this: http://i.imgur.com/OkXK1.jpg )

I'll run the options you both supplied by her - I'm sure she'll opt for the tempering/mixing (same thing?) valve solution, as opposed to having another tank installed. Is installing the tempering valve realistically do-able by someone with little plumbing experience? Or is it enough of a hassle (cutting metal, etc) to just call the pro?

I'll update this thread when I get back over there, and hopefully get more well-lit pictures with the cover removed (which cover, by the way? "internal coil (the circular-looking thing, top right corner, behind the aquastat")

Would I be correct in assuming that the new valve would be installed outside/above the unit?
 
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Old 04-08-12, 08:31 PM
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which cover, by the way? "internal coil (the circular-looking thing, top right corner, behind the aquastat")
No! not the coil plate! Don't touch them bolts! Yes, the aquastat cover... there should be some temperature settings inside there... want to see the settings.

The tempering (yes, same as a mixing) valve could be done by DIY... depends on how comfortable you are cutting and soldering copper pipe, but if you've not had much or any experience with that, probably best not to use this as a learning experience.
 
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Old 04-10-12, 10:37 PM
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but if you've not had much or any experience with that, probably best not to use this as a learning experience.
Noted - cutting metal is not something I'm equipped to do.

To my surprise, she mentioned interest in the "indirect water heater" seperate tank option. She also wanted me to ask what a rough estimate would be on converting her system to natural gas or electric - heating oil costs here are a serious pain in the wallet. If she were to sell her house (which I believe would happen in the next 3-10 years), not having to rely on oil would be a great perk as a seller. Any thoughts?

Long story short - I will heed your advice and leave any of this work to the pros.

Thanks Trooper & Rockledge!
 
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Old 04-11-12, 03:17 PM
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'ang on a sec mate...

There may be something VERY simple that you can do in the meanwhile!

That's why I asked you to slide the cover off the aquastat and tell me what the current settings are on the dials.

There will probably be THREE dials, a HIGH, a LOW, and a DIFF.

Someone could very well have set those to insanely high limits, so before you spend a dime, tell us what they are set at.
 
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Old 04-11-12, 06:14 PM
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Ah, yes. Slipped my mind - thanks for the reminder. That'll be the next order of business.
 
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Old 04-15-12, 09:48 PM
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Good call. Opened up the aquastat. "VERY simple" indeed.

Here's a little album Photo Album - Imgur

Set it down to where it felt right - (130ish)

Just wanted to follow up and give y'all a big thanks!
 
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Old 04-16-12, 03:51 PM
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OK, good start, but you want to push the HIGH limit (red scale) back up to where it was. Leave the LOW at 130 - 140 or so. The HIGH limit is for heating the home, the LOW is for the hot water.

Making this change does not remove the necessity for a tempering valve though, but over the summer things should be much better. 130-140 is STILL too hot for a home with young children or elderly.

During the winter when the home is being heated, there will STILL be 180 (or nearly) water at the taps because the boiler will be calling for heat in the home and will run up to the high limit.

Another thing... you may find after making this change that there are now complaints about not enough hot water, say for a shower, or a load or two of clothes. This is because now that the hot is cooler, not as much cold will be mixed with the hot. Those boiler coils are the WORST, LEAST EFFICIENT way of producing domestic hot water that there is.

With oil prices going up up up, it wouldn't surprise me if an electric water heater would be cheaper to run.

Our friend Furd says: They are only slightly better than a kettle on a woodstove.

And he's right.

You should probably advise your cousin to start saving some money up, because she would do well in the long run to replace that whole system. I know... it ain't broke... but I guarantee that a new system would offer some reasonable savings in fuel. Don't let the fast talkers fool you into thinking you can save like 50% ... you probably won't... but 10% - 20% wouldn't surprise me.

Just turning that LOW down is going to save because the boiler itself won't be maintained at that crazy high temp for just a bit of hot water in the home.
 
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Old 04-16-12, 05:25 PM
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With oil prices going up up up, it wouldn't surprise me if an electric water heater would be cheaper to run.
I believe that is correct NJT.
Electricity at 14 cents a KW is the same as 3.75 dollar oil at 65%.
No doubt in the summer a thankless is less than 50% eff. As far as i can tell even my indirect is around 50-60% in the summer.
The local oil company has been installing electirc hot water heaters for customers with tankless that can't afford indirects.

Peter
 
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