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Lazy-Al (or deadcarp)--wood fired hot water heater
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CAH    Posted 02-07-2004 at 15:14:49       [Reply]  [No Email]
Al, Everything going well with the wood fired water heater? My question for you is have you thought about using that hot water to run a baseboard (or radiator type) heater? Do you think it would work with just a circulating pump. As you know I am going to duplicate your design but I would like to try to heat my 2nd floor a little better. If I could get the temp up by 6or7 degs. would be great. I thought I could pipe a hot line up and a return pipe back to the tank and steal some of the heated water. What do you think? Have you heard of such a thing off of such a simple system?

Al    Posted 02-08-2004 at 05:10:23       [Reply]  [No Email]
First what I did is I had a loop made out of 3/4 BLK pipe that was 18 inches long and if you didn't use water fast enough it would over heat and trip the pop off valve . Which it did once so I made a loop 10 inches long . So now it will heat the water but not as fast and I've had no trouble since but then again it doesn't recover as fast either and I have had luke warm water leaving that water heater going to my electric one .
Adding to what Deadcarp says I think it would work but I would put a circulating pump on it . Even if it run all the time I think they are only 84 watts or so .
I got a bulletin from the state saying they aren't going to approve using a hot water heaters as a boiler any more unless they are ( water heater ) approved for the purpose . So alot of people must be doing just what your talking about doing.
I have a cold spot in this house I was thinking of doing it to but I haven't yet and probably wont' get around to it . I have a wood cook stove in there now and when we have no fire in it ,that room gets chilly . so I'm thinking of just getting a good space heater wood stove that holds a fire and go that way .Then I'll have some thing to back up to on days like today when it 0°out .

Al again    Posted 02-08-2004 at 07:54:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
If your going to do this your going to have to make sure you can radiate more heat then you generate . When I use water , cold water goes into mine where yours would
be getting warm water back from the radiators and it might build up and get to hot . JMO

CAH    Posted 02-08-2004 at 07:02:14       [Reply]  [No Email]
Thanks Al,
I also have a woodstove on the 2nd story and it does a great job of helping on very cold days. I was trying to steal heat from the basement wood furnace so I only have one fire to tend. I would use a circulating pump if I tried this just to for safety. I'll let you know if it works. Thanks again.

deadcarp    Posted 02-07-2004 at 18:18:44       [Reply]  [No Email]
you mean making a loop without a circulating pump? hmmmm -- well it should circulate by convection currents alone but it would be pretty slow. i don't use a pump to heat domestic water, instead relying on 3 feet of pipe-in-a-pipe and it takes like 2-3 hours to really mix and get the whole tank hot. if you were very careful about locating each end of the loop, it would help move the heat. and you'd want to create/enhance a hot & cold leg, in other words draw the pre-heated water from top of the heater to the radiator where it would cool, insulate that half of the loop real well, then try to let the return leg cool off & dissipate as much heat as it wanted to before re-entering the bottom of the water heater.

if you're willing to add a circulating pump, then the heating loop will circulate in under a minute. you can always add a thermostat to the pump if that gets too warm. i wanted to warm the cellar and tap a little more heat from my heating loop so i just set a used copper coil (120 feet of 3/4" copper) on blocks in the cellar and spliced it into the loop. now the hall floor above it stays nice & warm too.

as to your choice of radiating medium, it's all in the type of material you pick and square inches of that material's surface area. for example a chevy radiator does about the same job as 50 feet of 3/4" copper. i've seen people use plain galvanized water tanks too. copper does such a good job i prefer it but just design or pick something that fits the space. you could conceivably add plumbing to a big urn, it could be a heater too. heck they hide pipes under floors. a fan would boost any of them. :)

CAH    Posted 02-08-2004 at 06:57:50       [Reply]  [No Email]
I would use a circulating pump if I did try this. I would want the water moving to keep things a little safer. I only have the fire going when I need to heat the house so having the water moving at all times is fine. I would shut off the pump when I let the fire die out. This never happens in the winter. The radiator would need to look decent since it would be seen. Do you think a nice looking cabinet with 120' of copper coil in it would radiate the heat well enough? Maybe a small fan to move the heat. My wood furnace keeps the 2nd floor at 62-65 but I would like it to be 68-70. So I only want to add a few degs.
My overall thought is if I have a fire going(downstairs) anyway I may as well get as much from it possable. I have a woodstove in the upstairs (2nd floor) and it can get too hot when I fire it up. It is nice when it gets very cold but I would rather keep just one fire going when I can.

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