I recently had my basement finished and there were three hot water
radiators installed and hooked up to the existing boiler that heats the
radiators upstairs. Unfortunately, it's still 4 to 5 degrees cooler in
the basement than upstairs. This may or may not be due to the fact
that the radiators downstairs are not big enough. I think that the
radiators could in fact heat the downstairs if the boiler was on long
enough. I was wondering if there is a way to have two thermostats
hooked up to the boiler along with a valve that would put the boiler
and radiators in one of the following 4 situations:
1. Boiler on - downstairs and upstairs radiators receiving heat
2. Boiler on - downtairs radiator receiving heat, upstairs radiators
not receiving heat
3. Boiler on - downstairs radiators not receiving heat, upstairs
radiators receiving heat
4. Boiler off
I believe this would be called zoning. Is this possible?
I did that years ago when I had an underheated apartment. I just put a
regular window box fan blowing on the radiator and wired it using an
attic fan thermal switch. The switch was placed on the radiator and
would cause the fan to go on when the radiator temperature went above
the switch's set point, maybe 110 degrees or so. In other words,
radiator on, fan on, radiator off, fan off. Worked pretty well. Of
course you could work up a more elegant solution using a computer
cooling fan or some such. Having airflow on the radiator gets a lot
more heat out of it.
The problem with the Duo Rad is if he has large cast iron upstairs he
will have uneven heat, sure it will get warm but cast iron will radiate
heat for an hour, the Duo Rad stops when the pump and fan shut off. Best
is the same radiators as he has upstairs and proper btu output. Mix
output types and often a new loop , pump and thermostat are needed to
achieve a balance.
I have cast iron, someone remodeled a room took out the cast iron and
put in units similar to Duo Rad. Heat was bad always till we put back in
the original cast iron. Mix and you can Mess up. That is where a pro is
good to figure it right the first time.
How many zones does your boiler have? It sounds like you have just 1
zone. If thats the case you would have to zone off the downstairs
seperately by adding on a circulator pump or a solenoid valve after you
isolated off the basement pipes. You also need a thermostat and a
control box. Could you give us a little more info?
As far as I know, the boiler only has one zone. I was hoping that some
sort of three-way solenoid valve would do the trick (upstairs open,
downstairs open, both open) but I haven't been able to find any info on
that. Would I need a valve on both the supply and return lines? What
sort of control box would I need.
First you would need to isolate the basement zone from the upstairs by
redoing the plumbing. Next you have either 1 of 2 choices. Get the
solenoid valves and put them on each zone. Or get an extra circulator
pump and put it on the basement zone. You will also need a control box
to interface the basement thermostat to the new circulator pump.
You don't need valves on both supply and return sides. Just on the
Cheapest would be more radiators in the basement. Is it baseboard, or a
mix of the two, between upstairs and down stairs. Large cast iron will
get you the most BTU. This is what happens when you don`t have a pro
do a load calculation and you are guessing. Best would be excess
capacity and a valve to allow you to manualy reduce flow-heat. Do your
floors have or will floor have carpet, that and foam padding will help a
Yes, sort of. They may be plenty big enough if they were on an separate
zone. Is it ossilbe to damper down the upstsairs heaters to force it to
take longer to heat totaly? Not as good as a zone, but a cheap solution.
Yes. Can be done. This is the best way to handle situations like that.
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