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Posted By Reckless,
Apr 22, 2013 at 10:41 AM
That's too bad.
Correct. Now to find the adjustment
The aquastat cover is probably a rectangular box with a screw on one side....when you remove the screw, you can pull the plate off and see the settings. (Or, take a pic and we can point you in the right direction)
On the settings, there will be a high, low and differential. For the high setting, if it is set at 190, try knocking this down to 170 or so if you are only using hot water and not your baseboard heating. Give this setting a week or 2 and see how it goes...if still ok, maybe turn the high down to 150-160 and try that for a few weeks. (I suggest gradual reductions just so you can see how your hot water performs vs just going from 190 to 140)
Also, you may have to adjust the mixing valve for your domestic hot water....i.e. by turning the high setting down, the hot water will not be as high a a temp as before, and you might have to back off some of the cold water so water from your tap/showers is where you need to be at.
Such are the inefficiencies of heating DHW with a boiler in the non-heating season....
Do all boilers work this way when running with a tank? I'm wondering if mine is doing the same - it is supposed to be a high efficiency model, but if it is sitting 'on idle' all the time then I can certainly see that I could improve the situation by changing my hot water heating.
If your boiler heats you hot water heater then probably yes
Newer 'cold start' boilers don't fire unless there is a call for heat - depends on make & model.
Well, I want to do something about my DHW - I burned an average of .66 gal/day since last fill. Previous year was about .61. I expect the increase is due to kids growing up (more showers - 4 kids, 3 girls that should explain a lot). Anyway, perhaps I can find a manual for my boiler and see how it works.
I have excess solar production on an annual basis as well - utility company won't write me a check so going electric for DHW seems like a good idea, just need to find the best way to do it. I'd be really disappointed if it didn't virtually eliminate the oil burn.
You can make any boiler do that,i converted all my oil boilers that dont make DHW to cold start,lest they run all spring,summer and fall maintaining water temp.
Any electric HWH will do the job much cheaper than oil.I have a 30 Gallon electric HWH and it does my family of 5 quite well. Some situations would call for a bigger heater 40 or 50 gal. Such as filling a jacuzzi tub or a family that takes back to back showers at the same time of day. By all means get rid of that oil burner !!
Everyone, the OP has a boiler that leaked a puddle of water once when he let it go cold! This severely restricts his options re saving oil. I think he might want to let it go cold again and see if the leak 'repeats'. Hard to say. The thing is 26 yo. If it does repeat, his best option IMO is to eat the standby loss, maybe wrap the boiler in roxul or equivalent to minimize losses, and save for a new heating/DHW system. At 26 yo, he will need it soon.
Many of us have indeed been there....but your situation is unusually bad. Your boiler is near the end of its life, and failing (leaking upon shutdown) in a way that limits your options. I wouldn't waste any time trying to set up a HPWH or solar 'life support system'....I would ditch it this summer.
FYI, it may be leaking when it is hot, and just evaporating the water....this can lead to sooty operation, the unit choking on soot and releasing CO without warning, more severe leaks w/o warning. Not trying to scare you...but I would make sure to have a **good** CO monitor in the same room, and prob get a water alarm too if a leak would cause water damage. I would prob shut off the makeup water supply if I were going out of town (that way if it leaks it won't fill up your basement). For the record, my old boiler CO'ed my family 2X, once below alarm threshold, for a couple months!! Its scrap now and good riddance!
If you can't get natural gas, you could maybe get a late model oil boiler from someone who converted.
Not if they leak when they cool down.
I've got three solar panels for hot water you can have if you're willing to come get them. Sitting in my garage waiting for me to rent a dumpster when I redo my siding. They were functional when I took them down...previous owner said they provided 30% of hot water in winter and most all of it in the summer. I can't attest to those numbers, but I know my oil consumption last summer was very low. The panels heated a 120 gallon water tank which then fed to a tankless heater that provided any boost needed. They were ugly and in my front yard so I didn't want them there and no where else in my yard had the right access to sunlight.
Very good advice to sort out here. Being a new homeowner your to do list is long. I had Put an 80 gallon electric when I was in the same predicament.I hope to build a diy solar setup now. I would start with an energy audit from your power co. They may be able to hook you up for tax credits , possible loans or grants?
I would mention that the backup electricity kWh usage on most solar DHW systems in the Northeast is about the same as the kWh to run a HPWH that makes the same amount of hot water. If you can avoid running a dehumidfier in a basement b/c of the HPWH, it can easily be cheaper to run than solar!
You could get a geospring with great local and fed tax rebates this summer, and (if you're handy) do the install yourself. Might cost the same as your next 6 mos of oil. Shut down the boiler now, drain it if necessary, and buy 4 cheap elec space heaters with thermostats and next winter either (1) leave it down and go to wood + elec space heater backup or (2) try to get the old girl running when the real cold weather arrives (and hope the leak is not now worse), and keep the space heaters on hand if/when the boiler fails.
My experience with these things leaking is that they close up over time....if you let it go cold, I would NOT drain it if possible. It might leak a little and then stop. If that works, I would again turn off the water supply (to avoid flood risk) and leave the boiler filled all summer, since I would **guess** draining it would just lead to more internal corrosion. If you can get it shut down, then maybe you can baby it for winter heat for a couple more seasons??? with a good CO detector!
I would also not trust the techs. Have a guy clean it (for $200), but if you ask him too much about the boiler, he might decide to talk you into replacing a bunch of stuff. All the oil techs I talked to at the end were scammers who didn't know how to properly adjust the burner!
Woodgeek gives some good advice. The issue with these internal coils are that the boilers are designed to run all year long, so I am kinda in the same boat as I can't really do anything cost effectively until the boiler craps the bed and I look at alternative options. My oil tech indicated the same issues as woodgeek...one idea was also to install an electric hot water heater and completely bypass the internal coil, but then you risk the boiler leaking when it is shut off for a long period of time. (We had an ice storm back in 2009 here, and my boiler was only off for 5 days and we had significant leaking at the seals) Perhaps make some adjustments on the aquastat for now to see if you can reduce your oil useage by 5-10% during the summer. Good luck
Reckless - do you have access to natural gas?
(Not the beans & burritos kind...)
Well I have a new problem. My aquastat is on the lowest setting which is 180. So do I just deal with it until I replace my unit of try to get a new aquastat installed?
180 is the lowest setting? Sounds weird. Does the aquastat have a part number...can you google up a manual or other info?
+1 what woodgeek said.
Pictures are worth words by the thousands.
I'm in the same predicament. I have an oil burner and its running all year long to give me hot water. Since feb 4th, I used 101 gal of oil, and most of that was for hot water. I barely used my oil heat at all...my stove took care of the heat. I'm guessing a little less than a gallon of oil a day for hot water.
My DHW is set to 120* and my aquastat is set to 145*. Is that a good setting? I don't know where to set it to be most economical. Anyone know?
I know I ultimately need to get an electric hot water heater, as gas is not available in my area. But for the time being, I'd like to set my aquastat at the most economical setting...just not sure what that is.