Trying to avoid infequent hot water radiator pipe freezing


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Old 01-08-23, 02:00 PM
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Trying to avoid infequent hot water radiator pipe freezing

Been in our 2 story house 25 years. Same hot water boiler that came with the 50? year old house when we moved in (it's not the original boiler).

As much as I am pretty handy and have insulated the attic, pipes, etc, we've woken up in the morning 2x in the past 3 years (and none before) - (1 time 3 years ago and 1 time a couple weeks ago) where the 1st floor zone appeared to be frozen after a 5 - 10 night outside.

Neither time was there any cracking of the pipes. The day warmed up and that zone started working again.

Each time I've found embarrassingly glaring issues with air coming in and fixed them (it IS great when it's really cold outside - finding leaks is EASY : )

We typically have our setback thermometer keeping the 1st floor in the upper 50s overnight.

I guess on the cold nights at least, we need to turn that up a little.

But I wonder - is there a way to get the recirculating pump / that zone to come on 2 - 3x overnight - every night or when we flip a switch for that night. I'm thinking keeping the water circulating would keep the water from freezing?

Or any other ideas you'd offer?

There's a fair amount of areas in the basement where I can't get to the radiator pipes to insulate them / make sure there's no air leaks near them. (finished basement, HVAC ductwoprk, etc.)

THANKS!
 
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Old 01-08-23, 04:30 PM
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On an extremely cold night I don't recommend a major setback.
65 would be ok.
Allowing water to circulate in the system would be the same as heating the area.
 
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Old 01-08-23, 07:23 PM
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When I was a tech we always suggested to homeowners if it got below 10f do not set thermostat back, don't use fireplaces, wood stoves, coal stoves, pellet stoves, kerosene heaters, or any device that would shut the thermostats down.
 
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Old 01-08-23, 03:27 PM
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Setback to upper 50s for first floor is too low. Increases the amount of time to recover in the morning so does not really save much $. All heat in first floor eventually warms the upper levels so it is not wasted. I keep my first floor at 65 overnight. I would recommend that you not go below 60 and maybe even higher when outside temps are single digits.
 
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Old 01-09-23, 11:49 AM
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EdShnatter
1) Just spray more? Is there something better?
I wouldn't spray more
2) Should kraft / foil in the crawl be above (against the subfloor?) or down into crawl? or none? And on the sides against the unheated garage?
Kraft or foil should face the heated side. If adding insulation over existing insulation use a non-vapor barrier and run perpendicular to existing insulation.
3) How do you tell if there's insulation in the outside walls? poke a hole to look? 60 year old house would have some, right? ​​​​​​​
You could try this.
Calculating R-Value

 
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Old 01-10-23, 06:47 AM
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Install another thermostat (or two) in the respective cold location(s). Connect them all in parallel so any one thermostat will turn on the zone.The cold area thermostats could be set to something like 38 degrees.F

Some experimentation will be needed for auxiliary thermostat placement and temperature setting Under a radiator is a good starting point. The zone needs to be turned on before any part goes below 33 degrees. The auxiliary thermostat causing other parts of the house to go over 72 degrees F is not to be ruled out but can be minimized after all cold air leaks from outside near the radiator piping are caulked.
 
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Old 01-09-23, 08:51 AM
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Thanks. Just another example of me causing my own problems : )

Try to save money / think I have the house insulated.

Yeah, I've heard about low setback doesn't actually pay. But stubborn - I know better?

THANKS!
 
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Old 01-09-23, 09:16 AM
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Any advice on this: a laundry room that's always relatively cold - 2 outside walls, 1 wall is the uninsulated garage. above it is unfinished attic over that and the garage.

I DID insulate lots above it. And below in a finished crawl space, used a can of foam at the joist / cinderblock interface.. and insulation below the floor.. But still feeling cold along there.

1) Just spray more? Is there something better?

2) Should kraft / foil in the crawl be above (against the subfloor?) or down into crawl? or none? And on the sides against the unheated garage?

3) How do you tell if there's insulation in the outside walls? poke a hole to look? 60 year old house would have some, right? i

4) f there's some, would you try to replace with new? add more?
THANKS!








 
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Old 01-11-23, 01:42 PM
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Make life much simpler and add antifreeze to the heating system. Don't overdo it or you will need a larger circulator and expansion tank.

 
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Old 01-12-23, 10:05 AM
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EdShnttner post #5 Thanks. Just another example of me causing my own problems. Try to save money / think I have the house insulated. #1 Been in our 2 story house 25 years. Same hot water boiler that came with the 50? year old house when we moved in (it's not the original boiler).
DH 1957 home (2” builders insulation) and boiler is similar to EdShnttner’s.

Cost of added home insulation is paid back many times over years in lower fuel costs and more comfortable home.

In 1970’s oil crisis oil price increased from 20 cents/gallon to $3. Spent $1,200 to have foam insulation pumped into walls. Over the years also installed new windows, doors, weather stripping, sealed all air leaks.

In 1970 used 1800 gallons oil year. Winter 2020-20220 used 600 gallon oil year, a 1200 gallons year saving.

At today’s New York oil prices (COD no service contract) $4.00 gallon X 1200 = $4,800 savings last winter.

Have never totaled savings from reduced heat load but am very happy camper whose wife controls the thermostats.

Other posts suggesting anti freeze which only saves cost of possible repairs, not fuel costs.
 

Last edited by doughess; 01-12-23 at 11:42 AM.
 

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