"Right" pilot flame size?

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  #1  
Old 09-19-18, 06:35 AM
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"Right" pilot flame size?

Nights are getting cooler again so last weekend I lit the pilot on my cottage boiler. Tested it and everything's fine--but I have a question about how high the pilot flame SHOULD be. When lit my pilot fans out of the flame spreader, engulfs the thermocouple, and extends a good inch beyond. It's quite robust and the "roar" can be heard outside my utility room.

I've considered dialing it down but I'm wondering if it was set up that way because this is a cottage that's unoccupied all winter and to have the pilot blow out could cause damage from freezing. I've had the place over 5 years now and have applied the "ain't broke/don't fix it" theory so far.

I'd appreciate feedback from pros and others with appropriate experience.
 
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Old 09-19-18, 11:11 AM
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It's really a judgement call but that pilot sounds about right to me. They are run slightly on what would be considered an "oversized" flame. The one downfall to a larger pilot flame is that it runs the thermocouple hotter. Wouldn't be a bad idea to keep a spare on hand.
 
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Old 09-19-18, 03:33 PM
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I agree with Pete - I always have a spare T-couple. But if your cottage is unoccupied during the winter, nobody will be there to replace it. Best to have an alarm sent via phone or internet if the inside temp drops below a setpoint. Is your T-couple five years old? If so, I would replace it as a precaution.


Don't worry about the gas consumed by the pilot - it's peanuts. But I have always set the pilot to engulf the T-couple tip, but not by an extra inch and not to the point it produces a audible roar. But if yours has always been adjusted that way, then maybe leave it be. Perhaps next spring, you can reduce the pilot size a bit, and see how it does.
 
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Old 09-20-18, 06:26 AM
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I've never changed the sensor in the 5 years I've owned--and have no record of it ever being replaced. Or of anything ever being serviced. Addition + basement was added on maybe 20 years ago so that's likely the age of the boiler & emitters. The well pump, HWH and pex piping are new in the past couple years.
 
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Old 09-21-18, 03:59 AM
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My only recommendation would be that the heating system be filled with an anti-freeze solution to minimize damage to the heating system in case the boiler fails to start.
 
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Old 09-21-18, 06:24 AM
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There are other ways to lose heat besides the boiler thermocouple failing. An electric power outage is one. Adding antifreeze to the hydronic heating system still leaves the domestic water system at risk. Antifreeze is messy and may present disposal problems. Your unattended house during winter cannot be made completely risk-free. Personally, I would try to line up a neighbor to routinely check the house during freezing temperatures.

P.S. See the copper pipe with green stuff on it? That is caused by a leak in your hydronic system. It should be fixed. Inspect your whole system for other leaks.
 
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Old 09-29-18, 09:02 AM
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Not to hijack the thread, I have antifreeze in my hot water system so at least if the power fails or whatever fails' will still will have heat, but I have to replace the boiler safety valve more often.
Sid
 
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Old 09-30-18, 07:51 PM
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If you had a power failure or boiler failure.... how can you have heat..... osmosis?
 
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Old 10-01-18, 06:38 AM
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You'd have heat *quicker* once power was restored since there wouldn't be a long delay replacing all the burst piping.



I DO have glycol in my heating pipes and HAVE had the system fail at the worst time in winter. I had to replace my busted water pump and copper pipe (potable water system) but the hydronic system wasn't affected at all.

But I've never heard of an issue this creates with the safety valve...
 
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Old 10-04-18, 06:08 PM
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Anti-freeze additive to a hydronic heating system probably makes sense for an unattended home. But, it's certainly not ideal. Personally, I would not even opt for hydronic heating at all for a home that is unattended in winter weather. Electric resistance heat might be better, along with draining the domestic water system before winter. Best would be to arrange for a neighbor to look in on the house during cold weather.
 
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Old 10-05-18, 07:06 AM
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Why is it not ideal? Many seasonal cottages are shut down over the winter so the interior temps get down to zero or worse and no harm is done to the hydronic system when it's filled with glycol.

I've often read that glycol is a worse thermal transfer fluid than plain water but when I looked it up I found it's only about 5% worse.
 
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