Burnham hot water boiler help!


Old 01-24-13, 07:36 PM
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Location: Minnesota
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House stays cool- Burnham hot water boiler

I moved into my current house (1100 sq ft main level + basement) ranch about 1 1/2 years ago. It has a Burnham P204BWNS, 70k BTU hot water boiler (~15 years old). The last two years when it gets cold outside 0-35 degrees, it also gets cold inside. Often I'll set the thermostat (electronic) to 66 at night 68 during the day. Today it was 15 degrees outside when I woke up, and the thermostat read the indoor temp as 59 (boiler was set 66).

So, I hear the thermostat click and my boiler fires when I set the temp above ambient house temp. The boiler's low set temp is about 150-160 and the high temp is around 200. The boiler heats the water fine. The outflow pipes seem to get very hot leaving the boiler and remain pretty hot as a few of them travel the length of the house to the baseboard radiators.

The problem is that some of the baseboard radiators don't get as hot as I would think they should. The fins inside seem to have a lot of dust/fuzz on them. Also, the circulator pump is MUCH hotter than the return water going through it (the water is still warm, but I can't keep my hand on the pump it's so hot).

Also, the system is basically quiet. No tapping, water noises, flow sounds... nothing.

So... which is most likely?

1. Is my house colder than the set temp because the radiators are full of fuzz and they're not transferring heat as well?
2. Is my circulating pump supposed to be that hot? Or is it malfunctioning and not circulating the water fast enough?
3. Is my system set up correctly or is there a design flaw?
4. How can I tease these problems apart?

Thanks for any advice! I've attached pics of the setup. Let me know if you need another angle or something.
Attached Images         

Last edited by NJ7000; 01-24-13 at 08:18 PM.
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Old 01-24-13, 08:51 PM
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NJT is offline
Join Date: Oct 2006
Location: USA
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1. First things first... take the covers off the baseboards and clean the dust out as best you can.

After that re-evaluate.

Yes, dust build up can cause a tremendous reduction in the heat output of the baseboards. If there is carpeting obstructing the air inlets at the bottom of the baseboards, that should be removed/cut back so that those openings are clear.

2. Yes, the pumps do run hotter than the water sometimes.

3. I don't see any terrible design flaws. It's been 'working' how many years? Can't be that bad.

4. Start with the obvious, easy fixes and go from there...

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