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Heating Zones Theory...

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Bster13, Jan 24, 2013.

?

Which Scenario?

  1. 1

    100.0%
  2. 2

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  1. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Sorry to say, but I have a natural gas boiler w/ 3 zones, not a wood boiler (will install an insert this summer though). But... I figure the collective knowledge here may still be able to theorize with me here.

    So I have a one story ranch, with three evenly spaced/sized zones, all interconnected with no way to block heat from one zone to the other:
    Zone 1 - Kitchen and sun room
    Zone 2 - Living and dining room
    Zone 3 - Bedrooms

    So which would yield a lower heating bill....

    Scenario 1:
    Turn Zone 1 & 3 to 63F as we don't spend much time there.
    Turn Zone 2 to 68F as we spend the majority of time here.
    Pros... only heating the zone you spend the majority of time in.
    Cons.... maybe Zone 2 is working overtime because heat is spilling into cooler zone 1 & 3 all the time.

    Scenario 2:
    Turn Zone 1, 2, 3 to 68F.
    Pros... yes I am running all three zones to 68F, but once the entire house gets up to temp, the entire heating system should turn off, for awhile anyway, as the entire house cools together.
    Cons.... I am heating the entire house to 68F, instead of just one zone.

    Thoughts on what is more energy efficient?

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  2. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

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    I the nice thing about radiant heat its that its radiant versus convective. Duh, you say, but that means that its actually heating the stuff in the room instead of heating the air and shoving it in the room. Whereas the hot air can move from room to room, with the radiant heat you're actually feeling the heat "shining" on you for lack of a better word. This is why radiant heat is more comfortable than forced air at the same temperature. As such,i think you'd be better off with separate temps. Sure, there well be a little warm air migration, but you'll still feel the heat radiating onto you.
    Bster13 likes this.
  3. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    When I was heating my house with oil, I went crazy with zoning and t stats.

    We had 4 zones on the first floor of our ranch.
    1. Kitchen/living room/dining room
    2. TV room/office
    3. Master suite
    4. Back 2 bedrooms

    We left zone 4 set to 50F all of the time since we don't use those 2 rooms yet.

    Zones 1-3 used programmable thermostats to allow me to have them set for 64F ONLY during times we would normally be in that exact zone. Otherwise the zone would drop to 58F. I had a different program from the weekend as weekdays.

    Did it work? No clue. We generally had to wear hooded sweatshirts and froze as we moved between rooms.

    I don't know what the most "efficient" way to heat the house is with zones, but the "cheapest" way in the long run will be to scrap that insert idea and install a wood boiler. I now keep my entire house at 66F. I could keep it at 68, 70, 72 or 80 if we wanted to but we are comfortable at 66F.

    ac
  4. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    I am hopeful my insert will knock out most of my heating bill and provide some caveman TV. We'll c.
  5. avc8130

    avc8130 Minister of Fire

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    Been there, played that game. I guess I forgot to mention that while playing those stupid zone games I was stuffing a Jotul Oslo 500 full 3x a day to scrub the heat load.

    Get a boiler, then there is no "hopeful" just confidence.

    ac
  6. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    My house is 1974 sq feet, we'll see if the BK Princess can do the job. Otherwise I guess I'll sell it. :)
  7. jebatty

    jebatty Minister of Fire

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    You don't say much about your floor plan. A wood stove can work well if open floor plan. We have LR, DR and kitchen in one large L-shaped space, and then a hallway with two bathrooms and two bedrooms off to the sides (1500 sq ft). One wood stove in the LR corner of the L heats the entire living space, keeps the closest bedroom and bathroom OK, and only the 2nd bedroom and bathroom stay quite cool, especially in -30F temps like we had this last week. All spaces have backup electric baseboard or kick space electric heaters (two bathrooms) to supplement as needed, but the only electric we use is the 2nd bedroom and one bathroom. Typical annual electric bill for any electric heat used (separate meter) usually is less than $200.
  8. I voted scenario 1.

    Set the thermostats at the lowest you want the room to ever be. Threaten the kids if they ever touch the thermostat. And teach them how to load the insert 24/7.

    Don't have kids?

    Get a boiler.
  9. maple1

    maple1 Minister of Fire

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    How do you heat your DHW?

    With a full hydronic system already in place, along with a NG heating unit for backup - I'd think long & hard before putting anything but a wood boiler in, especially if it could heat your DHW also, and especially ^2 if it could heat your DHW year round. The upfront costs will of course be more, but you have a lot in place already and you won't be sorry in the future years.

    Unless you might be moving in the foreseeable future, that is.
  10. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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  11. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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  12. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    Whoops those are furnaces. :(
  13. Bster13

    Bster13 Minister of Fire

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    BTW, I plan on building a DIY passive solar hot water heater as I have a south facing backyard.
  14. Watched the video. That looks like it will be hard to evenly heat with a stove. If your goal is to help with heating costs go with an insert. But your living room will be hot and the kitchen and bedrooms cold. Been there done that. And my floor plan is more open.

    If you want to eliminate oil than a wood boiler is the way to go. Probably 2x or more upfront but I would not go back to a stove in my living room.
  15. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    Amen!
  16. I went from an jotul f3 that I used to take the chill off the living room to an f600 firelight. Great stove that I burned 24/7. Made a good dent in the heating bill. But it's hard to stuff 3 or 4 cord through a living room stove. Lots of mess, pain to clean the ash drawer etc. And when you burn a lot you need to give the stove time to burn down the coals every 3-4 days. Which means low output.

    I didn't have a single fire in the jotul since the boiler went online. So I just sold the f600. And got close to 2x what I had bought it for ;) Actually sold it to a guy who had an Oslo and 2 pellet pigs going already and still couldn't keep his house warm with these cold temps. Tried to talk him into a boiler!

    I went from burning 3-4 cord and 800-1000 gallons of oil to burning 8-10 cord and no oil with the boiler. No mor 85 in the living room and 58 in the bedrooms. Just a nice even 68 throughout.
  17. Fred61

    Fred61 Minister of Fire

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    I had a Vermont Castings Defiant Encore in my family room where I would spend my evenings since all my entertainment equipment was there (TV, stereo, etc.). All evening I would be sweating and stripping off clothes one by one. By bedtime I was about naked. Not a comfortable way to spend the winter.
  18. heaterman

    heaterman Minister of Fire

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    If the floorplan is fairly open, turning any given zone down will have limited effect on overall heat consumption. All you wind up doing is constantly running the zone that is left turned up while never satisfying the set point.

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