House won't heat

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IT is 0 degrees on this fine, sunny Chicago winter morning. The thermostat is set for 72 and the house is sitting at 65. The house, built in 1967, is heated with hot water radiant baseboard. Every inch of exterior wall that can have a radiator, has a radiator. I have blown out the accumulated dust/dog hairs of 30 years from the radiators so the air is once more circulating freely. The boiler is busily cycling on and off maintaining a water temperature of 180 degree. I conclude from that, that the problem is at the radiator end. The boiler guy was out in the fall and replaced the expansion tank and air bleeders and bled the system and pronounced it fit
1) WHat is the correct way to fix this? 2) Temporarily, can raising the water temperature to 190 give some relief? How high can I go?
Note: there are 4 zones to the system but only 1 thermostat. THe house is equally cool in all zones. I would suspect the wall to wall carpeting (reducing the air flow thru the radiator) but the one room without the carpeting is just as cold as everywhere else.
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Jmagerl wrote:
About inadequate heating...
1. Is this a new phenomenon? You been in the house for a while or is this first winter so you don't know history?
2. I don't know much about these systems, but if the boiler is functioning as you say, sounds to me like there's either a circulating pump that has failed or a valve is closed or some similar problem keeping the water from circulating...that all areas are cool implies a single-point failure.
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This is not a new event. I've been in the house 5 years and it does it every winter

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Raise water temp to 195, blead each radiator of any air. Is water level correct, is pump running? Baseboard depending on type, normaly requires higher water temps.
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A quick check of the baseboard temperature gives around 157 degree. I will up the boiler to 190. I will admit I have no idea what the insulation situation is other than the ceiling has about a foot of blown in in it. About half of the windows are double pane. All windows have storms. The doors could use some weather stripping but the windows seem tight enough.

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It's not an issue of to small of a boiler, if it is cycling on the internal thermostat!
Your best advice would be to call in a HVAC professional. As messing around with boilers can lead to a catastrophe, if you are not trained to service them.
~kjpro~
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Duane Bozarth wrote:

Though he didn't mention any relationship between thermostat setting and temperature, I wonder if it's just the thermostat mis-indicating? He said there's only one.
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If you are not reaching thermostat set point your pump should be running continously, is it?
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The pump runs continuous but the burner cycles on and off (the water gets to 190). The thermostat may be old (an old honeywell dial type) but seems to be working correctly.

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You can probably go a few more degrees.
If the heater is struggling, it may just not have the capacity of the system to do the job. Since it does cycle off, it is able to get the water hot, but you may not have enough radiator surface area. Or you don' t have enough insulation, or you have drafts, etc. Close off the radiators in unused rooms (if you have any) to get more heat to the used ones.
Since it will be very cold this week, consider some temporary supplemental heat. It won't take much for a kerosene or propane heater to kick it up another five degrees.
Did you post if it saw gas or oil? If oil, the burner may need a cleaning. If the spray nozzle is not right, you don't get the proper heat. If the heat exchanger is sooted up, you don't get the proper heat
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This would have nothing to do with it unless the boiler was firing the whole time!
~kjpro~

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Hi Edwin, hope you are having a nice day
On 17-Jan-05 At About 23:41:43, Edwin Pawlowski wrote to All Subject: Re: House won't heat
EP> Close off the radiators in unused rooms (if you have any) to get more EP> heat to the used ones.
This isn't going to make a difference. as long as the burner cycles he is getting all the heat he can. one thing to do is make sure all of the radiators are clean and not plugged with dust. also make sure the space in front of them is open and the carpet isn't too high underneath them causing restricted air flow.
-=> HvacTech2 <=-
.. "I'm living on a one-way, dead-end street." - s.w.
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Are the radiators warm at all?
Not familiar with these, but I assume that there is some mechanism to pump the warm water from the boiler to the radiators. Have you checked that? Fuses, etc.?
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The radiators are warm. All the valves are open. I hear no gurgling (air in the system). I am thinking inadequate radiators but there is no room to add any more.

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If your thermostat is a setback type you might try locking it at one temp so the furnace does not have to try and recover from the lower temps in set back mode.
I had trouble in single digit temps during very windy day. I turned the boiler temp up to 195 which helped. A house built in 1967 might need more insulation or better windows.
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says...

Again, his insulation value has nothing to do with it since the boiler cycles on the internal thermostat.
~kjpro~
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If the ammount of heat pumped in is less than the ammount leaking out, it is time to call several insulation companies, and see what they can do to make your house more tight.
You can either increase the heat input into the house, or reduce the loss. Reducing the loss is cheaper in the long run.
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Check that it is operating properly at the burner.
Raising the temperature may help if the heater is cycling off and on. If it never shuts off, that means it does not have enough power to heat the house. If cycling, raise the temperature 10 degrees. If not, insulate and/or buy a bigger heater.
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WTF, if it's cycling raise the temp??????
IF it's cycling...the system is already unable to give off the amount of heat the boiler is producing!!
~kjpro~
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