Ramifications of turning off oil burner for the season?

solock Posted By solock, Oct 26, 2008 at 3:25 PM

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  1. solock

    solock
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    Nov 19, 2005
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    Recently added a 2nd pellet stove and electric water heater and choosing to turn off oil burner.

    Added the electric water heater this spring, and turned off the boiler. The heater was plumbed parallel to the boiler so the water portion of the boiler gets no flow with valves shut. The boiler likewise has not been run for any heat.

    Last 4 seasons, a single pellet stove provided 90% of the heat, with the oil burner providing water and 2 zones when the pellet stove fell behind.

    With the addition of the 2nd pellet stove and water heater, I expect to heat the house exclusively with pellets and water with the electric water heater.

    Was previously running about a tank of oil to heat the water through the non heating season, and 1.5-2 tanks for the secondary heat. The water heater cost about $35/month more to run so at $3 oil I broke even on the first year including the water heater purchase.

    I figure that the oil burner off pays off the 2nd pellet stove in 2 years tops at $3 oil..

    Are there any considerations to shutting the boiler down completely ( a 10 year old EFM boiler)??

    I can re plumb to get the boiler hot water output to feed the electric water heater so that the water isnt stagnant in the hot water coil, but is this necesary or are there other considerations to take into account for doing this??

    Any guidance is appreciated.

    Steve
     
  2. sbohlen

    sbohlen
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    Sep 18, 2008
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    When you shut off your boiler it will cool and contract. Often times it will begin to leak. It should seal back up once restarted but sometimes it doesnt. You might want to shut off the water to it and drain it. Depends on the age of the boiler.
     
  3. begreen

    begreen
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    Nov 18, 2005
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    The other thing to check is whether there is any area that is at risk of pipe freezing due to lack of heat from the boiler. Personally, I like to cycle a boiler or furnace regularly to avoid complications that can come from sitting idle too long.
     
  4. Bushbuck

    Bushbuck
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    Oct 6, 2008
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    I agree you should still cycle your boiler once and a while and still maintain and clean it on a regular basis. Although I plan to heat my home with just pellets this year, I plan on using the boiler if we go away for any extended period of time. The boiler system installed in my home is also a big added value to my home. When I sell my home the next owner may not be interested in the alternative heating systems that I have installed. It will be a bigger plus to offer a home with multiple heating sources with a boiler system that is in perfect running condition.
     
  5. Redox

    Redox
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    Feb 23, 2008
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    Also consider your stash of oil. It would be a good idea to put some treatment in the tank to keep it fresh.

    Chris
     
  6. peirhead

    peirhead
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    Aug 8, 2008
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    You could also consider just turning the boiler way down to around 90 - 110 that way it will hardly ever run but still stay hot enough to drive out moisture in the combustion chamber and hopefully it won't contract so much it starts to leak.
     
  7. in-control

    in-control
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    Jul 18, 2008
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    I'm using the oil furnace for hot water but will be using the Pellet stove whenever its above 20%F. I am going to keep the Oil furnaces temp set @ 60 degrees incase the pellet stove stops for some reason. The other idea is to have it cycle once each night for 1 hour. I am getting a QaudraFire Mount Vernon so I will create a gap in time with the thermostat.

    Just some ideas
     
  8. Marster

    Marster
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    Jan 13, 2008
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    No boiler here just a forced hot air furnance that I hardly use.....I cycle it every so often to help heat my waterlines. If it's raining or snowing I also like to run it to dry up any moisture that "may" have gotten in the exhaust. It does have a cap on it but when it blows some moisture does go down the exhaust vent. This can rust the furnace radiator in a hot air furnance.
     
  9. orangecrushcj7

    orangecrushcj7
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    Jun 30, 2008
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    In theory that sounds good, but doesn't the furnace have to run just as often to stay from 90 to 110, as it does to stay from say 160 to 180? or are you saying leave the upper limit alone, so the furnace turns on at 90, and then turns off at 180, thus allowing more time for it to cool those extra 70 degrees in between firings?
     
  10. peirhead

    peirhead
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    Aug 8, 2008
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    Heat loss varies with the tempature differential between the boiler temperature and ambient air..so if ambient air around the boiler is 60 deg F there is a much lower differential between it and the boiler at 110 than at 160. If the boiler is kept around 110 it will have much lower standby losses. This is much more significant on a typical boiler than on a water heater because most boilers don't have nearly as much insulation as a water heater.... so standby losses are more affected by the internal temperature.

    As far as the temp settings on the boiler, it really doesn't matter where the high limit is set if you are not "Heating" with it..with the house heat thermostat set to "off" the boiler will only cycle between the low limit and the circ settings which are basically the hot water heating range. often these are set 140 - 160 with then high limit at 180. Under these settings the boiler automatically cycles between 140 to 160 unless the house thermostat calls for heat...then the boiler will run up to 180 untill the thermostat for the house is satisfied..then the boiler will revert to its lower temperature range.,,,my suggestion is to set that lower range quite low so it is just above ambient...minimizing standby losses while still leaving the boiler in operating status.
     
  11. kklockars@cox.net

    kklockars@cox.net
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    Jul 23, 2008
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    be careful if you pellet stove shuts down your insurance may not covere the freeze damage if the oil burner were off
     
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