Can I turn boiler power off in summer?

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  #1  
Old 06-06-12, 04:33 AM
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Can I turn boiler power off in summer?

I have a standard gas boiler that heats my radiators and hot water tank. As I don't use the heating or hot water in the summer at all, is it ok to turn off the electrical power to the boiler? I noticed that it seems to make a quiet noise and the actuator still gets warm even when I haven't had heating or hot water on for a while. Is there some sort of circulating pump that needs to remain on in summer or is it ok to have it completely off for a few months? Thanks.
 
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Old 06-06-12, 05:31 AM
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Welcome to the forum.
I may not be an expert in boilers, but I shut mine down for the summer. I simply turned off the emergency power switch, then the breaker.

Maybe one of the forum pros can pipe up with some steps or points to follow when shutting it down.
 
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Old 06-06-12, 07:11 AM
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Thank you for the welcome and information Mike.

I have turned the power switch off for now, not sure what the breaker is. Hopefully one of the pros can reassure me that this will not do any damage to the boiler?
 
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Old 06-06-12, 07:22 AM
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Peerless Boiler

I had a Peerless boiler that just made hot water for heat, not domestic hot water for washing or cooking . During the summer, I would turn off the pilot light and the power to it. My basement humidy was dry and never had water in my basement. Never had any problems while I was using it; however, a word of caution. If the the boiler is in an area where the humity is high (i.e., basement floods) I wouldn't turn off the pilot light. The pilot light would help reduce the condesation within the boiler area and prevent rust.
 
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Old 06-06-12, 08:08 AM
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I had a Peerless boiler that just made hot water for heat, not domestic hot water for washing or cooking . During the summer, I would turn off the pilot light and the power to it. My basement humidy was dry and never had water in my basement. Never had any problems while I was using it; however, a word of caution. If the the boiler is in an area where the humity is high (i.e., basement floods) I wouldn't turn off the pilot light. The pilot light would help reduce the condesation within the boiler area and prevent rust.
Have you considered using a dehumidifier in that area instead?
It would reduce wear on your boiler and provide greater benefit to the area around the boiler.
 
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Old 06-08-12, 06:22 AM
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I also turn off the ball valve supplying water to the boiler. If a pipe breaks during the summer, without doing that the place will flood.

Isn't flipping the breaker redundant if the boiler switch is off?
 
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Old 06-10-12, 06:24 AM
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Isn't flipping the breaker redundant if the boiler switch is off?
It's kind of an extra safety step.
 
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Old 06-10-12, 01:27 PM
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Not a problem to turn off the boiler in the summer. If the boiler does not maintain temp there is no difference than having the thermostat turned down. On a cold start boiler nothing runs unless there is a call for heat. What you may be hearing is thepilot. I would leavr it on as it will not cost much for the pilot to be on for the summer.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 04:22 PM
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Leaving the pilot on during the summer won't provide enough heat to keep the flue warm - but the pilot will add a bit of undesirable moisture to the flue due to the products of combustion.

But leaving the pilot on during the summer might reduce the chance of spider webs around the pilot's orifice. But if spider webs were to form, it would be simple to brush them off in the fall.

With electronic ignition, there is no pilot. I'm not aware of any serious issues with spider webs causing problems with such units.

I think you wouldn't be too wrong either leaving the pilot burn or turning it off - except maybe for the fuel cost. How much fuel does a gas pilot burn?
 
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Old 06-11-12, 04:27 PM
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I googled for the fuel usage of a gas pilot: Gas Pilot lights

If that info is correct, I would turn off the pilot in the summer. That's what I have done for years.
 
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Old 06-11-12, 06:23 PM
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I agree that the small amount of heat provided by the pilot light won't make a bit of difference in the heat inside the boiler but I seriously question the conclusions in that link.

I no longer have the receipts but for the first few years I lived in this house I was able to completely shut down my furnace for three or four months during the summer. That meant that the only gas I was consuming was for the water heater. As I recall the total billing was maybe $15 on average per month. Subtracting the $5 monthly customer service charge meant that I was spending about $10 a month for gas to heat my water or about ten therms per month.

Back then I was still working so I took a hot shower every day and sometimes more than once a day. I like long HOT showers and I also have a larger-than-normal whirlpool tub that I use occasionally. I also ran my dishwasher at least once a week along with all the other normal uses of hot water including running a few gallons down the drain just to get it hot at the tap. There is no way that I could heat all my hot water with just the pilot unless my pilot was hugely oversized. (I don't include laundry because my machine makes it own hot water and uses none from the water heater.)

So if I was using ten therms a month AND a significant amount of hot water there is no way in the world that a pilot alone would consume ten therms a month. Maybe one or two therms at most.


I just checked my recent bills. It seems that for a 30 day period spanning July/August of 2010 I used a total of 9.3 Therms or a daily average of 0.3 Therms. The average temperature for that period was 67 degrees so minimal to no heat was used via the furnace. I am absolutely certain that the main burner in my water heater DID fire every single day of that period.
 
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