My boiler may be frozen..

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Old 01-20-19, 02:37 PM
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My boiler may be frozen..

I have a Harman wood/coal boiler in my non insulated garage, the boiler is piped into my main house boiler in the basement. I usually burn coal every winter for my heat but instead I'm using my gas boiler in the basement for heat this year. We had a cold spell here for the past few days with temps only in the single digits and it's suppose to last the rest of the week. I'm so use to using the coal boiler in the garage and seeing I didn't this year I forgot to drain it, tried opening up the drain valve and nothing comes out, I'm afraid the water inside may be frozen. Can I leave my drain valve open and start a small wood fire inside the boiler in hopes it'll thaw and melt any water that may have froze? If I do nothing I'm afraid the boiler may totally freeze and crack if it hasn't already. If I start a small fire inside the boiler am I also taking a risk that the heat on the steel ice cold water jacket and piping inside may also cause it to crack? Any info would be helpful, thanks.....
 
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Old 01-20-19, 03:50 PM
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It might not just be your boiler - maybe some of the near-boiler piping is frozen, too.

At this point, I wouldn't light a fire in the boiler. Put a 100-W incandescent lamp in the fireside, and maybe set up a portable electric heater blowing on the boiler front. Meantime, shut off the water supply to the boiler - in case it thaws while you are sleeping, and a pipe has ruptured. Copper pipes are very susceptible to bursting if frozen - steel and PEX, not quite as much.
 
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Old 01-20-19, 07:44 PM
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Water was already off when I shut down the boiler in the spring. My return and supply lines are 1/2" insulated before going through the basement wall which may help a little. I'll try that 100-W lamp and see if I can heat the front of the boiler too. If I would have started a fire inside would I have done any damage to the boiler? I'll keep you posted, thanks...
 
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Old 01-20-19, 07:56 PM
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The idea of the light bulb is you want gentle controlled heat. A small fire would probably accomplish the same thing but the heat would be more contained and intense in one location.
 
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Old 01-21-19, 04:09 AM
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I have 2 heat/work lamps here and a small toe kick heat. Can I put the heater inside the boiler firebox and the heat lamps on the outside close to the boiler?
 
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Old 01-21-19, 04:34 AM
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Last night I just put a work light against the face of the boiler and this morning there was water slowly dripping out the front plate. You think I should back off the nuts to allow for any expansion I may have?
 
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