Buderus-powered hot water baseboard heat doesn't get very hot and warms up slow!

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Old 12-20-12, 07:50 AM
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Exclamation Buderus hot water baseboard heat doesn't get very hot and house warms up slow!

What's up there, fellas? I've been a casual reader here for awhile, but never joined up until I ran into this problem after buying a new home.

I have a Buderus G115 cold-start boiler, with a buderus indirect hot water tank. I have 4 zones, including the DHW. Each zone has a Taco cartridge circulator.

We moved in at the end of July and didn't need to start using the heat until late October/early November. When we started to use the heat, we noticed that it would take hours to warm up the house even just 5 or 6 degrees. The baseboards would get warm, but nowhere near hot enough where you couldn't leave your hand on them indefinitely.

The first thing I did was look at the settings on the boiler. The high-level cut off was set at 180. I just had the pressure guage and expansion tank replaced as part of signing up for a service contract with my local oil co. The pressure guage reads around 15 lbs when the system is warm.

The next thing I did was check the baseboards. They were all totally plugged with dust and pet hair. I vacuumed them all thoroughly. I also noticed that many of them had bent fins. I fixed all those. I also noticed that whoever installed the carpet didn't cut it to fit properly and stuffed the extra up under the baseboards, which was blocking a lot of airflow. So I cut the extra carpet and tucked the remaining under the bottom of the baseboard. Some of the baseboards were mounted very low and were coming loose from the wall (they didn't screw into studs), so I removed some of them and installed them higher so that there is a 3 inch clearance from the bottom of the fins and the floor/carpet.

Doing all of these things did make a noticeable difference in how hot the baseboards get, but the house still takes forever to get warm. Pre-baseboard work, if it was 40 degrees outside and I set my 1st floor thermostat to 70 degrees, it would take around 5 hours for the house to warm from 62 to 70!! Now it takes around 3-4 or so.

All the circulator pumps are running and click on when needed. We are going through what seems like an insane amount of oil--100 gallons a month or so. I have a programmable thermostat that lets the house cool down to 58 overnight and then raises it to 66 in the morning, holds at 64 in the afternoon, warms back up to 66 in the evening, and then back to 58 overnight.

I've installed socket sealers, window film, and we have 22 inches/R-60 insulation in the attic. The house was built in '05. It is insulated, although I can't tell what R value without ripping apart a wall.

I've also tried doing an "air purge" but connecting a garden hose to the boiler drain, opening the drain, and opening the fill valve at the same time. This is probably wrong, but this is what I read here How to purge air from heating systems - repressurize your heating system: Guide to Air Bleeder Valves on Heating Systems

This did not seem to make much difference and I only noticed a very small amount of air coming out. I do not have any bleeder screws on the baseboards.

I have attached some pictures of my system in hopes that someone will be able to help me. I've had the system serviced and looked at by my local tech. He said I am going through excessive amounts of oil because of the programmable thermostat and that I would use less if I just left the house at a constant temperature. I don't buy that because it has never been the case in any other house I've lived in. He did clean the system, replace the pressure gauge, replaced the expansion tank, replaced the hy-vent, and a piece of the venting pipe.

We have 3/4 PEX pipe going to the zones. The return pipes are VERY hot, as well as the lines going from the Taco pumps.

I also noticed that it appears there is not enough piping after the 90 degree going into the Taco pumps. Would that cause a problem in circulation? Seems I've read somewhere that you have to have 6-8 pipe widths of pipe after a 90 and before the pump inlet.

Any thoughts? Suggestions? Please help as I've already had my tank filled twice in only 2 months!

Frank
 

Last edited by franklinrizzo; 12-20-12 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 12-20-12, 08:02 AM
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Also, I don't hear water rushing or gurgling through the pipes, but I do hear a ton of knocking/popping sounds when the burner first fires. I've been told that PEX pipe does that as it expands/contracts.

One more thing...until I installed a VERY low flow 1.5GPM showerhead, we would run out of hot water in the shower and have to wait about 5-10 minutes (while the shower is still running) for the water to warm back up. The hot water tank is set at 120 degrees with a 10 degree differential.

Thanks!
 
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Old 12-20-12, 10:02 AM
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The Buderus

Is that a manual, or an automatic air vent on top of the air scoop? You could help yourself out with an automatic one, they will vent a lot of air when they are working in good order. Also there should be one manual air vent at the top most part of your system, and check it daily until you get the air out of your system.
Sid
 
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Old 12-20-12, 10:23 AM
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From what I understand, it is a Taco Hy-Vent, which I believe is an automatic air vent. I have the cap loosened one full turn from totally tight, which is what I've heard it recommended. It is brand-new.

There is not a manual air vent at the top of my system that I can find.
 
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Old 12-20-12, 12:04 PM
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Cold start boiler? Where is control panel and what are the settings? I do not see the control panel in the pics.

So if cold start then the boiler does not stay warm for the indirect. Meaning you have the lo limit off and only using the high limit of 180f.

That would explain periods of no hot water.

Also i am not an oil guy but see no barometric damper on your vent pipe to the chimney...??? Is there one that we cant see?

Here is the manual.

http://www.buderus.us/files/20121207...6720804872.pdf

I will brief through it as will others and chime in later.

Oh here is the operating manual for the controller for reference.


http://www.buderus.us/files/20121207...6720804873.pdf

Upon reading the install manual it would seem you would want the boiler recommision and post all those values, such as your flue gas temos...etc... Also what position are the baffles in. Or where they removed?

These will effect your efficiency.
 

Last edited by lawrosa; 12-20-12 at 12:21 PM.
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Old 12-20-12, 12:21 PM
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There is no control panel. It is controlled by a honeywell aquastat relay with a high limit set at 180. The aquastat on the indirect is set to 120 with a 10 degree differential.

The biggest issue is the baseboards getting warm at best. If I turned up the indirect tank and moved to a 5 degree differential then that would probably improve the water part.
 
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Old 12-20-12, 12:22 PM
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You know I just see you may have this discontinued model that is listed as a direct vent.

http://www.buderus.us/files/20120820...en_12-2006.pdf

So possibly forget what I said in my last post.

I will brief through it as will others.

I will delete my other post shortly if true.
 
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Old 12-20-12, 12:24 PM
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Oh and you are correct. There is no electronic damper. Is that bad?

I do have the manual but have not checked the situation with the baffles. Thanks for the tip. Anything else would be greatly appreciated!
 
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Old 12-20-12, 12:26 PM
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What # aqustat? L8148A? .
 
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Old 12-20-12, 12:31 PM
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Did the oil tech do a combustion analysis? Page #9. Is this the same manual you have?

http://www.buderus.us/files/20120820...en_12-2006.pdf
 
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Old 12-20-12, 12:34 PM
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Old 12-20-12, 12:43 PM
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Old 12-20-12, 12:46 PM
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I do not believe a combustion analysis was performed. He felt the registers were hot enough and blamed it on the programmable thermostat letting the temp drop too low overnight.
 
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Old 12-20-12, 01:03 PM
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Do you have the switch in the taco controler set to priority?

On a call for heat and a call for HW, Hot water circ will have priority. Heating circs will stay off until call for HW is done.

Does the boiler successfully reach 180f on a call for heat and cycle on and off the whole time?
 
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Old 12-20-12, 01:10 PM
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Yes to both questions. I always assumed it was airbound somehow, but it sounds like there are other possibilities.
 
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Old 12-20-12, 07:02 PM
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This is probably wrong, but this is what I read here How to purge air from heating systems - repressurize your heating system: Guide to Air Bleeder Valves on Heating Systems
I didn't spend a ton of time reading that, but yes, I think it's wrong based on what I did see.



Problem is that looking at your piping, I don't see that there are proper 'purge stations' installed.

Still, I don't think your problem is air... do you hear the water 'gushing' through the system or is the water flow relatively silent?



The return pipes are VERY hot, as well as the lines going from the Taco pumps.
As in 180 HOT ? You can't touch them for more than a split second hot?

How about the pipes INSIDE the baseboards? I'm not talking about the exterior cabinets, or the fins, but the pipes themselves. Feel them where they enter and exit the cabinets. Are the pipes also just as hot?

If so, stop blaming the boiler. All it can do is produce and pump the hot water through the baseboards.



Perhaps the home is UNDER radiated?

How many square feet is your home? How many floors?

Now the $64 question:

How many FEET OF FIN-TUBE baseboard is in the home in total?

I'm asking these quesstions to try and get a guesstimate as to whether or not you have enough installed heat emitters to counter the heat loss in the home.

I also noticed that it appears there is not enough piping after the 90 degree going into the Taco pumps. Would that cause a problem in circulation? Seems I've read somewhere that you have to have 6-8 pipe widths of pipe after a 90 and before the pump inlet.
On a manifold such as yours, not that big a deal. Probably not a factor.
 
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Old 12-20-12, 07:32 PM
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Also i am not an oil guy but see no barometric damper on your vent pipe to the chimney...???
Oh and you are correct. There is no electronic damper. Is that bad?
Frank, Mike isn't talking about an 'electronic damper', he's talking about a 'barometric damper', like this, the round thing with the 'flapper' on it at the top of the pic (ignore the annotations, this pic is from another thread):



And the manual says this about that:

After starting the burner, set breeching draft to -0.01 to -0.02 inches WC using a draft gauge. The overfire pressure can be positive. If necessary, install a barometric damper in the flue system to maintain the underpressure in the system or to meet code requirements. Always install
the draft controller in vertical position. Use a draft gauge when making adjustments.
I am CERTAIN that your draft is way too high, and it should be checked with a proper gauge.

BUT, this is not the cause of your perceived problem. It IS something that should be addressed though.
 
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Old 12-21-12, 02:35 PM
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Yes, the return pipes are too hot to touch for more than a half-second or so.

The water flow through the system is relatively silent. We don't hear water gushing at all.

The pipes going into the baseboards do feel almost as warm as the return pipes. But not much heat radiates off the baseboards. The baseboards themselves do not get hot enough where I wouldn't be able to keep my hand on them for more than a few seconds.

I think you might be on to something about the house being underradiated. Our house is 2 floors, with 2000 square feet of living space, not counting the basement (which is another 1000 square feet and is not heated). We have approximately 82 feet of fin baseboard (I measured it this morning). How do I tell if that is not enough? There must be a formula or something?

Thank you, Trooper, for your assistance thus far.

Frank
 
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Old 12-21-12, 02:38 PM
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For some reason I read "barometic" as "electronic"!

If not having a damper isn't the cause of my problem, what problem will not having a damper cause?
 
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Old 12-21-12, 02:45 PM
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Do a heat loss calc of the home with this software. It will tell you how much bb you need in each room.

Contact Us - P.V. Sullivan Supply Co., Inc.

Download Slant Fin Heat Loss Calculator

Take a few pics of your BB and element.
 
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Old 12-21-12, 03:34 PM
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Would you like a picture of any particular baseboard and element?
 
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Old 12-21-12, 03:36 PM
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This is NOT to be taken as the 'final word'... because your home might require more or less BTU per square foot depending on a lot of factors.

Let's just use a 'ballpark' figure that may be 'around' correct.

2000 square feet at 25 BTU/SF heat loss... 50,000 BTUH

82 feet of fin-tube at 550 BTU/ft... 45100 BTUH

So, just using those SWAGs, it would appear 'borderline', but remember, this guessed at heat loss would be when you are at minimum outdoor temps. Not sure how cold it is up yer way yet, temps are still relatively mild here in NJ... I'm sure neither of us have 'hit bottom' on the thermometer yet.

So with milder temps, your system should be able to at least 'keep up'.

I would start by not setting back quite as far. (I don't set back my home more than 2 at night and workdays). I found it didn't make that much difference in fuel consumption...

The outside of your baseboards will NOT get that hot. Remember that the HOT water is only in the pipe in the center of the fins. The air flowing through picks up heat as it flows, but it ALSO COOLS the baseboard 'skin' as it goes.
 
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Old 12-21-12, 03:38 PM
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I just thought of something else...

Are the baseboards installed properly? That is, the 'folded' ends of the fins are toward the front and rear, and the 'open' parts are up and down?

I think Mike has some in his home that were installed wrong, don't you MIke?
 
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Old 12-21-12, 04:49 PM
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Good thought on the baseboard installation, but mine are installed correctly.

I'm going to check out that site and see what the calculations come up with.

I'll also bump up the overnight setback temp. I think the issue is that the boiler has to cycle several times to warm up the house a few degrees. All that running uses a lot of oil.

Why is it important to have a damper?

Thanks so much for the help and resources, everyone! I'll report back once I do those calculations. I have a couple of places on the first floor (where I have the majority of the problem) where it would be relatively easy to add a couple of baseboards. In one area, part of the 1st floor loop runs directly under where I'd like to add one. Should be easy enough to splice into that line.

Frank
 
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Old 12-21-12, 05:07 PM
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Why is it important to have a damper?
Sorry... meant to answer that earlier!

For proper combustion, the pressure in the combustion chamber of the boiler needs to be held relatively constant. If it's not, problems like 'sooting' can occur. Sometimes excess draft can cause rough starts, and the like.

The draft in the chimney changes from season to season, and from a cold chimney to a warm one, also when it is a windy day, the draft can change dramatically from second to second.

With a baro damper in the flue pipe, the draft changes can be 'regulated'. When the burner first fires at the start of a cycle and the chimney is cool for example, the damper door will be mostly closed. As the boiler warms the chimney and the draft increases, the door will begin to open and draw air through itself rather than through the boiler, keeping the draft through the boiler relatively constant.

It's mainly to assure consistent combustion...
 
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Old 12-21-12, 05:16 PM
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Is this 82 ft all element? Not sure if we established that.

If it was even it would be 27 ft each zone. X 3

I wonder if it would be better to combine some somes if they were short.

Pre-baseboard work, if it was 40 degrees outside and I set my 1st floor thermostat to 70 degrees, it would take around 5 hours for the house to warm from 62 to 70!! Now it takes around 3-4 or so.


Thats insane.


I have a programmable thermostat that lets the house cool down to 58 overnight and then raises it to 66 in the morning, holds at 64 in the afternoon, warms back up to 66 in the evening, and then back to 58 overnight.
Although I have gas, if I set my t stat at night lower then 68 the wife and kids would kill me. 58 is insanly too cold IMO.


I do 68 at night and 70 during the day. It does take 1 hour or less to raise the two degrees, but then again I am only running 150f water and am over radiated.

Just giving you a comparison.

 
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Old 12-21-12, 05:39 PM
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My local tech said that he cleaned my boiler about a month or so ago. Here are some pictures of the inside. It doesn't look clean to me, but I don't know much about this stuff. What do you think?

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o...382AF7E6A9.jpg

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o...3835CFE4EF.jpg

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o...38311718D1.jpg

http://i118.photobucket.com/albums/o...383A2F36BB.jpg
 
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Old 12-22-12, 09:48 AM
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Thank you, lawrosa and NJ Trooper, for suggesting that I use that software and find out if I am short baseboard.

I have determined that while I have enough baseboard on the second floor, I am short at least 20 feet of baseboard, assuming a 20 degree outside temperature. In Maine, the temp can regularly fall below zero for days at a time, but winter tends to average around 20 or so.

My furnance is capable of generating 90K + BTU/hr, which is enough to maintain 68 degrees when it is 0 outside, but with the little amount of baseboard I have on the first floor, much of this output of heat never reaches the air!

Luckily, I have several pex pipe runs, which go to other baseboards, located in convenient areas where I could add baseboards by simply splicing them in to the 1st floor loop. The only question I have is what is the best way to attach 90 degree copper elbows to new baseboard and what is the best way to attach a threaded nut fitting onto pex pipe so I can complete the necessary connections?

Thanks again!

Frank
 
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Old 12-22-12, 10:03 AM
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I am short at least 20 feet of baseboard, assuming a 20 degree outside temperature. In Maine, the temp can regularly fall below zero for days at a time, but winter tends to average around 20 or so.
Frank, you should base your calcs on the "Design Temperature" for the city nearest yours.

In Portland that design temp is MINUS 5. (another chart says MINUS 1)

Caribou is MINUS 13

This chart has the most cities I've found so far...

http://www.energystar.gov/ia/partner...itions_508.pdf
 
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Old 12-22-12, 10:37 AM
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Thanks. I wasn't quite sure what temp to use. That's going to put me very short on the first floor.

How should I account for hallways and the staircase in the software?

When doing each room, how should I account for doorways that don't have a door (open walkways)?

My first floor is one giant open room, other than the bathroom. There are walls & partitions, but no doors.

Thanks

Frank
 
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Old 12-22-12, 10:41 AM
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The link you sent me has Portland listed at 2 degrees. But that's much more realistic than the 20 degrees I had inputted.
 
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Old 12-22-12, 05:10 PM
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Do you input values for interior doors into this software?
 
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Old 12-22-12, 05:16 PM
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Do
you input values for interior doors into this software?
No, not if both sides of the door are heated spaces.
 
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Old 12-22-12, 05:19 PM
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It's been a while since I've used it myself, but I don't believe interior doors are counted, nor are interior walls for that matter. There won't be any heat 'loss' in those directions. The program is only concerned with 'cold walls', exterior doors and windows, ceiling and 'cold floors'

I would probably ignore hallways and stairways as well, but you could count them as 'small rooms' if you wish. If they have exterior walls, I would include the square footage of the stairway or hallway into the room next to it and add the exterior wall to that room.

This program is going to over-estimate your heat loss by about 25% for various reasons... we can get into those reasons later if you wish.
 
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Old 12-22-12, 07:53 PM
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I just finished taking all of my measurements and entering everything into Heat Loss Express. Here are the findings:

1. Total BTU/HR loss: 53,208

2. On the first floor, where I am having the vast majority of the problem, the software says I am anywhere from 16 feet to 19.5 feet SHORT of total baseboard (Fine/Line 15 v Fine/Line 30). I have no idea what the different kinds of baseboards are like...The Multi/Pak 80 says I am only short about 4.5 feet, but I am sure that is some kind of high-end baseboard.

Most of the 1st floor rooms have adequate baseboard lengths. However, what throws it off are 2 rooms in particular. It says I am over 10 feet short in each of two rooms! This makes sense because one of these two rooms is a 16 x 20 room with only 1 baseboard that is 10 feet long!

3. One the second floor, it says I am OVER anywhere from 8 feet to 10.5 feet total (again, 15 v 30 baseboard). Every room on the 2nd floor has more than enough except the bedroom, which is borderline.

Thanks to all who helped point me in the direction of the house being underradiated, rather than a boiler problem. Luckily, the two rooms on the first floor that need more baseboard each have a great location to add a length. There is a pex run to another baseboard on the same loop right below the two ideal locations, so it should be easy to splice into that.

On another note, I adjusted the baffles in the buderus 1 step up from the default configuration. I almost immediately noticed that the baseboards heat up quicker. From my limited understanding, this raises the stack temperature, correct? Can I cause more harm that good doing this?

One more thing, did anyone look at the pictures I posted of my "clean" boiler? Does that look clean to anyone here? Looks dirty to me!

Thanks again to everyone who has assisted this far!!!!!

Frank
 
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Old 12-22-12, 07:57 PM
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One other observation...the software only allows me to select up to 12 inches of insulation in my roof. My house has 22 inches/R-60 in my roof space! So my BTH/HR loss is likely significantly lower that what the software states.

Frank
 
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Old 12-22-12, 08:32 PM
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I need to take a look at the program again... I'm surprised that it won't allow you to enter more than 12" insulation. But you do reach a point of diminishing returns over about R40 or so in the ceiling so it might not make as much diff as you would logically think.

The results you got were with 180 heating water?

One thing to keep in mind when doing this: You want to try to 'balance' the heating as much as possible so that all rooms heat fairly evenly. You obviously want 'enough' to at least counter the heat loss, but you don't want way MORE than enough in one room, and just enough in another. You will end up with an overly warm room.

OVER radiating is not a bad thing, it means that you can run cooler water which will save some money. MOST of the winter I can heat my home with 150 water (or less). Only when it gets REALLY cold do I see 160-165 water. I've got proportionally more baseboard than I need in every room.
 
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Old 12-23-12, 05:52 AM
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Yes, the results were with 180 degree water, which is what the high limit of my honeywell aquastat controller is set for.
 
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Old 12-24-12, 02:46 PM
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Was it a bad thing to make that baffle adjustment? I didn't remove any baffles--I just rotated both of them to the right according to the manual.
 
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