Looking for Advice on a "Gravity Heater"


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Old 12-11-10, 11:30 PM
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Looking for Advice on a "Gravity Heater"

Hello Everyone!
I was hoping that I might get lucky and there might be some genius to read this and help me out.

My brother and I moved into an apartment and asked every question in the book before moving in, besides one, "what kind of heater do you have"? Ugh, winter come around and we discover that we have an old gravity heater. We are the only unit in the 4 unit house that has this old heater. Everyone else has forced air. We recently got the heating bill and ouch! 100 for leaving the heat on only in the morning and a little at night before we go to bed, and no higher than 60 degrees. The neighbors was 50 for leaving it at 65 and never touching it once. Also, we live on the first floor. and they live on the second, right above us.

So I was hoping that some saint might read than and know the perfect answer to help us maybe get more out of our old furnace, maybe save some money, maybe help us out a little.

Currently, we have a couple of the windows in the house with plastic on them, and on the rest of the windows we have the weather seal around them. We also have the vents turned off to the rooms that we aren't in.

So what do you think folks?

Thanks a lot,
Reyloads
 
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Old 12-12-10, 02:42 AM
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I'm neither a genius nor a saint but I may be able to help you if you give me some more information. I've been around the block more than a few times and I've seen a lot of different heating systems (engineered a few also) but I'm at a loss to understand what you mean by a "gravity" heater.

When I think of a gravity warm air system I think of an ancient "octopus" furnace in the basement with huge ducts going to the various rooms. Maybe if you take some pictures of the furnace and post them I will have a better idea and may be able to help. To post pictures you need to first upload the pictures to a photo hosting site such as photobucket.com or villagephotos.com. and then post the public URLs for the pictures (or album) here. More pictures are always better than fewer. Please have CLEAR pictures and have both close up pictures and ones from a far enough distance that we can see how the various parts are interconnected.
 
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Old 12-18-10, 09:55 AM
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If this is indeed a "gravity" furnace located in the basement, I have seen "zone system" work just fine.
 
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Old 12-18-10, 11:10 AM
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I think he may be talking about a HW semi gravity/ Gravity system no circulator. Or one with a integral pump in the flow pipe at the boiler. There are many of these in my area from around the 1940's - 1960's in the homes I worked in. Pipes are usually like steam pipe size 2-3" feed 1 1/2 - 1 1/4 coming back. It takes a while to get the radiators hot.

The installers were very skilled.

I have been asked about converting to a regular circ style, but because of the age all the applications I have seen have been replaced completely.


Yahoo! Image Detail for - http://www.miketheboilerman.com/images/semigravity.jpg

http://www.cdc.gov/nceh/publications...igure12.12.jpg
 
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Old 12-18-10, 06:50 PM
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I don't think it is either a gravity hot water or a gravity hot air system. Notice that the OP stated "...we have an old gravity heater. We are the only unit in the 4 unit house that has this old heater." That pretty much precludes any kind of central heating. I suspect they may have a wall furnace that does not have a circulating fan but who knows?

At any rate, it has been a full week without the OP returning so I am putting this into the "one-post-wonder" file.
 
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Old 12-18-10, 11:19 PM
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Sorry it took me so long to post these pics. Finals week. Im all done though. YAY! Furd would be right with his original post. The big vents to the rooms dont seem to have any insulation around them too.

Here are the pics:
Pictures by coreynol - Photobucket

To mbk3: I dont know what you mean by zone system. What do you mean by that?

But sorry again for taking so long.
 
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Old 12-18-10, 11:37 PM
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Post the make and model of the conversion burner in the furnace.


You have an old "octopus" style gravity furnace.
 
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Old 12-19-10, 03:01 PM
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Originally Posted by Reyloads
Sorry it took me so long to post these pics. Finals week. Im all done though. YAY! Furd would be right with his original post. The big vents to the rooms dont seem to have any insulation around them too.

Here are the pics:
Pictures by coreynol - Photobucket

To mbk3: I dont know what you mean by zone system. What do you mean by that?

But sorry again for taking so long.
It means each apt has a thermostat to turn the heat on/off their apt only.
 
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Old 12-19-10, 07:51 PM
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Good call, Furd. Being a wethead at heart, I was thinking along the lines of a gravity boiler. Where I lived until about age 4 had a gravity furnace with one huge cast iron floor grate & registers cut thru the ceiling of the first floor & floor of the upstairs. If I didn't know better I'd swear I still had "brands" on my feet from that grate. It only took once to learn to go around that grate when barefooted.
 
 

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