DIY Home Improvement, Remodeling & Repair Forum > Appliances > HVAC > Turn off boiler while we are away?




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Old 01-24-2011, 05:53 AM  
jsbeckton
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Default Turn off boiler while we are away?

We have a boiler for hot water heat (in addition to our hot water heater) and I wanted to know if isolating the water when we leave every day is ok? (We have some pipes that are suceptile to freezing). I would imagine that the boiler might needed to be topped off every now and again due to minor leakage but is it taking in new water often and would isolating the main line be an issue?

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Old 01-24-2011, 03:33 PM  
kok328
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Your boiler may have a low-level switch that will not allow it to fire up if the water level is low.



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Old 01-24-2011, 07:42 PM  
paul52446m
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbeckton View Post
We have a boiler for hot water heat (in addition to our hot water heater) and I wanted to know if isolating the water when we leave every day is ok? (We have some pipes that are suceptile to freezing). I would imagine that the boiler might needed to be topped off every now and again due to minor leakage but is it taking in new water often and would isolating the main line be an issue?

Thanks
While you are there , turn off you water feed valve for a few days and see if you lose water pressure. If you do then you should get the leaks fixed. If you have leaks and you keep adding new water to the boiler , you crack out your boiler so you would have to replace it. When you add new water and it is heated it drops the lime out of the water and this lime builds up in the bottom of the boiler until the burners are firing against dry cast iron, crack , crack, crack. This is something you should do every year. You should be able to torn off your feed valve and the boiler should not need
water all winter long. But test it every year. If you are using the boiler when making this test for a few days, then you will see the pressure will go up and down depending on the water temp. lows of maybe 10 or 12, hi's of maybe 22to 26. later paul
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Old 01-25-2011, 12:06 AM  
JohnchambersJr
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Default Boiler question

Your question is interesting. Why do you want to isolate your boiler every day? Are you wondering if you are loosing water? If so, a quicker way to do it is to introduce water a raise the pressure. As someone else said, you should have a automatic self feed makeup water valve. This is a valve which maintains a constant pressure which is determined by what type of system you have and the total elevation of the system where water is needed. A rule of thumb, not exact but sufficient for your needs is that one half of a pound per square inch elevates water one foot. Therefore if you have a second story with in floor heat and your boiler is in the basement we roughly measure from where the "make-up" water enters the near boiler piping or the boiler to the floor level upstairs. I would guess that it would be roughly eighteen feet. Therefor I would expect to see about nine pounds on the pressure gauge. If you have radiators you would probably add about three feet, therefor another pound and a half. There are many other questiions. Is your system an open system, meaning vented through the roof or do you have an expansion tank? If you have an expansion tank is it the newer style that is welded and has a diaphram or it is the older larger style which is riveted and usually is galvanized? Most fill valves have a rapid fill which is a lever that is lifted to fill the system rapidly and manually. Quite often they are red. They also have a threaded stem that can be turned with a screwdriver once the locknut is backed off. This is how you set the system pressure. One thing that would help to analyse your system is how old is it, radiators, type of boiler etc. One thing you don't want to do is drain and refill the system as it introduces oxygen into the system and if you have metal in the system it is causing "oxidation reduction" which is rust. I would not isolate your system everyday as it will only serve to ignore a problem that only gets worse and destroys the system if you are suspecting water loss. It would also help to know the materials in your system. This is the first time I have blogged on this system so I don't know if I am allowed to give you our e-mail address to have more direct contact. I am assuming it will be edited out if it's not allowed. It is Lfpplmg-htg@Hotmail.com. I hope this helps you and I hope somebody can answer my question I just posted. I am not looking to solicit and do not even know where you live. Feel free to ask more questions. John

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Old 01-25-2011, 11:11 AM  
jsbeckton
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I think there is a little misunderstanding. My boiler is not leaking water or losing pressure. I am concerned about some pipes freezing while we are away (nothing to do with the boiler system) so I want to shut off the main water valve in case there is ever a break. My question is would this have any effect on the boiler system, which seems to be a no since we have no leakage.

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Old 01-25-2011, 04:52 PM  
paul52446m
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jsbeckton View Post
I think there is a little misunderstanding. My boiler is not leaking water or losing pressure. I am concerned about some pipes freezing while we are away (nothing to do with the boiler system) so I want to shut off the main water valve in case there is ever a break. My question is would this have any effect on the boiler system, which seems to be a no since we have no leakage.
What pipes are you talking about freezing Boiler pipes or domestic water?
If your boiler has the proper controls, like low water cut off and back flow
preventer, and feed valve, then if you turn off or lose your domestic water pressure , your boiler should not lose its pressure, so that means you don,t need to turn off feed valve. If a boiler line breaks you better have a low water cut off because if your feed does not keep with the leak you can crack the boiler. Paul
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Old 01-26-2011, 10:25 AM  
jsbeckton
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The pipes are to a sink on an exterior wall. It's in a location where there is a bumpout so no basement underneath. Wonder if there is some kind of heat trace that can be insalled to make sure they do not freeze?

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Old 01-27-2011, 03:30 AM  
JohnchambersJr
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Heat tape or open up the wall into the bumpout so the heated air from the kitchen area can enter into the space. Unless you have extreme prolonged freezing, opening the space up to internal heated air should be sufficient. You might put a grill register over the opening to make it more cosmetic.



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