Yet another low hot water pressure problem ... Please help


PLEASE HELP!!
Background ... Just bought a house, so I do not know the history. What I do know is I have a Freddy Krueger oil furnace in the basement handling the hot water and heating duties (Huge ... 54"w x 30"d x 54"h) Found documents from furnace .. 1952 original with house!! The heat works great, not to mention heating the basement nice and toasty. Problem is with the hot water. No hot water heater, so it is coming from the furnace, as i mentioned. The cold water pressure is great, which is the driving force of our faucet water pressure. When hot water only is on ... it takes 3 minutes to fill up a gallon jug (no joke) and about 40 seconds of that water to start getting hot. Typical is running the shower for 3-5 minutes before being able to jump in. Money down the drain, literally. (one thing that works is turning up the hot water temp so the little water that comes out warms the strong cold water pressure to where it is usable ... just FYI for people with similar problem)
What to do?? Now I checked this when the furnace is not actually on, so the water flow should be dedicated to normal hot water use. Also, there is a faucet just as the pipes come out of the furnace. Figured if the flow was strong, the pipes would be full of mineral deposits. BUT, the flow is the same (not to mention the faucet is leaking because I disturbed it). So it must be the furnace hot water output, no?? Or how / is it possible to get more hot water pressure? Would love to change to a smaller furnace and reclaim my basement, but I heard these old ones are work horses that I should run until it dies. And the bank account likes to hear that, so ...
Is there anything I can do to increase my hot water pressure???
Thank you very much in advance ... and my water bill can use a break :o)
Jim
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PLEASE HELP!!
Background ... Just bought a house, so I do not know the history. What I do know is I have a Freddy Krueger oil furnace in the basement handling the hot water and heating duties (Huge ... 54"w x 30"d x 54"h) Found documents from furnace .. 1952 original with house!! The heat works great, not to mention heating the basement nice and toasty. Problem is with the hot water. No hot water heater, so it is coming from the furnace, as i mentioned. The cold water pressure is great, which is the driving force of our faucet water pressure. When hot water only is on ... it takes 3 minutes to fill up a gallon jug (no joke) and about 40 seconds of that water to start getting hot. Typical is running the shower for 3-5 minutes before being able to jump in. Money down the drain, literally. (one thing that works is turning up the hot water temp so the little water that comes out warms the strong cold water pressure to where it is usable ... just FYI for people with similar problem)
What to do?? Now I checked this when the furnace is not actually on, so the water flow should be dedicated to normal hot water use. Also, there is a faucet just as the pipes come out of the furnace. Figured if the flow was strong, the pipes would be full of mineral deposits. BUT, the flow is the same (not to mention the faucet is leaking because I disturbed it). So it must be the furnace hot water output, no?? Or how / is it possible to get more hot water pressure? Would love to change to a smaller furnace and reclaim my basement, but I heard these old ones are work horses that I should run until it dies. And the bank account likes to hear that, so ...
Is there anything I can do to increase my hot water pressure???
Thank you very much in advance ... and my water bill can use a break :o)
Jim
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snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com says...

This isn't unusual even for newer construction. My house, built in '86, also has a domestic hot water coil for hot water. It works well enough, though the boiler has to run all year (not necessarily a bad thing).

Sounds like the boiler is a ways form the shower (we also have this problem).

The domestic coil may be plugged with calcium (and other slime). You can have it "boiled out" by your boiler service tech. They use an acid to dissolve the built-up sluge. Another alternative is to add a hot water tank and put it on a separate heat zone, bypassing the domestic hot water coil.

--
Keith

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Thank you so much for your input. Sounds like first step is getting the coil cleaned, and a trust worthy guy will tell me if it needs replaced. Good idea on a separate heater, seeing when this boiler finally goes, I would do the two separate units anyway. Would spread out the cost anyway over two installs.
Thanks again.
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First, lets talk the right terminology. You don't have a furnace, you have a boiler. Furnace heat air, boilers heat water.
Inside of that boiler, you have a coil that heats up the water for domestic use. They can become clogged over time. It may have to be replaced.
Slim chance, but the valve to the hot water feed may be partly turned off too. My guess is that it is not and you checked that already, but if not, give it a look.
As for that workhorse, it is probably very low efficiency. Are there any slips from the service on it? It may show what the efficiency was read by a meter. Not long ago, 75% to 80% was normal, but new models are better. You may be blowing a lot of heat up the chimney.
Most of the heat in the basement is going to travel up, but some will be lost to the walls and floor. If you like it that warm, do nothing, but if you'd rather have it a bit cooler, insulate the pipes in the basement.
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first. Thanks for setting me straight. I did check all the valves on the boiler, and are all currently open. Sounds like the coil could be the first wave of attack. And in searching the maintenance records, looks like last service was 2002!! Woman we bought the house from was only here for a few years, so looks like she did nothing. Will get on the horn asap for an efficiency rating. As I replied to Keith above, going with the separate hot water heater in the very near future might be good, seeing as when this thing finally goes, I will have the two units anyway. Do you suggest doing both a new furnace and hot water heater at the same time? Any advantages/disadvantages??
Thanks Edwin, I appreciate your input
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one other question please, Edwin. Coming off the pressure relief valve, there is a drain hose. Seems to be filling up the bucket under it every two days. Is this a "sympthom" of any foreseeable problems?
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First, lets talk the right terminology. You don't have a furnace, you have a

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Yes, it is. You either have too much pressure, a defective valve, or both.
Pressure relief valves often go bad and start to leak. They get worse, they sometimes go and let a lot of water flow. I'd replace it ASAP. If it is a typical Watts fill and relief combo, you may have to replace both at hte same time. About $75
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Great help again. Coil being cleaned today, see if it does the trick for the hot water. Found service records, last entry is 2002 with 75% efficiency (I hope it has been serviced since then!!!) So they are coming out on tuesday for service/pressure valve. Everytime the boiler kicks on, I have to go down and check the water level on the pressure release. Of course on the coldest weekend in our northeast.
Thanks again Edwin. You da man!!
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Hello All. figured I would post the results of my week long excitement concerning my old boiler, in hopes that it may help someone in the future.
First problem was very little hot water pressure. In the town I live in, this water quality is pretty bad, and managed to gum up the coils. After the coil was cleaned (btw, not sure if this is the norm, but they use citric acid .. the power of an orange, i guess) it restored the pressure. Glad it was not the old piping system ... by opening the drain valve closest to the boiler, and seeing that the flow was slow, good sign it was in the coil. VERY HAPPY. Thanks to those that suggested that cure.
Next was the pressure relief valve leaking, to where it was filling up a large bucket with water every two days. Edwin mentioned there was too much pressure in the system, causing water to be discharged. He suggested the pressure release valve might be coming to its end, and it would be good to replace both (if applicable) at the same time. Prior I had mentioned that the last record on maintenance papers dated 2002. I couldn't believe someone would let the annual service lapse when the boiler is 54 years old!!. Sure enough, it had not been serviced in 4.5 years, and the poor guy worked on it for 3.5 hours. Turns out the expansion tank was waterlogged, and all gummed up as well. (Did i mention the poor water quality). He had mentioned that with so much water in the expansion tank, the pressure increases, and hence the valve discharge. Hopefully this is it, even though the boiler is on borrowed time, kind of attached to the behemoth. Especially after we have been through so much, haha. And the efficiency test showed ... 76.2%. Actually more efficient that 2002. Getting better with age. So in the year 2077, we are back up to 90%.
So ... I would think it wise to have annual service on your boiler, especially when it's in the Golden years.
Thank you for all your help guys. Keith, Edwin, and Buffalobill.
On Jan 26, 9:17 am, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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You're welcome. Glad it had a happy, even if expensive, ending.
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http://home.howstuffworks.com/how-to-troubleshoot-a-hot-water-and-steam-distribution-system.htm
On Jan 23, 9:12 pm, snipped-for-privacy@gmail.com wrote:

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Buffalobill. THANK YOU for the link!!! it is nice to have a diagram to see what the heck I am looking at in the first place. Actually shedded some bright light on a few things. Thanks again for the reply!!!!

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