There is a point where boiler capacity, boiler demand and home efficiency cross. I'm normally well above that point with my setup but last night I fell below it. Feeling alittle down this morning.
Woke up to a 64 degree house this morning. Holy crap! That's not exactly freezing but it's 4 degrees south of where it normally is and 4 degrees south of the thermostat set point. Was my fire out? Was the boiler failing? The sad answer is no. The boiler was firing away, plenty of coal in the hopper and plenty of coal on the grates burning. My poor little 95,000 boiler was flat maxed out for the demand.
I'm well south of most coal burners here so we normally are getting weather that's alittle warmer than you guys up there in northern pa, NY and chowda' territory. And I'm sure that's the case here this morning as well as it is 9 degrees this morning here. My house was built in '52 but every room has been gutted, reinsulated and new windows installed. The house has 2x4 R13 walls and R30 attic insulation. I wish now I had been more anal with sealing and insulating as I think I under appreciated at the time I was doing the work the role that air infiltration plays even in insulated walls. But that ship has sailed and I'm not opening up any walls anymore. The bottom line is I'm heating 4,100 sq. ft which includes basement space of which about half is finished.
Harman advertises this boiler as heating 1,500 to 4000 sq. ft, depending on climate and home efficiency. So I knew I was pushing it's limits when I bought it. But even yesterday it was 17 in the morning and it was holding my thermostat setting. So somewhere between 17 and 9 degrees, I crossed over into.....the Twilight Zone.
So admitting defeat, I just reinstalled the vent pipe on the oil boiler and reattached to hot wire to the burner and fired up the weil-mcClain. Damn it the sound of that thing running is like nails on a chalk board but my water temp is rising. It was 122 this morning for those keeping score. Just hit 167 as I type.
So I'm not really sad, just disappointed. And of course I shouldn't be as the math doesn't lie. In 2003 when I bought the VF3000, it was the best I thought I could afford at the time. The other boiler I was looking at was the coal gun but it was about twice the cost so the Harman won. Knowing what I know now, I would shop for a used reconditoned EFM, but hindsight is always 20/20. My little Harman is a rock star (black rocks of course) 99% of the time. So I'll just have to resign myself that in extreme weather, like 9 degrees, it's just not going to cut the mustard. Luckily we don't get this kind of arctic air mass here often.
So know I will run the gauntlet of all you more sucessful coal burners. Please just give me a gentle wack as I pass by.