Heat doesn't turn off


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Old 10-24-14, 10:11 AM
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Heat doesn't turn off

Hi all. I'm a first time homeowner on a very limited budget, and I like to give most things a shot myself before having to call a professional.

I have a Weil-McLain Boiler and a Beckett burner, forced hot water for heat.

I had oil delivered yesterday to my empty tank. The tech bled the air from the line and restarted the boiler. There was quite a bit of smoke. To check that everything was working, I set the thermostat to 80 F and ran the hot water. All seemed well. I turned the thermostat off, yet several hours later, the house was 79 F (outside temp 50-55 F). I thought the thermostat might be malfunctioning, so I turned it from OFF to Heat and ran the program, which is 45 F. The baseboards remained hot, and I could hear the heating system cycling in the basement.

I ended up shutting down the heating system from the electrical panel so it wouldn't continue to run and burn oil.

I reset the thermostat this morning by shutting off the main electrical and taking out the batteries, then restarted. The program was deleted, thermostat set to OFF. Turned the boiler back on, and I had heat coming from the baseboards.

Is this a malfunctioning thermostat, or something in the boiler/burner? Are there any more diagnostics I can try before calling a technician?

This is a photo of the system: Name:  IStch6gw9b8qqv0000000000.jpg
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Old 10-24-14, 10:27 AM
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Your technician may have jumpered the thermostat connections inside that gray box at the upper right while he was testing and forgotten to remove the jumper when he was finished.

I would call him back...
 
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Old 10-24-14, 10:35 AM
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No, I was with him the whole time... he just bled the line.
 
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Old 10-24-14, 12:12 PM
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How much do you want to dig in? What is your skill set? Do you own and know how to use a multimeter?

I presume that you only have one zone of heat, correct? Only one thermostat in the home?

Are you comfortable removing the cover on that gray aquastat box and telling us the settings of the temperature dials inside?

CAUTION! 120VAC INSIDE! DO NOT TOUCH ANY EXPOSED WIRES OR TERMINALS INSIDE! TURN POWER OFF TO BOILER BEFORE REMOVING COVER!
 
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Old 10-24-14, 12:19 PM
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I don't even know what a multimeter is. I rarely go into the basement and have no idea what I'm looking at with the system, but with guided help I think I can accomplish minor tasks.

I have two zones of heat. I have a one level ranch, the first zone covers only the entry way and a front room. The second zone is the majority of the house, kitchen, bath, living room, bedroom. The first zone didn't activate with heat at all, and I always keep that thermostat OFF (set to 50 F in the winter). The second zone was what got up to 79 F. If the boiler was malfunctioning, shouldn't heat have been sent to the entire house? Did I just answer my own question? Do I just need to replace the thermostat in the second zone?
 
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Old 10-24-14, 04:25 PM
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with guided help I think I can accomplish minor tasks.
Let's start by finding out the settings in the aquastat.

Turn off power to the boiler and loosen the single screw that holds the cover on the gray box at the upper right.

There should be three dials inside labeled LOW , HIGH , and DIFF.

Tell us what they are set to.

Did I just answer my own question? Do I just need to replace the thermostat in the second zone?
Maybe, but I don't think so. At least not yet.

Because I can only see one pump in the picture, I am going to presume that you have what are called 'electric zone valves'. Look for something like this:


image courtesy pexuniverse.com

or this:


image courtesy taco-hvac.com

on the pipes leading to, or coming from the heating baseboards.

Take pictures if you find them.
 
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Old 10-24-14, 04:27 PM
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The tech bled the air from the line and restarted the boiler. There was quite a bit of smoke.
Only smoked at first, right?

Did he make any adjustements to the burner?

Was it starting up without smoke and running clean when he left?
 
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Old 10-24-14, 05:20 PM
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Smoked for a while, and he asked me to keep the bulkhead doors open for a while to air out. It wasn't running clean when he left, but when I closed the doors a few hours later, there was no more smoke. No adjustments made to the burner.

It's very dark in the basement now so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to take the photo and check the settings in the gray box. There's no interior access to the basement and I live alone, so there's no one handy to hold a flashlight. I did go out and buy a new thermostat but will wait to install it pending tomorrow's results.

I do know there is nothing like the taco pics... the other electric one valve.. will that be in the basement toward the ceiling? I will also take more pics so you can see the burner and everything surrounding. Thanks for your help. If this can be solved without a service call, it will mean a lot.
 
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Old 10-24-14, 05:32 PM
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The first picture was pretty good. Just tipping the camera up would be a great second picture.
 
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Old 10-24-14, 05:51 PM
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It wasn't running clean when he left
He should not have left then. Unless he had no clue as to what he was doing I guess...

When was the last time the oil burner was serviced? That should be done annually.

will that be in the basement toward the ceiling?
Might be... take pics all around the boiler, all the piping, etc.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 11:29 AM
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Photos

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It's still pretty light if you need me to go down and take closer pics of something.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 11:34 AM
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The burner was serviced October 2013, two months before I bought the house.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 12:17 PM
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Found them

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After looking at my pics I saw what could be electric zone valves so I took closer pics of those.

Also, the aquastat readings are for HI just under 180, LO just under 160 and DIFF is about 16, just before the 15 mark.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 03:49 PM
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Also, the aquastat readings are for HI just under 180, LO just under 160 and DIFF is about 16, just before the 15 mark.
It's important that the LOW is not set any closer than 20F to the HIGH.

Leave the HIGH where it is for now. If during the really cold weather you notice that the boiler can't seem to 'keep up' and runs continuously, you could bump the HIGH up to 180F if needed.

That will allow a bit hotter water through the baseboards.

That's probably OK where it is.

Have you had any 'issues' with the domestic hot water?

There's always enough? Never a cold shower?

If so, you can start backing the LOW down. It will save fuel if you can produce enough domestic hot water at a lower LOW temperature. Start with 150F and see how that goes. I wouldn't expect you could go below 140F , but if 150F is still ok, bump it down another 10.

Turn the DIFF to 20.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 03:51 PM
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Now I'm wondering though...

You said:

I ended up shutting down the heating system from the electrical panel so it wouldn't continue to run and burn oil.
Shutting down the boiler is going to mean that you have NO domestic hot water.

Is that the case?

Or, do you have another water heater somewhere for your domestic use?
 
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Old 10-25-14, 03:58 PM
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The burner was serviced October 2013, two months before I bought the house.
How was the heat last winter? No problem with the boiler running on?

Oil burners should really have annual service.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 04:08 PM
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Take a close look at those zone valves. (bring a flashlight).

It appears to me that they already are in the " AUTO " position, but I'd like you to confirm this.

Just below the wiring terminals there is a lever. To the left is labeled 'AUTO' and to the right 'MAN OPEN'.

Make sure they are both in the AUTO position.

Next, with the system turned ON, and with both thermostats turned ON to HEAT, and the temperature settings of the t'stats pushed all the way DOWN as low as they go, I would like you to push the lever from AUTO to MAN OPEN.

I want to find out if either one is stuck OPEN.

If the valve is stuck open, the lever will push over with no effort at all. Loose as a Goose.

If the valve is CLOSED, when you push that lever you will feel some resistance, and you will hear the gears inside 'whirring'. This is what you want to hear.

Next, with the system still turned ON, I want you to push BOTH thermostats all the way up.

Repeat the test above with the lever. They should both now be floppy loose.

If this is what happens, it's a good thing so far, let me know.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 04:10 PM
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While you are at the boiler, look at the temperature and pressure gauge on the boiler and tell us what the readings are.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 04:15 PM
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The first zone didn't activate with heat at all, and I always keep that thermostat OFF (set to 50 F in the winter).
By the way... this might not be a great idea. It's possible for the heat pipes to freeze up when it's really cold out.

If the first zone doesn't activate the heat, it probably means that particular zone valve has a problem with it's 'endswitch'. It's probably opening (we'll find out after you do those tests with the levers) but not signaling the boiler to heat up.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 04:31 PM
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That's right, no hot water. The boiler is the single source for heat and hot water. The heat was fine last year, as was the hot water, everything functioned normally. I ran out of oil and wasn't able to afford to refill, so I haven't had hot water for a few weeks. A few times I put 10 gallons of diesel in just to keep hot water throughout the summer. I had 100 gallons of oil delivered on Thursday and here I am.

I am going to go through the steps you outlined, but it will take me a little time. Hope to have all the answers tonight. I do have a brand new thermostat I purchased yesterday... hoping that ends up being the answer.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 05:14 PM
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Ok, I made the adjustments to the aquastat and covered that back up. I followed the steps you gave, and at the lowest temp, one of the zone valves pushed to MAN OPEN very loosely, with no resistance. The other had resistance. Both valves easily went to MAN OPEN at the highest temp setting.

I took these photos at each temp.

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Old 10-25-14, 05:32 PM
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I followed the steps you gave, and at the lowest temp, one of the zone valves pushed to MAN OPEN very loosely, with no resistance.
This is the reason your boiler keeps firing and you're getting overheated.

It's constantly calling the boiler for heat.

The one that is loose is stuck open. It's either the valve itself, the wiring to the valve and thermostat, or the thermostat itself.

To determine which, we have to do another diagnostic.

Turn off the power to the boiler.

Try to move the handle on the loose zone valve with the boiler power off. If it is now tight, it's telling us that either the thermostat is bad, or there is a short in the thermostat wire. (we've eliminated the valve itself.)

If it is still loose, it is telling us that the valve itself is stuck open.

If it's not the valve itself, the next step is to determine if it's the wiring or the thermostat.

Do you know which thermostat controls which valve? You can probably tell by the direction that the pipes head off to the baseboards.

If you can determine which t'stat controls which valve, then remove the thermostat. Make sure the wires aren't touching and turn the boiler back on.

Is the handle loose?

If YES, then it's the wiring between the valve and the thermostat.

Is the handle tight?

It's the thermostat.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 05:36 PM
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I took these photos at each temp.
The pressure gauge didn't move from cold to hot.

Almost guaranteed that the gauge is bad.

Very common. Not really a big deal at this point, we'll talk about that later.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 06:00 PM
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With power off, it's still loose. So the valve is stuck open. I was able to see it's a Honeywell 8905.

I'm really grateful to be learning so much about my system. Thank you for taking so much time on this.
 
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Old 10-25-14, 06:27 PM
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You're welcome, I'm happy to help.

I was able to see it's a Honeywell 8905.
That 8905 is probably a date code, fifth week of 1989.

The valve is a V8043F from what I can see.

You may be able to change that valve head yourself. It's almost never the valve body itself, almost always the power head. It's actually a pretty easy job to change it. All you need is a screwdriver. But IF and only IF it's the 'new style'.

To determine if it's old or new style, turn power to boiler off and remove the cover.

You'll probably need a mirror and a flashlight being that they're mounted on the ceiling and don't think you can get your head above them to look.

If it's the new style, there will be TWO screws and two 'locating pins' holding the power head to the valve body.

New style you can change yourself without having to drain the system.

OLD style will have FOUR screws at each corner.

What have you got?
 
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Old 10-25-14, 06:37 PM
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Ya know what... let's just do one more test to be absolutely certain of the diagnosis...

Turn power to boiler off.

It is possible that when you do the below step, the valve will 'whirr' closed. Be prepared... don't let it startle you and fall off a ladder.

On the loose valve take a screwdriver and remove the wire from the lower right terminal and move it so it doesn't touch anything.

If it DOES whirr closed when you remove that wire, stop and tell me, it means the valve may not be bad and we might be back to the wiring or the thermostat.
 
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Old 10-26-14, 01:22 PM
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Ok, I removed the lower right wire and nothing happened.

I couldn't see a two or four screw assembly at this angle, so I tried to take pics.Name:  1026141502-00.jpg
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Old 10-26-14, 02:05 PM
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So that valve is definitely stuck open...

Pics aren't clear enough for me to see whether it's old or new style, but I suspect it's the old.

Could you see FOUR screws or only TWO, diagonally opposite each other?

This means you probably don't want to try and replace the head on your own because it involves draining the system.

There is a conversion kit which will let you use the new head on the old body.

Here's the head:

40003916-048 - Honeywell 40003916-048 - Replacement Head for V8043F Zone Valves

Here's the conversion kit:

40003918-006 - Honeywell 40003918-006 - 2 Way Powerhead Conversion Kit (Water)

If I were you I would replace them both, because you said the other one doesn't fire the boiler.

And while they've got the system drained, please insist that they check the air charge on the expansion tank. It should be 12 PSI.
 
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Old 10-26-14, 02:10 PM
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On the endplate, after " V8043F 1036 " there is what looks like a sideways number.

Can you read that number? I can't make it out in the pic.
 
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Old 10-26-14, 02:20 PM
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The sideways number is the 8905 I mentioned earlier.

I will try to get some more light down there and see if I can identify the number of screws. If the 89 is the year manufactured I'm assuming it's the older model.

Is there any chance I could spray some WD40 in there to see if that makes a difference? Or do you think the motor failed entirely?

Is it a big deal to drain the system if it is the older model? I'm getting more comfortable tooling around in my dark, damp basement, so if it's not a major undertaking, maybe I could give it a shot?
 
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Old 10-26-14, 02:27 PM
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The sideways number is the 8905 I mentioned earlier.
No, not that one. There is a number right after the 1036, just outside the border with the 8905 number inside it. There's a smudge on it.

Is there any chance I could spray some WD40 in there to see if that makes a difference?
Yes, there is a chance that might work. Try wiggling the gears around too... be careful, sharp edges... WD-40 is OK, but it does dry up. If you have a can already, try it... you might get lucky!

Is it a big deal to drain the system if it is the older model?
It's not a big deal to drain, but can be a pita to refill and get all the air out.

If you're game, we can walk you through the steps.
 
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Old 10-26-14, 02:59 PM
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I think it's just a smudge but I will go down and look at it again. I don't have any WD40 but I can get some tonight or tomorrow morning... when I have it, is there something in particular I should aim at?

Working on getting some lighting... no matter if it's the newer or old model, I'll have to wait to have the part shipped (unless this is something I can pick up at the Home Depot?), so for hot water purposes, will it hurt for me to turn on the system from the electrical panel to take a shower and wash some dishes? Then turn it back off when finished?
 
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Old 10-26-14, 03:16 PM
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There's usually a sideways number there... which is the 'revision' number.

I'm not certain of this, but as I recall, revision 5 and above are the 'new style'. Don't trust this though, confirm by looking for the screws.

Since you don't have any yet, instead of WD40, get some "Silicone Lubricant". It lasts longer. Just give the gears and stuff a spritz or two. Jiggle the gears around and you may hear it spring shut.

You didn't see any broken springs in there, did you? Those valves are power open, spring return. If the springs broke, it won't close.

I'll have to wait to have the part shipped (unless this is something I can pick up at the Home Depot?)
HD might have the power head, and who knows? they might even have the conversion kit. Are there any real plumbing / heating supply places near you?

Any place you buy locally is going to be considerably more money than on-line, but maybe will balance out with the shipping / sales tax, etc.

SupplyHouse is very fast to ship, if it's a 'fast track' item, you'll have it in a couple three days.

I placed my last order with them on a Sunday, and I had the stuff on Monday following... but I'm only about 40 miles from them.

for hot water purposes, will it hurt for me to turn on the system from the electrical panel to take a shower and wash some dishes? Then turn it back off when finished?
Won't hurt a thing... as long as the burner fires up and runs clean.
 
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Old 10-27-14, 12:56 PM
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Good news!

I sprayed the silicone lubricant and tried to "wiggle" things, but nothing budged. I noticed all the springs are intact. The good news is that there are TWO SCREWS!

Also, the mystery smudged number is a 6.
 
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Old 10-27-14, 01:38 PM
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Also, the mystery smudged number is a 6.
That's what I thought... I think I was right about revision 5 and above.

The good news is that there are TWO SCREWS!
OK then, the replacement of the power heads is pretty straight forward then.

You do not need the conversion kit, you do not need to drain the system.

Turn power off the to the boiler.

Lock the lever in the MAN OPEN position.

Tag each wire and remove it from the terminals.

Remove the two screws.

Lift the power head off the valve body.

Lock the new power head in the MAN OPEN position.

Line up the " D " shaped shaft with the power head and slide the new head on.

Replace screws, replace wires.

Unlock handle...

turn boiler on... should work now.
 
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Old 10-27-14, 02:19 PM
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Old 10-27-14, 02:31 PM
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As long as the diagnosis is correct and you are confident that's the trouble!

That and a screwdriver.
 
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Old 10-27-14, 02:52 PM
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Yep, I followed your directions and reported back my results exactly. I'll get the part and install, then report (fingers crossed) success!
 
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Old 11-04-14, 10:44 AM
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I was finally able to order the part today (finances are pretty tough). Since we've had a few cold days, I was wondering about pipe insulation. Should I get some of those foam pipe covers? Anything I should be careful of when applying them?
 
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Old 11-04-14, 12:53 PM
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Should I get some of those foam pipe covers? Anything I should be careful of when applying them?
If the pipes are in unheated (or minimally) heated space they can save a little bit of energy... but on the other hand perhaps they are contributing to keeping the space a bit warmer... i.e. floors not as cold.

Nothing I can think of except to keep them away from very hot items, such as the flue pipe.
 
 

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