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Old 02-24-09, 07:53 AM   #1
Lex Parsimoniae
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Default oil burner air source mod

I have a forced baseboard hot water by oil heating system. (also can burn solid fuel).

When the burner starts up, it's sucking in the 55 deg air from my basement floor and sending up the stack.

Where does my house get it's fresh replacement air? In the dead of winter,
there is nothing really left open to allow outside air to come in.

My guess is, cold air is getting in from any poor sealing job in the windows, doors, attic stair pull-down & etc.

In other words, I have no control over where this outside air is coming from!

I want to take control of the air input. I don't want cold air coming in from the bathroom window.

My plan is to install a large PVC pipe to bring in cold outside air, right up
next to the left side of the oil burner. An air valve will open when the burner is running and the cold air will be sucked in by the burner.

In theory, the air-pipe should almost eliminate negative air pressure inside the house.
Eliminating cold air leaking into the heated areas!

This would be a cheap DIY job and it seems like it might save a lot of BTUs over the heating season, so what's the downside?

Comments please:


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Old 02-24-09, 09:19 AM   #2
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Sounds like a good idea to me.
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Old 02-24-09, 05:20 PM   #3
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Hopefully gascort can provide more info on this. See this post about the same topic except dealing with the dryer vent exhaust. But it's basically the same problem you're facing.

I do believe that high efficiency furnaces use two PVC pipes, one to draw in air and one for exhaust. This cuts the negative air pressure in the house (what most furnaces and dryers produce). That negative air pressure will cause drafts in your house. Drawing the air in through a PVC pipe would create higher pressure in your house, which might push some of the warm air out. But, if you think about it, it's better to push 70 degree air out than suck 10 or 20 degree air in (which you then have to heat).

That's my take on it anyways.
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Old 02-24-09, 06:31 PM   #4
Lex Parsimoniae
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Unless I put a fan in the pipe to force air into the house, I don't think it's going to contribute to a positive pressure in the house.

What is should do is provide an easy air source from the outdoors right to the burner. Therefore, the negative pressure inside the house would be much lower. Closer to outdoor pressure.
Since the pressure would be close to equal, inside and out, 98% of the cold air coming into the house would be from the PVC air pipe.

I've studied what the dryer does, but since it's only about 1 hour a week, it's not a big problem.

However, since my dryer is about 15 feet from the oil burner, the new air pipe
will be able to feed in cold air to the basement floor for the dryer..
It would provide the same equalizing effect, limiting the amount of cold air that is pulled in upstairs in the heated areas..

I'm not too worried about 10 degree air getting into the dryer and effecting the drying process. Since the air would be flowing out of the pipe and traveling over the floor.. The floor is geothermally "heated" to about 55 degrees all year round. It will cool a little, but recover quickly.

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