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Old 11-25-2012, 08:29 AM   #1
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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.

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?

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Old 11-25-2012, 08:34 AM   #2
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


is there a circulating pump. is it running?

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Old 11-25-2012, 09:10 AM   #3
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


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.
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Old 11-25-2012, 09:25 AM   #4
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


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.
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Old 11-25-2012, 05:01 PM   #5
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


Quote:
Originally Posted by joecaption View Post
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.
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Old 11-26-2012, 07:46 PM   #6
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


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.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:10 PM   #7
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


Remove cover on limit and see what the high limit temp is set to.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:30 PM   #8
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


180 high, 160 low
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:32 PM   #9
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


what type of circulator do you have? Is it large style B&G? If so, is the coupling intact?

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Old 11-26-2012, 08:44 PM   #10
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


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.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:51 PM   #11
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


Would that be this fella?

According to the maintenance log, the pump coupling was replaced May 2003.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:53 PM   #12
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


that is your oil burner motor.
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Old 11-26-2012, 08:58 PM   #13
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


Quote:
Originally Posted by hvactech126
that is your oil burner motor.
Hmm - I'm not sure where to find the component you described -
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:03 PM   #14
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


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.
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Old 11-26-2012, 09:07 PM   #15
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Cold House, Diagnosing a Heating System


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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