It’s already quite cold here in the Windy City: 21° F. Since this is our first winter in the bungalow it’s taking some time to get warm. We were in our previous house for so long, it was a no-brainer: flip on the heat switch and let it go.
With a new (old) house, it’s going to take a little time. While I’m sure the window restoration has helped a great deal, there are still things we need to do. Weatherstripping for one. Secondly, we still have no window treatments, but that is about to change. And last but not least, we’re now dealing with a boiler/hot water heating system.
The PO replaced all the upright radiators with baseboard radiators back in the 60s. Instead of one tall radiator taking up space in the room, many of these baseboard radiators run the length of one wall and sometimes two walls, so I think that must be better for heat distribution. And at least we don’t have to arrange furniture around the radiator, so I guess that’s a good thing. I don’t know if there are any real negatives to these baseboard radiators.
I like the boiler system. I think our cats miss the forced air heat though. When it would kick on in our previous house, Axel would run over to it, lean against the wall with a front and back paw on top of the register and let the heat blow on his tummy. Then he’d rub his whiskers on the edge of it, purring and (presumably) thinking, “My Precious! O, my Preeeecioussss!”
Unlike Axel, I don’t miss the blowing air. My skin doesn’t feel as dry and I think there is a lot less cat hair blowing around. But there are some things we need to adjust and get used to.
One of the first things we did here was install a programmable thermostat so that we can set back the temperature while we’re at work and when we’re sleeping. In the old house, we’d set it to 68° at the same time the alarm clock came on and it would reach 68° by that time. We’ve discovered with the boiler system that it takes longer to reach that temperature, so it has been quite chilly when we crawl out of bed! We adjusted it to turn on earlier, and it’s much better but it still needs some fine tuning.
The other problem is that the thermostat is located in the hallway near the guest bedroom and bathroom and is much warmer there than in other parts of the house. Quite often the thermostat will say it’s 70° but our thermometer in the kitchen near the back door and family room could say 65°! Brrrrr!
So I’ve been doing a little research. Because the boiler is a closed system, it runs a loop of hot water through the pipes around the house and back into the boiler. By the time the water reaches the last room or two, it very likely won’t be as hot as the water that reaches the first couple of rooms. The chore for this weekend will be to figure out the path of the hot water and start making some adjustments in output at the radiator level.
I suspect that the family room is the last room to receive heat, so we need to make sure the valves are all the way open in that room. I’ll bet that the guest bedroom, next to the thermostat, is one of the first to receive heat, so especially when we have no visitors, we’ll close down that valve a bit. The other rooms seem okay for the most part, but I’d like to get it as uniform as possible throughout the house. Over the next several days I need to get a handle on the temperature fluctuations and then track how well our adjustments work. What better way to do it than with a nice little chart?