First off, Al. I appreciate your opinion. However, I highly doubt my 63 year old retired school teacher neighbor of 11 years would want to "pull my leg", especially given the fact that he told me about all of this 3 or 4 years ago and I dismissed all of it as hogwash. He got his advice from a retired Chemical Engineer friend of his who has taken up HVAC advice/studies in old houses as a hobby. In fact, he showed me the study he did (the retired engineer) that showed where he tracked the BTU's he was getting from Citizen's Gas here in Indy (if he had to, how he rigged it up to monitor it I have no idea). Anyway, basically he nailed Citizen's with the Utility Board of Indiana for not supplying the same or adequate BTU's when the temps got below 10 degrees. Seems they were cutting in some Coke gas (or something akin, I'm not sure I remember) , which is not as good as pure Ng. That is all fine and dandy, but they weren't telling anyone about it and then they turned around and charged people as if they'd supplied only pure Ng, when the impure supply was causing people to use more gas to generate the same BTU's. No, that all doesn't mean squat. However, I think they're trustworthy. I have an excellent BS meter and it doesn't tick when they're talking. I highly doubt a 75 year old retiree (the ChemE) would get his kicks by "getting over" on a 42 year old stranger, and I've seen his house firsthand. Also, regarding the bill/check, Citizen's policy is any amount overbilled over the amount of $100 is refunded in a check to the client.
Now on to some followup.....
Thanks, HeatMan, for your time on this...
Some other points/follow-ups:
1.) There is already visqueen laid down on the crawl space floor. It's not sealed to the walls, but it comes to within at least 6 inches of the walls. Is that good enough re the moisture/mold? Since the visqueen is already down, and assuming I lay in the insulation on the walls and out on the floor of the crawl space 2 ft out from the wall, do I still need "thermostatic vents"? How much are they approximately? If the insulation is down, and the visqueen is also, does the natural heat from the earth (55 degrees, no?) still heat up the air in the crawl space in the winter and cool it down in summer? I assume it work for us either way, no?
2.) Regarding the hole in the floor. Hopefully this helps with #3 below. What I'm talking about is, in a location somewhere near the middle of the house, cutting in a 9"x14" hole in the floor that would expose the crawl space (obviously I'd put some sort of grate/grill on it). Then, to promote circulation, running the bath fan 24/7, creating a flow from the outside into the crawl space through the one unplugged crawl space vent, to the hole cut in the floor, to the bath fan and up and out. That would also seem to mitigate the moisture/mold potential in the crawl space, even though we have the visqueen down already. If you reccommend not cutting the hole, is it still ok to plug up the crawl space vents since there is visqueen down, or should I still install the thermostatic vents? If so, how many, one for the entire crawl space or one for each of the 6 vents tot he crawlspace from the outside?
3.) Regarding #4 below and the venting of the boiler: I checked the unit and its a Weil McClain, kind of hard to read the stamped plate with the specs on it, but it looks like model number on the boiler is "PCG-5", "Series 3". It says it has an A.G.A. rating of 114,000 BTU's per hour input and 112,000 BTU's output per hour. On visual inspection, there only seems to be the one exhaust vent going straight up and out in its own flue separate from the fireplace. No incoming air supply from what I can tell. Would the standard aluminum tube (I believe it to be either 4 or 5 inches in diameter), connected to the garage window and outflowing to the floor be good enough/beneficial? It would seem that the cold air from outside in the winter would naturally want to flow down through the tube (garage is somewhat heated with a baseboard unit of its own out there, plus the garage is on a slab, heating it a little). If it doesn't have an air source, what has it been using before now?...just relying on the basically unsealed spaces between the garage door and the frame?
4.) What does that BTU rating above equate to ? The 1,000 BTU's you mentioned below?
5.) What's a sealed combustion unit? Benefits? How much? Is that a totally new unit/system? I was told to replace the unit we have now would be about $5-10,000. ....or, simply buy the heat blower attachment for the AC unit in the attic for about $800. Is that as efficient/desireable as the boiler?
6.) On the water temp in the system: I already turned this down from 180 to 140. That should be ok, no? Regarding the Outdoor reset, what is that? An attachment? or should it already be on the unit? How much is it if not?
7.) Regarding the water heater: Its a Kenmore "Power Miser 5", at least 10-12 years old, in the garage next to the boiler. I do not have it wrapped...should I? What provisions do I need to make for the vertical pipes on the outside of it? Wrap those in it to, or tuck it inside of those? On the temp dial, there is not a degree. Instead, on one end of the dial is "Very Hot" and the other end is "Hot", with letters going from "Very Hot", then "C", "B", "A" and then "Hot". It was on "B", and I turned it down to "A", one level above "Hot". Got a guess as to where that puts it, degree wise?
Thanks for all your time on this. I am currently unemployed and have been for about 4 months now, so any dollars I can save to avoid $300/month gas bills this winter is GREATLY appreciated! It sounds like the crawl space insulation is a no-brainer. Am I OK with the R-13?
Eric Volk Indy
----- Original Message -----
Newsgroups: alt.home.repair Sent: Sunday, November 13, 2005 6:52 PM Subject: Re: HVAC questions...