Originally posted by twhitehead
If I understand you correctly (and I am not certain that I do) then the relevant parts of the system are:
1. A boiler that is always on at either a low temperature or a high temperature.
2. Radiators in the house that can be turned on or off to allow heat to get from the boiler to the rooms.
If that is correct, then the lower temperature is definite ...[text shortened]... en you could help the environment by putting a timer on it to use electricity in off peak hours.
I thought of a way I can have the best of both worlds, if I can find a controller to do what I want: a low temp setting just for hot water, the best thing would be a separate tankless water heater, I lived in Jerusalem for years and that is what everyone uses there, no hot water demand, no fuel used, electronic ignition so no gas has to burn at all when the system is on zero demand. Then the house heat would just be at the most efficient setting, the lowest that heats the house.
The only thing about the tankless system is they cost about a thousand bucks.
The alternative to that is a regular gas hot water heater, maybe there are units with electronic ignition and no fuel flow when hot water is not called for.
My system as it is can be set to any reasonable temp min and max, there are two temp controls on the furnace box, where you set the difference to 10 degrees apart minimum. Example would be what we normally do: Winter, set it to 190 degrees max and 160 degrees min but like you say, the pipes would lose heat that way but the pipes are in the basement so the heat rises anyway, not sure if that is a big loss.
In summer, no house heat is needed so we set the temp to 140 max and 120 min, that way we have hot water on demand.
In winter the thermostat calls for heat till it reaches the room temp we preset in on the box and we can vary that daily in a 7 day pattern, say turn on heat at 5 AM and go till 9 AM then turn off, then come back on at 5 PM till 9 PM, something like that.
In a case like that, do you lose heat to inertial losses, like the heat it takes to heat up walls and so forth? Would the walls absorb enough heat to even things out?