Thermostat Setbacks and Outdoor Reset for Boilers

There are multiple considerations on how to maintain indoor comfort most efficiently with a boiler system during heating season. This article is meant to give you tips on making sure your boiler system can operate the way it was intended. We’ll also mention some accessories that can boost equipment performance.  

Thermostat Setbacks 

Steady-state efficiency is how efficiently the boiler uses the heat from combustion when operating under full load continuously under the same conditions. The boiler must be operating for varying durations to achieve this state. Properly sizing the equipment for the application insures you will have enough btu’s (British thermal units) when heating demand is highest, but not too much that the equipment short cycles and never achieves steady state. Short cycling any system will put excess wear on components and decrease efficiencies/effectiveness.   

How the thermostat operates in the space will also influence boiler efficiency. Programmable thermostats will give your system the flexibility of automatically changing the set temperature at a given time in the sensed space. Professionals in the field call this thermostat setback. If there are long periods of the day where the space isn’t going to be occupied and/or heating demand can be lowered. Then changing set temperature to a reasonable setback is recommended. A setback temperature difference of 7 – 10 degrees Fahrenheit has been recommended by the US Department of Energy (D.O.E.). However, the percentage of potential savings from setback may be greater in milder climates than for those in more severe climates.

Outdoor Reset

How the boiler regulates the temperature of the water inside the system can help lower operating costs. One devise used for this is called an outdoor reset. This control regulates supply water temperature based on current outdoor conditions. By decreasing boiler supply water temperature as the outdoor temperature rises, return water temperatures are lowered. There are parameters to be set in the controls to meet normal heat load conditions. However, recovery from temperature setback in the space may be hindered. 

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