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lessons learned from our heating system

Emily Oster

 hot water boiler from 1932 via  Shorpy

hot water boiler from 1932 via Shorpy

With an old house there is never a dull moment. Take this morning for instance, I was painting our project room with some very welcomed helpers when we heard an incredibly loud banging/rushing noise. I, immediately, ran to the basement expecting to see large amounts of pouring water. No water but our boiler pump was the clearly the source and I literally thought the thing might explode. Luckily, I had been paying attention Friday when the heating repair man was at the house and knew how to shut it off. Problem solved although without the pump our heat doesn't work properly/barely at all. I called the repair company and they were able to get a service person out this afternoon and replace the broken part that was to blame for the scary noises. I can happily say that this evening the heat is functioning again although the repaired pump is much louder than before this afternoons repair.....

Two service calls and $250 dollars later this is what I have learned about our radiant heating system in the past week.

Lesson #1: Make sure the boiler pump is ON - Boilers most often times have pumps to help circulate the hot water to all the radiators in a house. Without the pump being ON the system relies entirely on gravity to move the water which works but not very well. 

Lesson #2: Check the temperature setting - Boilers like hot water heaters are set to a specific temperature. If the temperature is too low the radiators will not be warm enough to give off proper heat.

Lesson #3: Calibrate your thermostat - If you noticing a temperature difference between what your thermostat is set at and what it is reading as the actual temperature you might need to calibrate your thermostat. If your thermostat is not calibrated your system could be shutting off before it hits your desired temperature. 

Lesson #4: Pay attention and ask questions when repairs are being made.

I have a feeling I might be learning a few more lessons in the near future as the current noise level coming from our heat pump just does not seem tolerable....at least we have heat though!