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Old 11-01-2012, 10:37 AM   #1
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Hey all, I've come to you all for help before and I'm back because the people here are awesome. Thanks for all the past help.

My current issue is that Sandy cut our power when she took down a tree around the block and severed the lines. Therefore, my thermostat doesn't work. I'd like to temporarily disconnect the thermostat and just 'Hotwire' the heat to turn on.

Of course, there is no power at all but is there a way to just turn the heat 'on' and 'off' manually? The natural gas lines are fine and it is still keeping us with hot water - so, I figure hot water in my baseboard would be the same! But I can't figure it out.
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:43 AM   #2
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Just a few more pics (maybe that would be helpful). And here's a strange thing, the thermostats still have readouts AND respond to changing the preset temps, etc. I can program them but the heat doesn't kick on. Where is that power coming from?
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Old 11-01-2012, 10:50 AM   #3
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


The thermostats most likely have battery backups.

You need power for solenoid valves/pumps/blowers/fans for most furnaces to work.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:00 AM   #4
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Thanks so much for the reply. How is the hot water getting to my second floor shower but not able to get to my second floor hot water baseboard? I guess there's a pump involved - like you said. But definitely no fans or blowers.
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Old 11-01-2012, 11:02 AM   #5
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


The baseboards use a recirculating system with a pump while the shower is a load and the supply pressure does the moving for you.

disclaimer: I'm guessing without knowing the details of your system, but that's the most likely setup I'd say.

Sorry you're going through this.

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Old 11-01-2012, 11:45 AM   #6
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Well, I think you're a great guesserJETT! And thanks for the sympathies. We'll get through it without a problem - I've seen the photos - people have it way worse than us - we are simply inconvenienced.

I know that NY has a gravity driven system. So, your explanation makes good sense. I also see what I believe to be a pump on the furnace. So, it all adds up. More blankets for a whole I guess and a cooler on the deck - no worries !! Thanks for the feedback. It was worth a shot.
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Old 11-01-2012, 05:05 PM   #7
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Your hot water heater requires no external electric. It works off of a mechanical thermostat, and a thermocouple to power open the gas valve. And as earlier, the city water pressure provides the force to move the domestic/potable hot water in your house.

Your boiler has a 24 volt gas valve, along with other devices that require electric to work.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:18 AM   #8
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


As always, I love the DIY forum. So, heat is back on and power is back and I appreciate the responses. However, looking forward, I am considering options for heat that are not dependent on the grid. So that there is at least a space in the house where we can all warm up.

My first idea is a wood burning stove in front of the fireplace in my mother in law's living room. And maybe a second one in the basement. When trees come down, we get free fuel!

And possibly a solar panel to connect to the essentials (3 refrigerators, a deep freeze, the boiler / furnace, maybe a room on each of 3 floors with light and outlets.)

Has anyone else done this or some other strategy for resilience when power goes out?
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:25 AM   #9
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A small portable generator will run the basic stuff, including your boiler.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:27 AM   #10
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


You may have plenty of wood but green wood is not going to burn unless you already had a really hot fire going, even then it's would soot up the stove and the stove pipe from all the moisture escaping.
Why not just get a back up generator. Then you would have lights, heat and not loose anything in the fridge.
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Old 11-12-2012, 09:30 AM   #11
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


I've definitely considered a generator but they are loud, expensive and they use gas - and that was a big problem after Sandy too.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:19 AM   #12
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Quote:
Originally Posted by csipe1 View Post

Has anyone else done this or some other strategy for resilience when power goes out?
Yes, a vented wall mount gas furnace in the basement that heats the complete house and generates its own required electricity just as your water heater does. The basement will be about 5-7 degrees warmer than the upper rooms but we adjust like a group of baby chicks in a brooder by moving to where it's most comfortable.

And when power is restored we thank the linemen for every miserable minute they were out in the elements by paying our bill on time each month.

I do the wood stove thing but reserve that to my wood working shop. I make plenty of mistakes to keep it warm and the only evidence is in the ashes.
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Old 11-12-2012, 10:29 AM   #13
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Not totally so... there are ones that are plenty quiet like Honda and Yamahas. About the same sound level as your air conditioner condenser. But yes, those are expensive. Most all are easily and cheaply converted to run on natural gas and LP.

I have a Yamaha with the tri-fuel conversion. I roll it out the back door to the edge of the deck, pop on the quick connect to the nat gas line, start it up, plug it into the inlet box and have power back in 3 minutes.

The other thing is you don't need to run them 24/7 even in the winter. Alls you need to do is run it a few times a day to heat the house, cool the fridge and check the TV or e-mail.

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I've definitely considered a generator but they are loud, expensive and they use gas - and that was a big problem after Sandy too.
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Old 11-12-2012, 05:42 PM   #14
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Quote:
Originally Posted by csipe1 View Post
As always, I love the DIY forum. So, heat is back on and power is back and I appreciate the responses. However, looking forward, I am considering options for heat that are not dependent on the grid. So that there is at least a space in the house where we can all warm up.

My first idea is a wood burning stove in front of the fireplace in my mother in law's living room. And maybe a second one in the basement. When trees come down, we get free fuel!

And possibly a solar panel to connect to the essentials (3 refrigerators, a deep freeze, the boiler / furnace, maybe a room on each of 3 floors with light and outlets.)

Has anyone else done this or some other strategy for resilience when power goes out?

So you'll have lights during the day, but not at night time. Unless you put in a battery system, which now ups the cost a lot.

A good generator is not that loud. And would power your lights at night time when its dark out.
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Old 11-12-2012, 08:57 PM   #15
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Sandy cut our power - no Heat!


Make sure you kill your breakers to prevent the generator from being damaged when the power comes back on or from you electrocuting the repairing linemen who naturally assume the power is off.

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