Harsh Winter = Cold Showers

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Old 02-21-15, 01:08 PM
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Harsh Winter = Cold Showers

I've recently moved into a 1986 Colonial home in central-CT and have noticed the furnace has begun to struggle with our currently harsh winter. It wasnt great before now, but definitely wasnt this bad. There are only 2 occupants; my wife and I. Previously there were 2 adults and a 20-25 year old girl.

The furnace is a 2-3 year old Weil-McLain Gold and runs on oil.
The house has 2 zones.
Temps have been in the single digits with wind chills below zero.

I must admit I'm a novice when it comes to HVAC stuff, so apologies in advance.

Here are some pics I took of her, hopefully it can shed a little light. I've been told that perhaps the call temp is too low or the mixing valve needs to be adjusted?





 
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Old 02-21-15, 05:07 PM
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Hi Goofy,

Are you saying that the boiler is having trouble heating the HOUSE, or the domestic HOT WATER, or BOTH?

If I'm seeing correctly, the HIGH is set at 180, the LOW between 140 and 150, and the ECONOMY between 1 and 2 ?

If so, those settings are probably OK.

I've been told that perhaps the call temp is too low or the mixing valve needs to be adjusted?
Probably good advice.

I'm not exactly sure where the 'pointer' is on your mixing valve. What is it set to now?

Typically, one would set the mixing valve to about 125F and the boiler about 20F above that.

Those 'tankless coils' inside boilers are really the worst and most inefficient way of producing domestic hot water. The problems you are having plague everyone that has them.

Believe it or not, turning the mixing valve to HOTTER will often make matters worse. This is because when you do that, you are forcing more water to flow through the coil in the boiler and that extra flow doesn't allow enough 'dwell time' in the coil to heat the water.

By setting the mixing valve at a SAFE 125F, you are mixing more cold at the valve, and slowing the flow through the coil. This results in a more consistent output from the valve.

So if it's much higher than 125, turn it back down again, and during this cold weather turn UP the LOW setting a notch or two... go as high as 150 or so. Stay at least 20F below the HIGH setting, in other words, don't set the LOW above 160F.

Understand that raising the LOW setting will burn a bit more fuel because the boiler will be kept at a higher temperature.

Do you have low flow showerheads installed? If not, buy and install them. The more flow you have, the cooler the water will be. Until then, limit the flow by adjusting the shower valve... if you have the type that can be adjusted... some are all or none.
 
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Old 02-21-15, 05:12 PM
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Do you have room for a stand alone water heater?

I see you are burning oil, do you have natural gas in the home?

Is there another flue in your chimney that you could vent a gas water heater (if you have it available) into?

Depending on the price of your electricity, it may be cheaper in the long run to even go with an electric water heater. With the price of oil these days, it's real close to the cost of running an electric WH.

There are other options too... something called an 'aquabooster' which is a storage tank that connects to your existing tankless coil. It heats a batch of hot water and stores it in the tank. It doesn't cut down on fuel use any, but at least you'll have 30-40 gallons of hot water on hand.
 
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Old 02-21-15, 07:20 PM
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Trooper,
What do you think about the circulators wired to the zone panel and the pumps do not shut down on a drop in temp.
He lost circulator reverse.
Remove the jumper and wire C1 to the Zc terminal and the pumps will be energized and de-energized by C1.
 
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Old 02-21-15, 07:52 PM
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Ohhh... I didn't think of that! Good call Boss...

Goofy, once you come back and get caught up on what's been posted so far, I'll explain what needs to be looked at and possibly a very minor wiring change.

Tell me the model number of that Taco box on the side of the boiler behind the pumps.
 
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Old 02-24-15, 06:24 AM
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Are you saying that the boiler is having trouble heating the HOUSE, or the domestic HOT WATER, or BOTH?
Just the domestic hot water, the radiant heat is a-ok.

If I'm seeing correctly, the HIGH is set at 180, the LOW between 140 and 150, and the ECONOMY between 1 and 2 ?
Yes, the low is about 140, high 180 and Economy is set at 2.

Typically, one would set the mixing valve to about 125F and the boiler about 20F above that.
I'm going to give this a shot before I attempt to mess with the jumpers.

To recap - get the mixing valve around 125.
Set the Low to ~145-150 and keep the max at 180?
When I set the mixing valve to 125, should the display on box read that temp?

Thanks all!
 
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Old 02-24-15, 07:18 AM
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Yes, try all that first...

When I set the mixing valve to 125, should the display on box read that temp?
No, there's no communication between the two.
 
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Old 02-25-15, 07:14 AM
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Next dumb question. How do I know where 125 is? Is the pin on the bottom the 'start'?
 
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Old 02-25-15, 08:25 AM
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Good question... I said earlier:

I'm not exactly sure where the 'pointer' is on your mixing valve.
The pin is a 'stop' that prevents turning round and round...

You should only get about one turn from stop to stop.

You should be able to 'infer' where the 'pointer' is by turning it stop to stop.

What position is it currently in?
 
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Old 03-03-15, 04:36 AM
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Using the stop as the zeroed point, I moved it a quarter turn towards 'warmer' however it didnt seem to make much a difference.

We did try shutting both heating zones off while my wife showers and she had hot water almost the entire shower (still got cooler toward the end).
 
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Old 03-03-15, 09:35 AM
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To see if it's the mixing valve.Shut inlet to coil.Mark placement of black knob with white out or something.Remove nut on knob,pull knob up and off.Take vise grips to spin off the guts from body.Take inner guts out with the spring. Replace only the top brass tighten and check. Good plumbing supply will have inner guts.
 
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Old 03-03-15, 02:49 PM
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I'm not sure I'm following you Guy...

Are you saying to take the guts out and put the top piece back on while you are out shopping for new guts?

I think better to have the parts on hand... once and done.

http://www.supplyhouse.com/Watts-012...A-RK-Lead-Free

If you do this, make sure you shut the water supply off first! And even after that you will have water draining out of the pipes, so have a bucket around. Any electrical controls that might get sprayed with water should be covered with plastic sheeting.
 
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Old 03-03-15, 04:42 PM
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Your right Troop, better to have parts on hand. Don't think he has a heat loop so might burn the elements out again.
 
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Old 03-09-15, 05:44 AM
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Will give this a shot, wish me luck lol.
 
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