28

Passive solar design before you build On a new build, your very first stop is passive solar design. Strutting forward and designing a bad old stickhouse, and then bolting on solar as an afterthought, is wasteful. Passive solar design means engineering the building so it does not need active heating (except on rare occasion. The occasion is rare enough ...


26

A thermostat basically just energizes the individual circuits (G (fan), W (heat), Y(cool) ) which in turn (via the furnace controller) powers a relay which provides line voltage to the actual units (like the fan or A/C. In the case of heat, it instructs your furnace to open the valve supplying gas). R (or Rh and Rc) provides the 24VAC power. To turn on ...


15

The US has a mixture of systems. I'm not sure what the prevalence is, but I've lived in homes with both steam and hot water heating. Steam offers the following advantages: One-pipe systems More heat transfer for a given radiator surface No distribution pumps Steam offers the following drawbacks: Furnace needs to be a low point Corrosion Finicky ...


15

Assuming that you are (a) on the regular electric utility grid and (b) are on the regular natural gas delivery system (i.e., don't require propane deliveries), as a general rule, natural gas heating will be most cost-effective in most parts of the US. If you are not on the regular (utility) natural gas system then electricity has some advantages. ...


12

Yes, placing registers (or other heat sources such as radiators) near exterior windows and doors is the usual practice. This is done in order to combat cold drafts and ensure a more even temperature throughout the room. Here's a Q&A on the subject from Ask This Old House: Window glass is the coldest part of a wall. When warm room air hits it, the ...


12

Your furnace controller board is very likely indicating a trouble situation and shutting itself down. This is the equivalent of a car turning on its check engine light and not wanting to move. Shutting the main power off clears the error code and allows it to work temporarily but doesn’t fix what’s actually at fault. First, change out your furnace filter. ...


12

If you design the solar thermal correctly, then given the annual solar insolation ( higher than my location in EU by about a factor of 2) then with good insulation you can avoid heating at all. But you will need to maximize the passive solar gain - allowing the sun's energy to enter the building in winter for example. Use underfloor heating driven from the ...


10

That pipe looks like an air intake. All "direct vent" style appliances (high efficiency on-demand water heater, gas fireplace, etc.) have an isolated air intake and it is common to have it suck in air from outside the building so as not to force air infiltration through doors, windows, etc. Indeed, that is ugly. Our fireplace and tankless water heater ...


9

Remove the 6 tabs (at 6am, 9am, etc.) and it should stop any automated on/off actions. It's hard to be sure from this vantage, but it appears that 3 of the tabs are light colored, and 3 are darker. The light ones are used to set "on" times, and the dark ones for "off" times.


9

Bleeding radiators is quite simple, and can usually be done by homeowners. All that's required is a radiator key, a towel and/or bowl, and a bit of time. Why Bleed Radiators Even with closed systems, air can still find its way into the system. When it does, it will collect at the highest points available (the top of radiators). Trapped air can cause ...


9

sometimes ductwork under pressure and heat can experience a sudden deformation commonly referred to as oilcanning. this is where large rectangular pieces of box ducts have stiffening ribs formed into them to prevent deflection under pressure. if a particular panel is installed in just the right (or wrong) way, it can temporarily flex when it warms up. its ...


9

Only if you have a humidifier installed, and in that case it would be a very small quantity. To determine whether your system has a humidifier, examine the primary ducts near the furnace unit. Look for a tray or housing with a water line and possibly a power cord. Here's an example. Notice the unit attached to the intake duct. It has a copper supply line ...


9

Very few HVAC systems aren't able to handle abrupt power loss. I've flipped the switches on dozens of systems hundreds of times to change filters and perform other service. The gas valve will close and the control boards have algorithms to recover. It may feel nicer to shut them down gently, but there's no good reason to worry about it. After all, power ...


8

You may be able to use the existing radiator piping to some extent, but a number of other changes will be required: Lower water temperature. Because the radiant heating runs under your entire floor, it is typically run at a temperature similar to a hot summer day (around 85 degrees Fahrenheit). Cast iron radiators are usually run at around 150 degrees F, ...


8

WARNING: Furnaces are expensive, complex pieces of equipment. If you don't have the proper tools and/or knowledge, it's often best to let the professionals handle maintenance and repair. Gas Furnace Ignition Sequence: Thermostat calls for heat. Pilot gas valve opens. Ignition control starts (spark or glow). Pilot gas ignites. Flame sensor detects pilot ...


7

The manifold is used to distribute fluid evenly throughout the system, as well as allowing you to turn on/off zones (for maintenance and whatnot). Without one you may find that some zones get more heat than others, since the flow could vary from zone to zone (depending on the plumbing).


7

I'm dealing with the same problem in our "new" (1992 vintage) home. Long duct runs expand and contract with conditioning cycles. In places where the duct is held tightly against the home's framing or other objects, sudden slipping results in pops or squeaks. Solutions generally involve either 1) securing the duct more effectively at the contact point so it ...


6

I would start by turning the thermostat off, including the fan setting to "off" and not "auto". The HVAC breaker should be a 240v double pole breaker. Most homes have four of those. One for the water heater, range, dryer and the HVAC. Turn the breaker to the HVAC off. If you have a heat pump, there will be a shut off near it outside (probably mounted to the ...


5

I called a number of Central Heating contractors and also Uponor, the company that makes the controller. I was told that the clicking noise comes from the soft-fuses inside the controller trying to reset. They said box has failed and needs to be replaced by an electrician. Since the controller is the simplest model in their range, there are no diagnostic ...


5

The type of plan refers ultimately to the arrangement of the pipes and thus the type and number of valves you have in your system. This page has explanations of all types (Y, S, W and G (not C)). Y Plan is based on a single three way valve that either allows the hot water from the boiler to the heating circuit, hot water circuit or both. With S-Plan: ......


5

I tend to think of questions like this about heating and cooling efficiency from a thermodynamic perspective, where its primarily a question of energy loss. The energy loss to the surrounding environment goes up when the temperature difference between the inside temp and the ambient temp goes up; the energy loss goes down when this temp difference goes down. ...


4

I think you need to balance the system; as water will always take the easier option. So when the system first comes on most of the water will go to the radiator with the shortest pipe run, once the thermostat rad valves on that radiator shut down, then the water will find the next easier option. So by turning down the “lockshield“ values (the value ...


4

This DOE reference indicates, with better double glazed windows and better insulation, that ducts should not be run in outside walls anymore. HVAC Ducts Shall Not Be Run within Exterior Walls In the past, it was common practice to run ducts inside a wall cavity of an exterior frame wall. It is sometimes done today. However, we have learned that ...


4

Panning seems to be allowed for return ducts only. I'm not sure if it is code compliant for all states, but it is allowed in the northeastern US. My house has one area that is "panned" in such a maner on the return duct. It is not lined inside, just normal 2x construction. The outside is panned with sheet metal. This is an alternative to the sheet metal.


4

The room thermostat does not control the boiler directly. Instead, it controls a circulating pump that draws heat from the boiler and delivers it to the radiator(s) in the room. It is the removal of heat that subsequently causes the boiler to fire, when its thermostat indicates that its internal temperature has dropped because of the heat removal. It sounds ...


4

If partially closing a single supply vent caused your high limit to trip you probably have an restriction problem. I would recommend investigating a bypass damper with a return and supply temp. sensor. These devices are typically just a part of a whole house zoning system, but can be used to easily resolve supply air restrictions in situations where ...


4

Central heating should not significantly increase your water usage. Though depending on what type of central heating you're talking about, it may consume some water. Forced Air Typically forced air heating will not consume any water. However, if it's a gas/oil forced air system, a humidifier may be required. The humidifier will consume water, though not a ...


4

Sure -- or at least, there's nothing about having round ducts in the attic that would make A/C installation more difficult. In fact, because cold air is more dense than warm air, ceiling vents are usually considered better for cooling. The cool air flows down from the ceiling, helping ensure your rooms are evenly cooled. That's why many houses in warm ...


4

Furnace installers and/or home owners will put a register in the duct work to provide some heat in the winter to that area. The number of these supply registers is determined by the typical use and desired temperature of this area. I recommend that all basements should have at least 2 supply registers and 1 return register in the basement/equipment area just ...


4

The furnace has the intake and exhaust of a sealed unit but the water heater is an old style open burner, this requires the outside vent the size of the vent is based on the BTU rating of the water heater. I would not close off the vent because this provides the fresh air for the water heater.


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