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Alert to pellet burners.....watch for frozen pipes

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by imacman, Jan 23, 2013.

  1. CladMaster

    CladMaster Member

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    Try the fittings called 'Sharkbite', no spanners or wrenches needed, nor do you need to get out the solder and torch.

    http://www.sharkbite.com/usa/

    Helpful Sponsor Ads!





  2. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Sharkbites are awesome. Little expensive but well worth it in my mind.
  3. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

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    Yep, "Sharkbites" are what I'm referring to. Quick, easy repair and a much better connection than straight CPVC and copper.
  4. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    One could also wire their circulators to a timer to just have them circulate a few minutes every few hours (or whatever). Or maybe even wire that to an outside temp sensor so it only does it when it's down to a certain temperature.

    One could also swap out their oil burner for a pellet burning head and use their oil boiler to burn pellets - I would seriously consider and evaluate that option before buying a pellet stove if I wanted to get off oil and burn pellets and had a hot water heating system already in place.
  5. imacman

    imacman Guest

    That is exactly what the ThermGuard does, that I mentioned in the beginning of this thread.
  6. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    Well, not exactly. From what I read in this thread & on there, it starts your boiler. That is, it burns oil. If one is OK with that, that's OK. But if your boiler is cold & you just start it once in a while just to keep your pipes from freezing, that is a lot of wasted oil in just getting the cold boiler warmed up. A timer wired just to the circ pumps would burn no oil - or even just running the circ pump 24/7 on a low speed would also prevent freezing and use very little electricity and need no timer. There was also an earlier suggestion to just manually open zone valves so that the water would circulate slowly by convection - that is also a great idea that costs nothing to do, if the system is laid out so that convection flow is possible. You would also, I think, have to open the zone valve manually if you were to just run your circ pump periodically or 24/7 - unless your system is zoned strictly by circ pumps.
  7. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    But a fan can't circulate water?

    I'm just repeating what was posted in this thread about the boiler starting and what the main page of that website says:

    'ThermGuardtm works with hot-water heated homes by periodically turning on the boiler and circulating a small amount of hot water through your system. It never gives your pipes a chance to freeze!'

    So either it starts the boiler (burns oil), or the website wording is inaccurate. I'm not doubting that it works & does what it claims (keeps pipes from freezing).

    EDIT: Also, I was just talking about boilers. What you mention about the fan coming on may likely be the case with a forced air furnace.
  8. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

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    I'm curious about how exactly ThermGuard works too. I wonder if it doesn't just turn the circulating pump on as some boilers maintain a core temperature anyway and so water being occasionally circulated is somewhat warm anyway. Not hot necessarily, but certainly well above freezing and that's maybe all that's needed as maybe it's the circulation of water and not hot water per say that prevents the pipes from freezing. That way the home owner isn't burning anymore oil than what it takes to maintain the boilers core temperature. Does this make sense? Just thinking aloud here....
  9. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    From what i read the ThermGuard fires your boiler and circulates the water for only a few minutes every couple hours or how you program it to come on. So yes you use oil. I think it acts exactly like your thermostat does but for minutes not untill the heat is satisfied. you should program it long enough to circulate the water in your system. as far as sending hot water through your pipes . Hot water freezes faster then cold water. you could run the circulators 24-7 but that is alot of wear and tear on the pumps. you can also add a timer to the circulators but you would have to wire them so they can be turned on by the timer and by your T stat so if your timer has the pumps off your t stat can turn them on similar to a three way switch. There are alot of ways to circulate your water just want to figure out the best way for you. The ThermGuard is easy and cheap and works from what I read. I just use a programmable T stat and have it come on for ten minutes in the morning and ten in the evening when it is below 20 outside. But that works for me
  10. Chain

    Chain Feeling the Heat

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    So just twice a day and you're good to go? If that's the case maybe I'll just program my thermostat a degree or two above what my pellet stove keeps the area of the house the thermostat is in twice per day and call it good. Besides, the pipes already have anti-freeze in them so maybe coming on twice per day is all that's needed. And during really cold weather I can add one additional time in there. My programmable T-stat only allows me to set 4 different times per day. Morning, mid day, evening, and night. It also will let me over ride the setting by simply hitting the up button and the setting goes up for only about 20 minutes then comes back down to where it's set. Sort of if you want to warm things up for a short time and then it goes back down to the setting if you're leaving the house. Decisions, decisions....:confused:
  11. glenc0322

    glenc0322 Minister of Fire

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    That is what i do I have it come on in the morning at 6 am for ten minutes and again in the evening around 9 for ten minutes. But I live on Long island so its not really that cold here and all my pipes are in the walls and basement nothing exposed to the elements. works for me.
  12. imacman

    imacman Guest

    In some very specific conditions only. If the water in the heating pipes was 35::F, vs 120::F after the burner shuts off, I'm pretty darn sure the already cold water will freeze first.
    jgrz0610 and glenc0322 like this.
  13. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Agreed!
  14. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Twice a day is all I do in the colder temps. There are two areas of my piping that I worry about. One is in the basement along the exterior wall near some drafty windows. I put some insulation on those last winter. The other is in the top level of the house which we currently close off during the winter. I sometimes wonder if it would be fine to just close the ball valves on the return piping for the three heating zones, drain those pipes and just leave the indirect water heater zone valves open. That is on its own pump anyway. I would know which ball valves to open up in the event that we need to use the oil heat if the pellet stove went down for some reason. Haven't used the oil for space heating yet since we installed the pellet stove. And certainly won't when we upgrade the wood stove in the next few years!
  15. earl764

    earl764 Member

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    I ordered a ThermGuard last week. It shipped yesterday so I should get it soon.

    I did a test by turning on my forced air blower manually for 5 minutes. It warmed the basement enough. I tested the temp of some pipes near the foundation after this test and they did pretty well when it was extremely cold.
  16. nate379

    nate379 Guest

    I didn't know they made boilers that big for houses!

    Most boilers in these parts for a "normal" sized house are 80-100k.

  17. earl764

    earl764 Member

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    My therm guard arrived today. I installed it tonight and it seems to work. We'll see how it goes.
  18. jdempsey

    jdempsey Feeling the Heat

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    I have a brand new never opened thermoguard. Someone needing one of these?

    Make me an offer.
  19. mepellet

    mepellet Minister of Fire

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    Why did you not end up installing it?
  20. earl764

    earl764 Member

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    Hello,

    Well, after a couple days I can report back that the thermguard works great. The heat is much more even in the house and the couple pipes in the basement I would be watchful of are at a solid temp, not fluctuating. It was in the low 20's both nights and they stayed nice and warm.

    I have a forced air system and it's turning on the blower fan every 30 minutes for 5 minutes of run time. The ductwork isn't sealed tight in the basement so the warm hair from the house bleeds into it during the run time, thus keeping it warm.

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