Steam oil furnace runs randomly for short periods

Reply

  #1  
Old 05-09-05, 10:06 AM
jeffraab
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Steam oil furnace runs randomly for short periods (not for hot water)

Hi everybody. I just bought a house with oil steam heat. As part of the sale, the furnace was cleaned and serviced, and inspected suprisingly well. It's about 25 years old, I think.

Both with an old analog thermostat and new digital thermostat, the heat is fine. The furnace runs when it is supposed to, heats the house, and stops running at the right time.

Every 20-30 minutes or so, the furnace turns on for no apparent reason. It runs for about a minute, then shuts off. I haven't taken the time yet to figure out exactly how long it goes between running randomly, or if the furnace having run recently for heat affects anything. There don't appear to be any steam leaks. The radiators seem fine, with no painted valves or anything.

I've never had steam heat before, so is this normal behavior? Is it related to building or relieving pressure? What could be the cause(s), and what are some possibilities to stop it from happening? Any help is appreciated. Thanks,

Jeff
 

Last edited by jeffraab; 05-11-05 at 07:45 AM.
Sponsored Links
  #2  
Old 05-09-05, 07:55 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,939
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
Steam Boiler

From the sound of things, I would say you probably get your domestic hot water from the boiler. It is firing to maintain a minimum temperature in order for you to have hot water.
 
  #3  
Old 05-11-05, 07:37 AM
jeffraab
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
We have a separate gas hot water heater, so it's not heating water. But, I think the home inspector mentioned that the furnace looked like it used to be hooked up for tankless hot water at one time.

Do you think it's trying to maintain a temperature for the hot water, even though it's providing hot water anymore? Is there a way to turn the hot water component of the furnace off? I would think there should be a hot water thermostat, right?

Thanks Grady, for your insight.
 
  #4  
Old 05-11-05, 06:21 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,939
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
Boiler maintaining temp

There is probably an aquastat of some sort mounted below the water line of the boiler. Without seeing exactly how your boiler is wired, I couldn't tell you how to disconnect it. For the cost of a service call, a pro could likely do it in short order. You could just turn off the power at the switch but that would only cure the problem for the summer. The cost of this service call would easily be recovered in fuel savings.
 
  #5  
Old 05-12-05, 06:57 AM
jeffraab
Visiting Guest
Posts: n/a
Thanks

Thanks for your help, Grady. I can't believe that the previous homeowners didn't do anything about it! Take care,

Jeff
 
  #6  
Old 05-12-05, 08:06 PM
Grady's Avatar
Forum Topic Moderator
Join Date: Jan 2005
Location: Delaware, The First State
Posts: 13,939
Received 4 Votes on 4 Posts
Another idea

Since your boiler has been hot for 25 years, it might not like the idea of being shut down completely. Often cast iron boilers develop what we in the trade call "cold leaks". These are leaks caused by the contraction of the metal when it gets cold. If you can locate the aquastat, maybe you could turn it down to 110-120. You would still burn some fuel but the boiler would stay warm & the cast (presuming the boiler is cast iron) would not contract to the point of leaking. Another benefit of keeping a boiler warm is they stay cleaner because you don't get condensation in the flueways. Sorry to add to the confusion but you deserve the best information I can provide.
 
Reply

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are Off
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread
Display Modes
 
Ask a Question
Question Title:
Description:
Your question will be posted in: