converting boiler to cold start

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Old 02-21-14, 09:51 AM
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converting boiler to cold start

Well recently I had some real fun. On that bad Feb 5th ice storm in the Northeast, broken branches took out my power line, phone line, and cable. All the lines from the road to my house. I was without power, water, etc. for 8 fun filled days and froze my @33 off. Nothing like eating (junk) dinner by candlelight in a 40 degree house. Aaahh - so refreshing. Builds character. (The dog was in heaven however. lol) When I went to the supermarket I was so stiff I was walking like Frankenstein down the aisles.

But anyway my real question is : the boiler was off for 8 days and it is a warm start boiler. I have the thankless coil. Itís now back on and I am wondering if this experience has shown that the boiler can in fact be run as a cold start boiler without worrying about leaks?

That is, I know from this forum that a warm start boiler potentially can develop leaks if after having lived a warm life all of a sudden it is allowed to go cold. And I know that there is a debate about make-up water also: whether it should be constantly on or off. Turns out mine has always been off and so I just leave it that way.

Thus since I am not seeing any problems with temp/pressure and everything seems fine and exactly the same, and my make-up water is off, seems like I can assume there are no leaks.

So can I assume if I want to get rid of the thankless coil (and boy do I) that it has been proven that I will (should?) not have problems running the boiler as cold start? Or would it be impossible to say from the above information?

(Forgot to mention I also had the boiler go cold once before for 3 days from another ice storm a few years ago. Now I know why everyone my age wants to go to Florida.lol)
 
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Old 02-21-14, 10:22 AM
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Many, if not most, warm-start boilers are cooled down for the summer, when required for maintenance, and, as in your case, when there is a power outage. Those relatively infrequent events may not be comparable to frequent cycling?

If your boiler is physically large, with a large water volume (which for mine is 60+ gallons), it'll take a relatively longer time for heat to respond to calls for heat using a cold-start scenario. That may not be a problem for you, but it will inevitably involve longer periods with flue condensation.

How will you heat domestic water?
 
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Old 02-21-14, 01:01 PM
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hi gilmorrie Ė

Thanks. I guess I did overlook that small point about frequent cycling. lol I was just worried about turning it off for the summer. Never even thought about that condensation variation. A little more to it than I imagined. lol

I was just thinking about getting one of those standard electric water heater tanks (I donít have natural gas here) and just turning the entire boiler off for the summer and using the electric water heater. Didnít think this through very much. I donít know how many gallons of water is in my system. Itís only a 2 bedroom house but itís 2200 sq. ft. and the boiler is a New Yorker Fr-147 and I have those flat type of baseboard radiators.

p.s. now the more I think about I believe I am confusing the whole issue, I guess I was thinking about a warm start boiler in the winter which is just turned off for the entire summer. So I guess that's not cold start and I am using the wrong description? (My brain and other parts aren't completely thawed yet. lol)

I believe I really need to think this through, I think i am saying I do have and don't have a coil at the same time. My bad.
 
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Old 02-21-14, 01:52 PM
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Your boiler's water volume is 40 gal, but the manufacturer's installation instructions show the option for cold-start controls set up. It is a horizontal, steel, fire-tube design. That design should be very rugged and able to go through repeated thermal cycling without problems. I presume the fire tubes are rolled into the tube-sheets, so there is limited risk of leaking due to thermal cycling, I think - and if one tube did start leaking at the tube-sheet joint, it probably could be seal welded or, if necessary, the tube plugged. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to convert it to cold start if that is what you want to do, but you could check with New Yorker.

You should brush out the fire-tubes with a cylindrical wire brush mounted on a pole once a year or so - a 5-minute job.

http://www.newyorkerboiler.com/pdf/F...ure%209-06.pdf
 
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Old 02-21-14, 02:58 PM
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Myself being in eastern PA, with well water, I would recommend you invest in a generator to keep yourself comfortable during what seems to be frequent power outages...
 
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Old 02-21-14, 04:23 PM
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Good idea. You will need an emergency generator distribution panel, too. At another home, I had a recoil-start generator, which was often difficult to start.

Now, where I live, I rely on a 12-V inverter that can run off either of my vehicles. The circuitry is set up to supply the boiler only.
 
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Old 02-21-14, 05:39 PM
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Your boiler's water volume is 40 gal, but the manufacturer's installation instructions show the option for cold-start controls set up. It is a horizontal, steel, fire-tube design. That design should be very rugged and able to go through repeated thermal cycling without problems. I presume the fire tubes are rolled into the tube-sheets, so there is limited risk of leaking due to thermal cycling, I think - and if one tube did start leaking at the tube-sheet joint, it probably could be seal welded or, if necessary, the tube plugged. Personally, I wouldn't hesitate to convert it to cold start if that is what you want to do, but you could check with New Yorker.

You should brush out the fire-tubes with a cylindrical wire brush mounted on a pole once a year or so - a 5-minute job.
Thank you very much gilmorrie for that good information and advice. Iím encouraged. Iím going to take the bull by the horns this summer. Iím waiting till itís very hot outside. lol

Myself being in eastern PA, with well water, I would recommend you invest in a generator to keep yourself comfortable during what seems to be frequent power outages...
Thanks Thomas. I am in fact going to look into that. There is in fact a panel in my garage and Iím pretty sure it's for a generator. Now I am really interested, this last outage was too much.lol

(PECO was all screwed up with my account number and I couldnít even talk to them on the phone without a good account number. It would have been more than 8 days without power if my sister-in-law hadnít got to talk to them via her account number and threatened them and told them they were freezing out a senior citizen. I donít play the age card Ė but I may start. lol)
 
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Old 02-21-14, 05:43 PM
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As trooper suggested in another post regarding this is to.

1. get a seperate water heater
2. Do not make cold start but set the lo as low as it will go. It will keep the large mass of water warm for the winter heating months. ( I think it will take more oil to heat up all that water if it were cold start)
3. Shut the boiler off during summer.

Wait for troops reply to verify this may be preferred...

4.. Get a small water IMO. Once the water runs out then shower is over. 30 gal?

This is what I planned on doing as my teenagers like to shower long. Im on a septic. I think my next heater may be a 20 gallon... Oh and egg timers dont work. Only my yelling seems to help some...
 
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Old 02-21-14, 05:43 PM
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I am lucky enough to have a father and two sons that are PECO linemen living next door to me. Within 5 hours, one of the two utility trucks was driven by the son, and then power came back on.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 08:12 AM
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As trooper suggested in another post regarding this is to.

1. get a seperate water heater
2. Do not make cold start but set the lo as low as it will go. It will keep the large mass of water warm for the winter heating months. ( I think it will take more oil to heat up all that water if it were cold start)
3. Shut the boiler off during summer.

Wait for troops reply to verify this may be preferred...

4.. Get a small water IMO. Once the water runs out then shower is over. 30 gal?

This is what I planned on doing as my teenagers like to shower long. Im on a septic. I think my next heater may be a 20 gallon... Oh and egg timers dont work. Only my yelling seems to help some...
Mike NJ
Thanks Mike. when I get my plan (act) together I'll post back for a sanity check.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 09:27 AM
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Wait for troops reply to verify this may be preferred...
I might 'experiment' with cold start, but I do believe you will find that maintaining a low setting on 40 gallons of water (plus what's in the system) would be preferable.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 10:10 AM
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I think someone north a ways suggested turning a electric into a aqua booster. Work for a company that did these and sold or rented them. Never heard any complaints to speak of. Just needed a bronze cir.,a check valve a tee and some other assorted things. The same thermostat was used to control cir. If needed got a acid wash though first.
 
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Old 02-22-14, 02:56 PM
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I might 'experiment' with cold start, but I do believe you will find that maintaining a low setting on 40 gallons of water (plus what's in the system) would be preferable.
Thanks Trooper. I think I see, but I know I need to do some homework. I need to go back and read (re-read) some of the old threads that deal with this topic.


I think someone north a ways suggested turning a electric into a aqua booster. Work for a company that did these and sold or rented them. Never heard any complaints to speak of. Just needed a bronze cir.,a check valve a tee and some other assorted things. The same thermostat was used to control cir. If needed got a acid wash though first.

guyold that is beyond my comprehension level now (lol), but Iíll keep the info as a challenge and a test to see how my learning is progressing. Thanks
 
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Old 02-22-14, 03:01 PM
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All you need to do zoe is install an electric heater. When the coil H/C lines to the boiler are cut leave them open and do not cap them..

Go in your aguastat and set the lo to the minimum. Set the differential to the minimum also...

Done....
 
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Old 02-22-14, 03:42 PM
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Well Mike that is something I can understand and even most likely be able to do. lol

Thanks.
 
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