I've just purchased a 15-year old house heated with a gas boiler and multiple baseboard zones controlled with zone valves. The house is built to be energy efficient, and I have no doubt that there's plenty of capacity to maintain reasonable temperatures, but recovery times are very long (on the order of 1 hour/degree F at cooler temperatures). I've been told by our heating contractor that our boiler is oversized for the house; this correlates with my observation that the duty cycle of the flame is fairly low even during a long recovery, indicating that we are not extracting heat from the system as quickly as it can produce it.
We have two use cases for recovery - zones that aren't used daily, or only used part of the day (i.e., office), and when we are away from the house for days up to a few weeks. I'd like to focus on the kitchen/living room zone, for the "returning home" scenario. This part of the house has a good size run of baseboard in the dining area (approx 15-16'), a kick panel blower unit in the kitchen, and four in-floor blower units in the living room. There really isn't room to add any more baseboard capacity (except possibly a second run above the existing), so I'm looking at other options:
- add an air handler in the basement or coat closet and configure it as a second stage (there's plenty of room for a modest unit, but supply and return ducting might be messy)
- explore options to increase the capacity of the existing in-floor blower units (I have not investigated these at all yet)
- explore increasing the operating temperature of the system (currently set for 160/180˚F; perhaps only on the low end
- get used to it, and start the recovery earlier with remotely accessible thermostats
Are there other options that might make it possible to eke more out of the existing baseboard runs (i.e., fans)?