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Newbie needs advice

Post in 'The Boiler Room - Wood Boilers and Furnaces' started by Norwegian Wood, Feb 20, 2013.

  1. Norwegian Wood

    Norwegian Wood New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    28
    Loc:
    Southwest Connecticut
    This is, by far the most informative & active forum I've ever seen.
    I have gotten some great ideas & plans here, and I've been bitten by the woodgas bug.
    I just bought a used Orlan 40 on ebay, and it's coming this week.
    I am building a 1000 gallon non-pressurized storage tank from plans I found on this forum.
    I'm installing a 40 tube solar collector on the roof, which will feed an 80 gallon Earthsun storage tank for DHW.
    I will install both DHW & BBH heat exchangers in the storage tank.
    Once again, I found excellent plumbing schemes here on the forum.

    My questions are these:
    Is it better to have a heat exhanger in the storage tank for a closed loop to the boiler, or is it better to have an open system that flows in one end & draws from the other? I will have a boiler protection valve, of course.
    I want to provide baseboard heat for one zone for the shoulder seasons when the sun isn't shining & I don't want to fire the boiler. I can buy a new Rheem 65 gallon electric water heater for a whopping $250 from a freight liquidator near me & use it to provide one zone of baseboard heat for these few days a year. Is this a good idea?
    I can also install a sidearm heat exchanger off this unit to preheat the boiler intake for maximum efficiency.
    Good idea or not?
    My intent is to completely remove my #2 heating oil boiler & use my oil tank to supply my backup generator, eventually filling it with off road diesel.
    I appreciate any responses, or anyone who has a similar situation, and especially anyone in southwest ct, who is active in this forum.

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  2. Norwegian Wood

    Norwegian Wood New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
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    Loc:
    Southwest Connecticut
    I forgot to mention that the solar panel will have a second work station that will feed a HX in the 1000 gallon tank when the 80 gallon tank is heated.
    Waste no BTU's!
  3. bmblank

    bmblank Minister of Fire

    Joined:
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    Loc:
    Michigan
    If you want the water in the tank to cycle through the boiler then you will need it to be pressurized. The boiler will run in the 15-30 psi range. Unpressurized tank means heat exchanger or coils of some sort.
  4. Clarkbug

    Clarkbug Minister of Fire

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    Dec 20, 2010
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    1,051
    Loc:
    Upstate NY
    Welcome to Hearth!

    I would advise putting a heat exchanger in for your storage, but there are others here who know much better about un-pressurized systems than I do. The biggest benefit is that it keeps corrosion out of your boiler, since the unpressurized system will have a constant supply of oxygen that could cause problems.

    I dont think you need to bother with the separate Rheem electric water heater, since with 1000 gallons of storage, you can just figure the boiler once in the shoulder season and let it heat the storage, then heat from storage for several days.

    Also, it might be good to keep the oil burner that you have just as a backup in case you want to leave the house for several days during the winter months.
  5. flyingcow

    flyingcow Minister of Fire

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    Loc:
    northern-half of maine
    Norwegian- I have a gasser with 820 gals of storage and i do like Clarkbug says. I burn wood year round. I have a HX in tank for DHW and a HX that feeds my baseboard. And i would also recommend leaving oil system in place. Nice to have a backup. Some ins companies/mortgage companies require this anyways.
  6. JP11

    JP11 Minister of Fire

    Joined:
    May 15, 2011
    Messages:
    1,238
    Loc:
    Central Maine
    Oil is there, paid for, and works.. Why haul it out?

    I've thought of removing my second 275 oil tank.. but I decided to leave it. I'll build my toy barn soon enough, and won't need the space as bad as I do now.

    JP
  7. Norwegian Wood

    Norwegian Wood New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
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    Loc:
    Southwest Connecticut
    Thanks Clarkbug, flyingcow, & JP11.
    I ruled out the Rheem, as I don't think it will work well enough, and between the solar & the boiler I should be fine.
    I was going to pull the #2 boiler & use the tank strictly for generator fuel, but when I go away, does my wife really want to mess with wood?
    No.
    Besides, resale becomes more difficult with people wanting to just set a thermostat and write a check.
    You both make great points about extended travel & insurance, which I hadn't thought of.
    My concern was space, as my basement is finished & the utility room small, especially after the 1000 gallon tank is finished.
    There will be HX's in the tank for solar, boiler, DHW, & baseboard heat.
    Crowded,no?
    So, here's my next question.
    How many feet of 3/4 soft copper coil do I need for the EKO 40 HX?
    So far, I've read 90 feet to 400 feet.
    Big spread.
    I was looking at some stainless HX units, but I understand copper is six times more conductive.
  8. Norwegian Wood

    Norwegian Wood New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
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    Loc:
    Southwest Connecticut
    flyingcow, you are 100% right.
    Aside from the practical perspective, my homeowners insurance will not cover me without a backup boiler.
    Thanks again.
    flyingcow likes this.
  9. Tdiguy

    Tdiguy New Member

    Joined:
    Feb 20, 2013
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    18
    Just so you know if you live in a semi cold climate it is very likely that your home heating oil supplier is actually selling you dyed diesel fuel not number 2 heating oil. The primary difference between the 2 is also the gel point. It USED to be a very common practice where truck drivers would use home heating oil rather than diesel. Course now there are huge fines for doing that and the dye sticks around for a while in the tank. I wouldn't bother doing anything with the tank if you really want to get off road diesel and use that for the generator just put it right into the existing tank you have.
  10. Norwegian Wood

    Norwegian Wood New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2013
    Messages:
    28
    Loc:
    Southwest Connecticut
    Hi Tdiguy,
    Yes, we figured that out a long while ago. Been running the diesel off our #2 tank since we installed it. Since I decided to keep the oil burner backup, it's a moot point, but the new off road stuff has lots less sulfer content, so burns cleaner.
    Thanks

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