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-   -   Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System (http://www.diychatroom.com/f17/cold-house-diagnosing-heating-system-164617/)

corsulian 11-25-2012 09:29 AM

Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System
 
Our house is a 1955 Ranch-style and we're in northern Virginia. Our heating system is oil-based/water boiler/baseboard.

I've been setting the thermostat at 68 or 70 but, especially at night, the temperature drops below 60.
http://farm9.staticflickr.com/8339/8...b968b7bb8e.jpg
IMG_3274 by DC Orbiters, on Flickr

The gauge on the boiler reads 140 degrees and about 18 psi (it's off at the moment - it seems to turn on when it feels like it).

Where do we start with diagnosing?

NiNe O 11-25-2012 09:34 AM

is there a circulating pump. is it running?

corsulian 11-25-2012 10:10 AM

There is and yes, as far as I can tell.

When the system kicks on, I can hear the metal bits in the baseboard expand throughout the house.

joecaption 11-25-2012 10:25 AM

Please go back and add your location to your profile.
1955 tells me very poor insulation in the walls and attic, old leaking windows.
No air sealing in the attic or basement or crawl space.

All just guesses based on what I have seen to many times before.

corsulian 11-25-2012 06:01 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joecaption (Post 1059904)
Please go back and add your location to your profile.
1955 tells me very poor insulation in the walls and attic, old leaking windows.
No air sealing in the attic or basement or crawl space.

All just guesses based on what I have seen to many times before.

Northern Virginia -

From what I've seen, our basement has no insulation at all - windows are small and single pane. The main level has double-pane windows that are nice and only a few years old. The attic has loose insulation - I'm sure we need more of it. I just figured we'd burn a lot of oil this winter - I was surprised that the boiler only runs for so long regardless of the difference between the thermostat setting and the temperature.

corsulian 11-26-2012 08:46 PM

Had a contractor come through today - he estimates our attic insulation to be a laughable R-5. I'm not sure how the previous owners, who were here since 1960, lived with that.

beenthere 11-26-2012 09:10 PM

Remove cover on limit and see what the high limit temp is set to.

corsulian 11-26-2012 09:30 PM

1 Attachment(s)
180 high, 160 low

hvactech126 11-26-2012 09:32 PM

what type of circulator do you have? Is it large style B&G? http://www.773hotcold.com/chicagoac/...mg-300x215.jpgIf so, is the coupling intact? http://imagethumbnails.milo.com/024/...02_trimmed.jpg

http://i1206.photobucket.com/albums/...sbreakdown.jpg

joecaption 11-26-2012 09:44 PM

I'd air seal that whole attic, add foam or plastic baffles in the soffit area and go get some more insulation to blow in. If you buy 10 bags Lowes or HD will let you use the blower for free.
I like to insert a 3" PVC pipe into there hose and duct tape it. By adding the soild extention I can shoot all the way to the outsides with out leaveing the middle where I have more head roof.
Going to take two people, one to load the hopper and one to blow it in the attic.
Get some goggles and dust masks. It's not hard to do just a nasty dirty job.
I lay a tarp out in the area where the hopper is to catch the excess.

R5 ya that is funny.
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...sulation_table

Your only missing about an R30.
There's lot of insulation estamators on line. Both Lowes and Home Depot have them on there sites.

corsulian 11-26-2012 09:51 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Would that be this fella?

According to the maintenance log, the pump coupling was replaced May 2003.

hvactech126 11-26-2012 09:53 PM

that is your oil burner motor.

corsulian 11-26-2012 09:58 PM

1 Attachment(s)
Quote:

Originally Posted by hvactech126
that is your oil burner motor.

Hmm - I'm not sure where to find the component you described -

corsulian 11-26-2012 10:03 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by joecaption
I'd air seal that whole attic, add foam or plastic baffles in the soffit area and go get some more insulation to blow in. If you buy 10 bags Lowes or HD will let you use the blower for free.
I like to insert a 3" PVC pipe into there hose and duct tape it. By adding the soild extention I can shoot all the way to the outsides with out leaveing the middle where I have more head roof.
Going to take two people, one to load the hopper and one to blow it in the attic.
Get some goggles and dust masks. It's not hard to do just a nasty dirty job.
I lay a tarp out in the area where the hopper is to catch the excess.

R5 ya that is funny.
http://www.energystar.gov/index.cfm?...sulation_table

Your only missing about an R30.
There's lot of insulation estamators on line. Both Lowes and Home Depot have them on there sites.

Thank you. I'm weighing the options of prepping to do it myself vs. paying - estimate today was $1.25/sq ft to bring it to R38 with the mostly-recycled stuff, spray foam around fixture openings, baffles, and stair cap.

Either way, I need to do a little work up there first - I've got a bathroom vent that doesn't quite go outside and a fan that needs a new temp gauge/needs to be hard-wired.

hvactech126 11-26-2012 10:07 PM

Your circ pump is on the left of your picture and is a blue/green color. Yours is direct drive so it not like the one I asked if you had.


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