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Boilers in unheated buildings

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by WireNut, Jul 27, 2013.

  1. WireNut

    WireNut New Member

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    I'm going to be building a small mechanical room off the side of my house, and I'm wondering what other people do in a similar situation. I won't be running on-demand, but instead heating storage and shutting down for a day or two till I need to reheat storage. I'm wondering if anyone else has done a similar set up, and if so what sort of cold protection they did. Do you just insulate the hell out of the building (the pipes will go strait into the house through the foundation) or do you end up needing glycol?

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  2. peakbagger

    peakbagger Minister of Fire

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    In my area boilers occasionally have to go in unheated basements. Usually they run glycol. The down side is that most codes dont allow a direct connection between potable water and standard glycol so the boiler usually are manual fill with a low water cutoff. I expect you can tie in potable water to a system with polyethylene glycol which is non toxic. In reality if the area if closed off, it doesnt take a lot to heat if above freezing, so an electric heater may be the lowest cost option
  3. WireNut

    WireNut New Member

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    I was thinking an electric heater in the space set to 40 degrees and some r-21 insulation may make it....trying to avoid glycol if possible.
  4. mustash29

    mustash29 Feeling the Heat

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    What is your home back up heat going to be? Oil?

    I would run an electric baseboard or an additional zone from the oil boiler for freeze protection. That is the tree I'm barking up if I decide to put a 12x16 shed adjacent to the house & install a Garn Jr. Otherwise it is looking like a Froling 20/30 or Empyre Elite + tanks in the house. I've also contemplated putting 2 propane tanks on the shed pad & just have the boiler in the house. My basement is small and tight, boiler would be in a walk out rec room that currently has the stove / Englander furnace dumped locally.

    If I have anything outside, it will need freeze protection, I usually take a few winter weeks off to sled the trails in Maine.
  5. VTHeatGeek

    VTHeatGeek Member

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    As long as you insulate the building you should be fine. I have my boiler in a 12x14 building 40 feet away from the house with 500 gallons of storage. It is 2x6 framed and insulated and I never have to heat the building even if I shut the boiler down for a few days. The heat from the boiler and storage keep it plenty warm. I did install a 3' section of baseboard heat trim on it's own zone in the building just in case the boiler was ever down for a long period in the winter and could be heated by my backup oil furnace in the house but it has never been needed. Just the heat from the storage should provide plenty of heat to keep things at least 70 degrees for a few days.
    flyingcow likes this.
  6. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    My boiler is next door inside my unheated unattached garage.Built a 8x12 boiler room(10ft ceiling). Insulated R-19 at best.Storage in basement. Have not needed any extra heat. The colder it is outside the more often I start a fire to heat storage. Have planned on putting a heater out there but....in time....it's been 5 yrs, whats the hurry. FWIW, i live in northern maine on a windy hill, boiler room is on the north side of garage with a old metal framed window so i can look out and see thw snow piling up as I start a fire.
  7. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Oh yeah, no glycol in my system. Don't need it. I always thought if i was to run heat out to that room to tie a low temp rad with a TRV, have this tied into my radiant floor loop in my house. If my storage gets too low the system automatically kicks in the oil boiler and heats floor. That way if the TRV calls for heat it will work off the tank or oil system.
  8. woodsmaster

    woodsmaster Minister of Fire

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    As long as you insulate and air seal the building will no longer be unheated. With the standby loss it will be the warmest place on the property most of the time. Should easily go a few days without freezing. I have mine in a large shed. the storage is in the shed, but very well insulated. I never have to worry about freezing. usually eighty degrees or better in there from heat off the insulated pipes and boiler.
  9. BoilerMan

    BoilerMan Minister of Fire

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    You'll have 120V power in there, if worst came to worst.....you can plug in a cheapo $20 1500watt electric heater and have al the heat you'll ever need to keep things from freezing.

    IMHO glycol is only for cars and campers, it's VERY high maintenance in a boiler system as it turns acidic as the buffer chemicals wear requiring the need to replenish or risk system rot.

    TS
    ewdudley likes this.

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