My husband and I demolished 1/2 of a 1828 Vermont brick home and rebuilt that 1/2 summer 2010. We designed the concrete basement with a huge boiler room. Our master plumber designed & installed all the zones/piping that you'll see in photos. For the winter of 2010-11 we used our old oil boiler which heated the 5,700 sq. ft home well enough. In the summer of 2011 we added a hot water heater that indirectly heats from up to 2 sources (designed for solar and one other source.) We ran the hot water heater off the oil burning boiler and didn't notice any insufficient hot water needs. We are a family of 4 living in the house w/ Grandma in her own apartment within the house.
In the fall of 2011 we had a new Burnham MPO-IQ boiler installed w/ a pellet boiler insert. Our same master plumber did the install. It is supposed to heat the entire house and the hot water. Off the manifold there are 9 zones: 4 radiant, 3 baseboards, 1 hot water and 1 that is unused.
The gauge on the boiler indicates the water rising in temp from @110F to @210F as the pellet burn cycle progresses and then the water temp slowly drops back to @110 by the time the next burn cycle starts. If the radiant Zone 1 is calling for heat, that gauge is usually @110-120F and only when I shut off ALL other zones did I see Zone 1's temp go up to 125 --- even when the boiler's gauge was @180. A temperature difference of 50 degrees seems to me that there is something wrong. My question is: WHAT TEMPERATURE SHOULD I EXPECT TO SEE BEING DELIVERED TO THE HEADER (measured by the gauges in the radiant zones)?
Hot water heater can't get domestic hot water above 125F. The baseboards throughout the old part of the house are not getting hot enough to keep that 2,000 sq. ft warm. Our old part of the house has been 61F in the mornings when outside temp has been 20. And winter has just begun here in Vermont. The radiant heat zones are currently coming up to temp but I think that is just because those areas are the new construction and so well insulated. I'll bet that they won't keep up when it gets near zero for any length of days. This problem was really made evident when we had cold weather (15 at night, 40 during day) the week before Thanksgiving.
Last winter, the oil boiler was heating the home. And I remember playing with the radiant heat zones and had Zone 1's temp around 140.
Our plumber has come back to tweak the system by adjusting the amount of pellets being burned and upping the lower limit on the aquastat to make the burn cycle start quicker. But those changes didn't affect the temp differential that is existing between the boiler and the Zone 1's gauges. He's coming back tomorrow and I would like any input from you all to help fix this problem. I'm super perplexed by why the heat (seemingly) isn't being delivered to the header. Is this a valid concern??
THANKS for your input,
a chilly Vermonter,