I have a cast iron oil fired boiler for heating my home. the furnace works fine. there his oil and flame and the blower works. however there is little or heat coming out of the vents. i checked the pipes. i noticed that the pipes that go upstairs are are warm, but the pipes that that go to the downstairs are cold and there is no heat coming from the vents downstairs. i also used to hear a sort of gurgling sound as of water was running into the pipes, but i do not hear that anymore. any advise? Thanks.
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Assuming this is a furnace or boiler, fueled by oil or gas. Any adjustments to flame should be done in conjuction with combustion and smoke testing. I know many "old school" techs who adjust by sight. Effective many times with old equipment, but not with newer high precision units.
All that being said, this is an adjustment that should be made by a heating professional.
For clarity, a Furnace produces HOT AIR for heat while a boiler produces HOT WATER for heat. Just remember...boil = water. You said your "furnace" does not produce hot water for a shower and because furnaces do not product hot water unless they have some model that do???? Usually people with a furnace have a seperate hot water heater. People with boilers though can produce hot water for use as both their sinks/showers hot water and their heat (by heating water that goes through baseboards) in their house. I don't believe any furnaces produce hot water most of the time a furnace just produces hot air for heating. So figure out what you first have.
Having said that, I'll assume you have a boiler like I do and my Weil McClean(sp?) stopped working a while back and wasn't turning on to "boil" any water. I took apart the burner and there is a light sensing photo resistor as part of the controls. If this phto resistor goes bad, the boiler will not start. The resister is cheap, I think it was $8 but you have to know what you're doing to change it. So you may be better to call someone who can work on such equipment.
Boiler's themselves are not overly complex. Home heating oil is the same diesel fuel that you can buy in a gas station only the government has "oil" companies put a RED die in home heating fuel which is usually cheaper then Diesel fuel because diesel fuel is taxed to death. The reason they do that is so that if you try putting RED tinted home heating fuel in your truck and you get pulled over (because you're a trucker with and 18 wheeler and they typically do inspections of these trucks) you will be a huge fine if they see you're running home heating fuel and NOT paying your taxed by purchasing Diesel fuel. A little bit of background so you know the fuel you are dealing with here. So it's dieslel fuel without the tax you run in your boiler. Gasoline on the other hand is VERY explosive as you know, but diesel fuel (if you're ever tried to light it) takes some coaxing to get lit. When it's cold out, diesel fuel is very hard to light and that's why trucks use glow plugs. You don't need those in your home though.
But because diesel fuel/home heating oil is hard to light, it's sprayed as a msit into your boiler, so that it can light more easily.
But because it is a fuel, you should know what you're doing when messing with it. FInd out what you have, and then have someone work on the issue if you haven't already. I'm guessing you have had it fixed by now?
As I understand your question, you have a boiler with a 'summer/winter' hookup for domestic hot water.
Your boiler should run all the time, i.e. not be shut off by you. Your boiler provides hot water for baseboard heat in your home ... possibly through several 'zones' each controlled by an individual thermostat and circulator. Yours may be a steam system. If this is the case, you have radiators not radiant baseboard heaters and no circulators.
Your summer/winter hookup provides a constant supply of domestic hot water. It does this by taking cold water from your water main and passing it through a copper coil which sits inside your boiler and then to your hot water main in your home. Since the coil sits in the hot water at the top of the boiler, it is constantly being heated. This coil may be in a deteriorated condition in your case or it may be too small for your needs.
Several years ago, I did a small upgrade to my mid 1950's era American Standard boiler. The summer winter hookup in my case was mounted on a 4 inch cast iron boiler plug. The coil was 12 feet long (folded up to a package about 1 foot long). I was very afraid when the plumber came in with what amounted to a 10 foot long pipe wrench. My fear was I would have a pile of broken cast iron at the end of the day. All is well that ends well. He got the old one out and replaced it with a coil that consisted of 20 feet of copper tubing 3/4 inch in size (the folded tubing was about 20 inches long and fit nicely into the boiler). We now have all the hot water a household consisting of one guy and three gals would need in all but the extremest of times..
I think you r answer is here ... replace your summer/winter coil with a new, bigger coil.
Something else I did. My kitchen is 60 feet (pipe wise) from the boiler. It takes a long time to get hot water there. I put in a small electric hot water heater just under the kitchen. I put a timer on it so it runs for a couple hours in the morning and a few hours in the afternoon. The hot water line from the boiler serves as the cold water input to the heater. I now enjoy the convenience of quick hot water in the kitchen with the relatively low cost of oil heated water from the boiler as a relatively small cost of electricity.
My winter settings are 160 - 200 and my summer settings are 120 - 150 which seems adequate for our needs.
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