Continious Circulator Operation

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Old 11-24-03, 08:30 AM
reynz
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Continious Circulator Operation

I just had a new boiler installed, and observed my upstairs bedrooms are colder than the downstairs rooms. Primarily in part to the shorter span of baseboard radiators located in the bedrooms. My family room has a very long baseboard which probably makes the family room hotter, and it is also where my thermostat is located. I would like my house to be 70 degrees all the way around (family room and upstairs). I am wondering if leaving my circulator running continuously, even when there is no call for heat, would help, hurt, or not make a difference. If this is not the example that would benefit from a continuous circulator operation, what would be the benefit, if any, of leaving a circulator running continuously during the winter? I have a Taco 0011-F4 Cartridge Circulator on my WM Ultra 155. Website has been very useful. F Reynolds
 
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Old 11-24-03, 11:49 AM
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Lightbulb boier

With the new boiler why didnt you have them zone the home at that time. Maybe put in some more baseboard in the cold rooms?
ED
 
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Old 11-24-03, 12:50 PM
reynz
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Continious Curculator Operation

I did price a converstion to a two zone system. It ranged from $2700 to $3000. I didn't want to add anymore baseboard to the bedroom, becuase all four bedrooms have about the same length of baseboard. If I did it to one, I would have to do it to all, and that would be expensive, I beleive.
I'm really interested to see how much my new Weil-McLain Ultra 155 will reduce my gas bills. With my old system, I had bills of $350 to $450 monthly, during cold months.

What do you think about constant circulation in my system?
 
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Old 11-24-03, 01:16 PM
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The constant circulation would not make any difference in the comfort level. It isn't like the cool water would pick up heat from the warm rooms and drop it off in the cooler ones. In a warm air system constant circulation could be helpful but not in hot water systems. Zoning would be very helpful but depending on the design of the system can be expensive as you have found. Keep in mind if the thermostat is located in a room that has a disproportionate long piece of baseboard, the rest of the house will get cold. There is usually some degree of balancing available using the dampers in the baseboard heaters. Or you could block the fins off with cardboard or aluminum foil.
 
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Old 11-24-03, 02:47 PM
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Re: Continious Circulator Operation

Originally posted by reynz
I am wondering if leaving my circulator running continuously, even when there is no call for heat, would help, hurt, or not make a difference. F Reynolds
I am not sure I agree that running the circulator continuously would not help.

The amount of heat delivered to a room by a radiator is a function of the surface area of the radiator (how big it is), and the delta T (difference in temperature between the radiator and the ambient room temperature). Heat only flows from hot to cold, and the rate of flow is directly proportional to the delta T.

Having said all of that, it is a cheap experiment to run. Go buy about 4 identical, cheap, thermometers. Set them all side-by-side at the same location for about an hour, and see if they are reading the same temperature. If not, put a piece of masking tape on them, and write how many degrees to subtract or add to get them to read the same as the others.

Now. put one in your family room, and in each bedroom. Try to make them all about the same distance and elevation away from the radiators. Let them set there for 24 hours and record all of the temperatures. Now, go turn on the circulator and let it run continuously for 24 hours, and see if you have any better heat distribution between the rooms.

The next considerations will be:

- does your boiler pump water in series or parallel thru the radiators? If it is in parallel, if you have a flow valve to adjust the amount of water flow to each radiator, then throttle down the flow to the warm rooms.

-What is it costing you to run your circulator continuously, versus the benefit derived?
 
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Old 11-24-03, 05:02 PM
reynz
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THANKS RICK

Rick,

Most replies to questios I have asked have been good, but yours was absolutely the most complete, well thought out, articulate response to any question I have posted on any board to date!! Ask my wife and she will tell you I’m a little dense, but most replies to questions I’ve posted have assumed I know more than I really do. If I knew that much, I wouldn’t be asking the question.

As for your question, mine are in parallel. Actually a two pipe system, where all baseboards get supplied directly from the hot supply line. They then all empty into the colder return line. I understand that type of system was put in larger homes to help with heat distribution.

I’m taking your advice, will monitor temperatures and adjust the supply lines to the warmer rooms. I wish I could have a two zone system installed, however that is out of the price range at this point ($2700 to $3000), since I opted for an Ultra 155. I’ll let you know the result of the experiment. Thanks, Reynz
 
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Old 11-24-03, 09:54 PM
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Thanks for your reply. Sometimes we try to make simple things complicated. Run your test, post the results, and we will all learn something from it.
 
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Old 04-02-04, 06:32 PM
reynz
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Continious Curculator Operation

Rick,
You were absolutely correct…… Constant circulation has helped tremendously. It enabled me to turn the boiler target temp down and allowed for a longer heat run on my boiler. That improved comfort dramatically. To quote a wise one in another forum.

“Whenever I see old CI heat, whether Baseboard or old fashioned rads, I really try to educate the customer about constant circ. Because you have so much mass, stopping the flow doesn't help the efficiency- we call that stand-by loss.”

Keeping the circulation constantly flowing also allows me to keep my baseboards at a more consistent temp and therefore easier to heat up once the boiler fires up again. Believe me, constant circulation is the only way to go. Thanks for not being so dismissive of the question. You suggested test verified that it works best.
 
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Old 04-03-04, 04:33 AM
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Thank you very much for posting the results of your test. This will help others who may be searching for ways to reduce heating costs with hot water boiler/radiator systems.

Were you able to quantify how much the savings were?

What modifications did you have to make to run the circulator continuously?

How did you adjust the boiler target temperature?

Answers to these questions will help others.

Thanks again for your followup post.
 
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Old 04-03-04, 05:54 AM
reynz
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Excuse the spelling errors. Here ya go Rick

Were you able to quantify how much the savings were? Actually, with the new boiler (a Weil McLain Ultra 155, condensing boiler, 93 to 98 % eff), I ended up saving 1/4 to 1/3 on my energy bill, and still maintain my home warmer than it was with the old boiler. However, I wasn't able to determine how much electricity I used to keep the circulator on vs. how much the gas savings were.

What modifications did you have to make to run the circulator continuously? Funny you should ask. I had the HVAC installer come back at total of THREE times to pipe the boiler the way the manual instructed it to be piped. Initially I only had a Taco 011 for the entire system. The Taco 011 provided with the Weil McLain Ultra 155 is only supposed to be used for the boiler loop and not the entire system..... I had him install a B & G Series 100 on my secondary circuit with a summer/winter switch. I leave it on all summer. Rather than zinging the water around the system with the Taco 011, the B & G 100 gently coaxes it along similar to the orgininal gravity system I had.

How did you adjust the boiler target temperature? The Weil McLain Ultra allows you to set the max tempature the boiler will operate. When the temp is set lower (mine for example works well at 148 degrees, to maintain 70 at 15 degrees outside temp) it causes a much longer run of the boiler to heat the house. A longer run causes a longer application of heat which makes a more constant temp throughout the house.

I suppose sometimes, you have to go with comfort vs. cost, however, I cannot believe I would sacrafice comfort over electric savings, which amounted to nothing more than leaving a circulator running over the winter. Some people rezone an entire house, just for comfort.

I am very satisified with the results of this experience. Thanks for all the information.[U]Were you able to quantify how much the savings were? What modifications did you have to make to run the circulator continuously? How did you adjust the boiler target temperature?
 
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Old 04-03-04, 01:15 PM
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Thanks for taking the time to post such a complete followup on your experiences. I know this will help many other people.

I am glad you had the courage to "test the waters" and push the envelope. Many people just accept what they are told, and don't ever try to experiment on their own. A little experimentation never hurts, and who knows, you just might learn something, as you certainly did.

Thanks again,
 
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