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Oil Burner Temp. Question

Discussion in 'Off-Topic' started by Timbob1, Jul 4, 2008.

  1. Timbob1

    Timbob1 Member

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    I am mechanically retarded. There, I said it.

    Now for the question. Our house is sixty years old, with what appears to be the original oil burner, which we replaced the engine on five years ago, and as of last years service, was at about eighty percent efficiency.

    I have recently noticed, that the temp. on the burner almost consistently reads around 180, and gives of heat, which, no pun intended, makes our basement in July feel like a furnace. Is this because our hot water tank is heated from the burner? If so, how can I reduce the temp., and will doing so decrease the amount, or temp. of the hot water?

    Thanks,

    Tim
     
  2. Fixxah

    Fixxah NES Member

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    It sounds to me like there is a problem with setup of burner control. I have indirect hot water as well and boiler is set up to be a cold start. Hi/Lo limit settings may require adjustment. It may just be an aquastat issue also. If you have a service contract with oil company have them check it out. These things are finicky sometimes and I don't want to hear you burned house down or worse. Good luck. ...John
     
  3. Riverside

    Riverside NES Member

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    I turned the temperature down on my hot water heater. I keep it a click or two higher than warm and I get plenty of hot water. As far as your oil burner, sorry, I do not know but I think Mr. Fixxah's suggestion is the best. It is off season so you should be able to get an appointment without too much lag time.
    Best Regards.
     
  4. Timbob1

    Timbob1 Member

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    Thanks for the suggestions. I am going away for a week, but am making an appt. with my serviceman. The funny thing is, it does go down to 140 or so every once in a while. I hope he can tell me, (remember, he works for the oil company that sells me the oil I burn), how to lower the hot water temp. to burn less oil.

    This winter is going to be very painful for a lot of people with oil.
     
  5. CRSIII

    CRSIII NES Member

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    This is a very astute observation.

    It is not in their best interest to make sure your boiler is running at peak performance.

    I use a HVAC co. to service mine.
     
  6. GaryO

    GaryO NES Member

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    Better to be safe on water temp especially if you have children, you don't want them to get scalded. The 180 degree water is the correct tempature for a baseboard hot water heating system. You should have a seperate control for your domestic hot water. A good website is http://heatinghelp.com. It is set up for tradesman but if you post a question you will get answers from pros.
     
  7. TY43215

    TY43215 NES Member

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    I work on these things and have for a long time.

    Your boiler maintains a minimum temp in order to produce hot water for domestic use. The domestic water runs through a tankless copper coil that is immersed in the boiler heating water. The copper is heated from the boiler water and transfers heat to the domestic water as it passes through.

    After the water passes through the coil it is mixed with cold in a tempering valve to give you proper temperature domestic hot water.

    Turning down the minimum temp on the aquastat may or may not save you fuel. Turning down the minimum temp may make it so you constantly run out of hot water.

    If you want to save money on oil, hire an independent service person (like me) to tune your system but be prepared for recommendations that cost money if you truly want to save oil.

    I gave one forum member my best advice on a new boiler and he went with it. (I don't travel too far so I just gave advice) He is burning less oil and has better heat and hot water.

    If you want advice send me an e mail. It is worth what you pay for it.

    One addition, no boiler should be set for cold start. They should all maintain at least 100 degrees to keep them warm and efficient. An oil system and an indirect using cold start will cool the indirect with the cold boiler water before it heats which makes it run longer and makes it burn more oil.
     
  8. Jamie

    Jamie NES Member

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  9. tele_mark

    tele_mark Member

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    Allow me Gary

    You aren't retarded, Timbbob, your heating system is. Point one, it's a high mass system, so everytime it starts up, you have to burn massive amounts of oil to heat all that metal before you can even start heaing the boiler water to do something useful. Also, you have a huge amount of water in that boiler that has to be heated before it starts working for you. You also have a huge amount of waste heat going up the chimney -- the typical chimney temp out the burner is usually in excess of 600 degrees. And, your system has to maintain itself at 180 degrees all the time, 24/7, because it is high mass, a little like idling your car 24/7 in case you want to go to the store.

    This is the system RGS told me about: System2000. I was skeptical at first, but researched it and it indeed overcomes all the points I mention above. I had one installed this time last year, and didn't notify my oil company, who I'm on auto delivery with. When they finally topped me off in 12/07, they were going by the calculations on my old, conventional boiler. I called them after the delivery and asked them what they expected to leave me. They told me I should have 1/4 of a tank left. I had used 1/4 of a tank.

    I don't work for Energy Kinetics, although I've seriously thought about changing careers and selling their systems, but I can't say enough about this setup. If you're in the position to do so, I highly recommend considering purchasing one of these systems.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  10. Patriot

    Patriot NES Member

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    What is the bottom line ($) on your setup and what options did you get? Who installed it?
    Who maintains it? Any installation issues? What time of year did you install it? How large
    is your tank?
     
  11. tele_mark

    tele_mark Member

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    $7500 complete. No options -- I could've gone with the chimney-less blower but decided to use the existing chimney.

    Tag Heating in Ayer

    I'll use Tag Heating to maintain it, but it uses industry standard parts, such as a Beckett burner and Taco circulator, so any qualified heating company can maintain it, despite what the oil vendors will tell you when you're considering it and asking them. After all, they wanted to sell me a conventional, dumb system for $2700 less.

    No installation issues on this job, it was pretty straight forward. The only thing that went wrong was the circulator suffered infant mortality at 6 months and needed replacement, which Tag did on an emergency call for free.

    I installed it in May, 2007, and I have a 275 gallon tank.

    One of the rumors on the system is that the system manager is susceptible to lightning strikes. However, 2 months after the system was installed, I had a lightning strike in my yard that hit my lawn (my property is lined with 60 foot trees) between the shed and house, 15 feet from the spot in the basement the boiler is in. Just about every piece of electronics in my house, from the computer to the security system to the TV were destroyed. The System2000 suffered no problems.
     
    Last edited: Jul 5, 2008
  12. Chris

    Chris NES Member

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    While it's not the cheapest solution, but a modern computerized system will save $$ in the long term (especially with oil prices still going up.)

    We installed a Buderus boiler and a Superstore hot water tank. During the summer months, the boiler runs very little and only heats as much as it needs to make hot water. I think out dehumidifier heats the basement more than the boiler.

    We have a 2500 sqft home and used just 610 gallons of oil last year. With young kids, we can't drop the temp too far, and I worked from home. I do have at least R55 in all locations in the attic, so that helps a lot.
     
  13. TY43215

    TY43215 NES Member

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    To add to what Mark has said, the boiler is AMERICAN MADE. It is made in New Jersey. I have installed and serviced just about every brand and find this the best for the way we use boilers in the Northeast. (I have also toured the Buderus factory in Germany and attended Viessman training in Ontario)

    I usually recommend a 330gallon oil tank (2 if you have room) The 2 tanks allow you to fill in September and run through until or April, depending on how you heat your house and how large it is. One 330 will allow you to fill in October and go through until March. December thru March are always your highest prices.

    Prices on the boilers just went up 6% due to the steel costs. Last system I quoted as a replacement was $8500 for heat and hot water removing the old and installing the new.

    As for the direct vent model, (No Chimney) I am not and never have been a fan of this type of system. It is last resort for me. One good addition to any system is a chimney liner to reduce the size of the flu. It adds efficiency.

    As Mark stated, any qualified service person can work on the burner. The problem comes with parts. All the parts are not off the shelf and although the boiler can run in a conventional mode, not everyone knows how to do that and many just don't want to learn.

    For the power spike, they offer a surge protector for the board which seems to work well.

    Maybe we should do a group buy [smile][smile][smile]
     
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2008
  14. Executive

    Executive NES Member

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    The cost of oil is now nearing the point where electricity is a viable option for hot water. Historically an electric hot water heater was cheap to install but prohibitively expensive to run. That is changing. Any oil fired system is inherently inefficient as much of the heat goes "up the chimney" direct vented systems improve on this somewhat but in my opinion leave much to be desired when oil-fired. (gas is different) An electric water heater is 100% efficient, as every watt of electricity is used to heat water. They are clean and completely silent. Don't get me wrong, electric water heaters have service and maintenance issues too. I'm just offering an inexpensive option. As RGS mentioned above, a 60 year old system is not using an "indirect" type water tank, it is using a "tankless" type water heating system and the boiler itself must maintain operating temperature 24/7/365. I'd consider an investment in a modern system like the System2000, Buderus, or Viesmann if you want to spend some money and max out your efficiency.

    Chris
     
  15. Executive

    Executive NES Member

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    Taco also makes a control that offers some of the benefits of a "smart" system. This can be added to any conventional system. This control modulates the boiler temperature based on the outside temperature (an outdoor sensor is installed) and also monitors the boiler temperature vs. the return water temperature. I think the package sells for around $600 and and any good electrician can integrate it into a new or existing conventional system.

    Chris
     
  16. TY43215

    TY43215 NES Member

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    Although I agree with you on the cost of operation, the electric water heater has a much slower recovery rate and therefore costs more to operate than a newer oil system.

    The Taco control is a great add on to a new conventional system but are usually problematic on the service end because the boilers are not designed to operate that way. Techmar (sp?) has been making these controls for a long time and they do reduce operation costs but at a price.

    Outdoor reset is really only a viable option if the entire heating system is designed for it. The water needs to be constantly circulating in the system with the water temp modulating as the outside air temp changes. It is a great money maker on a replacement system because it sells itself. It is not worth it to the homeowner on a retrofit because there is no benefit on an old system. People like to look at the pretty lights and think the lights save them money. Not true.

    I could hire Executive to make me a light panel for a boiler that will impress the hell out of a customer and do nothing. The customer will think it is great and will tell all their friends about the new high efficiency system the bought. In reality, any new system should save you money.

    The reason the German technology is progressive is because the Chimney Sweep governs when replacement must be made. You are required to have your chimney cleaned on a regular basis. If there is excessive soot, you must replace the unit. The newer units use less fuel so the government gives you a hefty tax credit to make the replacement. The boiler manufacturers have vested interest in newer more efficient technology.

    In the US, it is still a money thing. The American Standard boiler that was made in 1965 is exactly the same casting design as the Burnham boiler made in 2004. Burnham bought the design and continues to use it. Small changes were made, but essentially there is no difference. The burners are what is different.

    Any way, I have spent a lot of time making this more confusing than it needs to be. Maybe I need to set my trailer up and travel to install these systems. [wink]

    I have spent a lot of time investing in knowledge for my trade and try to give people my best advice whether I am installing or not. There are a lot of choices but the normal homeowner looks at price only. Look at it as an investment and see if you will get a pay back.

    I am bowing out on this. If anyone wants more info, my e mail is in my profile.

    For full disclosure, I am a System 2000 dealer, I am a licensed Plumber and a licensed oil burner technician and I am insured. I am a sole proprietor Plumbing and Heating contractor with more than 20 years experience in installation and service.

    Shooting is just my hobby [smile]
     
  17. tele_mark

    tele_mark Member

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    The thing is, you're still stuck having to heat up 500 pounds of cast iron before you even start to heat the water to do something. The System2000 uses a low mass boiler that's built in the shape of a snail, and the distance between the walls is very small. If opened up, it would be 10 feet long. The burner is in a ceramic chamber at the center, and there's only 2.5 gallons of water in the water passage. My boiler is sending hot water to the requesting zone from room temperature within 90 seconds. Cold water flows into the boiler in the opposite direction as the waste gases are flowing, so that maximum energy is extracted from the waste gases as well as from the direct flame. The result is that with a conventional boiler, you have around 600 degrees of stack temp. My old system was 682 on the last service. My System 2000 measured 350 degrees.

    Here's a good video that goes over it pretty well:

    http://www.energykinetics.com/season_after_season_video.html
     

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