Gas Furnace Shutdown

Discussion in 'HVAC' started by sweets, Mar 20, 2007.

  1. Mar 20, 2007 #1

    sweets

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    Is it safe to shut down a gas furnace after the heating system in a home I'm living in & what steps should I perform before doing so? It's a gas hot water baseboard heating system set up in the basement with an "Emergency Off" electrical switch connected to it roughly 25 years old, Burnham Boiler Low-Pressure 1983 Boiler # 17092016. We have a gas hot water system right next to the boiler.
     
  2. Mar 21, 2007 #2

    glennjanie

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    Hey sweets:
    It is common to shut boilers down for the summer; I would simply turn the thermostat back where it won't kick on and leave the pilot light burning to keep out rust, spiders and mice. The pilot light won't use even the minimum charge on the gas meter.
    No other steps recommended, leave the water in the pipes and make sure the circulating pump is turned off.
    Glenn
     
  3. Mar 21, 2007 #3

    sweets

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    I made a mistake to call it a furnace whichheats air, this is a gas boiler that heats hot water to the baseboard heating system. I wanted to shut it down totally meaning pilot & all for the Spring, Summer & early Fall. Is it safe to do? If I cut off the gas feed, turn the pilot to off, tape some plastic over the orifice, not that I have any spiders in the basement anyway. What else should I do. As I said there's an "Emergency Off" electrical switch that has a line to the boiler, should I turn it off? What else should I do?
     
  4. Mar 28, 2007 #4

    Bobby_M

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    You could turn off the gas, but you'll have to remember to turn it back on and relight the pilot in the fall. As was mentioned, the pilot won't burn more than $2 worth of gas all summer. I believe that emergency shutoff just kills the automatic gas valve on the boiler. You acheive the same effect by turning the ball valve on the gas line right near the boiler. The circ pump will never run because the system temp will always be room temp.
     
  5. Mar 28, 2007 #5

    sweets

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    The system is a Burnham Gas Boiler from 1983 using baseboard hot water, the boiler # is P-203-w, SERIAL # 17092016. WHAT ABOUT THE WATER IN THE TANK? If I shut the system down from Spring thru Fall should I drain the system or does that promote rust. Do you think it's a bad idea to do this altogether, will it shorten the life of the boiler to shut it down this way.
     
  6. Mar 29, 2007 #6

    glennjanie

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    Don't drain the tank. Like you said it will promote rust; being under water keeps the rust down. The pilot light will also prevent some rust on the boiler tubes just by keeping them warm enough to keep the condensation down. Personally, I would not shut the system down; just turn the thermostat to the lowest setting.
    Glenn
     
  7. Mar 29, 2007 #7

    sweets

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    Ok I won't shut down the system if that tends to promote rust, but do you ever drain the water? I thought that's a regular part of maintenance? If not when do you drain the water from the boiler system or do you just remove some rust colored water in the tank?
    What other things can I do to the system to keep it running tip top?
     
  8. Mar 29, 2007 #8

    glennjanie

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    Make sure it is connected to the water supply with a reliable backflow preventer (Check valve), then you may add some chemicals to retard any rust.
    A "Down Home" method is to put in 1 cup of Dawn dish liquid and circulate it for 24 hours; then, drain as much as possible and add 1 cup of liquid fabric softener, refill with water and circulate for another 24 hours, check to see if there is still any soap foam in the water. If there is still any soap you can repeat the fabric softener.
    Glenn
     
  9. Apr 12, 2007 #9

    sweets

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    If I'm going on vacation a week or two, should I shut off the water & gas supply to the gas boiler & hot water heater? They are both over 20 years old & I wouldn't want to flood the basement if the HW heater sprung a leak! Would I cut the electric power supply to the gas boiler as well & turn off the thermostat? Does the hot water heater supply water to the boiler with a constant flow of water or only as needed, when the heat is on?
     
  10. Apr 14, 2007 #10

    glennjanie

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    Hey Sweets:
    The water heater should not be supplying anything to the boiler, it should be hooked up to the water supply line. You might turn your water main valve off to prevent flooding, no need to worry about the electricity or gas if the thermostats are turned all the way back (the water heater has a temperature control too).
    Glenn
     
  11. Apr 24, 2007 #11

    sweets

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    The gas hot water heater is 24 years old. I don't want to disturb the system & "add a reliable back flowpreventer, (Check valve)" (as suggested earlier), at this point, for fear it may spring a leak. When I go away for a few days or more, what can I do to prevent a flood should the HW heater leak while I'm away ? Should I close the valve above the HW heater or shut the main water supply & turn the thermostat to the boiler off?
     
  12. Apr 24, 2007 #12

    glennjanie

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    Hey Sweets:
    I was talking about a check valve on the boiler line only; it just keeps the chemicals out of the clean water supply.
    Yes, you can turn off the valve on top of the water heater for flood protection and turn the energy to the water heater off to keep it from burning something up if it does loose its water.
    Glenn
     
  13. Apr 24, 2007 #13

    sweets

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    Thanks Glenn:
    As I'm sure you know, you don't want to do anything to these old systems to "rock the boat" so to speak. But I definitely will look into the check valve for the new boiler system.
    As for the gas hot water heater, you say, it's ok to turn off the valve atop the HW heater when going away & "turn the energy to the hot water heater off to keep it from burning something up if it does lose water". By this do you mean to turn the gas pilot to "OFF" & cut the gas feed to the hot water heater off when going away for any length of time?
     
  14. Apr 24, 2007 #14

    glennjanie

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    Yes, the gas valve should be turned to the "off" position because a water heater is made of different materials than the boiler, where I would not drain but leave the pilot light on and the thermostat turned to the lowest setting. On the boiler you could even turn the valve to "pilot" position.
    Glenn
     
  15. Apr 24, 2007 #15

    sweets

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    Just to restate, turn the valve above the HW heater off, the gas feed off & turn the pilot to off. On the boiler just turn the gas to pilot & the thermostat to its lowest setting. all this when going away for a few days, is that all??
     
  16. Apr 26, 2007 #16

    glennjanie

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    Yes, that should give you adequate flood protection. The only other thing would be timers on some of the lights and some friendly neighbors to watch the place (make sure they have your cell phone number).
    Have fun on the trip and drive defensively.
    Glenn
     
  17. Apr 26, 2007 #17

    sweets

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    Now all i need is to pay your way up to Brick NJ & pay you to do the installation job with me. Would you believe they want over $400 labor to do a simple HW install + another $400 for the gas heater = $850 ??
     
  18. Apr 26, 2007 #18

    glennjanie

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    Yes, I believe the price. You know, a plumber did a job for a Doctor, when the plumber presented the bill the Dr said "My God, I don't even make that much", to which the plumber answered, "that is why I'm no longer a Doctor".
    All kidding aside though, $400 is a terrible high price for 2 hours work. As far as the price of the water heater; it sounds high also but it may be an extra high efficency water heater with a 10 year warranty. If it is not, you need to get a homeowner's permit and a water heater from Home Depot.
    Glenn
     
  19. Apr 26, 2007 #19

    sweets

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    And they're not even plumbers! They don't install the WAGS in line shut off that prevents floods, it cuts off the water & gas should the HW heater leak. The best quality HW heater at Home Depot had a 12 year warranty for $400 but I don't understand what you mean by "you need to get a homeowners' permit and a water heatewr from Home Depot" Maybe you could explain.
     
  20. Apr 26, 2007 #20

    glennjanie

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    Hey Sweets:
    You most likely have a state-wide plumbing code in New Jersey which doesn't allow anyone but a plumber to install a water heater; however, a homeowner can buy a permit to install his or her own. It still has to be installed to code and inspected though.
    I am tempted to come up there, provided we could go over and meet Tony and Carmela Soprano.
    Glenn
     

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