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The water main broke in our street. We have radiators that are getting very hot probably because of lack of water. I turned down the heat to 60 degrees. Should I switch off the motor? I wonder whether we will have a problem if I don't.


Dear Lschus:

If you have lost the main water supply to your house, this actually should not actually affect your hot water radiators. The water that circulates through your furnace and then around to your radiators are in a "closed" system, and therefore this water can continue to circulate even if the main water supply to your home is turned off.

However, your system will have a fresh water makeup valve, which is how water can come into your heating system to fill it up, for example, if you are purging air out of the system, or if you have small leaks in the system. And this valve may be manual valve, or it can be an automatic water makeup valve. But assuming that you do not have a major leak in your system somewhere, your radiator heating system should be able to run for a rather long time without makeup water.

I am not sure why your radiators would seem to be hotter with the main water supply to your house turned off. There is no reason for it to do this that I can think of.

Hope this is helpful.