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Q&A Hot water baseboard heat from woodstove in living area?

Post in 'Questions and Answers' started by QandA, Jan 21, 2003.

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  1. QandA

    QandA New Member Staff Member

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    Question:

    I just read a somewhat disturbing bit of information on this site in the section where various products are explained. †The topic was about heating water from your woodstove. The author said that no woodstove can supply enough hot water to heat an entire home. I live in NE PA at 1350' above sea level. †My house has a large woodstove with hot water coils in it. †My wife grew up in this house and her father tells me that he used to heat the entire house with the stove/coils and a small circulator. †He quit the process when the coil broke in the early 80's. †(the original coils were multi-piece copper). †I recently learned that the manufacturer is still in business and sells stoves with coils sized to heat domestic hot water and/or baseboard systems. †Once I learned this, I was delighted. †I plan to replace my old stove (over 25 years old) with a new one in a month or so. †The new coils are one piece stainless steel.† The link to the site is: www.thermocontrolheating.com The stoves are inexpensive ($1300, for a 90000 BTUH coil model), but not the most attractive. They do last and they do heat. †I can praise my stove all day!



    Answer:

    The "disturbing bit of information" is actually quite accurate. However, there can be exceptions to the rule....although few and far between. For instance, if such a stove is placed in the living area, it gives out quite a bit of radiant heat which can surely help warm some homes well - especially if the house has an open floor plan.


    Also, the information applies largely to retrofits, that is coils inserted into a stove that they were not designed for. The stove you mentioned is designed for the coils and has quite a few inside.


    Lastly, I would question the safety of such a stove in your living area. These coils contain only a small amount of water. If your electricity fails, this water will turn to steam almost instantly and blow your pressure valve.


    I would personally not install such a system....if I had to do do, i would:


    1. make certain that I piped the pressure relief valve to somewhere where it could do no harm.


    2. Install a backup DC (battery) circulator which turned on automatically in a power failure.


    All in all, I think folks would be better with a "real" boiler like those sold by HS TARM and some other companies. www.woodboilers.com

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