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Loose rivets
30th Jan 2015, 15:46
I helped the Rivetess close her house down, but it's like a fridge and despite her wanting to live alone, I just can't let her come back to what feels like a morgue. Just touching a door handle is painful, and like me, she hasn't experienced a winter in England for over a decade. A total pain, but got to do it as the house is going to take at least 48 hours to be liveable in.

That was really a rant, :* the real question is: A close friend is going for a long winter holiday and has decided to leave his system on a low setting. However . . .

He's recently moved into a c 30 year old house that had a small boiler on the kitchen wall and NO STAT - apart from adjustable thermostatic valves. I suppose there must have been a top temperature control on the boiler. At the last moment he decided not to trust the old boiler and had quite an expensive and much bigger one in its place. They dutifully fitted a remote wireless thermostat. Okay, moving forward, but he, a self confessed Luddite, was told simply that the new stat will override the others. :ugh: In a way it will, but I tried to explain that this is over-simplification. The stat-valves are totally autonomous and if all were set low (his idea of how to leave them) there might be a time when the house warmth was just high enough to shut them, but the new main Stat gave the order to fire up. I feel that would be most undesirable.

So, what setting(s) should he leave the valve stats at so that the boiler won't short cycle?

finfly1
30th Jan 2015, 16:46
You are a very kind gent indeed, to have such concern for the Rivetess. I have, as you know, been on the other side of this coin, more than once, returning to a cold house following a long absence.

My recent protocol a day before my arrival has me requesting my house watcher to push up the inside temp from a fuel saving temp to one that is a treat into which to walk.

Those who can control their thermostat remotely via internet have my definite envy, although my experience with the home webcam (which I can see on my smarty phone) has taught me that it sometimes creates as many problems as it solves.

Cheers.

G-CPTN
30th Jan 2015, 16:58
Regardless of 'instructions' from the new wireless thermostat, the new boiler will automatically fire up occasionally to avoid it freezing.

Of course, the instructions from the wireless thermostat will control the pump, so there will be no circulation other than within the boiler itself unless the 'house' temperature falls below the setting of the wireless thermostat (minimum is probably 5 or 6 degrees C).

I have the system that you describe and it seems to function satisfactorily.

I feel that would be most undesirable.

I don't see why.
there might be a time when the house warmth was just high enough to shut them, but the new main Stat gave the order to fire up
The boiler will regulate its temperature (ie it will not 'boil') and the effect will be no different to when thermostatic valves shut off the flow through a radiator at 'normal' temperatures.

What are you fearing?

As far as radiator valve settings, the 'frost' setting (probably an asterisk) should be OK (though he will have to go around and alter them if he wants a warm welcome).

If he wants to maintain a moderate temperature, then the wireless thermostat will regulate the boiler according to the room temperature where the wireless device is located (which needn't be where the boiler is located). Of course the radiator thermostats will regulate the respective radiator temperatures - but won't, of themselves, signal the boiler to start - only the wireless thermostat can do that (when the room temperature falls below the set value), whereas the radiator thermostatic valves control the 'maximum' room temperatures.

probes
30th Jan 2015, 17:15
...to drop below freezing for long enough to freeze anything.

:D that's well said. Applies to the UK only, though, it seems.

rgbrock1
30th Jan 2015, 17:15
henry crun wrote:

It is very rare for temperatures in the uk to drop below freezing for long enough to freeze anything.

How lovely for you. Currently here in this part of New York it is -13C and dropping like a lead anchor. We also had 3" of snow on top of the 1' we already had from Monday. Thus my balls are frozen, let alone the damned pipes.
Even the wildlife is silent. Probably high-tailed it to Arizona.

Stuff it Henry. :}:}:}

ShyTorque
30th Jan 2015, 19:07
I recall quite a few UK winters being cold enough to freeze pipes. During one of them the water in the downstairs toilet u bend froze solid. During another, we suffered a burst mains riser in the loft. Even though these were both MOD married quarters, not known for good insulation, I'd not rely on stuff not freezing.

I'd leave it running at about 10 to 12 C on the wireless room thermostat. But I might turn down the central heating flow temperature at the boiler. No need to alter the individual rad. thermostats.

OFSO
30th Jan 2015, 19:27
12c seems like just the right idea.

Temperatures here on the mountain don't go below freezing (cold air rushes past and pools in the valley) but winds up to 100mph/160kph - usual - and occasionally MUCH higher - cool the house down to excruciating levels.

When I go away I leave the house thermostat set to 12c day and night.

The day I'm coming home, the lovely Rachael (everyone should have a lovely Rachael) comes up and turns the override thermostat to ON. It's already set to 18c for an hour mornings and evenings.

Oh and the woodstove is left packed with logs and ready to go so I just have to throw a match in it when I come home.

Main water valve: closed

Power: on

Electric radiators in bathrooms: set to 12.

ShyTorque
30th Jan 2015, 19:52
If we had a lovely Rachael I could leave the boiler turned down a few degrees and keep warm another way. :ok:

OFSO
30th Jan 2015, 20:14
The point of mentioning the young lady in question, (quite apart from her even more luscious predecessor), was not to excite ribald comments but to make a more serious point: it is vital to have a trusted person living nearby who can make occasional visits to your house to check for water leaks, power outages (think about the freezer full of food), and even worse problems such as roof tiles off after a storm or (in the UK) squatters taking residence.

There is a basic rule that minor problems in a vacant house grow exponentially over a matter of days from being merely an inconvenience to a full blown expensive disaster.

One of the worst insignificant problems I can remember was someone coming home after a few weeks away to find a magpie had fallen down the chimney into the living room. Soot everywhere, including on the furniture and maggots around the corpse.

Then, more unusually, there was the sky diver here whose canopy didn't open and who entered a holiday home/house via the roof, not to be found for six weeks........

cockney steve
30th Jan 2015, 20:23
Mr Rivets......I don't know you, or your Ex, However, It's been my experience, that whatever you do, contrary to an Ex's explicit wishes, will be construed as being malicious.
If she wants the house just above freezing, so be it.....being realistic, it takes about 2 hours to "heat-soak a house sufficiently that it actually feels warm....it will be comfortable within an hour.....remind yourself of what many people set their programmers for! On the basis of your original premise, the occupants would dress and breakfast in the freezing cold and the house would only start warming as the boiler shut down and they walked out of the door! nonsense , of course.


As already stated, modern condensing boilers have an automatic frost-stat....a room-stat willcycle with about 5* differential....it will switch a couple of degrees before the set temperature and then drop a few degrees below, before cutting- in the pump again.....
My advice is SET THE RADIATOR VALVES TO NORMAL.

The room stat, at ~6*C, will stop circulation when that temp is reached....the radiators will cool down as normal, the boiler will happily revert to "frost protection" mode....when the room stat calls for heat, all the radiators will be in circuit the boiler will work OK
IF you set the Rad valves too low, they will be cooling radiators at different times , unless sizes and flows are very,very accurately calculated (they won't be, nor are they likely be balanced by the lockshield valve at the other end) What yoyu have now, is a boiler return which fluctuates wildly in temp. as radiators cycle in and out...in extremis, all the rad valves will shut, but if the room stat is set to a HIGHER value, the pump will just keep circulating water round the flow/return loop....pipework losses will likely keep tripping the boiler, as the return cools the boiler, burt as there is only a small volume, a few minutes later, the whole loop reaches cutout.....but the room stat isdemanding heat , so the loop will cool enough to trip the boiler , in a very short time!


Also take into account, this may be a modulating boiler, where the flame goes up and down to control system temp. as opposed to the "normal" all -or- nothing cycling.

The boiler instructions should be perused first. If in doubt, rad valves to "normal" room stat to high enough to protect pipes....UK DOES FREEZE.....HARD111

My garage was an old Yorkshire barn, flagstone roof, 18 inch stone walls...a huge woodburner would get it to about 65/70 about 8pm.....you could go back at midnight and a wall of warmth would hit you....come morning, no water...meter blown in half with all the brass bolts sheared and the top part sat on a column of ice....after a couple or three years and threats of an expensive charge for a new meter, I put stop taps and drains both sides of the meter....worked like a charm...come in, close drains, open vakves and, either no water or a shower from a split pipe.....in the end, I just sanded the pipe clean, hammered down the bulge and snotted a dob of solder across the split!....don't ever leave an unattended system without protection.

The disadvantage of the modern boiler, is it's fed straight off the mains if you turn the mains off, you risk the bioler protection system shutting it down.....if you leave it on, and theres a burst, you have a very costly and inconvenient flood.

G-CPTN
30th Jan 2015, 22:34
nor the north (Cotswolds etc)
The Cotswolds are in southern England - do you, perhaps, mean the Cheviots (or the Pennines)?

Landforms of England (http://resources.woodlands-junior.kent.sch.uk/customs/questions/landforms.htm)

cockney steve
30th Jan 2015, 22:38
Henry, We is North West, twixt Oldham and Huddersfield et the foot of the Pennines. Plenty of moorland between oure cluster of villages and Holmfirth(Last of the Summer Wine) and Marsden, outskirts of Huddersfield.

This is country where man are men and sheep are worried.:}

Loose rivets
30th Jan 2015, 22:55
IF you set the Rad valves too low, they will be cooling radiators at different times , unless sizes and flows are very,very accurately calculated (they won't be, nor are they likely be balanced by the lockshield valve at the other end) What you have now, is a boiler return which fluctuates wildly in temp. as radiators cycle in and out...in extremis, all the rad valves will shut, but if the room stat is set to a HIGHER value, the pump will just keep circulating water round the flow/return loop....pipework losses will likely keep tripping the boiler, as the return cools the boiler, but as there is only a small volume, a few minutes later, the whole loop reaches cutout.....but the room stat is demanding heat , so the loop will cool enough to trip the boiler , in a very short time!

It's that short cycling that I'm worried about. It's a thought about reducing the boiler top temperature. In the house I was 'sitting' a while back, one could control the BOILER temperature for water and heating separately. That was quite nifty as I could, at the twizzle of a knob, get the boiler to shallow cycle for longer periods.


Also take into account, this may be a modulating boiler, where the flame goes up and down to control system temp. as opposed to the "normal" all -or- nothing cycling.

Interesting. I'll find out more about those.

oldchina
31st Jan 2015, 07:04
"I just have to throw a match in it when I come home."

Does your lovely Rachael understand she's not supposed to store jerrycans next to the woodstove?

mixture
31st Jan 2015, 07:08
It is very rare for temperatures in the uk to drop below freezing for long enough to freeze anything.

Its not the freezing that does the damage, its the 4 centigrade expansion that does .... :cool:

Exascot
31st Jan 2015, 08:01
The solution is a 'house sitter''. For our three months away over the winter here we had 50 applicants. OK a bit different to the UK but there are loads of people who do this full time for free. Just Google 'house sitters'. For a small fee you can register with one of the online companies.

ShyTorque
31st Jan 2015, 08:13
The solution is a 'house sitter''. For our three months away over the winter here we had 50 applicants. OK a bit different to the UK but there are loads of people who do this full time for free.

So.... who house sits the houses of house sitters?

OFSO
31st Jan 2015, 11:01
wrinkled stockings.

Ah, Norah Batty. I'm getting to the age when she had definite attractions.

racedo
31st Jan 2015, 21:41
Been working away from home for last couple of months with occasional 2 day home break, heating turned off and despite getting home with weather freezing outside the temp at its lowest was 5 degrees. This with heat left off all the time.

Last years winter bill for Gas and Elect was 1000 across Nov-Jan, this year expect it to be 100.

Do look at weather before go away just in case.

Not been away for a month but if was then would drain the system.

When return normally takes about 36 hours before house is warm, course I leave 5-6 hrs later but so be it.

Tankertrashnav
31st Jan 2015, 21:53
Sorry folks, when I said uk I was thinking of the south west uk, conveniently warmed by the gulf stream. Not the south east (we think of that as London), nor Norfolk (we never talk about that), nor the north (the Cotswolds etc).

Came home to "balmy" SW Cornwall after a New Year jaunt to London some years ago to find water running from burst pipes which had subsequently thawed. My fault, they ran along the eaves and had got missed out by my insulation which didnt quite reach them, but it nevertheless shows that even the Gulf Stream can't work wonders once an anti-cyclone settles over the whole country in January.

Btw Cotswolds in the South? Can't be, they're a bit North East of Bristol, and that's way up North from my perspective ;)

Windy Militant
31st Jan 2015, 22:04
Ever considered getting one a they active heating control apps for your moblie phone? You could turn the heating on before you got home so that it was nice and toasty when you got in rather than just as you were going out! ;)
When I used to look after such things we had an economiser system on the building management system at work. It used to take temperature data from preceding days to work out when to come on in the morning. One of the things the guys on early turn had to check on was the temperature at about 06:30hrs as if there was a cold snap you'd have to override the timer manually to ensure the offices were over 16C for 08:30hrs starting time.

fireflybob
31st Jan 2015, 22:08
One warning about wireless thermostats. On the one I've got if the receiver gets no ping for one hour it goes into fail safe mode and put the heating on permanent heat!!

This can happen if there is a power cut when you are away. Luckily I had only been out the house for short periods when I couldn't understand what was going on with the system.

You could be landed with a big bill if you're away for a long time not to mention the house feeling like a sauna when you return home.

Loose rivets
31st Jan 2015, 22:20
That could explain what happened to the last house I was housesitting. Ug! So, the rad valves to about 3 out of 6 might give added insurance.

OFSO
1st Feb 2015, 08:26
As I've said: can't beat a human watchdog coming in every couple of days to check up. My lady R arrived Thursday and found the ELB had tripped (for no reason - it does it now and then. Spike on the overhead cables due high winds maybe.) Reset it and saved me freezerfulls.

toffeez
1st Feb 2015, 10:06
She's quite hands-on, your Rachael.

OFSO
1st Feb 2015, 15:01
One smart cookie. Her predecessor was also excellent. Both English girls of course. We did try locals but during the hot weather they tended to come to work in unconventional clothing. Not good for the heart, you know !

http://i656.photobucket.com/albums/uu287/ROBIN_100/cid_9F77E715-FE78-44FC-9907-2B0B5915484F.jpg