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Replacing/complementing a thermostat with timer instead?

Post in 'The Gear' started by nola mike, Feb 11, 2014.

  1. nola mike

    nola mike Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    401
    Loc:
    Richmond/Montross, Virginia
    I'll start with the question first. The backstory is below:
    I'm looking for a way to turn my heat on with a simple timer switch. Kind of like a microwave with the "add 30 seconds" function--I hit the button once, I get the furnace on for 30 min, hit it twice for 60 min, etc, rather than being thermostatically controlled (or preferably being able to choose which way the system is functioning).

    Why:
    I have a bit of a complicated setup (because of the stove now heating most of my living space). Basically, I have a NG boiler with radiator heating. Basically all I need it for now is one or 2 rooms for some supplemental heat. I replaced all of the valves to the radiators so that I can now actually shut them off if not being used. This means that when I turn on the heat, usually I'm only heating 1 or 2 radiators. A thermostat (even if it was in the same room, which it isn't) doesn't work well for this type of heating. If I turn the heat on for 45 minutes, that's enough time for the system to heat up and get the radiator(s) warm. The actual temperature of the room might not go up for a bit after that, but will then stay warm for hours. My wife/nanny can't seem to remember to shut the heat off. So the furnace will run for hours, just circulating hot water through one very hot radiator and wasting a ton of gas.

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  2. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Messages:
    624
    Loc:
    Michigan
    If it's just a 24v system (a typical boiler thermostat system) you could just run a thermostat wire to a timer switch. Give it a twist and get an hour or something. If you want more give it another twist.
  3. nola mike

    nola mike Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    401
    Loc:
    Richmond/Montross, Virginia
    Yeah, problem with that is that I also have (or will have) the a/c (separate unit) to the same wifi t-stat. If I killed all power to the t-stat then I'd lose my wifi/programming in the stat.

    Actually, that's what I was thinking above, but you're right. The C wire carries the power to the thermostat, and isn't used for my boiler system at all. I could just wire the switch in series with one of the 2 wires and be good to go. Of course, the tstat would have to be on and above room temp to work, but that wouldn't be an issue...
  4. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Jan 17, 2013
    Messages:
    624
    Loc:
    Michigan
    With my Honeywell (Wi-Fi) I think I can set up a bunch of schedules, perhaps you could find one that you can set up with a bunch of hour long schedules and lock them down. Then when you bump up the temperature it will resume with the schedule in an hour.

    Edit.. Schedules isn't the word I'm looking for. I can't quite think of the word..
  5. xman23

    xman23 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    Oct 7, 2008
    Messages:
    739
    Loc:
    Lackawaxen PA
    It sounds like you shutdown the whole hose one zone system with valves. So all you need to do is parallel a second thermostat and put it in the room you want to heat. Turn down the existing stat and turn up the new stat.
    Or just make it a second zone.

    We have a cold room. A 6' electric heat with a thermostat was the solution
  6. nola mike

    nola mike Feeling the Heat

    Joined:
    Sep 13, 2010
    Messages:
    401
    Loc:
    Richmond/Montross, Virginia
    Ended up doing just that, wiring a mechanical timer in series with the W wire. Works great.

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