No hot showers in winter months (oil boiler with hot water radiators)

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  #1  
Old 12-11-13, 05:53 PM
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No hot showers in winter months (oil boiler with hot water radiators)

I've searched this topic many times but can't seem to find a solution. We have two-story home (SE Pennsylvania) that is approximately 60 years old. I'm not quite sure how old the oil boiler is. The problem we've experienced since we moved in is that we have great heat coming from the radiators but the hot water is nonexistent in the shower. We have to run the water for quite a while before it warms up at all. The boiler has had routine cleaning/service checks, but the techs never seem to be able to tell me how to fix the water problem. I don't know much about the boiler, so I've attached some photos. Please let me know what you think can be done to rectify this situation. Any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!
 
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  #2  
Old 12-11-13, 07:24 PM
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Brian,
The first thing to do is check the tankless itself. To do that turn off your thermostat so the boiler just runs for domestic water. Next turn on your tub, that is where the biggest draw is. If you have hot water there you'll have it everywhere. Run the tub until the boiler comes on.

Shut the tub off and wait for the boiler to shut off on limit.
When it shuts off you go to the basement and have somebody at the tub.

On your tankless coil you have a cold water in and a hot water out.
With your hand on the hot pipe(be careful it could be real hot) have them turn on just the hot water on the tub.
The water should stay hot at the tankless until the boiler comes on to reheat the water. Whatever the temp is at that time is the coldest it will get.

If the water comes out real hot and then cools right down the problem is with the tankless coil. Until that's fixed you needn't look any further.
If it's the coil you have some options.
As far as the coil goes you can replace it or you can have it cleaned with an acid that is pumped through to remove the minerals that have coated the pipe when the cold water runs through.
It looks as though it might have been done before by looking at your setup. They would remove those 2 plugs and install drains to pump the acid through.

Your other options are a separate hot water tank or an indirect hot water heater.
I noticed you have a blue valve between your hot and cold pipes. Since you have a mixing valve make sure that blue valve is closed.

Try that for a start to see if you can locate the problem.
 
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Old 12-11-13, 07:30 PM
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Hello and welcome...

The first thing we need to know are the aquastat settings...

What is the HI/LO/ and DIFF?

Once we get hat we can help you further...

Additionally the tempering valve you have there may have mineral deposits... Turn the handle all the way left and then right and set back to original temp...

Let us know the outcome...
 
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Old 12-11-13, 07:43 PM
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As an aside, not likely related to the hot domestic water problem, the pressure in the boiler is LOW, IF your gauge is to be believed.
 
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Old 12-11-13, 07:45 PM
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the pressure in the boiler is LOW, IF your gauge is to be believed.
I saw 8 psi??? I lost my glasses.........and my neck hurts...

( Corporate has to fix the sideways pic thing.....)
 
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Old 12-11-13, 07:49 PM
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Yeah, that's what I get too... I just spilt my beer turning my monitor on the side.

The sideways pic thing is because the way the new fangled smart phones 'code' the jpg information. Display that pic on a phone and it will be just fine.

I wonder why the guys installed that ball valve BELOW the tee into the mixing valve?

Wouldn't it have made sense to install it ABOVE that tee so it could be used as a 'service valve' when the mixing valve needed work?
 
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Old 12-11-13, 07:53 PM
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The sideways pic thing is because the way the new fangled smart phones 'code' the jpg information.
Two pics are correct orientation because the OP held the phone different???

Yes on a smart phone turn the phone anyway and the pic will follow when viewing..................
 
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Old 12-11-13, 07:54 PM
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Two pics are correct orientation because the OP held the phone different???
Yes, as I understand it... true...........
 
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Old 12-12-13, 02:51 AM
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Thanks for the quick replies everyone. I will try a few things out tonight and report back. As far as I know the coil has never been cleaned, at least not while we have lived here.
And I apologize about the photo orientation. One of the annoyances of smart phone cameras.
Brian
 
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Old 02-17-14, 04:38 PM
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Hi Brian,

I've got the same problem!! How did you make out?
Any advice is much appreciated.

Thanks!
 
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Old 03-29-14, 07:15 AM
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Update: 3/29/14

My apologies for the late update. I was able to fix the problem I originally posted about back in December. Per the advice/suggestion of a oil boiler tech that came out to perform routine maintenance on our system, I removed the tempering valve altogether. This proved to be a relatively easy and inexpensive fix. I used SharkBite connectors to avoid a lot of unnecessary soldering. And this way another tempering valve can easily be added down the road. We now have ample hot water at our sinks, and our showers are very comfortable. I'm sure this may not be viewed by some as the best solution, but we were not prepared to drop any serious money into our heating unit. All said and done, I spent about $25 for a few connectors (I already had a length of copper pipe). The whole process took a little over an hour. Hopefully the attached pics will give you a better idea of what was done. - Brian

Pic 1 - Tempering valve before removal
Pic 2 - Valve is removed; cold water (horizontal) is capped; hot (vertical) is extended upward to connect with domestic supply
Pic 3 - Hot water now connected directly to domestic supply
 
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Old 03-29-14, 09:42 AM
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So obviously then the mixing valve was defective.

Good luck, hope ya don't get burned!
 
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Old 03-29-14, 09:42 AM
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Brian,
Although you have hot water now by removing the mixing valve it's only a temporary fix. You are now getting straight hot water from your coil which is sitting in a boiler full of 180 water. You should be getting scolded.
Your coil is getting limed up and at the very least will have to be cleaned if not replaced. The fact that your only getting ample hot water with the coil sitting in 180 water is far from working correctly and is not going to improve with age.
If you had kids at home and ran a properly operating coil without a mixing valve would be very dangerous. The tech didn't do you any favors by advising you to do this.
As far as the price for parts what's the safety of the kids worth.
I would start saving now because I believe before next winter you will encounter the same problem.
Once you really fix the problem you'll understand what I mean about scalding hot water and you'll be putting the mixing valve back in.
Anyone of us could have suggested the same thing if we thought it was safe.

I don't mean to be preaching to you but safety trumps cheap fix.
 
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