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Alternatives to Using Boiler for Hot Water

Post in 'The Pellet Mill - Pellet and Multifuel Stoves' started by Sophie, Nov 10, 2008.

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  1. Sophie

    Sophie Member

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    We are in a rural area and do not have access to natural gas. We are currently burning wood and will soon (if I can convince the other half to get in gear) be using a pellet stove. We heat our hot water with our oil boiler.

    I want to keep our oil boiler for backup in case we run out of wood and the cost of pellets skyrockets, but think that it is not really economical to use now just for heating hot water. Would there be a more economical way to heat hot water? Also, someone told me that our pipes in the hot water heating system could be damaged if we don't turn on the furnace periodically. Any opinions? Thanks.

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  2. chrisasst

    chrisasst Minister of Fire

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    well, I can tell you your pipes may burst. I bought my pellet stove last year, drained my pipes, turned the water off to them. I crawled under my house last week and I see a few busted pipes even though they are drained..
  3. cdodge04

    cdodge04 Member

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    I winterize homes for a living and I see a lot of heating systems that are left sitting for extended periods of time. You would be amazed at how stagnant water can get in your pipes. If I were you I would definitely keep cycling the boiler on a regular basis.

    Draining your system is also not the answer a lot of times. If your home is somewhat older you will experience pipe seperation. When your copper pipes are drained and left to set the couplings and sodered joints constrict and pull at each other.

    I wouldn't drain the system unless you are capable of putting your pipes back together. Granted sodering pipe is no hard task, but it can be a pain. Other than having to put your pipes back together again you may also find that the circulators in our boiler seize up. I find this is common in many of the homes that I deal with as well. Circulators that sit for extended periods of time, on occasion have trouble getting going again and operating correctly.

    Just my two cents.

    -Chad
  4. Sophie

    Sophie Member

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    Thanks for the info. Our home, and the boiler is 20 years old. One thing that we have a problem with is low ph water which is very corrosive to our pipes and our boiler's heating element. That might be a factor that might make it worse?
  5. cdodge04

    cdodge04 Member

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    Yeah, I would definitely try and find an alternative to shutting the boiler down, especially if you know there is a corrosion problem ahead of time ya know? Pipes are easily fixed, but circulators and other boiler parts can get expeeeeeeeeeeeeensive.
  6. ssupercoolss

    ssupercoolss Member

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    take a spin over to the boiler room. i understand "boiled" water is much less corrosive than regular tap water. when ever you drain a boiler you need to fire it up to get rid of nasties in the water that cause it to be corrosive.
  7. kast

    kast New Member

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  8. bridgerman

    bridgerman Member

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    Hi Sophie,

    ThermGuard was designed to to exactly what you are looking for. It simply attaches to your thermostat using 2 wires. You then program it using a single button and two LEDs to turn on your boiler periodically. You can, for instance, ask ThermGuard to put 5 minutes worth of hot water through your pipes every few hours. The pipes won't freeze and you won't have to worry about draining your system. It also helps since there won't be any surprises when you really need to heat since the system will not have been left idle for long stretches of time.

    There is also a 10% discount for Hearth.com members and free shipping! Once you click on the buy it now button, please enter code: 101657512 in the vouncher/discount code for your 10% dicount.

    Check out: www.bearmountaindesign.com

    Cheers,
    John
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